Kathy Reichs tours Quebec
to promote The Bone Hacker
The author was recently in town to talk about her 22nd novel
By Byron Toben
November 9, 2023
Best-selling novelist Kathy Reichs, no stranger to Montreal, revisited the area to promote her latest novel, The Bone Hacker. I attended one of her book launches at the Indigo bookstore in Pointe-Claire on October 13, where over sixty fans showed up, many to buy the book and have it autographed after hearing her discussion with Montrealer Catherine McKenzie, herself retired lawyer turned novelist.
So the obvious first question was, “What drew you to Montreal?” (Reich’s first novel, Déjà Dead, was set in Montreal.) Chicago-born Reich has long lived in North Carolina, where her scientific and academic profession had led her to a professorship at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte before being requested to aid Quebec authorities in determining causes of unresolved deaths.
I am a forensic anthropologist. I consult with coroners and medical examiners needing help with corpses unfit for standard autopsy – the decomposed, dismembered, burned, mummified and skeletal.
– Kathy Reichs, author, The Bone Hacker
Her 30-year back-and-forth visits here are best described in a passage from her 21st novel, Cold, Cold Bones, wherein she stated, “I am a forensic anthropologist. I consult with coroners and medical examiners needing help with corpses unfit for standard autopsy – the decomposed, dismembered, burned, mummified and skeletal. I give names to the nameless… I consider manner of death, be it by suicide, homicide, accident or natural causes.”
Her frequent forays to Montreal have made her knowledgeable about our restaurants and places – she stayed for a while at a friend’s condo in Moshe Safdie’s Habitat. I remember seeing her at a Saint Patrick’s Day luncheon head table in the 1990s where she used the last names of the local dignitaries at that table for the fictional characters, some bad guys, in her next novel.
Ms. Reichs now has two daughters and a son, Brendan, also a writer, with whom she has co-authored eight other works. Her alter ego in her novels is the wonderfully named Temperance Brennan, whose L.P. holds the copyright to some of her novels.
‘Kathy Reichs’ books… have sold over one million copies in Canada alone, been translated into thirty languages and inspired the television series Bones from 2006 to 2017.’
Both Ms. Reichs and Ms. McKenzie are engaging, light-hearted souls whose humour added to the enjoyment of the evening, despite not having enough time to go into depth on the current novel The Bone Hacker, which I will review once I have read it.
Kathy Reichs’ books, of which 15 have the word Bones in the title, have sold over one million copies in Canada alone, been translated into thirty languages and inspired the television series Bones from 2006 to 2017.
In closing, I cannot resist adding the song, Dem Bones, as described by Ezekiel in the Bible and composed by James Weldon Johnson and his brother in 1938. Here they are as performed on the Ed Sullivan Show by the Delta Rhythm Boys:
Feature image: courtesy of Kathy Reichs
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated websites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner, and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.