Forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance "Tempe" Brennan gets caught in mysteries past and present when she's called in to determine if illegal antiquities dealer Avram Ferris's gunshot death is murder or suicide. An acquaintance of Avram suggests the former: he hands Tempe a photograph of a skeleton, taken in Israel in 1963, and insists it's the reason Avram is dead. Tempe's longtime boyfriend, Quebecois detective Andrew Ryan, is also involved with the case, so the duo head to Israel where they attempt to solve the murder and a mystery revolving around a first-century tomb that may contain the remains of the family of Jesus Christ. This find threatens the worldwide Christian community, the Israeli and Jewish hierarchy and numerous illegal antiquity dealers, any of whom might be out to kill Tempe and Ryan. Not that Tempe notices. She has the habit of being oblivious to danger, which quickly becomes annoying, as does Reichs's tendency to end chapters with a heavy-handed cliffhanger ("His next words sent ice up my spine"). The plot is based on a number of real-life anthropological mysteries, and fans of such will have a good time, though thriller readers looking for chills and kills may not find the novel quite as satisfying.
The 8th book in Kathy Reichs' Temperance Brennan series starts off with a murder (not too untypical) but this one had religious implications to it. Of course it's been compared to The DaVinci Code but personally I don't think the books are very much a like. Yes they both deal with Jesus and his heritage but they come at it in very different manners.
The implications in this book are huge for Christianity, if the remains are those of Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth, but you pretty much figure out that Kathy Reich's isn't going to try to take down a major world religion in a book of fiction, but then again I guess that's what Dan Brown did or attempted to do. Sometimes a lot of her technical jargon goes over my head but I forgive her for that because I adore how she writes Tempe and of course the delicious Det. Andrew Ryan. Plus the stories are so interesting that you do forget that her job is pretty technical and that she's very highly educated.
The murder takes them to Israel and on a wild goose chase, until of course Tempe puts herself in a dangerous situation (yes it can be farfetched but still fun) and then it she figured it out.
I don't want to give too much away because the story does build. If you like a good mystery and some history thrown in you'll enjoy the book.
I would recommend that you start at the beginning of the series (Death Dujour) to get a feel for the history of the characters, otherwise it might be a bit confusing. If you are a fan of the show "Bones" you'll enjoy a different view of this Tempe than the one portrayed by Emily Deschanel.
Overall Rating: 4/5