Written By: Kathy Reichs

Narrated By: Katherine Borowitz

Date: July 2002

Duration: 5 hours 34 minutes


As fresh and shocking as today’s headlines, a bone-chilling Tempe Brennan novel of international black marketeering in fetal tissue, decades old mass murder, and contemporary homicide from New York Times bestselling author and world-class forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs.

It was a summer morning in 1982 when soldiers ravaged the village of Chupan Ya, raping and killing women and children. Twenty-three victims are said to lie in the well where, twenty years later, Dr. Temperance Brennan and a team from the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation now dig. No records were kept. To their families, the dead are “the disappeared.”

Forensic anthropologist for the medical examiners in North Carolina and Montreal, Tempe is in Guatemala for a month’s service to help some families identify and bury their dead. She digs in a cold, damp pit where she finds a hair clip, a fragment of cloth, a tiny sneaker. Her trowel touches something hard: the hip of a child no more than two years old.

It’s heartbreaking work. Something savage happened here twenty years ago. The violence continues today. The team is packing up for the day when an urgent satellite call comes in. Two colleagues are under attack. Shots ring out, and Tempe listens in horror to a woman’s screams. Then there is silence. Dead silence.

With this new violence, everything changes, both for the team and for Tempe, who’s asked by the Guatemalan police for her expertise on another case. Four privileged young women have vanished from Guatemala City in recent months. One is the Canadian ambassador’s daughter. Some remains have turned up in a septic tank, and Tempe unfortunately knows septic tanks.

Teaming with Special Crimes Investigator Bartolomé Galiano, and with Montreal detective Andrew Ryan, who may have more than just professional reasons to join her on the case, Tempe soon finds herself in a dangerous web that stretches far beyond Guatemala’s borders. The stakes are huge. As power, money, greed, and science converge, Tempe must make life-altering choices.

From cutting-edge science in the lab, where Tempe studies fetal bones and cat hair DNA, to a chilling encounter in a lonely morgue, Grave Secrets is powerful, page-turning entertainment from a crime fiction superstar who combines riveting authenticity with witty, elegant prose.


  • Kathy

    This book is quick paced plot and an interesting read. The author did an excellent job describing more than I needed to know about a septic tank. Reichs is an author that I look for when I want a good read.

  • Karen G

    This was the first novel by Kathy Reichs that I have "read". It was kind of slow at first, but about half-way through it became much more interesting. I think that there might have been a few too many threads going on at the same time, with what seemed like a rushed tie-up on some of them. I am definitely going to give some of her other books a try.

  • Howeln

    I liked this book, and the first one I have listened too/read by Reichs, which I only did because of the TV show Bones. The writing is very descriptive but well balanced. I'm not the best person to judge mysteries, but I did think it was well done.

  • June Frost

    A typical entertaining Reichs read/listen. I am a Reichs fan, so my review is biased. Good descriptive writing, with believable dialogue. Temperance, the main character, is a strong, well educated, smart woman who knows what she wants (most of the time) and is unafraid to show her independence, even when her beliefs are different from the crowd. Good woman's book for motivation, and my husband liked it too.

  • Bonnie Enzian

    This was a great story. There were many different plots going on and lots of interesting characters. The explosive civil turbulence that took place in Guatemala for 30 years was fascinating to learn about and of course, disturbing at the same time. The forensic anthropology lessons were also very interesting and made the murder investigations personal-waiting to hear how the cat hairs found on the victim, or the tiny bones wrapped up in a shirt sleeve would help find the killer(s). I thought this book was narrated very well and it definitely kept me interested all the way through. This was the first Kathy Reichs book I've listened to and I will do be renting another one of her titles soon.

  • Summer

    Good Book. Starts out slow but is worth renting. Pretty good mystery.

  • Anonymous

    If you enjoy Kathy Reichs, you will enjoy the story. The narrator is somber given the serious nature of the crimes and I tried to accept this as a creative interpreation. However, it just turned on horrific crime versus, not a dramatic reading for enjoyment/entertainment.

  • Anonymous

    interesting book where reader is educated about anthropological research and a little about stem cell research. However, moved a little too slowly and weak ending

  • Deborah Martinson

    Good listening. Good plot. Interesting background about forensic anthropology and Guatamala's civil war. I recommend it. Fascinating.

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by Kathy Reichs

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