At a Glance
When it comes to forensic crime mysteries, Kathy Reichs (website) is one of my favorite authors in the genre. Reading the Kathy Reichs books in order means getting up to speed on all her series.
In her books, Kathy Reichs draws from experience, being a well known forensic anthropologist in Montreal. As part of her job she has taught FBI agents on the art of finding and recovering human remains has traveled to far away countries like Rwanda and Guatemala and she has helped identify WWII, Korea and Southern Asia victims remains.
I didn’t know that before, but it seems that there are only 82 US forensic anthropologists officially certified, and Kathy Reichs is among them! So when you read her novels, you know that she writes from a point of authority, even though most of her books are fictional (she has written two non-fictional academic books as well in the 1980’s).
The first book I’ve read by Kathy Reichs was incidentally her first Temperance Brennan novel called Deja Dead. If I am not mistaken, it was that very book that sparked my interest in forensic crime fiction – way before the CSI TV series became popular. I’ve read since many other books in this genre, but Kathy Reichs is for me the authority on the subject, no questions asked.
Currently, there are three mains series written by Kathy Reichs: the Temperance Brennan series (which prompted the creation of the Bones TV series), Virals, a Young Adult series co-written with her son Brendan Reichs, and Sunday Night, a new series that started in 2017. In Virals, the main character is Tory Brennan, the great-niece of Temperance Brennan.
So here are the books in order of publication for both series – the chronological order is listed in brackets. This is the very order I love reading my books as well. The Tempe Brennan series has currently 19 books, while the Virals includes 4 books, with a 5th to be published next March.
Temperance Brennan Books In Order
- Deja Dead (Temperance Brennan #1), published 1997
- Death Du Jour (Temperance Brennan #2), published 1999
- Deadly Decisions (Temperance Brennan #3), published 2000
- Fatal Voyage (Temperance Brennan #4), published 2001
- Grave Secrets (Temperance Brennan #5), published 2002
- Bare Bones (Temperance Brennan #6), published 2003
- Monday Mourning (Temperance Brennan #7), published 2004
- Cross Bones (Temperance Brennan #8), published 2005
- Break No Bones (Temperance Brennan #9), published 2006
- Bones to Ashes (Temperance Brennan #10), published 2007
- Devil Bones (Temperance Brennan #11), published 2008
- 206 Bones (Temperance Brennan #12), published 2009
- Spider Bones (Temperance Brennan #13), published 2010
- Flash and Bones (Temperance Brennan #14), published 2011
- Bones Are Forever (Temperance Brennan #15), published 2012
- Bones In Her Pocket (Temperance Brennan #15.5), published 2013
- Bones of the Lost (Temperance Brennan #16), published 2013
- Swamp Bones (Temperance Brennan #16.5), published 2014
- Bones Never Lie (Temperance Brennan #17), published 2014
- Bones on Ice (Temperance Brennan #17.5), published 2015
- Speaking in Bones (Temperance Brennan #18), published 2015
- A Conspiracy of Bones (Temperance Brennan #19), TBA
Virals Series In Order
- Virals (Virals #1), published 2010
- Seizure (Virals #2), published 2011
- Shift (Virals #2.5), published 2013
- Code (Virals #3), published 2013
- Swipe (Virals #3.5), published 2013
- Exposure (Virals #4), published 2014
- Terminal (Virals #5), published 2015
- 8. Spike (Virals #5.5), published 2016
Sunday Night Series In Order
- Two Nights (Sunday Night #1), 2017
Should we read the Kathy Reichs books in order?
I have read all her novels and while it is nice to read them in order (that’s how I’ve usually read most of the crime series I pick up), it’s not an absolute must.
Each book stands on its own with its own case for Tempe (or Tory & gang) to solve. However, there are some recurring themes (relationships at work and overall character development, as well as the basics of her life) that is nice to follow the way they actually occur.
So should you read the Kathy Reichs books in chronological order? Yes if you like reading your series in order of how things develop, but no if you came across a book in the series and want to start with it, without having to go back to the previous ones. You won’t lose much.
Kathy Reichs Biography
Kathy Reichs was born in 1950 in Chicago, Illinois. She studied anthropology at American University, following which she graduated with a B.A in 1971.
Next, she continued her studies and got her M.A in 1972, followed by her Ph.D. degree in physical anthropology, which she got at Northwestern University.
For four years, between 1974 and 1978, she worked as an assistant professor at Northern Illinois University, and next she moved to work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
In the 1980s she started consulting the office of the chief medical examiner in North Carolina. Over the years, she was also a professor at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va, while she also worked for a bit each year at the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale in Quebec.
During her long-time career, Kathy Reichs helped identify the remains of many victims after the 9/11 attack, wrote numerous scholar papers in her field, and edited three non-fiction books related to the fields of physical and forensic anthropology, followed by her popular Temperance Brennen series and her newer Virals series.