The Breaking Point
Body Farm Mystery, Book # 9
By Jefferson Bass (Jon Jefferson and Bill Blass)
Author Website: http://www.jeffersonbass.com
Past, present, and future collide to throw respected forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton’s successful, secure life into devastating turmoil in this poignant novel in the New York Times bestselling Body Farm mystery series
It’s been ten years since Dr. Bill Brockton created the Body Farm—the world’s first postmortem research facility dedicated to advancing the frontiers of forensic science—and the researcher is at the pinnacle of his career. Under his leadership, the University of Tennessee’s forensic anthropology program has become the most prominent in the world, and Brockton’s skills and knowledge are in high demand among top law enforcement. Calling him in for a number of high profile cases, the FBI now wants him to identify the charred remains of a maverick millionaire, killed in a fiery plane crash.
But a storm is about to hit Brockton with cataclysmic force. First, his identification of the crash victim is called into question. Then he receives a threatening message from the serial killer who attempted to murder the scientist and his family a decade ago. And from Brockton’s beloved wife Kathleen—his lodestone and his source of security—he gets the most shocking news of all. Will Brockton be able to weather this deluge . . . or has he finally reached the breaking point? (Goodreads)
The Breaking Point is the ninth novel in the fantastic Body Farm Mystery series, and if you have yet to read the series this is an excellent place to start. It is actually a prequel to the other books and takes place ten years after Dr. Bill Brockton has established his forensic anthropological research facility, commonly known as The Body Farm, at the University of Tennessee, and he is seemingly at the top of his game. He is called upon by the FBI to identify the remains, if they can find any, of a humanitarian pilot whose plane crashed into the side of a mountain near San Diego. The uprightness of the pilot is called into question, and Bill’s identification of teeth found among the embers of the crash is also doubted. In addition to main mystery revolving around the crash and the possible nefarious activities of the pilot, Bill receives a threat from an incarcerated serial killer who almost succeeded in killing all of Bill’s family. The integrity of The Body Farm’s practices is challenged when a local news journalist insists that Bill’s program is disrespecting military veterans whose remains were donated to the program.
In what may indeed be Bill’s breaking point, his beloved wife Kathleen is given a terminal diagnosis. Having read the other books in the series, Kathleen’s prognosis did not come as a surprise, but it was heartbreaking none the less. Bill’s personal life is always a big part of The Body Farm books, but his depression and desperation following Kathleen’s death was some of the most poignant storytelling I have read in awhile. A near tragedy involving his young grandsons provides the wake up call he needs to carry on without her.
There are plenty of nail biting moments throughout the mystery, and the murderer was a little unexpected and brilliant. The writing team known as Jefferson Bass’s writing style compels the reader to keep turning the pages long after bedtime. There is tension, plots twists and turns, and forensic anthropology tidbits sprinkled throughout, and I found The Breaking Point to be highly entertaining. I think it will end up being one of my best reads of 2015. I highly recommend it to current fans of the series, fans of Patricia Cornwell, Aaron Elkins, and Kathy Reichs, and anyone who enjoys a complex thriller with lots of heart. As Ms. Reichs proclaims on the book’s cover, this is indeed the real deal.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*