Monday Mourning is Kathy Reichs' seventh Temperance Brennan novel. It is as chillingly good as her first, Deja Dead, a NY Times bestseller which won the 1997 Edgar Award for best first novel. One of the book blurbs for Monday says she is as "good as Cornwell at her best." Wrong. Reichs is consistently better.
Her alter ego and protagonist, Temperance Brennan, is a forensic anthropologist for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of North Carolina and for the Laboratoire de Science Judiciaires et Médicine Légale for the province of Quebéc. She is also a professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. So is Dr. Reichs. Do not be mislead by her academic pedigree; she is equally adept as a writer.
Will the hard-boiled detective believe her, especially when he believes a woman's place is not in police work? Will she find love with another detective? What will happen to her sister who suddenly disappears? How will Temperance's disposition to being "irresponsible sometimes, passionate about her work, and frustrated that people won't listen," according to Reichs, affect her pursuit of the answers?
Monday hinges on carbon 14 isotope analysis. We are familiar with dating fossils based on the half-life of carbon 14. The process does not work for more recent deaths, except for people born from 1955 - 63, a period when there was atmospheric testing of atom bombs. The testing affected the pMC values (Trust me, this works in context.) in the bones.
She also said that at a book signing some time ago, a local coroner brought a Tupperware container filled with bones!
In Fatal Voyage a commercial airplane crashes. After everyone is accounted for, one left foot is left over. The science examines the process of decomposition and the "soup" formed by the breakdown of fatty acids.