Kathy Reichs

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Kathy Reichs
Born (1948-07-07) July 7, 1948 (age 68)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.[1]
Occupation Forensic Anthropologist
Professor [1]
Nationality American
Genre Crime, since 1997
Notable works Break No Bones (2006)[1]

Kathleen Joan Toelle "Kathy" Reichs (/ˈrks/; born July 7, 1948[2]) is an American crime writer, forensic anthropologist and academic.[1] She is an adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; as of 2016 she is on indefinite leave.[3] She is also affiliated with the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Quebec. She is one of the eighty-two forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology[4] and is on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Her schedule also involves a number of speaking engagements around the world. Reichs has been a producer for the TV series Bones, which is loosely based on her novels, which in turn, are inspired by her life.[1] She has two daughters, Kerry and Courtney, and one son, Brendan.[5]

Academic career[edit]

Reichs earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in anthropology from American University in 1971. In 1972, she completed her Master of Arts in physical anthropology from Northwestern University, and in 1975 she completed her Ph.D. in physical anthropology from Northwestern University. Since then, Reichs has taught at Northern Illinois University, University of Pittsburgh, Concordia University, and McGill University, and is currently on leave from a position as adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In the past, Kathy Reichs has consulted for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina.[6]

Reichs has appeared in Tanzania to testify at the United Nations's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.[7] She has assisted Dr. Clyde Snow and the Foundation for Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology in an exhumation in the area of Lake Atitlan in the highlands of southwest Guatemala. She was a member of the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team assigned to assist at the World Trade Center disaster.

Academic papers[edit]

Academic books[edit]


In addition to technical books, Reichs has written 19 novels to date, which have been translated into 30 languages.[8] Her first novel, Déjà Dead, won the 1997 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel.[9]

The fictional heroine in her novels, Temperance "Tempe" Brennan, is also a forensic anthropologist. Her lifestyle closely mimics that of her creator,[10][11] with Reichs stating that Brennan and she "have the same CV"[10] and that "Some of Tempe's personality traits are also mine",[11] but there are differences in their personal lives such as the character's alcoholism.[10] A good portion of the novels are based on real life science, and Reichs has stated that she is "fastidiously conscientious about getting the science right".[12] She has used experience from her career in her novels, and said about Déjà Dead that "Everything I describe in the book, I actually did".[11] In the novel Grave Secrets, she uses her experience from her visit to Guatemala.[12]

She has also written the young adult novels series named Virals centered on Tempe's great-niece, Tory Brennan, and a pack of her friends Ben, Hiram, Shelton, and wolfdog Cooper.

Temperance Brennan series[edit]

No. Title Published ISBNs Notes
1 Déjà Dead 1997 Paperback: 0-09-925518-9
Audio CD: 1-449-83348-9
Won the 1997 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel
2 Death du Jour 1999 Paperback: 0-09-925519-7
Hardcover: 0-684-84118-5
Audio CD: 0-754-05330-X
3 Deadly Décisions 2000 Paperback: 0-09-930710-3
Hardback: 0-434-00820-6
4 Fatal Voyage 2001 Paperback: 0-09-930720-0
Audio CD: 1-85686-927-X
5 Grave Secrets 2002 Paperback: 0-09-930730-8
Audio CD: 1-85686-928-8
6 Bare Bones 2003 Paperback: 0-09-944147-0
7 Monday Mourning 2004 Paperback: 0-09-944148-9
8 Cross Bones 2005 Paperback: 0-09-944149-7
Hardback: 0-434-01040-5
Audio CD: 1-85686-985-7
9 Break No Bones 2006 Hardback: 0-434-01042-1
Paperback: 0-434-01544-X
10 Bones to Ashes 2007 Hardback: 978-0434014620
Paperback: 978-1416525653
11 Devil Bones 2008 Hardback: 978-0743294386
Paperback: 978-1-4391-5440-3
Audio CD: 978-1846571336
12 206 Bones 2009 Hardback: 978-0743294393
Paperback: 978-0-4340-2005-8
13 Spider Bones 2010 Hardback: 978-1439102398
Paperback: 978-0-0995-5686-2
released as Mortal Remains in UK and Australia in hardback,
reverted to Spider Bones for paperback release
14 Flash and Bones 2011 978-1439102411
15 Bones are Forever 2012 978-0434021130
16 Bones of the Lost 2013 978-1439102459
17 Bones Never Lie 2014 Hardback: 978-0345544018
Paperback: 978-0804194471
18 Speaking in Bones 2015 Hardback: 978-0434021192
19 The Bone Collection 2016 Hardback: 9780606394642
Paperback: 9780399593222
A short story collection including First Bones (a prequel to Déjà Dead), Bones in her Pocket, Swamp Bones and Bones on Ice. These books have been numbered as 0.5, 15.5, 16.5, 17.5, respectively.[13]

Stand-Alone Books[edit]

No. Title Published ISBNs Notes
1 Two Nights 2017 Hardback: 978-0434021116
Paperback: 978-1524755577
Stand-alone, "off-series" novel with new characters.[14][15]

Virals series[edit]

Main article: Virals
Title Published ISBN Notes
Virals 2010 978-0099543947
Seizure 2011 978-1595143945
Code 2013 978-0099543855
Exposure 2014 978-1595145307
Terminal 2015 978-1595145284
Trace Evidence 2016 978-1784752392 a short story collection including Shock, Shift, Swipe and Spike (a new story set after the events of Terminal).


Reichs has released six downloadable short stories -

Title Published Notes
Shift 2013 Set in the Virals country, but featuring both the Virals characters and Temperance Brennan.
Bones In Her Pocket 2013 A Temperance Brennan story giving details of a case briefly mentioned in Bones of the Lost.
Swipe 2013 A Virals story, also featuring Temperance Brennan, set at Comic-Con in San Diego.
Swamp Bones 2014 A Temperance Brennan story set in the Florida Everglades.
Shock 2015 A Virals story telling how they first meet.
Bones On Ice 2015 A Temperance Brennan story of how she gets wrapped up in the ultimate cold case: a death on Mount Everest.


Main article: Bones (TV series)

The 2005 Fox television series Bones is inspired by Reichs' life and writing.[16] The series borrows the name of the books' heroine, Temperance "Bones" Brennan.[17] As in the books, Brennan (Emily Deschanel) is a forensic anthropologist; however, there are many differences: the television character is younger, more socially awkward,[17] and is based in a fictionalized version of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.[17] Additionally, the TV-Brennan moonlights as an author,[16] writing about a fictional forensic anthropologist named Kathy Reichs.[18] Aside from the character name and occupation, there are few tie-ins between the TV show and the books.

Reichs works as a producer on the show to "keep the science honest"[17] and has appeared in the episode "Judas on a Pole" from the second season, in which she played Professor Constance Wright, a forensic anthropologist on the board conducting Zack Addy's dissertation defense.[19] Additionally, she wrote the Season Five episode "The Witch in the Wardrobe"[20] and the Season Nine episode "The Dude in the Dam" and the Season Eleven episode "The Stiff in the Cliff" with her daughter Kerry.[21]

Casey Anthony murder trial[edit]

In 2011, Reichs was an expert witness in the Casey Anthony murder trial. After initially refusing to be a part of Anthony's defense, she cited biased media coverage as the reason she changed her mind. “Initially, I said no, and then I started seeing media coverage and it made me angry. This woman needed to be tried in court, not in the press.” Reichs did a full skeletal analysis of Anthony's daughter, Caylee, but could not determine a cause of death. She concluded that there was no evidence of abuse and that the child appeared to be well-nourished.[22]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Reichs, Kathy", Britannica Online (see below: References).
  2. ^ "Kathleen J. Reichs Biography". notablebiographies.com. 
  3. ^ "Reichs among '30 Most Innovative Women Professors'". UNC Charlotte. February 1, 2016. Retrieved 2016-12-01. 
  4. ^ "ABFA - American Board of Forensic Anthropology". theabfa.org. 
  5. ^ Reichs, Kathy (2002). Grave Secrets: A Novel. Simon & Schuster, Inc. pp. XII. ISBN 978-0-671-02838-1. 
  6. ^ "Kathy Reichs - About Kathy". kathyreichs.com. 
  7. ^ "History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places - Smithsonian". smithsonianmagazine.com. 
  8. ^ Kathy Reichs book suppliers. Personal website. Retrieved 1/11/09.
  9. ^ Arthur Ellis Award - list of past winners. Crime Writers of Canada website. Retrieved 1/11/09.
  10. ^ a b c "This much I know:Kathy Reichs, forensic anthropologist and writer, 60, London". Tom Templeton. The Guardian. 2008-10-26. 
  11. ^ a b c Mudge, Alden (September 1997). "Meet this season's best discovery: Kathy Reichs". Bookpage. Archived from the original on 2008-06-23. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  12. ^ a b "Kathy Reichs: The ice queen of crime". Peter Stanford. The Independent. 2006-07-21. 
  13. ^ GoodReads. GoodReads. Retrieved 2016/12/23.
  14. ^ Twitter. Twitter. Retrieved 2016/12/23.
  15. ^ Website. Website. Retrieved 2016/12/23.
  16. ^ a b Bones Show Info
  17. ^ a b c d "Kathy Reichs: 20 Things You Need to Know". Yahoo!7. Yahoo! Pty Limited. Archived from the original on 2008-07-28. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  18. ^ "Bodies in the Book". Bones. Season 2. Episode 15. 2007-10-14. 
  19. ^ IMDB profile for Bones episode Judas on a Pole
  20. ^ IMDB full credits for Bones episode "The Witch in the Wardrobe"
  21. ^ "BONES Recap: 'The Dude in the Dam'". givememyremote.com. 
  22. ^ Reichs Examines Murder Victim Caylee Anthony


  • "Reichs, Kathy", Britannica Online Encyclopedia, 2009, webpage: EBc-KReichs.

External links[edit]