Kathy Reichs

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DR Kathy J Reichs (Phd) No. 36, 1986 [1]

Reichs in 2013
Reichs in 2013
BornKathleen Joan Toelle
(1948-07-07) July 7, 1948 (age 74)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
EducationAmerican University (BA)
Northwestern University (MA, PhD)
Notable works
SpousePaul Reichs
ChildrenBrendan Reichs, Kerry Reichs, Courtney Reichs

Kathleen Joan Reichs (née Toelle, born July 7, 1948) is an American crime writer, forensic anthropologist and academic.She is an adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is well known for inspiring the television series Bones.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Kathleen Joan Toelle was born in 1948 in Chicago, Illinois.[3]

She 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 at Northwestern University, where, in 1975, she completed her PhD, also in physical anthropology.[4][3]

Academia and anthropology[edit]

Since 1975, Reichs has taught at Northern Illinois University, University of Pittsburgh, Concordia University, and McGill University, and currently holds 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.[4][5]

Reichs has appeared in Tanzania to testify at the United Nations's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.[6] She has assisted 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.[4]

She is one of 100 anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology[7] and is on the board of directors of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. She is also affiliated with the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Quebec.[4]


In addition to technical books, as of January 2019, Reichs has written 21 novels, which have been translated into 30 languages. 20 of those novels constitute the "Temperance Brennan" series.[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.

A stand-alone novel, Two Nights, published July 11, 2017, features Sunday Night, a tough-talking, scarred heroine.[13]


The 2005 Fox television series Bones is inspired by Reichs' life and novels.[14] The series borrows the name of her books' heroine, Temperance "Bones" Brennan.[15] As in the books, Brennan (Emily Deschanel) is a forensic anthropologist; however, there are many differences: the television character is younger, more socially awkward,[15] and is based in the Jeffersonian, a fictionalized version of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.[15] Additionally, the TV-Brennan moonlights as an author,[14] writing about a fictional forensic anthropologist named Kathy Reichs.[16] Aside from the character's name and occupation, there are few similarities between the TV show and the novels.

Reichs works as a producer on the show to "keep the science honest".[15] She appeared in the second-season episode "Judas on a Pole", playing Professor Constance Wright, a forensic anthropologist on the Jeffersonian's board of trustees who conducts Zack Addy's dissertation defense.[17]

Reichs wrote the season five episode, "The Witch in the Wardrobe,"[18] the season nine episode, "The Dude in the Dam," and wrote the season eleven episode, "The Stiff in the Cliff" with her daughter Kerry.[19]

Casey Anthony murder trial[edit]

In 2011, Reichs was an expert witness in the Casey Anthony murder trial. Reichs was reluctant to get involved, but later agreed and performed 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.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Reichs has two daughters, Kerry and Courtney, and a son, Brendan.[21]

Selected works[edit]

Academic papers[edit]

  • Reichs, Kathleen J. (October 1993). "Quantified comparison of frontal sinus patterns by means of computed tomography". Forensic Science International. 61 (2–3): 141–68. doi:10.1016/0379-0738(93)90222-v. PMID 8307523.
  • Grynpas, Marc D.; Huckell, C.B.; Reichs, K.J.; Derousseau, C.J.; Greenwood, C.; Kessler, M.J. (August 1993). "Effect of age and osteoarthritis on bone mineral in rhesus monkey vertebrae". Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. 8 (8): 909–17. doi:10.1002/jbmr.5650080803. PMID 8213253. S2CID 21510646.
  • Reichs, Kathleen J. (June 1992). "Forensic anthropology in the 1990s". The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology. 13 (2): 146–53. doi:10.1097/00000433-199206000-00014. PMID 1510066.
  • Reichs, Kathleen J. (July 1989). "Treponematosis: a possible case from the late prehistoric of North Carolina". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 79 (3): 289–303. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330790305. PMID 2669501.
  • Reichs, K. J. (January 1989). "Cranial suture eccentricities: a case in which precocious closure complicated determination of sex and commingling". Journal of Forensic Sciences. 34 (1): 263–73. doi:10.1520/JFS12632J. PMID 2918285.
  • DeRousseau, CJ; Reichs, KJ (July 1987). "Ontogenetic plasticity in nonhuman primates: I. Secular trends in the Cayo Santiago macaques". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 73 (3): 279–87. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330730302. PMID 3618758.

Academic books[edit]

Temperance Brennan series[edit]

No. Title Published ISBNs Notes
1 Déjà Dead 1997 Paperback: 0-09-925518-9
Audio CD: 1-449-83348-9
New York Times Best Seller[22]

Won the 1997 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel[22]

1997 Kirkus Reviews – starred review[23]

1997 Library Journal – starred review [23]

1997 Publishers Weekly – starred review [23]

1998 Dilys Award – Mystery Novel (Nominee)[23]

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
2007 Publishers Weekly – starred review [23]
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 978-1476754741[24]
17 Bones Never Lie 2014 Hardback: 978-0345544018
Paperback: 978-0804194471
18 Speaking in Bones 2015 Hardback: 978-0434021192 2015 LibraryReads – starred review [23]
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.[25]
20 A Conspiracy of Bones 2020 Hardback: 9781785151187 2020 Booklist – starred review

2020 Publishers Weekly – starred review [23]

21 The Bone Code July 2021 Hardback:

ISBN 9781982139964 Paperback: ISBN 9781982139971

2021 LibraryReads – starred review[26]
22 Cold, Cold Bones July 2022 Hardback:

ISBN 978-1-3985-1078-4

23 The Bone Hacker August 2023 Hardback:

ISBN 978-1398510838

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.[27][28]

Virals series[edit]

This series was co-authored by Reich's son, Brendan Reichs. Tory Brennan, the great niece of Temperance Brennan, is the titular character of this series.[22]

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.


  1. ^ https://www.theabfa.org/active-diplomates-by-name
  2. ^ https://kathyreichs.com/about-kathy/
  3. ^ a b Moredock, Janet (January 1, 2022). "Kathy Reichs – Biography, Books, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d "Kathy Reichs – About Kathy". kathyreichs.com.
  5. ^ "Reichs among '30 Most Innovative Women Professors'". UNC Charlotte. February 1, 2016. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  6. ^ "History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places – Smithsonian". smithsonianmagazine.com.
  7. ^ "ABFA – American Board of Forensic Anthropology". theabfa.org. Archived from the original on October 7, 2011.
  8. ^ Kathy Reichs book suppliers Archived 2007-09-14 at the Wayback Machine. Personal website. Retrieved 1/11/09.
  9. ^ Arthur Ellis Award – list of past winners Archived 2008-09-28 at the Wayback Machine. Crime Writers of Canada. Retrieved 1/11/09.
  10. ^ a b c "This much I know:Kathy Reichs, forensic anthropologist and writer, 60, London". Tom Templeton. The Guardian. October 26, 2008.
  11. ^ a b c Mudge, Alden (September 1997). "Meet this season's best discovery: Kathy Reichs". Bookpage. Archived from the original on June 23, 2008. Retrieved November 16, 2008.
  12. ^ a b "Kathy Reichs: The ice queen of crime". Peter Stanford. The Independent. July 21, 2006. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008.
  13. ^ Kathy, Reichs (July 11, 2017). Two nights. Toronto. ISBN 9781476726458. OCLC 960987420.
  14. ^ a b Bones Show Info Archived 2007-09-23 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ a b c d "Kathy Reichs: 20 Things You Need to Know". Yahoo!. Yahoo! Pty Limited. Archived from the original on July 28, 2008. Retrieved November 16, 2008.
  16. ^ "Bodies in the Book". Bones. Season 2. Episode 15. October 14, 2007.
  17. ^ Bones episode Judas on a Pole at IMDb.com
  18. ^ Full credits for Bones episode "The Witch in the Wardrobe" at IMDb.com
  19. ^ "BONES Recap: 'The Dude in the Dam'". givememyremote.com.
  20. ^ Memmott, Carol. "Reichs Examines Murder Victim Caylee Anthony". USA Today. Archived from the original on April 12, 2013.
  21. ^ Reichs, Kathy (2002). Grave Secrets: A Novel. Simon & Schuster, Inc. pp. XII. ISBN 978-0-671-02838-1.
  22. ^ a b c "Kathy Reichs | About Kathy". kathyreichs.com. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g "Awards for Kathy Reichs – FictionDB". www.fictiondb.com. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  24. ^ Reichs, Kathy (June 17, 2014). Bones of the Lost: A Temperance Brennan Novel (16) Mass Market Paperback – June 17, 2014. ISBN 978-1476754741.
  25. ^ GoodReads. GoodReads. Retrieved 2016/12/23.
  26. ^ "The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs". www.fictiondb.com. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  27. ^ Twitter. Twitter. Retrieved 2016/12/23.
  28. ^ Website. Website. Retrieved 2016/12/23.

External links[edit]