Book Review - "The Devil's Bones"

So the other day, you were getting something out of the oven and you weren't paying attention. You grabbed the hotpads, opened the door, and as you leaned in and touched the pan, your arm accidentally brushed the hot rack. Quickly, involuntarily, you yanked yourself back from the heat.

If you're lucky, you only burned the air with the words you said as you blew on your arm to soothe the sting.

Skin burns easily. So do dead bodies, and when the fire follows murder, someone needs to sift through the ashes to solve the crime. In the new audiobook "The Devil's Bones" by Jefferson Bass, Dr. Bill Brockton has a death to solve, but he'd better hurry. Time is burning up and Dr. Brockton could be next.

It was only a matter of luck that someone saw the flaming car and called 9-1-1. Had the vehicle fire blazed much longer, it could've ruined the Latham farm. As it was, the fire was bad enough: the calcined body of Mary Latham, in whose family the farm had been for generations, was found in the burnt-out shell of the car.

Forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton had seen his share of bodies, and he knew this was no fall-asleep-with-a-burning-cigarette accident. As head of the University of Tennessee's Body Farm, it was Brockton's job to investigate homicides.

This was a homicide. Of that, he had no doubt.

But how did it happen? Mary Latham's husband, Stewart, had an alibi. He was on the other side of the country when the fire was reported. How did the fire start, if Latham - who had big motive - wasn't there?

Brockton needed answers from someone who knew about burning bodies. A visit to a crematorium gave him the answers he needed for the Latham case, as well as for the investigation of the remains of a woman who was supposedly cremated but whose urn held construction debris. That ignited another case in Georgia, where hundreds of bodies weren't cremated.

But the Latham investigation and this Georgia mess aren't the only things on Brockton's mind: his old nemesis, Garland Hamilton, is on the loose again. Hamilton killed Brockton's lover many years ago, and now his burning hatred is focused on Bill.

Has Brockton met his match?

Do you listen to audiobooks in your vehicle? Make sure you have plenty of gas, then, because you're going to be sitting in your running car, reluctant to miss one word of this incredible mystery.

Jefferson Bass is the pen-name of real-life forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Bass and filmmaker-journalist Jon Jefferson. Because Dr. Bass is the founder of the Body Farm (a real research facility in Tennessee) and because Jefferson created documentaries on the subject, they write from experience. There are lots of authentic details in this audiobook, which gives it a high degree of fascinating reality.

If you're a true-crime or mystery fan, you'll be burning to hear this hard-to-stop story. Grab a copy of "The Devil's Bones" in audio. It definitely gets a glowing recommendation from me.

"The Devil's Bones," published in 2008 by HarperAudio, is six hours/five CDS and sells for $29.95.