Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass

What I like about this is it’s about the real-life Body Farm in my home state and birth town Knoxville Tennessee. It’s a place where bodies that have been donated are laid out in poses and situation to decay and forensic scientist record and document the process. It was started and is ran by Dr. Bill Bass. He has helped solve many cases, cold cases and has created and added great science to the world of forensics.

Now he has taken his many ordeals and along with writer Jon Jefferson created a fictionalized setting and yet uses all the real reality that takes place at the Body Farm to solve crimes. This is what you call a believable mystery that grabs you and takes you deep into the world of the dead and the science to understand it. This book also shows you the art and hard work of solving crimes. This is not an hour T.V. show where everything is wrapped up in 60 minutes, this is a challenge and the many processes and days and months and years it takes to complete just one case.

The shining reality of the book is it’s based on reality science. Believable science. My Uncle who was a police officer in Tennessee visited the Body Farm often and knows Dr. Bill Bass first hand and all the wonderful and powerful work he has done for crime solving. My Uncle has told many stories about the Body Farm.

When I came across this book I was floored and happy because here was a real place going to be placed and written in a fiction setting by the main man himself. This place is 3 acres of woods behind the University of Tennessee College and the U.T. Football Stadium. There many upon many rotting bodies are laid out in many shocking ways which is all for crime solving and so this world of death and decay is introduced into the book setting, I am reviewing.

Your main character is Dr. Bill Brockton. This book is a perfect example of characters and the wonderful world of mystery and secrets and lies and cover ups. What is so great about this book to me is every place mentioned in it I grew up around it and I know everything he is talking about. The buildings, roads, lakes and the many other places come flooding back to me.

This is an interesting little mystery mixed with a dead body mummified, cockfights, drugs, undercover agents, town cover ups, bad cops, backwoods hillbillies, secrets and hush ups, descriptive forensics, autopsies and blood and gore. This story is unique yet feels lost in all its descriptions. I felt at times I was reading a text book or a file. It seemed the book strayed too much from the main subject and stretched the story out making the book longer and seem to ramble on.

One major failure in the book was the many stories. The author seemed to have trouble in writing a book on one subject so he added many stories. Corruption, court room drama, drugs, unsolved murder, missing child and other things to tie the whole book. The book at times seemed sadly pieced together. I feel one huge factor is the lack of action and just too much talk, too much back-story and just way too much science and textbook reality. There is even a lot of humor but the action is few and far between to hold onto the reader.

The book is a good read just needed to be tighter and more pushed together to let me say it ‘s worth reading. I still want to say it’s a book worth reading but in honesty I can’t because it lacks the knot to tie the reader into the story. You feel like afterwards the book did not grab you enough, it did give you the want to finish the book when you start but it’s more like a challenge or a need to close the book because you must.


When you get to Chapter 38 which is page 289 and all the way to 310 which is the wrap up of the story, these few pages is what this book is all about. The action, the drama, the excitement that I wanted throughout the whole book but sadly it was not. These few pages are rock solid in great conclusion style, a wonderful conclusion to an okay book.