'If you like Kathy Reichs, you'll like Jefferson Bass' The Times.
A woman's corpse lies hidden in a cave in the mountains of East Tennessee. Undiscovered for thirty years, her body has been transformed into a near-perfect mummy. Clueless, the local police enlist the help of Dr Bill Brockton, renowned anthropologist and founder of the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Research Facility - the Body Farm - where human corpses are left to the elements, and every manner of decay is fully explored for the sake of science and the cause of justice.
The body has been found in Cooke County, a remote community that's clannish, insular and distrustful of outsiders. When Brockton's autopsy discloses an explosive secret, old wounds are reopened and feuds rekindled. As the powerful and uncooperative sheriff and his inept deputy threaten to derail Brockton's investigations, even Brockton, after years surrounded by death and decay, is baffled by this case unfolding in a unique environment, where nothing is quite what it seems.
The pseudonymous Bass makes a successful first foray into fiction. The author is actually the writing team of Dr. Bill Bass, the forensic anthropologist who founded the legendary Body Farm (Tennessee's experimental laboratory devoted to the study of the way human corpses decompose), and Jon Jefferson, a journalist and filmmaker. Their new sleuth, Dr. Bill Brockton, is obviously based on Dr. Bass, sharing his first name, initials and his status as founder of the Body Farm. (The two coauthored Death's Acre, a nonfiction account of that macabre if scientifically valuable facility.) Still recovering from the emotional devastation of his wife's death, Dr. Brockton stumbles across a mummified female body, and his passion for the truth enmeshes him in a probe that verifies rumors of local corruption. His particular skills are vital to identifying the corpse as well as those who might have been motivated to kill the victim decades earlier. The pacing and action bode well for this crime series, though mystery fans who enjoy whodunits might hope that subsequent books pose more of a puzzle. 7-city author tour.