Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Every Body Talks

Published: October 17th, 2012 (first published 1999)
Body Bags (Body of Evidence #1)
By: Christopher Golden
Daring Greatly Corporation

When Jenna Blake starts her freshman year at Somerset University, she's not only living on her own for the first time, she's moving closer to the father she never really knew.  It's an exciting time, filled with new faces and new challenges, not mention parties and boys and...corpses?

Jenna is torn about her future.  She'd like to be a doctor like her mother, but she can't stand the sight of blood.  Her father, a criminology professor, thinks he has the answer -- and sends her to interview for a job with the Medical Examiner -- an interview that takes place in the middle of an autopsy!

When a congressional aide goes violently insane, and then drops dead, the pathology team at Somerset Medical Center discover that his brain was ravaged with disease -- and loaded with insect larvae.  When Jenna takes on her new job, she is drawn into a web of terrifying disease, dangerous politics, and intriguing mystery.  And when one of her professors ends up dead, she starts making connections even the police haven't seen...which will bring her face to face with a pair of killers, one medical, and one all too human.


       I didn't feel disappointed after reading this, like so many of the other reviewers here on Goodreads.  You want to know my secret?  Extremely low expectations, and the prior knowledge that Golden tends to be the master of the pulpy, Alloy-series type of book.  It was a story centered around Jenna Blake, an incumbent college freshman, who is unsure what she wants to do with the rest of her life.  All she knows is that her mother would love for her to be a doctor like her, but Jenna can't stand the sight of blood.  Her Dad gets her an interview with the local Medical Examiner, who hires Jenna as a pathology assistant.  The first big case is a man who was infected with a mysterious illness, of unknown origin and it becomes a priority to find out exactly what happened, when a teacher on campus dies of the same sickness.  Coincidence or murder?  That's what Jenna will have to find out, especially once her and her dad's lives are endangered.  Can she survive her first week at college?
       This book is extremely short and I didn't really expect too much, since it is the first in a ten-book series.  Also, it's original publication was sixteen years ago, in 1999.  Some of the language, situations, etc. are kind of culturally dated (not as bad as most though, surprisingly).  This type of book is the kind that people who are unfamiliar with YA, and it's ever-widening, reach like to cite when they malign it as all being unmitigated "trash."  It's pulp fiction, pure and simple.  I will say that it reminds me of Nancy Drew, in the sense that Jenna is pretty much just a cardboard cut-out, meant to move along the plot.  Hopefully she and her friends (roommate Yoshiko & southern-boy Hunter) will be better characeterized/fleshed-out in later books.  I do wish that the mystery had been more murder/crime and less of a politically driven, thriller type.  I liked it enough to continue and see if the next couple are any good, but overall I wouldn't recommend it unless you like the type of book that's pure, time-wasting cotton candy.  If you want a really great, plot and character-rich series by Golden, try his Hollow series, co-written with Ford Lytle Gilmore.  Now THAT is an awesome series! :D

VERDICT:  2.5/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.*

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