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Cut to the Bone: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass

Cut to the Bone Reviewed by Allen Hott

Cut To the Bone is the newest chapter in the story of Dr. Bill Brockton and his work as a forensic specialist out of the Body Farm. Dr. Brockton in actuality is the fictional counterpart of Jefferson Bass who began the Body Farm in the Knoxville, Tennessee in the real world. The farm was an offshoot of his work in the Anthropology Department of the University of Tennessee. He has worked and still works with various police units as they try to solve mysteries that have dead bodies or skeletons involved. Bass was often chided early on for not being able to be more accurate in placing the time of death in many of these cases of found bodies/skeletons.

He discovered that one of his biggest allies in being more accurate was studying the sizes and lifespans of the various flies or maggots that devoured most of the body’s materials after death. After realizing how important those little bugs were in his profession he convinced the university to allot him some ground and he then began accumulating corpses from around the area that were unidentifiable. By placing them in his “farm” he and his assistants would watch the decomposition and create timetables from the work of the flies.

Bass with a partner (Jon Jefferson) then began writing fictional stories based on some of the cases that Bass was involved in. In the fictional world Bass becomes Brockton and in fact is called upon by many agencies in Tennessee for his assistance.

In this latest tale Brockton has his work cut out for him as he attempts to help the authorities figure out who is killing young prostitutes around the Tennessee area. All of the deaths appear to be much more than just deaths. It appears that the killer is a very sadistic psychopath who tortures the victim and leaves the bodies in almost posed positions. It is all being done it seems to taunt the police.

The deeper Brockton and the police get into the case the more Brockton begins to sense that there is a pattern that is very similar to a case that he had several years ago in the mountains. There too was a young woman who was tortured and then left in a posed type position. He begins looking back at his old cases but doesn’t come up with much quickly enough as additional bodies are found and they now include a man who appears to perhaps been attempting to help the female victim.

As the action continues Bass weaves together sideline events such as Brockton’s assistant’s problems with his girlfriend because the assistant tells her of some of the findings that they have made in the field. She feels that the young man is getting into areas that will scar him and even her because of the horrendous nature of the crimes.

Brockton’s family also gets involved as the story line moves toward its conclusion. And all of this is done while Bass moves the story forward and holds the reader’s interest to the very end.
Interesting book and really well written.

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