All of Jefferson Bass’ Books!
Who is Jefferson Bass?
Jefferson Bass is the pen name of Dr. William Bass and Jon Jefferson. Together, they created the Body Farm book series and wrote three non-fiction books.
William M. Bass is a famous American forensic anthropologist, best known for his research on human osteology and human decomposition. Because there was no study of human decomposition since the 13th century, he founded the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility, more popularly known as “The Body Farm”, the name given by crime author Patricia Cornwell in her book of the same name. Bass himself also named it the “Death’s Acre”.
In the early 2000s, Bass began his partnership with Jon Jefferson, a journalist, writer and documentary filmmaker. They met when Jefferson was filming a documentary at the Facility for the National Geography and Bass asked for his help to write a memoir.
Following the success of the memoir, Jefferson was inspired to create a collaborative crime-fiction series. The Body Farm book series follows Dr. William Brockton, a sort of fictional version of Dr. Bass, founder of the Body Farm who works as a researcher but also has to deal with the legal system.
Jefferson Bass Books in Order:
- Carved in Bone (2006) — Renowned anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton has spent his career surrounded by death at the Body Farm. Now he’s being called upon to help solve a baffling puzzle in a remote mountain community. The mummified corpse of a young woman dead for thirty years has been discovered in a cave, the body bizarrely preserved and transformed by the environment’s unique chemistry. But Brockton’s investigation is threatening to open old wounds among an insular people who won’t forget or forgive. And a long-buried secret prematurely exposed could inflame Brockton’s own guilt—and the dangerous hostility of bitter enemies determined to see him fail . . . by any means necessary.
- Flesh and Bone (2007) — In the wake of a shocking crime in nearby Chattanooga, anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton is called upon by Jess Carter—the rising star of the state’s medical examiners—to help her unravel a murderous puzzle. But after re-creating the death scene at the Body Farm, Brockton discovers his career, reputation, and life are in dire jeopardy when a second, unexplained corpse appears in the grisly setting.
- The Devil’s Bones (2008) — A burned car sits on a Tennessee hilltop, a woman’s lifeless, charred body seated inside. Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton’s job is to discover the truth hidden in the fire-desecrated corpse. Was the woman’s death accidental . . . or was she incinerated to cover up her murder?
- Bones of Betrayal (2009) — Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton, founder of the Body Farm, is shocked when an autopsy reveals the cause of Dr. Leonard Novak’s death: a deadly radioactive pellet inside the elderly scientist’s body. Who would commit such a horrific crime? Is it related to Novak’s role in creating America’s deadliest weapon?
- The Bone Thief (2010) — Dr. Bill Brockton has been called in on a seemingly routine case: to exhume a body and obtain a bone sample for a DNA paternity test. But when the coffin is opened, Brockton and his colleagues, including his graduate assistant Miranda Lovelady, are stunned to see that the corpse has been horribly violated.
- The Bone Yard (2011) — Dr. Bill Brockton discovers the dark side of the Sunshine state when he’s called in to investigate human remains found on the grounds of a Florida boys’ reform school.
- Madonna and Corpse (2012) — Inspector René Descartes of the French National Police is roused from a deep sleep to investigate a break-in at the Petit Palais, Avignon’s museum of medieval masterpieces. Descartes’s discovery plunges him into an elaborate, art-lined labyrinth: a labyrinth that leads him to a master forger’s studio . . . and to a charred corpse. Just as he’s finally closing the case, Descartes gets called to an even more bizarre death scene, where his path—and his fate—will collide with those of Brockton and Miranda.
- The Inquisitor’s Key (2012) — also published as The Bones of Avignon. Renowned bone detective Bill Brockton and his intrepid assistant, Miranda, are about to get immersed in murder and intrigue in Avignon, France, home of the popes for most of the fourteenth century.
- Jordan’s Stormy Banks (2013) — a prelude to Cut to the Bone. In the summer of 1990, Dr. Bill Brockton—a bright, ambitious young forensic scientist—is hired by the University of Tennessee to head, and to raise the profile of, the school’s small Anthropology Department. Six months later, the ink on his contract barely dry, Brockton is called to a gruesome crime scene in a rural area to identify a corpse and determine how the woman died. But the case—one of Brockton’s first murder investigations in Tennessee—could also prove to be his last when he runs afoul of both the county sheriff and an angry mob intent on administering their own swift, rough brand of “justice.” With his back to the wall, Brockton is forced to think fast, talk faster, and hope for a miracle.
- Cut to the Bone (2013) — prequel story. In the summer of 1992, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton and Tennessee Senator Albert Gore begin their long-shot campaign to win the White House. In the sweltering hills of Knoxville at the University of Tennessee, Dr. Bill Brockton, the bright, ambitious young head of the Anthropology Department, launches an unusual—some would call it macabre—research facility, unlike any other in existence. Brockton is determined to revolutionize the study of forensics to help law enforcement better solve crime. But his plans are derailed by a chilling murder that leaves the scientist reeling from a sense of déjà vu. Followed by another. And then another: bodies that bear eerie resemblances to cases from Brockton’s past. But as the body count rises, the victims’ fatal injuries grow more and more distinctive—a spiral of death that holds dark implications for Brockton…and everyone he holds dear.
- The Breaking Point (2015) — The FBI now wants Bill Brockton to identify the charred remains of a maverick millionaire, killed in a fiery plane crash. But a storm is about to hit Brockton with cataclysmic force. First, his identification of the crash victim is called into question. Then he receives a threatening message from the serial killer who attempted to murder the scientist and his family a decade ago. And from Brockton’s beloved wife Kathleen—his lodestone and his source of security—he gets the most shocking news of all. Will Brockton be able to weather this deluge . . . or has he finally reached the breaking point?
- Without Mercy (2016) — A ravaged set of skeletal remains is found chained to a tree on a remote mountainside. As Brockton and his assistant Miranda dig deeper, they uncover warning signs of a deadly eruption of hatred and violence. But the shocking case is only the beginning of Brockton’s trials. Mid-case, the unthinkable happens: The deadliest criminal Brockton has ever foiled—the sadistic serial killer Nick Satterfield—escapes from prison, bent on vengeance.
- Death’s Acre (2003) — On a patch of land in the Tennessee hills, human corpses decompose in the open air, aided by insects, bacteria, and birds, unhindered by coffins or mausoleums. This is Bill Bass’s “Body Farm,” where nature takes its course as bodies buried in shallow graves, submerged in water, or locked in car trunks serve the needs of science and the cause of justice.
- Beyond the Body Farm (2007) — Jefferson Bass details the most memorable cases from his career, including alibis he has broken, cold cases he has solved – including one from the Ancient world that took him to Iran – and several cases he has been able to revisit throughout his career as new techniques have become possible and scientific discoveries made. This is what happens when Dr. Bass goes beyond the Body Farm.
- Identity Crisis (2015) — Renowned forensic anthropologist Bill Bass—founder of the Body Farm—tackles one of his most baffling cases ever in this real-life spellbinder
If you like Kay Scarpetta, you may also want to see our reading order to Kathy Reichs’s Bones series, or our guide to Patricia Cornwel’s Kay Scarpetta series. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.