Jefferson Bass books in order
Jefferson Bass is the pseudonym of Jon Jefferson and Dr. William Bass, American authors of best-selling crime fiction and non-fiction books. They are best known for writing the beloved Body Farm mystery series.
Jefferson is an experienced journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker, whose work has been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, and many more.
His documentaries include programs for the A&E Network, The History Channel, and the Oxygen Network.
He also wrote and directed a two-part documentary for the National Geographic Channel, Biography of a Corpse and Anatomy of a Corpse, during which he met Bill Bass, who asked for his help in writing a non-fiction memoir; a memoir that would later be Death’s Acre (2003).
Dr. William Bass is an American forensic anthropologist widely known for his work on human osteology and human decomposition.
Dr. Bass launched the Body Farm in 1971, the first research facility of its kind to develop a systematic exploration of the decomposition of dead human bodies. He did so to counter concerns that there had been no advances in the study of human decomposition since the 1200s. Through the facility, they are able to solve murders all over the world.
Genres: Crime Suspense, Mystery, Non-fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Pseudonym: Jefferson Bass
- Carved in Bone (2006)
- Flesh and Bone (2007)
- The Devil's Bones (2008)
- Bones of Betrayal (2009)
- The Bone Thief (2010)
- The Bone Yard (2011)
- Madonna and Corpse: A Jefferson Bass Novella (2012)
- The Inquisitor's Key (2012)
- Jordan's Stormy Banks: A Jefferson Bass Novella (2013)
- Cut to the Bone (2013)
- The Breaking Point (2015)
- Without Mercy (2016)
- Death's Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab the Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell Tales (2003)
- Beyond the Body Farm: A Legendary Bone Detective Explores Murders, Mysteries, and the Revolution in Forensic Science (2007)
- Identity Crisis: The Murder, the Mystery, and the Missing DNA (2015)
Detailed book overview
There is a patch of ground in Tennessee dedicated to the science of death, where human remains lie exposed to be studied for their secrets. The real-life scientist who founded the "Body Farm" has broken cold cases and revolutionized forensics...and now he spins an astonishing tale inspired by his own experiences.
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.
Anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton founded Tennessee's world-famous Body Farm—a small piece of land where corpses are left to decay in order to gain important forensic information.
Now, in the wake of a shocking crime in nearby Chattanooga, he's 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.
Accused of a horrific crime — transformed overnight from a respected professor to a hated and feared pariah — Bill Brockton will need every ounce of his formidable forensic skills to escape the ingeniously woven net that's tightening around him... and to prove the seemingly impossible: his own innocence.
A woman's charred body has been found inside a burned car perched atop a hill in Knoxville. Is it accidental death, or murder followed by arson? Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton's quest for answers prompts an experiment straight from Dante's Inferno: In the dark of night, he puts bodies to the torch, researching how fire consumes flesh and bone.
In the meantime, Brockton is sent a mysterious package—a set of cremated remains that looks entirely unreal. With the help of a local crematorium, he investigates and discovers a truth too horrifying to believe: A facility in another state has not been disposing of bodies properly, instead scattering them all around the grounds.
Little does Brockton know that his research is about to collide with reality—with the force of a lit match meeting spilled gasoline. En route to trial, his nemesis, medical examiner Garland Hamilton, has escaped from custody. What follows is a deadly game of cat and mouse, played for the ultimate stakes: Brockton's own life.
With help from his loyal graduate assistant, Miranda, and ace criminalist Art Bohanan, Brockton eventually tracks Hamilton, but when the police arrive, they find only a smoldering ruin. Sifting through the ashes, Brockton finds the incinerated remains of Hamilton...or does he? The answer—along with Brockton's ultimate test—comes in a searing moment of truth.
Forged in the crucible of World War II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was a top-secret military installation—the linchpin of the Manhattan Project. Brilliant careers were born and dark secrets buried in the desperate race to build the Bomb. Those secrets begin to emerge when the body of a renowned physicist is discovered facedown in a frozen swimming pool.
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 answers may lie with the victim's aging ex-wife, Beatrice, a captivating yet utterly unreliable storyteller. Careening between history and fantasy, dementia and lucidity, Beatrice draws Brockton into a maze of memories, leading him to darker truths than he could have imagined.
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. Brockton’s initial shock gives way to astonishment as he uncovers a flourishing and lucrative black market in body parts.
At the center of this ghoulish empire is a daring and prosperous grave robber. Soon Brockton finds himself drawn into the dangerous enterprise when the FBI recruits him to bring down the postmortem chop shop—using corpses from the Body Farm as bait in an undercover sting operation.
As Brockton struggles to play the unscrupulous role the FBI asks of him, his friend and colleague, medical examiner Eddie Garcia, faces a devastating injury that could end his career. Exposed to a near-lethal dose of radioactivity, Dr. Garcia has lost most of his right hand and his entire left hand. Out of options, he embarks on a desperate quest: both of his ravaged hands will be severed at the wrist and replaced with those from a cadaver. But unless suitable ones are found soon, the opportunity will be lost.
As Brockton delves deep into the clandestine trade, he is faced with an agonizing choice: Is he willing to risk an FBI investigation—and his own principles—to help his friend? Will he be able to live with himself if he crosses that line? Will he be able to live with himself if he doesn’t? And as the criminal case and the medical crisis converge, a pair of simpler questions arise: Will Dr. Garcia survive—and will Brockton?
At a friend's request, Dr. Bill Brockton is called away from the Body Farm—his human-decomposition research facility at the University of Tennessee—to help prove that a woman's suicide was, in fact, murder. But Brockton's quick consulting trip takes a harrowing detour through the Florida Panhandle when two adolescent skulls are discovered near the ruins of a once-notorious juvenile detention facility, destroyed by fire more than four decades ago.
Local stories about the North Florida Boys' Reformatory are chilling: nightmarish tales of savage beatings, torture, and worse. Guided by the diary of a former "student," Brockton's team soon makes a grisly discovery: a cluster of shallow graves containing the bones of teenage boys, all of whom suffered violent deaths.
But the search for answers becomes more perilous the closer Brockton comes to the truth—because unexpected skeletons reside in some surprisingly prominent closets...and summoning ghosts from the past can have devastating consequences in the present
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. But first, in this artful prequel to The Inquisitor's Key, other mischief is afoot in the ancient walled city. 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.
Miranda Lovelady, Dr. Bill Brockton's protégé, is spending the summer helping excavate a newly discovered chamber beneath the spectacular Palace of the Popes in Avignon, France. There she discovers a stone chest inscribed with a stunning claim: Inside lie the bones of none other than Jesus of Nazareth.
Faced with a case of unimaginable proportions, Miranda summons Brockton for help proving or refuting the claim. Both scientists are skeptical - after all, fake relics abounded during the Middle Ages - but evidence for authenticity looks strong initially, and soon grows stronger.
Brockton and Miranda link the bones to the haunting image on the Shroud of Turin, revered by millions as the burial cloth of Christ, and then a laboratory test finds the bones to be 2,000 years old. The finding triggers a deadly tug-of-war between the anthropologists, the Vatican, and a deadly zealot who hopes to use the bones to bring about the Second Coming - and trigger the end of time.
NB: This book is also known as The Bones of Avignon.
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.
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.
It’s been ten years since Dr. Bill Brockton created the Body Farm—the world’s first postmortem research facility dedicated to advancing the frontiers of forensic science—and the researcher is at the pinnacle of his career.
Under his leadership, the University of Tennessee’s forensic anthropology program has become the most prominent in the world, and Brockton’s skills and knowledge are in high demand among top law enforcement. Calling him in for a number of high profile cases, the FBI now wants him 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?
Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton has spent twenty-five years solving brutal murders—but none so bizarre and merciless as his latest case: 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.
But simply killing Brockton isn’t enough. Satterfield wants to make him suffer first, by destroying everything he holds dear: Brockton’s son, daughter-in-law, grandsons; even Miranda, his longtime graduate assistant, now on the verge of completing her Ph.D. and launching a forensic career of her own.
The dangers from all directions force Brockton to question two things on which he’s based his entire career—the justice system, and the quality of mercy—and to wonder: can the two co-exist?
If not, which will Brockton choose in his ultimate moment of truth?
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.
In Death’s Acre, Bass invites readers on an unprecedented journey behind the gates of the Body Farm where he revolutionized forensic anthropology. A master scientist and an engaging storyteller, Bass reveals his most intriguing cases for the first time. He revisits the Lindbergh kidnapping and murder, explores the mystery of a headless corpse whose identity astonished police, divulges how the telltale traces of an insect sent a murderous grandfather to death row—and much more.
A pioneer in forensic anthropology, Dr. Bill Bass created the world's first laboratory dedicated to the study of human decomposition—three acres on a hillside in Tennessee where human bodies are left to the elements. His research has revolutionized forensic science, but during a career that has spanned half a century, Bass and his work have ranged far beyond the gates of the "Body Farm."
In this riveting book, the renowned bone sleuth explores the rise of modern forensic science and takes readers deep into the real world of crime scene investigation. Beyond the Body Farm is an extraordinary journey through some of the most fascinating investigations of Dr. Bass's career—and a remarkable look at the high-tech science used to crack the most perplexing cases.
Renowned forensic anthropologist Bill Bass—founder of the Body Farm—tackles one of his most baffling cases ever in this real-life spellbinder.
In 1978, 56-year-old Leoma Patterson left a bar in Clinton, Tennessee, and was never seen again. Six months later, a female skeleton was found on a wooded lakeshore in a neighboring county. The bones were consistent with those of the missing woman, and one of Patterson's daughters recognized a ring found at the death scene as her mother's. The bones were buried, and six years later, a relative of Patterson's—one of the men she was last seen alive with—confessed to killing her. Case closed.
But the tentative identification—made years before DNA testing was available to confirm it—failed to convince some of Patterson's relatives. And so it was that in 2005 Dr. Bass found himself winding around hairpin curves to the mountainside grave, where he would unearth the disputed remains and collect DNA samples. The forensic twists and turns that followed would test the limits of DNA technology…and of Dr. Bass's half-century of forensic knowledge.