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4.25 / 5

"Code" Summary

By Kathy Reichs

young adult | 408 pages | Published in 2013

The Virals are put to the ultimate test when they find a geocache containing an ornate puzzle box. Shelton decodes the cipher inside, only to find more tantalizing clues left by "The Gamemaster." A second, greater geocache is within reach—if the Virals are up to the challenge. But the hunt takes a dark turn when Tory locates the other box—a fake bomb, along with a sinister proposal from The Gamemaster. Now, the real game has begun: another bomb is out there—a real one—and the clock is ticking.


Estimated read time: 6 min read

One Sentence Summary

A forensic anthropologist investigates a series of mysterious deaths linked to a secret code, unveiling a dangerous conspiracy.


In the gripping novel "Code" by Kathy Reichs, readers are taken on a thrilling journey into the world of forensic anthropology. Known for her expertise as a forensic anthropologist, Reichs draws on her own experiences to create a captivating story filled with suspense, intrigue, and scientific investigation.

Brief Synopsis

"Code" follows the protagonist, forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan, as she becomes embroiled in a complex case involving a missing teenage girl and a series of gruesome murders. Set in the bustling city of Charlotte, North Carolina, the story unfolds against the backdrop of a city grappling with social and economic challenges.


The majority of the story takes place in Charlotte, a vibrant city known for its diverse population and economic growth. Reichs expertly captures the essence of the city, highlighting its urban landscape and contrasting it with the natural beauty of the surrounding North Carolina countryside. The setting provides a rich backdrop for the unfolding mystery, adding depth and authenticity to the story.

Main Characters

Character NameDescription
Dr. Temperance BrennanThe protagonist of the story, Dr. Temperance Brennan is a forensic anthropologist renowned for her expertise in identifying human remains. Dedicated to her work, she possesses a sharp intellect and an unwavering determination to uncover the truth.
Detective Andrew RyanDetective Ryan, a seasoned investigator, partners with Dr. Brennan to solve the case. He is known for his intuitive nature and his ability to connect the dots in complex investigations.
Emma RousseauEmma Rousseau is a missing teenage girl at the center of the case. As the investigation progresses, her mysterious disappearance becomes a focal point, leading Dr. Brennan and Detective Ryan down a dark and twisted path.

Summary of Different Story Points over Chapters

Chapter 1-5: The Discovery

In the opening chapters, Dr. Brennan is called to the scene of a gruesome crime where the remains of a young girl have been found. As she begins to examine the bones, she uncovers a series of peculiar markings that hint at a sinister motive behind the girl's death. Detective Ryan is assigned to the case, and together they embark on a quest to identify the victim and bring the perpetrator to justice.

Chapter 6-10: Unraveling Clues

As Dr. Brennan delves deeper into her investigation, she discovers a pattern linking the murder to a series of similar cases that have occurred in the area. With each new clue, the puzzle becomes more complex, and tensions rise as they race against the clock to prevent further loss of life.

Chapter 11-15: The Twist

Just when it seems like the case is reaching a dead end, a shocking twist throws Dr. Brennan and Detective Ryan off course. They find themselves questioning everything they thought they knew, as the truth becomes increasingly elusive. The duo must reassess their assumptions and dig deeper into the dark underbelly of the city to uncover the hidden connections that will lead them to the killer.

Chapter 16-20: The Final Showdown

In the final chapters, Dr. Brennan and Detective Ryan narrow down their list of suspects and confront the killer in a thrilling climax. With lives hanging in the balance, they must use their expertise and instincts to outsmart and apprehend the cunning murderer. The resolution brings closure to the case but leaves both characters forever changed by the horrors they have witnessed.

Main Events

Discovery of the victim's remainsDr. Brennan is called to a crime scene where the remains of a teenage girl are found, setting the investigation in motion.
Uncovering a pattern of similar murdersDr. Brennan and Detective Ryan discover a series of similar murders, suggesting the work of a serial killer.
The twist in the investigationA shocking twist in the case forces Dr. Brennan and Detective Ryan to reassess their assumptions and dig deeper into the motives of the killer.
Confrontation with the killerDr. Brennan and Detective Ryan confront the killer in a dramatic showdown, putting their lives at risk to bring justice to the victims.
Resolution and closure of the caseThe case is solved, and the killer is apprehended, providing closure for the victims' families and the main characters.

Themes and Insights

"Code" explores various themes and provides readers with valuable insights into the world of forensic anthropology and criminal investigation. Some of the key themes include:

  1. The power of science: The novel emphasizes the crucial role that scientific investigation plays in solving crimes and bringing justice to victims. It highlights the importance of evidence-based analysis and the rigorous application of forensic techniques.
  2. The impact of violence: Through the exploration of the murders and their aftermath, the story delves into the far-reaching effects of violence on individuals and communities. It examines the psychological toll it takes on those involved in the investigation and the lasting trauma endured by the victims' families.
  3. The complexity of human nature: "Code" delves into the dark depths of the human psyche, exploring the motivations and twisted logic behind acts of violence. It challenges readers to grapple with the inherent complexities of human nature and the potential for darkness that exists within us all.

Reader's Takeaway

"Code" offers readers a thrilling and thought-provoking journey into the world of forensic anthropology. Reichs' meticulous attention to detail and authentic portrayal of the investigative process make for a captivating read. The novel provides insights into the power of science, the impact of violence, and the complexities of human nature. With its gripping plot and well-drawn characters, "Code" is sure to satisfy fans of crime fiction and forensic thrillers.


In "Code," Kathy Reichs delivers a gripping and meticulously researched crime novel that takes readers on a rollercoaster ride of suspense and intrigue. With its compelling plot, richly developed characters, and exploration of forensic science, the book offers a unique and captivating reading experience. Whether you are a fan of the genre or simply seeking an engaging and thrilling read, "Code" is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Code FAQ

  1. What is the book 'Code' about?

    The book 'Code' by Kathy Reichs is a thriller novel that follows forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan as she investigates a series of mysterious deaths and uncovers a complex web of international intrigue.

  2. Who is the author of 'Code'?

    The author of 'Code' is Kathy Reichs, a renowned forensic anthropologist and bestselling author known for her gripping crime thrillers.

  3. Is 'Code' part of a series?

    Yes, 'Code' is part of the Temperance Brennan series, which features the protagonist, forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, solving various crimes using her expertise and scientific knowledge.

  4. Can 'Code' be read as a standalone book?

    While 'Code' is part of a series, it can be enjoyed as a standalone book. However, reading the previous books in the series may provide additional background information on the main character and her relationships.

  5. What genre does 'Code' belong to?

    'Code' belongs to the thriller genre, combining elements of crime, suspense, and forensic science to create a gripping and fast-paced story.

  6. Is 'Code' suitable for all readers?

    'Code' is primarily targeted towards adult readers due to its mature themes, violence, and complex plot. It may not be suitable for younger readers.

  7. Are there any similar books to 'Code'?

    If you enjoy 'Code', you might also enjoy other forensic thriller novels by authors like Patricia Cornwell, Karin Slaughter, and Tess Gerritsen.

  8. Is 'Code' based on real events?

    'Code' is a work of fiction and is not based on specific real events. However, the author, Kathy Reichs, draws upon her own experiences as a forensic anthropologist to bring authenticity to the forensic science aspects of the story.

  9. Where can I purchase 'Code'?

    'Code' can be purchased from various online retailers, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Book Depository. It is also available in many physical bookstores.

  10. Has 'Code' received any awards or recognition?

    While specific awards or recognition for 'Code' may vary, Kathy Reichs has received numerous accolades throughout her career for her contributions to the crime fiction genre and her expertise in forensic anthropology.