Kathy Reichs was born Kathleen Joan Toelle in 1950 in Chicago, Illinois. She received a BA in Anthropology from American University in 1971. She received her MA in Physical Anthropology in 1972 and her PHD in 1975 from Northwestern University. She is also professionally trained in archeology. She is one of only about 60 forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of forensics where she is also a board member.
Kathy says, as a child she had a big interest in archeology and was an avid mystery fan reading Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys.
Kathy Reichs wears many hats. Besides being a wife and mother, (she married attorney Paul Reichs and they have three children) she is a professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. She has also taught at Northern Illinois University, University of Pittsburgh, Concordia University and McGill University.
She divides her time between North Carolina and Quebec where she works at the Laboratoire de Sciences Judicaires et de Medicine Leagale. She is also Director of Forensic Anthropology for the Providence of Quebec. She went to Quebec, initially, as part of a program allowing professors to swap positions for a year. As there are very few board certified forensic anthropologists that speak French, they came to an agreement for her to commute monthly from Charlotte.
Kathy explains that the forensic anthropologist is generally asked into a case when a body is too decomposed, burned, mummified, mutilated, or skeletonized for a normal autopsy. Sometimes they are called to look at damage in bones of even fresh bodies. This often tells her what type of weapon was used to sustain the injuries. It not uncommon for skeletal remains to be brought in for identification and they turn out to be animal or bird.
Kathy has edited forensics textbooks and written several journal articles. In 1997 she had her first book of fiction published. Her series of books are based on the Forensic Anthropology character, Dr. Temperance Brennan. These series of books inspired the television series "Bones" with Kathy as Executive Producer. "Bones" is the name Seeley Booth, Dr. Temperance Brennanís FBI partner, calls her.
"Bones" is based very loosely on Kathy Reichís book series. Dr. Temperance Brennan, besides being a forensic anthropologist at the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington, DC, working closely with the FBI, also writes best selling books with her protagonist being Kathy Reichs. Kathy played a small role in one of the "Bones" episodes, playing a forensic anthropologist who is a member of Zach Addy's, dissertation committee. It's the scene where he is defending his thesis in front of the committee, and we are a stern and dour group. Zach Addy is Dr. Brennanís assistant. The show is now in its fifth season. She says she would love to see Dr. Temperance Brennan portrayed in a movie but is waiting for the right offer.
Kathy Reichs was a member of the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team participating in the cleanup at the World Trade Center, which she said was the hardest thing she ever had to do. Kathy has worked on projects with the National Disaster Medical System team. She is also an expert witness in criminal trials. Kathy has identified victims from the genocide in Guatemala and has appeared to testify at the United Nations Genocide Tribunal in Rwanda. She also trains agents at Quantico, the FBI Academy.
Books by Kathy Reichs:
Deja Dead (1997)
Death Du Jour (1999)
Deadly Decisions (2000)
Fatal Voyage (2001)
Grave Secrets (2002) Bare Bones (2003)
Monday Mourning (2004)
Cross Bones (2005)
Break No Bones (2006)
Bones to Ashes (2007)
Devil Bones (2008)
206 Bones (2009)
Deja Dead/Death Du Jour in (2004)
Iíd Kill for That (2004) (with Rita Mae Brown, Jennifer Cruise, Linda Farstein, Heather Graham, Kay Hooper, Katherine Neville, Anne Perry, Julie Smith and Tina Wainscott)