Kathleen Joan Toelle "Kathy" Reichs (born 1950 in Chicago) is an America crime writer, forensic anthropologist and academic. She is a professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, but is currently on indefinite leave. She divides her work time between the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Quebec and her professorship at UNC Charlotte. She is one of the eighty-two forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology and is on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Her schedule also involves a number of speaking engagements around the world. Reichs has been a producer for the TV series Bones.
Reichs earned her Bachelors of Arts degree with a major in anthropology from American University in 1971. In 1972, she completed her Master of Arts in physical anthropology from Northwestern University, and in 1975 she completed her Ph.D. in physical anthropology from Northwestern University. Since then, Reichs has taught at Northern Illinois University, University of Pittsburgh, Concordia University, McGill University and is currently Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In the past, Kathy Reichs has consulted for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina.
Reichs has appeared in Rwanda to testify at the UN's Genocide Tribunal. She has assisted Dr. Clyde Snow and the Foundation for Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology in an exhumation in the area of Lake Atitlan in the highlands of southwest Guatemala. She was a member of the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team assigned to assist at the World Trade Center disaster.
Quantified comparison of frontal sinus patterns by means of computed tomography. Forensic Science International 1993 Oct;61(2-3):141-68.
Effect of age and osteoarthritis on bone mineral in rhesus monkey vertebrae. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 1993 Aug;8(8):909-17.
Forensic anthropology in the 1990s. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology 1992 Jun;13(2):146-53.
Treponematosis: a possible case from the late prehistoric of North Carolina. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 1989 Jul;79(3):289-303.
Cranial suture eccentricities: a case in which precocious closure complicated determination of sex and commingling. Journal of Forensic Science 1989 Jan;34(1):263-73.
Ontogenetic plasticity in nonhuman primates: I. Secular trends in the Cayo Santiago macaques. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 1987 Jul;73(3):279-87.
Forensic Osteology: Advances in the Identification of Human Remains (1986)
Hominid Origins: Inquiries Past and Present (Editor) (1983)
In addition to technical books, Reichs has written twelve novels to date, which have been translated into 30 languages. Her first novel, Déjà Dead, won the 1997 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel.
The fictional heroine in her novels, Temperance "Tempe" Brennan, is also a forensic anthropologist. Her lifestyle closely mimics that of her creator, with Reichs stating that Brennan and she "have the same CV" and that "Some of Tempe's personality traits are also mine", but there are differences in their personal lives such as the character's alcoholism. A good portion of the novels are based on real life science, and Reichs has stated that she is "fastidiously conscientious about getting the science right". She has used experience from her career in her novels, and said about Déjà Dead that "Everything I describe in the book, I actually did". In the novel Grave Secrets she uses her experience from her visit to Guatemala.
The 2005 Fox television series Bones is inspired by Reichs' life and writing. The series borrows the name of the books' heroine, Temperance "Bones" Brennan. As in the books, Brennan (Emily Deschanel) is a forensic anthropologist, however there are many differences: the television character is younger, more socially awkward, and is based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, the TV-Brennan moonlights as an author, writing about a fictional forensic anthropologist named Kathy Reichs. Aside from the character name and occupation, there are few tie-ins between the TV show and the books.
Reichs works as a producer on the show to "keep the science honest" and has appeared in the episode Judas on a Pole from the second season, in which she played Professor Constance Wright, a forensic anthropologist on the board conducting Zack Addy's Thesis Defense. Additionally, she wrote the Season Five episode "The Witch in the Wardrobe" .