BONES may just be the most unusual notion for an tie-in novel since THE SPY WHO LOVED novelization (a novel based on the movie based on the book by Ian Fleming). BONES: BURIED DEEP is an original novel by Max Allan Collins based on the Fox Television Series BONES created by Hart Hanson featuring the character created by Kathy Reichs from her best-selling series of novels. Whew. I’m winded just typing that.

What I don’t get is why Kathy Reichs a) allowed the studio to shop tie-in novels based on the series based on her books while she’s still writing books in the series herself (and her old titles are still in print) and b) why, if the tie-in books were going to be done, she didn’t do them herself. Isn’t the whole idea behind selling your book to TV to boost sales of the books? It would seem to me that authorizing original tie-in novels would actually work against Reichs’ best interests. On the other hand, the format of TV series and the tie-in novel, while featuring the central character from Reichs’ books, differs substantially from the books from which they are derived.

It’s very interesting to me and I’m eager to get the scoop from Max (who, by the way, also writes the CSI novels and is co-founder, with yours truly, of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers.

10 thoughts on “Dem BONES”

  1. Maybe this is along the lines of what they did with “The Saint” back in the 60’s. Other writers adapted scripts from the series, with Leslie Charteris giving it a final go-through and changing things he didn’t like in the script, yet they were marketed and sold as “original” Saint Novels/Collections. This doesn’t look like an adaptation, but maybe it’s a similar process? I don’t know, it’s just a guess.

  2. It seems like good marketing to me: More stuff for people to buy within the same brand, with increased brand recognition within new markets.
    So the people who come to the brand through the series will become new consumers of Reichs’ own books, and those who come to the series through the books will become consumers of the tie-ins. More money flowing into the overall brand, which I’d imagine translates into more money in Reichs’ pocket.

  3. Yeah, it’s the branding/marketing thing. No different than what Tom Clancy has done with those Splinter Cell, Netforce, and Power Play book series (to name but a few). Like many a tie-in reader, I have found several authors (Mr. Goldberg, Peter David, Mr. Collins, etc.) who I test drove via contributions to a “branded” line of books before purchasing and reading their original work. I think that tie-in writer Jeff Rovin, who writes for Tom Clancy’s brand, is the only one that I discovered via a book that was his own. That was his monster bat novel Vespers. It was about MONSTER BATS, I had to read it.
    If the writers write good books, then I will read more of their work. If the books aren’t all that interesting, then I won’t.

  4. When BONES premiered on Fox, I looked into Reichs’s books and found they weren’t my bag. I have liked the show’s dynamics, though, so I’m more inclined to pick up Collins’s books.
    I agree the situation seems odd, but my hunch is that Reichs fans will continue to read her books. Fans of the show, meanwhile, will have Collins’s books to read, and Reichs no doubt gets a share of the profits.

  5. It’s a bit bizarre, but I imagine it either has to do with money, or, possibly, the fact that about the only thing the TV show has in common with the books is the main character’s occupation–forensic anthropologist–and name–Temperance Brennan. All the supporting characters are different, the location is different, even the main male characters are different–Montreal cop versus FBI agent. In fact, the two characters, both named Temperance Brennan are so different you can barely figure out why they bothered.
    The actress who plays Temperance claims she didn’t read the book, but based her character on Kathy Reichs. If I were Reichs I wouldn’t be too thrilled with that. Both my wife and I like the show reasonably well, but the Tempe Brennan character is the least believable and most unlikable character on the show. The guy, formerly of Angel, is fantastic, and the rest of the supporting cast is quirkily believable.
    I suspect readers won’t find much to compare between the movie tie-ins and Reichs’ books.

  6. I’m presuming she’s getting some kind of compensation through the other books so she’s getting some recognition and money with very little effort. Maybe she’s laughing all the way to the bank.

  7. Not the first time it’s happened, though. I’m holding in my hands right now (1) my fiancee’s copy of Homicide: The Novel, by Jerome Preisler, “based on teh characters from the NBC television series” which was based on (2) (in my other hand, my copy of) Homicide: Life on the Street, by David Simon.


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