Jefferson Bass is the pen name of the writing duo Jon Jefferson and Dr. William M. Bass–also known as Bill Bass. The duo is well-known for its suspenseful crime thriller novels, which are both educational and entertaining, with a hint of mystery added into the mix.
If you’re a fan of intricate plotlines with high stakes and tension out of this world, Jefferson Bass’ books are definitely for you! But if you’re a new fan of Bass’ work, it could be hard to know where to start.
No worries–that’s what this comprehensive guide is for! Keep reading to see all Jefferson Bass books in order!
About Jefferson Bass
Jefferson Bass–real name Jon Jefferson–was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, on November 13th, 1955, and raised in Guntersville, Alabama.
He was a state winner in the National Council of Teachers of English writing contest and won a scholarship to Birmingham-Southern College, where he majored in English. He then did graduate study in English and comparative literature at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Before starting his writing career, Bass worked as a staff science writer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and as an educator and administrator at Planned Parenthood of East Tennessee.
He then began working as a freelance magazine and newspaper journalist and as a television documentary writer and producer. His writing has been published in The New York Times and USA Today.
His documentaries have been included in programs for the A&E Network, The History Channel, and the Oxygen Network. He wrote and directed a documentary, Biography of a Corpse and Anatomy of a Corpse, which is about the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility–also known as the Body Farm–for the National Geographic Channel.
Jefferson met the founder of the Body Farm, Bill Bass while filming. Bill asked for Jefferson’s help with writing his memoir, Death’s Acre, which was published in 2003.
The success of the memoir resulted in Jon Jefferson creating a series of collaborative crime-fiction novels with Bass using the pen name Jefferson Bass. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at all Jefferson Bass books in order!
Standalone Novels and Nonfiction Books
Bass’ standalone novels and other books can be read in any order but are listed below in order of publication. I do suggest reading the novels in the order of publication–particularly the first two.
- Death’s Acre: Inside the Legendary Body Farm (2003)
- Beyond the Body Farm (2007)
- Identity Crisis: The Murder, the Mystery, and the Missing DNA (2015)
Death’s Acre: Inside the Legendary Body Farm is the memoir of William Bass and the book that started it all! In this memoir, Bass, a forensic anthropologist, details the creation of the Body Farm–The Anthropology Research Facility, where he and his colleagues monitor the decomposition of human corpses in different environments.
In Beyond the Body Farm, Dr. Bass’ research has revolutionized forensic science, and now he’s exploring the rise of modern forensic science. Readers get to take a look at some of the most fascinating investigations of Dr. Bass’s career as well as the science and technology used to crack cases.
Identity Crisis: The Murder, the Mystery, and the Missing DNA is a true crime book that sees Dr. Bass taking on one of his toughest cases yet. He uses new advances in DNA technology to help bring a family closure after several decades.
Body Farm Series
The Body Farm series is a forensic mystery crime fiction series written by the Jefferson Bass duo. The books include a combination of William Bass’ expertise and Jon Jefferson’s creative storytelling abilities to create educational yet entertaining stories.
The Body Farm series’ novels should, for the most part, be read in order of publication as this is the chronological order of events–aside from the prequel novel, Jordan Stormy Banks, which should be read first as the events take place before Cut to the Bone which is the first book of the series in chronological order.
In short, you’ll want to read Jordan Stormy Banks (prequel novella), then Cut to the Bone (the first book of the official Body Farm series, chronologically), then read the novels in order of publication, starting with Carved in Bone.
The novels are listed below in order of publication.
Carved in Bone (2006)
In book one of the series, a woman’s corpse has been hidden away in a cave in the mountains of Cooke County, Tennessee, for so many years that her body has been transformed into a near-perfect mummy by the cave’s chemistry.
Renowned anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton is astounded by this case in which nothing is quite what it seems, and the county’s powerful sheriff is a major obstacle in Brockton’s investigation. So is Brockton’s guilt over the death of his wife.
Flesh and Bone (2007)
Dr. Bill Brockton’s entire life changes overnight.
After re-creating the death scene of a horrific crime in an attempt to help Jess Carter—a talented Tennessee medical examiner currently on the rise–solve a murderous puzzle at the Body Farm, a second corpse appears.
Brockton is accused of committing a heinous crime, and now, he must use his forensic skills to prove his innocence before it’s too late.
The Devil’s Bones (2008)
A burned car with the lifeless, charred body of a woman inside is found on a Tennessee hilltop, and Dr. Brockton is tasked with the job of discovering whether her death was accidental or if her body was incarcerated to cover up her murder.
Amid trying to solve the case, he receives a mysterious package with improperly cremated remains.
An old nemesis of his is lurking in the shadows, threatening to send life as he knows it up into a burst of flames.
Bones of Betrayal (2009)
The fourth book in the Body Farm series introduces a gripping historical element!
Renowned physicist Dr. Leonard Novak is discovered face down in a frozen swimming pool. An autopsy reveals that the cause of his death is a deadly radioactive pellet inside his body.
On his journey to discover who would have committed a murder like this and whether or not it’s related to Dr. Novak’s role in creating the atomic bomb, Dr. Brockton talks to Dr. Novak’s aging ex-wife, Beatrice, who is a captivating yet unreliable storyteller who suffers from dementia.
Traveling through a maze of memories and trying to decipher what is history, fantasy, and reality, Dr. Brockton uncovers some dark truths.
The Bone Thief (2010)
Dr. Bill Brockton finds himself in the center of a black market enterprise specializing in the selling of body parts after being called in on a seemingly routine case that involves exhuming a body and obtaining a bone sample for a DNA paternity test.
Brockton and his colleagues are stupefied when they discover that the corpse has been horribly violated, and the FBI recruits him to bring down the postmortem chop shop by using corpses from the Body Farm as bait in an undercover sting operation.
The Bone Yard (2011)
In The Bone Yard, Angie St. Claire, a former student and forensic specialist now working for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, asks Dr. Brockton for help in identifying the partial skull of a child which was found in the woods.
The victim appears to have died from a lethal blow to the head, and Brockton and Angie’s search for remaining bones lead them to a notorious reform school where boys live under constant threat of being beaten and buried in “the boneyard.”
Some prominent figures are willing to kill if it means keeping the truth hidden, but Dr. Brockton is determined to speak for the boys who were silenced for too long and expose the school’s horrors regardless.
Madonna and Corpse (2012) (accompanying prequel novella)
In this prequel novella, Dr. Brockton and his assistant Miranda have traveled to France to investigate a murder in Avignon, but first, Inspector René Descartes must investigate another issue.
“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.”
The Inquisitor’s Key (2012)
Picking up where Madonna and Corpse left off, The Inquisitor’s Key follows Dr. Brockton and his assistant’s investigation into a murder that took place in the home of the popes for most of the fourteenth century.
The novel mixes religion, suspense, action, and science to make for an enthralling read!
Jordan’s Stormy Banks (2013) (accompanying prequel novella)
*Keep in mind you should start with this novel first if you’re reading the series in chronological order.*
In this prequel novella, a smart and ambitious forensic scientist is hired by the University of Tennessee in the summer of 1990.
Just six months later, he’s called to a horrifying crime scene in a rural area and must deal with an angry mob who is determined to deliver their own rough brand of ‘justice.’
Cut to the Bone (2013) (prequel)
*Keep in mind you should read this novel after Jordan’s Stormy Banks if you’re reading the series in chronological order.*
In the summer of 1992, Dr. Bill Brockton launches an unusual research facility–called the Body Farm–which is unlike any other in existence.
He’s determined to revolutionize the study of forensics, but his plans are derailed when a serial killer threatens his life and the lives of all his loved ones.
The Breaking Point (2015)
In this mysterious yet heartbreaking novel, Dr. Brockton is at the height of his career. It was ten years ago when he first created the Body Farm, and he is now in high demand with top law enforcement.
But when he’s asked to identify the charred remains of a maverick millionaire, his expertise is called into question. Then he receives a concerning message from the serial killer who attempted to murder him and his family a decade ago.
Without Mercy (2016)
In the current final installment of the series, Dr. Brockton has spent twenty-five years solving brutal murders—but none as bizarre and merciless as his latest case.
A set of skeletal remains is found chained to a tree on a remote mountainside, and he and his assistant discover warning signs of a deadly eruption of vitriol and violence.
In the middle of attempting to solve the case, the sadistic serial killer Nick Satterfield escapes from prison, determined to take revenge on Brockton.
Jefferson Bass’ books are filled with continuous action, gripping suspense, and all kinds of excitement that’ll keep you on your toes throughout your read. With the help of this article, hopefully, you can enjoy Bass’ thrilling world of crime in order!
What did Dr. William Bass do that was so important?
Dr. William Bass created the ‘Body Farm,’ which is an Anthropological Research Facility at the University of Tennessee. He started the Body Farm in 1971, and it was the first research facility of its kind to develop a systematic study of the decomposition of human remains.
How did Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson meet?
Jon Jefferson wrote and directed a documentary about the Body Farm for the National Geographic Channel. He met Bass while filming.
Is Jefferson Bass still writing books?
The latest Jefferson Bass book was written in 2016. It’s currently unclear whether or not another one will be written.
Which university did Bill Bass attend?
He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia, received his master’s degree at the University of Kentucky, and received his Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.
- All Agatha Christie Books Ranked – Complete Reading Guide - July 21, 2023
- All Dune Books Ranked – Complete Reading Guide - July 21, 2023
- All Cormac McCarthy Novels Ranked from Best to Worst - July 21, 2023