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4.0 out of 5 stars
Dead Reckoning: The New Science of Catching Killers
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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(1 star)show all reviews
on March 23, 2002
I was expecting stories of true crime and how they were solved through forensic pathology. Baden's book describes some aspects of forensics, but doesn't tell good stories. He boasts about himself, and his wonderful colleagues who are geniuses, and, yes, he complains repeatedly that we'll never know who killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, "those poor innocent people."
Baden sometimes tries to make a teaser statement at the beginning of a chapter or section, to keep you reading, but there's no payoff. Here's an example: Baden writes, "Five years ago a woman in a small town in Alaska began her day by stepping into her white cotton underpants. Now those same panties are under the magnifying glass held by Dr. Henry Lee . . . " This is a prelude to a discussion of what a hell of a scientist Dr. Lee is. I never did find out about the woman in Alaska. Baden apparently didn't find her case interesting enough to recount here. Who was she? How did she die? Why did they send her undies to Lee? What did he find? What difference did it make? Why mention the underwear at all? Isn't Baden exploiting the victim just a tad here?
I didn't see much interest here in the victims or their families, or even in the crimes. It's a self-congratulatory book about what a great job Baden and his buddies are doing, partly by keeping all their emotions tidily in check. Emotions and conflict and human feeling make for more engaging prose.
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on October 12, 2001
I was very disappointed in this book, especially after reading Baden's first book. This book is dull and has too much information about Baden and his own life. The text is also wordy and drags out and could have used more case studies. Also, I have lost a lot of respect for Baden after his claim of not being a hired gun when compared to his involvement in the OJ Simpson trial. I have seen more in-depth presentations into this trial the public has never seen and all the evidence points to OJ Simpson. For example, Baden should tell people that F. Lee Bailey's claim of police officer's sprinkling blood in his vehicle was a blatant inaccuracy. Any person with a basic understanding of blood spatter interpretation knows and sees the Simpson vehicle will quickly know that the many stains in the vehicle were way beyond that of someone sprinkling blood. Also, Baden leaves out that in the photographs taken of Simpson and provided to the Civil trial revealed Simpson had fingernail marks on one of his hands. There are better books out there on these subjects. For example, Dead Men Do Tell Tales, The Fly For the Prosecution, Bones, and Bone Voyage. Save your money and give these a try instead.
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on May 22, 2003
I am sorry to disagree with most of the reviewers, but this is one of the most annoying books I have read in my life (42 years!). I am a scientist and I was expecting somewhat more informative. However, the main problem of this book is not that it gives very little information about forensic science, but that the writing is simply AWFUL. To me, it looks like this book was generated from a five-hour interview that Marion Roach later transformed into many pages of bad writing. I was tempted to reproduce a couple of paragraphs here, but I am not sure about copyright infringement issues. Again, this has been the most disappointing book I have read in my life. Stay away from it if you care about decent writing style!
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