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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(2 star).Show all reviews
on May 21, 2002
I snatched this book off our New Books cart at the library, certain that I would be staying up all night ripping through riveting text similiar to the writing in the book "Dead Men Do Tell Tales" by William Maples.
However, I was disappointed.
The book starts out in a promising manner with the description of an unexplained death and the beginning of an autopsy. The mystery of what goes on in an autopsy room is explored, and some interesting tidbits of information about hospitals and law enforcment officers are tossed out to the reader.
However, the book soon slides into a confused and jumbled collection of segues about the main author's early life, laboriously detailed descriptions of the classes forensic experts take, too-precious inside jokes, half-baked and unsatisfying attempts at summarizing the history of forensic science, and chapters based on themes that sound good ("Bugs") but are somehow rendered tedious by the syllabus-like writing style and the lack of a connecting narrative.
The main author could not resist dragging in a yawn-inducing discussion of the O.J. Simpson evidence scandal. He also spends an inordinate amount of time yapping on and on about a boring Russian murder case from the early part of the twentieth century that, for some reason, commands great interest in his family but is as dull as a butter knife to the reader.
When we finally find out what happened to the murder victim who was introduced like bait at the beginning of this strange and awkward book, we don't care. The authors make no real attempt to humanize the victim, who was killed by his lover, and actually make the murder victim an unsympathetic character by detailing the handful of Viagra pills found in his pocket, his HIV-positive status, his unemployment, and by not describing what drew this unfortunate man to a lover who would kill him during a sex act.
The authors need to go back to writing school and hope to get Ann Rule for their teacher.
If you want to spend your evening courting a dull headache reading about autopsies and forensic science told NPR/Internet message board style, this is the book for you. If you want a really good, fascinating book about forensic science, pick up "Dead Men Do Tell Tales" ... or just about anything else.
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on March 17, 2002
My reason for reading the book was to learn some of the ins and outs of forensic medicine and science. If one can manage to wade through the celebrity lists and name dropping, it will fulfill this purpose.
Having been born in and am still familiar with the town of Rensselaer, Indiana, I was surprised to see that it was featured in the chapter about bugs. The authors, for some reason, choose to provide detailed descriptions of the town and its surroundings even though they have little or nothing to do with the subject of forensic science. This interlude from the main topic would not have been so bad except that many of the descriptions were erroneous. He describes the town's people as drinking red pop, Mr. Pibb, and a lager called Old Scratch. Red pop went out in the 50's. Mr. Pibb, although not unknown, is hardly a popular drink. No one I could find had ever heard of Old Scratch. (For this and the following, I queeried a group of 8 contemporaries who have lived in Rensselaer for an average of 67 years each.) Like me they have never heard of a political affiliation or designation of any bank. The author's talk of picking up a "Republican" (newspaper) heading north out of town. The newspaper office is a short stone's throw from the center of town. The Ritz theater has been closed for over 25 years. (Actually the theater now called the Ritz was the Palace when it was open.) Lastly they talk about the car dealerships dispaying the owner's names being on one end of town and Bazz's roller rink on the opposite.
The rink is on the north outskirts along highway 231, and there are no car dealerships on the south end.
The apparent ficticous account of the town make one wonder about the veracity of the rest of the book.
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on January 31, 2002
I was a huge fan of Dr. Baden's HBO series on crime and forensic pathology, so it was with eager anitcipation I waited for this book. Once I received and read it I was dumbfounded. The chapters contain very little that is interesting, or better yet, entertaining. Overall, many, many references and indictments of the poor job done by the LAPD in the OJ trial! It's everywhere in the book!!! Over and over he harps on it. Not much more tothis book than a soapbox for him to complain about OJ, and bland stories of other experts in the field.
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