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review 2016-05-31 00:00
Morgue: A Life in Death
Morgue: A Life in Death - Ron Franscell,Vincent J.M. DiMaio This book was fascinating.

Hats off to anyone that can do this work and not go crazy. I enjoyed this book immensely. Each chapter is a different case Dr. Vincent Di Maio has worked on or helped out with. Most (if not all) are high profile ones. Trayvon Martin, Lee Harvey Oswald , West Memphis Three, Phil Spector, and even Vincent Van Go. There are a few that involve babies and kids, so be warned if you plan on reading this one.

My only complaint, and it's a small one. I would have liked a bit more details on some of the cases, and of some of the more mundane things that a job like this entails. I also would have liked to hear some of the more "weird or odd" things that he has run across over the years as a forensic pathologist. You KNOW there has to be at least a few of those!

Overall though, a very enjoyable read.

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review 2016-05-13 01:11
Morgue A Life in Death
Morgue: A Life in Death - Ron Franscell,Vincent J.M. DiMaio
ISBN: 9781250067142
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 5/17/2016  
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 Stars


A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The renowned forensic pathologist, Dr. Vincent Di Maio and veteran crime writer, Ron Franscell take readers behind the morgue doors to offer eye-opening and compelling stories through a series of cases.

Medical examiners have an important job - to determine how and why a person died. In legal terms, the cause and manner of death. The cause is the disease or injury that killed the deceased—a heart attack, gunshot wound, a disease, or a car crash. The manner is one of four general ways a human can die—natural causes, accident, suicide, or homicide—plus a vexing fifth: undetermined.

A huge fan of NCIS, CSI, Law and Order, and other similar TV shows, movies, and books surrounding crime, forensic science, pathology, and medicine-- we all are fascinated by the mystery and puzzles surrounding death.


With MORGUE A Life in Death by Dr. Vincent Di Maio and Ron Franscell readers receive the important realities, not just the fictional glamour; what really happens, exploring the truth and hidden dramas of the human condition. The challenge of piecing together the puzzles and mystery---to seek the truth. The best non-fiction, reading as an intense fictional account.

“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.” --Ernest Hemingway

“In the end we simply cannot determine the facts beyond a reasonable doubt if we don’t let capable, skilled professionals use their special knowledge to explain difficult technical issues to juries. Juries can embrace it, or ignore it, but they must hear it.”

Even with all the technology, a good forensic pathologist’s best tools are his hands and brain. Reasoning is still our most powerful forensic tool. DeMaio became a doctor to help people. There is a big price to pay for the career.

Computer and various forensic sciences are booming with more exciting developments to come, by the human factor is woefully lagging. Their education alone would cost around, $170,000. The average salary of a medical examiner is just under $185,000 a year; a deputy chief or chief ME $190,000-$220,000. Their salaries are much lower than those of their hospital-based pathology peers - $335,000 yr. Be prepared to go the journey.

From the irregular hours, weird smells, emotional traumas, unhelpful patients, images what will never be erased from their brains, exposure to disease, lawyers, cops, trial testimony, bureaucrats, and budgets drearier than a morgue cooler. More forensic pathologists are needed—without them there are fewer autopsies-- investigations suffer, and evidence is lost or overlooked and crimes unsolved.

Insightful and intriguing Broken out in clear insightful short story chapters:
• Foreword – Dan Jan Garavaglia
• One: Black and White
    o Florida teen, Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman
• Two: Why Incision
    o 40 years of work-DiMaio’s intriguing background
• Three: An Empty Nursery
• Four: Bombed Beyond Recognition
• Five: Digging up Lee Harvey Oswald
• Six: Monsters Among Us
• Seven: Secrets and Puzzles
• Eight: Death, Justice, and Celebrity
• Nine: The Ghosts of West Memphis
• Ten: The Curious Death of Vincent Van Gough
• Epilogue: At the End of Things

Medical examiners bear a heavy burden to reach an unbiased, fact-based, scientific conclusion, no matter what a dead person’s family, friends, enemies or neighbors wish it to be. "The truth." Their job is more than the dead. The living can go to jail, and lives can be saved from viruses and germs. Innocence can be determined. Questions answered,suspicions authenticated.

From conspiracy theories, supernatural explanations, and mythology. Forensic science is not magic or alchemy, even though complex technology and intricate research can take curdled blood, bullet fragments, bone shards, and flakes of skins and them into justice. The tiny bit of truth that death leaves behind. Truths, not always welcome by many.

Forensic science can see what ordinary humans often cannot, but science isn’t enough. As the author stresses, they need these credible and honorable people to explain it all. They interpret science for true justice to happen. The bedrock of justice. It does not change its story or, misremember what it saw. Honestly and candidly what we need to know, even when we want it to say something else. See and interpret.
The absorbing exploration will fascinate crime buffs, enthusiasts, scholars, and those interested in the overall criminal justice system. Morgue will make you appreciate the struggles and challenges of this highly respected profession.
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Morgue/cmoa/56e389140cf29c0b75f65ec7
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review 2012-01-09 00:00
The Obituary: A Winchester Bullet Myster... The Obituary: A Winchester Bullet Mystery - Ron Franscell Morgan fled from Chicago following the death of his young son from leukemia. He had little else to want but to start a small town newspaper in Winchester, his childhood home, a town filled with “peccadilloes and idiosyncrasies,” with his wife, Claire, and now a new son, Colter. A forensic team, headed by Dr. Cowper, has come to town to examine the remains of an old women, ostensibly Etta Place, the girl friend of the infamous Sundance Kid. When they open the casket, however, the discover a headless male corpse, clearly murdered. How could he tell the skeletal remains were that of a male? “Dr. Cowper slipped a ballpoint pen from his breast pocket and kneeled beside the grim box. The sheriff and the coroner bent over for an anatomy lesson from one of America’s most brilliant forensic anthropologists. Even Morgan leaned closer. “Gentlemen,” Dr. Cowper said, directing their rapt attention to a leathery flap near the corpse’s pelvis, “this is a penis.” “

That scene gives you a feel for the sardonic nature of this small town mystery populated with characters like rancher Ray, who believed state road signs bore secret codes to tell New World Order tank squadrons who owned guns. He believed jet contrails in the sky were secret government plots to control population and inoculate Americans against their wills with anthrax and other strange diseases. He believed, because he’d once heard it on Art Bell’s late-night radio talk show, that Thomas Pynchon and J.D. Salinger were the same person, although he’d never read either. and who put cowboy boots on the top of his fence posts, but only because they looked good.

The book has some nice similes and metaphors. How’s this for the inverse of what we normally envision of a Wyoming sunset: The blood-smeared western sky spilled along the brink of the horizon, seeping slowly beneath the earth where it peeled back at the edges. A summer sunset in Wyoming was silently violent, a death. . . . The bleeding sky drained to corpse blue, then decomposed to black while Morgan slept.

For a small town,there’s a lot going on. “Excellent,” Cowper said as he rose to leave. “Meet me at the funeral home in thirty minutes. You won’t believe this, but he leaves the back door unlocked.” Morgan smiled. “It’s a small town,” he said. “The only time we lock our cars around here is zucchini season. If you don’t, somebody will stick a box of squash in your front seat.” “I’ll keep that in mind. And the cashier at the truck stop reads Anais Nin and Bertrand Russell. Not to mention the small-town radio station with totally obnoxious characters with a call-in show too often frequented by a local twelve-year-old. Dude, you got nothin’ better to do with your Saturdays than sit around and call the radio station?” The Bug said. “You’re what, thirteen? Haven’t heard of masturbation? Can I say masturbation on the air?” “You just did.” “Cool.”

An author definitely worth following.
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