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Forensic Detective: How I Cracked the…
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Forensic Detective: How I Cracked the World's Toughest Cases

by Robert Mann

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Such a fascinating subject, a provacative title and an obvious expert on the subject = one flat, tedious read. Mann spends a lot of time singing accolades for his various mentors, too much. To use a cook's adage, there is too much filler in this meatloaf and very little meat. Because Mann has had involvement in several high profile cases, Dahmer, etc., I expected to learn more, to gain a better comprehension of the crimes from his experience and expertise, but none of that in this book. Forensic Detective offers only the most cursory glimpse of the actual crimes plus a long string of praises for people I wasn't reading the book to learn about. Maybe the higher IQed CSI audience - referred to on the cover - will better appreciate the lack of depth and TV commercial style in which it is written. ( )
  imsodion | Mar 1, 2011 |
I was really interesting in this book. Began it, got about half way through, and realized I felt like I had already read it. I hadn't, it was just that after the first half, it just felt like the same thing over and over. I do think that Dr. Mann is brilliant, and if I die some horrible death and only my skeleton (or parts of it) are recovered, I want him to work on it. Fascinating, but only for so long. ( )
  bookwormteri | Aug 31, 2010 |
Dr. Mann's forensics memoir is a very approachable and conversational collection of cases and events that have shaped his career. Currently stationed at the Central Identification Laboratory (CIL), in Honolulu, Hawaii, a good portion of the book centers on his case work identifying soldiers remains as their remains are found decades later.

Even so, as Mann works through these anecdotes, there are high profile cases. There are the remains from Jeffrey Dahmer's boyhood home, the remains found inside a Poughkeepsie serial killer's home, the discovery of a missing young mother's remains and the very sobering call to duty when the CIL was flown in to identify victims of the 9/11 Pentagon attack. Despite the heavy material, Mann's style is airy and affable. There's an absolute respect for what he does, but he finds no reason to not make explaining his work enjoyable. That he can convey the passion he has for the tedious action of skeletal reconstruction is a testament to his skill as a storyteller.

For anyone that is a fan of police procedural dramas or mysteries, this is a fine introductory non-fiction companion piece to the truth behind the fiction. ( )
  stephmo | Jul 14, 2009 |
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Epigraph
I should have gone to college and gone into real estate and got myself an aquarium, that's what I should have done.
- Jeffrey Dahmer
Real life seems to have no plots.
- Ivy Compton-Burnett
All human things are subject to decay
And, when fate summons, monarchs must obey.

- John Dryden, Mac Flecknoe II:1
I'll be okay, I'm a big girl.
- Rosalyn Goodman
Half the work that is done in the world is to make things appear what they are not.
- E.R. Beadle
Dedication
This book is dedicated to Drs. Bill Bass and Doug Owsley, who lit the fuse for me.

- R.W.M.
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When they pulled the car over at three in the morning on June 21, 1978, police in Bath Township, Ohio, thought they had a drunk driver on their hands.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345479416, Hardcover)

Death. It’s not only inevitable and frightening, it’s intriguing and fascinating–especially today, when science continues to make ever more stunning advances in the investigation of the oldest and darkest of mysteries. To discover the how and why of death, unearth its roots, and expose the mechanics of its grim handiwork is, at least in some sense, to master it. And in the process, if a criminal can be caught or closure found, so much the better.

Enter Robert Mann, forensic anthropologist, deputy scientific director of the U.S. government’s Central Identification Laboratory, and, some might say, the Sherlock Holmes of death detectives. When the dead reveal some of their most sensational, macabre, and poignant tales, more often than not it’s Mann who’s been listening. Now, in this remarkable casebook, he offers an in-depth behind-the-scenes portrait of his sometimes gruesome, frequently dangerous, and always compelling profession. In cases around the world, Mann has been called upon to unmask killers with nothing but the bones of their victims to guide him, draw out clues that restore identities to the nameless dead, recover remains thought to be hopelessly lost, and piece together the events that can unlock the truth behind the most baffling deaths.

The infamous 9/11 terror attacks, which killed thousands; the unplanned killing that inaugurated serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer’s grisly spree; mysterious military fatalities from World War II to the Cold War to Vietnam, including the amazing case of the Vietnam War’s Unknown Soldier–all the fascinating stories are here, along with photos from the author’s personal files. Mystery hangings, mass graves, errant body parts, actual skeletons in closets, and a host of homicides steeped in bizarre clues and buried secrets–they’re all in a day’s work for one dedicated detective whose job begins when a life ends.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:51 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A leading forensic anthropologist takes readers behind the scenes of some of his most intriguing cases to reveal the secrets of forensic science.

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