The dead talk. To the right listener, they tell us all about themselves: how they lived, how they died--and who killed them.
Val McDermid uncovers the secrets of forensic medicine with groundbreaking research and her own experience. Along the way you’ll wonder at how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine time of death and how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer.
©2014 Val McDermid (P)2014 W.F. Howes Ltd
"McDermid has the ruthless psychological scalpel that forms part of the equipment of all good novelists, whatever their genre. And, fortunately for us, she knows just how to use it." (Guardian)
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Very informative interesting and enjoyable. The narration was good too.i would recommend this book and look forward to the next val McDermid book .
Very enjoyable listen, shows the incredible depth of research Val has done over the years and just how far forensics have come during our lifetimes. Particularly interesting to hear forensic insights into some high profile cases that I remember from the news.
Enjoyed, for the most part, the narration, my only criticism would be the varying accents used by the narrator when quoting passages from some of the experts. Some accents made me chuckle, some made me cringe. She has a lovely Scottish accent, very easy on the ear, I felt there was no real need to use different voices to emphasise the quotes of others.
Highly recommend this, especially if you are a fan of any crime writers or tv shows, not just the work of Val McDermid. Will listen again.
"Good book GOD AWFUL narration"
The book itself was great. The narration was AWFUL.
First of all I should say that book is a really interesting, nicely written and well researched piece of popular science. I just wish I had read it, rather than listened to it.
The problem was not with the general reading, the narrator had a nice reading voice. But when she gets to quoting people, for some reason someone thought it would be a good idea forget to attempt regional and national accents. That was s SERIOUSLY BAD idea. It's so bad!! So very very bad. She is incapable of doing ANY accent than her own. It's cringe worthy. I was embarrassed for her!
The American accent was possibly the worst, but the regional English accents were a close second. She manages to make people, who are undoubtedly highly intelligent experts in their field, sound like dim imbeciles from a Little Britain sketch. Maybe her regional Scottish accents were better, as she is Scottish, but given how TRULY AWFUL the others were I wouldn't be surprised if they were bad too.
It's not only that the use of accents were TOTALLY distracting (I cannot truly emphasise how distracting they were) it's that the use of them was also inconsistent and at times simply incorrect. I happen to have worked for one of the people quoted in the book - Clive Stafford Smith. He's a lawyer who has represented many people on death row in the U.S. The problem is that the narrator gives him an American accent. Stafford Smith has indeed worked and lived in the States, but he's from Cambridgeshire and speaks with an English accent. He's also relatively famous and is interviewed on TV fairly regularly, so there's no mistaking his accent. So it's just lazy that they got that wrong.
I know I'm going on and on about it, but that is symptomatic of how blummin' awful it was and that it completely ruined what was actually a great book. I can actually only assume that the book was even better than I think because I thought it was pretty good despite the TERRIBLE narration. Imagine what I'd have thought of it had been good!
The content of the book was super interesting, well researched and nicely written.
"ruined by the narrator"
Why oh why did the narrator have to use such phoney, annoying regional accents? The narration completely ruins the interesting and factual content of the book. Very disappointed that I was only able to listen to the book once, as I was so irritated by this dreadful narrator. The first listen was endured because of the interesting content, but the second attempt was abandoned before the end of chapter one. Peter Arnold doesn't speak in the way portrayed at all and his expertise is considerably demeanoured by it. TERRIBLE!
I've listened to it several times start to finish and every time it's brilliant the facts and stats along with the incredible detail...a must read for anyone who's interested in forensics, law or criminology
brilliant and interesting book. I thoroughly loved the change to being a non fiction piece by Val. she uses real life cases and the stories from real experts to delve into the variety of roles in forensics including anthropology, psychology and toxicology. I listened to the audio book on holiday and loved it. the only down side was it took a while to get used to the strong accent of the narrator but very quickly this isn't noticed and instead you're enjoying the world of forensic science.
Great narrator, great and diverse subject matter, found myself going "ahhhhhh so that's how they do it" constantly, nice one Val, kudos.
"Fascinating subject let down by poor performance"
I'd recommend this book to any friend interested in forensics and wanting a straightforward, undramatic yet riveting account of the different branches of this science.
I'll actively avoid any more of Barron's performance, I'm afraid. She was right not to add unwonted drama to the narrative (it's a sombre subject, and the case histories McDermid cites involve some terrible human suffering and tragedy), but Barron's dour, dragging pace and dreary tone only serve to rob the book of its power. It is, put simply, a wearying performance, not helped by her giving any speaking parts (i.e. scientists, police, etc, whom McDermid quotes) a different spurious and unconvincing accent which really grates. Far better to have kept her own accent, and invest more energy in varying her pace, inflexion and tone. Some whopping mispronunciations did not help: it's the VAY-GUS nerve, not VAY-JUS ...
This book neither made me laugh nor cry, but between the performance making me grit my teeth in irritation, I was held fascinated by McDermid's excellent research and well-judged pitch of detail and historical context.
Please, Ms McDermid, have this work re-recorded by a narrator who'll do it justice.
"Crime readers essential handbook"
As a fan of Val McDermid and other writers of the genre I found this book fascinating and informative. Told in her usual compelling style it goes "behind the scenes" of all the aspects of criminal investigation.
"Intriguing history of forensic science"
Absolutely. Sarah Barrons' brilliant narration, by what sounds like a whole cast of characters, really brings the srotytelling to life.
This is history brought to life by description of milestone events which have proven the value of this new branch of science to detection and solving of criminal cases. McDermid's skillful presentation in a logical and coherent sequence makes this compelling and informative listening.
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