Found in my favorite section of Barnes & Noble (True Crime!), I was ecstatic to find this book. MORGUE: A LIFE IN DEATH is by retired medical examiner, Dr. Vincent Di Maio (and Ron Franscell) about some of his most intriguing and famous cases.
Dr. Vincent Di Maio and Ron Franscell’s
MORGUE: A LIFE IN DEATH
St. Martin’s Press, 2016
There’s not really a “synopsis” of this book. I could retype the book jacket, but what’s the point? Since it’s more memoir and true crime, there’s not really much to spoil, either. So I’m just going to tell you WHY this book was awesome. :D
Di Maio is an experienced medical examiner. (His father was also a medical examiner, fun fact!) He’s worked on cases like George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin, the exhumation of Lee Harvey Oswald, and the mystery of Vincent van Gogh’s suicide. In this memoir, he talks about some of these amazing, and puzzling, cases. He also talks about society’s “obsession” with death, and how different life is for a real forensic pathologist, versus what you see on TV.
Di Maio and Franscell tell each case in a narrative structure. They open well before Dr. Di Maio is called to examine the case, setting the scene and giving background information for the readers. I think this was one of the best parts of the book, because it draws you in without giving you a lot of medical jargon. It’s obvious that Di Maio has done trial testimonies, because he explains things clearly for the layman.
The cases are what really sucked me in — from Trayvon Martin’s shooting to Martha Woods and Genene Jones to West Memphis Three. According to Di Maio’s findings and conclusions, it definitely changed how I viewed some of these cases. (He also talks a lot about how the media and public make assumptions and then disregard scientific findings when they don’t fit into that assumption, which was fascinating.)
I’d highly recommend this to any murderino, only because I’m not sure someone who doesn’t like true crime would really enjoy this. (Unless you’re into science and forensic pathology, or like TV shows like Bones and want the true side of Kathy Reichs’s books…)