Synopses & Reviews
Forensic science and murder investigations are among the most fascinating topics of our time. Dominating television and print media every season, both as fiction and nonfiction, the subject could not be hotter. As one of the world's leading forensic anthropologists, Dr. Bill Bass is the premier guide to this unusual world.
Nowhere is there another lab like Dr. Bass's: on a hillside in Tennessee, human bodies decompose in the open air, aided by insects, bacteria, and birds, unhindered by coffins or mausoleums. At the Body Farm, nature takes its course with corpses buried in shallow graves, submerged in water, locked in trunks of cars. As scientific stand-ins for murder victims, they serve the needs of science and the cause of justice. For thirty years, Dr. Bass's research has revolutionized the field of forensic science, particularly by pinpointing time since death in murder cases. In his riveting book, he investigates real cases and leads readers on an unprecedented journey behind the locked gates of the Body Farm.
A master scientist and engaging storyteller, Bass shares his most intriguing cases: his revisit of the Lindbergh kidnapping and murder fifty years later; the mystery of a headless corpse, whose identity astonished police; the telltale bugs that finally sent a murderous grandfather to death row and many more.
"This is a book for forensics purists....The cases in Death's Acre seem to have been chosen not for the dramatic arcs of crime unfolding and justice served...but because they work well to illustrate the essentials of decomp science..." Mary Roach, The Washington Post Book World
"[A] witty storyteller....[Bass] has a lust for life that comes across in his writing. While the grisly details may not make this a must-read for everyone, those who do pick it up might just be pleasantly surprised by how Bass brings death to life." Publishers Weekly
"Fans of the forensics-oriented novels of such mystery writers as Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell...will make an eager audience for this one. On the other hand, readers whose queasy meter hits the danger zone at the mention of decaying flesh should proceed with caution." David Pitt, Booklist
"Readability...never loses out to accuracy, and the mix is quite an accomplishment....Young adults will gain insight into the forensic process and appreciate Bass's dedication to the truth and his work." School Library Journal
"Bass comes across as a superb storyteller, quite aside from his gifts as a conscientious scientist." Roanoke Times
One of the world's leading forensic anthropologists unlocks the gates of his lab, The Body Farm, to reveal his most intriguing cases.
Dr. Bill Bass, one of the world's leading forensic anthropologists, gained international attention when he built a forensic lab like no other: The Body Farm. Now, this master scientist unlocks the gates of his lab to reveal his most intriguing cases-and to revisit the Lindbergh kidnapping and murder, fifty years after the fact.
About the Author
Dr. Bill Bass, a legend in forensic circles, has assisted with hundreds of cases for the FBI and numerous other law-enforcement agencies. He created the world's first laboratory devoted to human decomposition: the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Research Facility. He has written or coauthored more than two hundred scientific publications, many based on murder cases and other mysteries he has helped to prosecute or solve. A gifted teacher, he has been named "National Professor of the Year" by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
Jon Jefferson is a veteran journalist, science writer, and documentary filmmaker. His writing has been featured by The New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, and Popular Science.
Table of Contents
1 The Bones of the Eaglet 1
2 Dead Indians and Dam Engineers 13
3 Bare Bones: Forensics 101 33
4 The Unsavory Uncle 46
5 The Case of the Headless Corpse 59
6 The Scene of the Crime 72
7 Death's Acre: The Body Farm Is Born 88
8 A Bug for Research 98
9 Progress and Protest 111
10 Fat Sam and Cadillac Joe 121
11 Grounded in Science 132
12 The Zoo Man Murders 145
13 Parts Unknown 172
14 Art Imitates Death 191
15 More Progress, More Protest 200
16 The Backyard Barbecue 209
17 The Not-So-Accidental Tourist 223
18 The Bloody Beneficiary 237
19 Ashes to Ashes 255
20 And When I Die 276
App. I: Bones of the Human Skeleton 281
App. II: Glossary of Forensic and Anthropological Terms 285