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Review: Silent Witnesses by Nigel McCrery

Dear Diary,
When I was in college, I enrolled in a course titled “Dead Men Do Tell Tales.”

It was taught by a revolving cast of guest lecturers including the County Medical Examiner, anthropologists, toxicologists and forensic scientists, and after reading the brief course description I was immediately intrigued.

Now I admit, my interests sometimes take a morbid turn and criminal justice is a long held fascination of mine. I 've harbored such a curiosity for the process and pursuit of monsters, how law enforcement apprehends their suspects, and the ensuing legal processes. By then, I had already witnessed the drama of a courtroom proceeding (specifically, a sentencing in a murder trial), so I was eager to learn more about this side of the system.

The lecturers were not shy in their details, posting gruesome crime and death scene photographs as well as photos from an active dig at a Potter’s Field. There were autopsy reports, there were skeletons, and there was blood. I hold the proud distinction of being one of the few females to not barf during the 3-hour/week lecture.

I was often on the edge of my seat as the lecturers spoke.

I felt this same level of interest and intrigue as I started the book, Silent Witnesses.

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark was a tough title to follow, but this book provided insight into the role science plays in identifying killers. It made strong connections to the how of the lab work briefly discussed in IBGITD, backed by the historical evidence and chronology that turned forensic science into what it is today.

'Silent Witness' is a British TV crime drama, and also written by McCrery.

Overall, while this book was informative, I struggled to remain engaged. Though I'd set aside time to read (it's become my preferred "wind down" activity before bed, replacing my previous "wine down" time), long stretches would pass before I'd pick up this book again. In fact, I was inspired and reread IBGITD after authorities caught the serial killer.

Final verdict: I wish I had this title for supplemental reading when I was enrolled in the "Dead Men Do Tell Tales" course. It was a good book read at a bad time I suppose ...

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