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Teasing Secrets from the Dead is a front-lines story of crime scene investigation at some of the most infamous sites in recent history. In this absorbing, surprising, and undeniably compelling book, forensics expert Emily Craig tells her own story of a life spent teasing secrets from the dead. Emily Craig has been a witness to history, helping to seek justice for thousands Teasing Secrets from the Dead is a front-lines story of crime scene investigation at some of the most infamous sites in recent history. In this absorbing, surprising, and undeniably compelling book, forensics expert Emily Craig tells her own story of a life spent teasing secrets from the dead. Emily Craig has been a witness to history, helping to seek justice for thousands of murder victims, both famous and unknown. It's a personal story that you won't soon forget. Emily first became intrigued by forensics work when, as a respected medical illustrator, she was called in by the local police to create a model of a murder victim's face. Her fascination with that case led to a dramatic midlife career change: She would go back to school to become a forensic anthropologist——and one of the most respected and best-known "bone hunters" in the nation. As a student working with the FBI in Waco, Emily helped uncover definitive proof that many of the Branch Davidians had been shot to death before the fire, including their leader, David Koresh, whose bullet-pierced skull she reconstructed with her own hands. Upon graduation, Emily landed a prestigious full-time job as forensic anthropologist for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, a state with an alarmingly high murder rate and thousands of square miles of rural backcountry, where bodies are dumped and discovered on a regular basis. But even with her work there, Emily has been regularly called to investigations across the country, including the site of terrorist attack on the the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, where a mysterious body part——a dismembered leg——was found at the scene and did not match any of the known victims. Through careful scientific analysis, Emily was able to help identify the leg's owner, a pivotal piece of evidence that helped convict Timothy McVeigh. In September 2001, Emily recieved a phone call summoning her to New York City, where she directed the night-shift triage at the World Trade Centre's body identification site, collaborating with forensics experts from all over the country to collect and identify the remains of September 11 victims. From the biggest new stories of our time to stranger-than-true local mysteries, these are unforgettable stories from the case files of Emily Craig's remarkable career.


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Teasing Secrets from the Dead is a front-lines story of crime scene investigation at some of the most infamous sites in recent history. In this absorbing, surprising, and undeniably compelling book, forensics expert Emily Craig tells her own story of a life spent teasing secrets from the dead. Emily Craig has been a witness to history, helping to seek justice for thousands Teasing Secrets from the Dead is a front-lines story of crime scene investigation at some of the most infamous sites in recent history. In this absorbing, surprising, and undeniably compelling book, forensics expert Emily Craig tells her own story of a life spent teasing secrets from the dead. Emily Craig has been a witness to history, helping to seek justice for thousands of murder victims, both famous and unknown. It's a personal story that you won't soon forget. Emily first became intrigued by forensics work when, as a respected medical illustrator, she was called in by the local police to create a model of a murder victim's face. Her fascination with that case led to a dramatic midlife career change: She would go back to school to become a forensic anthropologist——and one of the most respected and best-known "bone hunters" in the nation. As a student working with the FBI in Waco, Emily helped uncover definitive proof that many of the Branch Davidians had been shot to death before the fire, including their leader, David Koresh, whose bullet-pierced skull she reconstructed with her own hands. Upon graduation, Emily landed a prestigious full-time job as forensic anthropologist for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, a state with an alarmingly high murder rate and thousands of square miles of rural backcountry, where bodies are dumped and discovered on a regular basis. But even with her work there, Emily has been regularly called to investigations across the country, including the site of terrorist attack on the the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, where a mysterious body part——a dismembered leg——was found at the scene and did not match any of the known victims. Through careful scientific analysis, Emily was able to help identify the leg's owner, a pivotal piece of evidence that helped convict Timothy McVeigh. In September 2001, Emily recieved a phone call summoning her to New York City, where she directed the night-shift triage at the World Trade Centre's body identification site, collaborating with forensics experts from all over the country to collect and identify the remains of September 11 victims. From the biggest new stories of our time to stranger-than-true local mysteries, these are unforgettable stories from the case files of Emily Craig's remarkable career.

30 review for Teasing Secrets from the Dead: My Investigations at America's Most Infamous Crime Scenes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Addison

    How do you explain that you do innovative and important work in your field without sounding self-aggrandizing? It's not a rhetorical question; it's a problem that the forensic anthropologists and forensic pathologists who write autobiographies are right up against, even if they don't recognize it. I disliked William R. Maples when I read his book, but when I saw footage of him on some true-crime show or other, I understood immediately what hadn't translated into text: the personality that infuse How do you explain that you do innovative and important work in your field without sounding self-aggrandizing? It's not a rhetorical question; it's a problem that the forensic anthropologists and forensic pathologists who write autobiographies are right up against, even if they don't recognize it. I disliked William R. Maples when I read his book, but when I saw footage of him on some true-crime show or other, I understood immediately what hadn't translated into text: the personality that infused his speech was conveyed by nonverbal cues, by cadence, by intonation, none of which the written word is necessarily good at recording. And Emily Craig has, I think, much the same problem, where her personality is badly represented by words on the page. Where I found Maples pedantic and overbearing, I find Craig fascinating when she's talking about her cases, but false and saccharine when talking about emotions, and unbearably twee when talking about the "intuition" that lets her "just know" things about the bones she's examining. All of which sounds extremely harsh, but I want to emphasize that I don't thing Craig is false, saccharine, or twee. I think that written English is a lousy medium for conveying the experiences she's trying to describe and that the picture her written words give of her character is inaccurate. And I don't think she's bragging. She has legitimately done extremely innovative, pioneering work in her field; she is clearly exceptionally good at what she does; and how is she supposed to describe her work without remarking on her success? But it's hard to make that work in writing, where you can't use tone of voice and body language to soften the litany of me, me, me. Those problems aside, this was a quick and absorbing read. She is very good at describing the training and working conditions of a forensic anthropologist, both in general and in special cases like Waco or 9/11. Her explanation of the logistics of those investigations was more than worth the price of admission. And her cases were fascinating.

  2. 4 out of 5

    BAM Endlessly Booked

    Ok, I'm psyched! The author of this book is from my state, the forensic anthropologist for the Commonwealth of Kentucky; the L only full-time state position in the country! Great book! She discusses her educational background as well as crime scenes. In her role she studies the bones found, not the tissue, so most of her crime scenes are old or they are from fires, which made her a perfect candidate to help at the OK bombing site and the World Trade Center. The twin towers was probably the hardes Ok, I'm psyched! The author of this book is from my state, the forensic anthropologist for the Commonwealth of Kentucky; the L only full-time state position in the country! Great book! She discusses her educational background as well as crime scenes. In her role she studies the bones found, not the tissue, so most of her crime scenes are old or they are from fires, which made her a perfect candidate to help at the OK bombing site and the World Trade Center. The twin towers was probably the hardest chapter to finish.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cat.

    If the subject of maggots grosses you out, don't read this. If clinical commentary on how bones connect to one another bores you, don't read this. If you think CSI and the other forensics shows on TV are relatively accurate, don't read this. If, however, you really want to know what it's like to be in charge of a "maggot motel" or that a body that has been laying in the woods for awhile looks like chocolate pudding with some vomit mixed in, then this book will intrigue you. I loved it (well, I di If the subject of maggots grosses you out, don't read this. If clinical commentary on how bones connect to one another bores you, don't read this. If you think CSI and the other forensics shows on TV are relatively accurate, don't read this. If, however, you really want to know what it's like to be in charge of a "maggot motel" or that a body that has been laying in the woods for awhile looks like chocolate pudding with some vomit mixed in, then this book will intrigue you. I loved it (well, I didn't love the maggot parts, but neither does Craig). She was involved in the identification of victims in Waco, Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center disasters, along with her regular duties as a forensic anthropologist in the commonwealth of Kentucky. She manages to make the subject accessible to lay readers--those without medical or criminology degrees--without dumbing the subject down to inanity. And, because I read far too many of these sorts of books, I recognized several of the names she dropped as leaders in the field. I've read their books over the years as well. I would not want this woman's job, but it is good that someone like her is doing this job, and is able and willing to tell the rest of us about it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    sweepea888

    True crime junkies know cases sometimes don't get solved. Years pass and cold cases pile up and families move on. But sometimes the ace in the pocket is in the form of forensic anthropologists. Enter Emily Craig, a renouned expert in that field. She fell into her calling by a sequence of events that, in retrospect seemed to be more than serendipity but fate at hand. A curious child, she used to spend hours reconstructin animal skeletons she found as a kid when in the country with her family. Makes True crime junkies know cases sometimes don't get solved. Years pass and cold cases pile up and families move on. But sometimes the ace in the pocket is in the form of forensic anthropologists. Enter Emily Craig, a renouned expert in that field. She fell into her calling by a sequence of events that, in retrospect seemed to be more than serendipity but fate at hand. A curious child, she used to spend hours reconstructin animal skeletons she found as a kid when in the country with her family. Makes those mouthbreathing gaming geek kids I see at the library look like slackers! She then became a medical illustrator and after dating a cop became motivated to study forensic anthrpology when she helped with a case using her artistic skills. She dedicated even precious free time/weekend hours trying to perfect her techniques going beyond what most students did. She became a pioneer (creating techniques now still in use all over the world) in her field. Forensic anthropology is extremely specific and requires much more training than typical 'forensics'. People into this stuff will recall a man named Frank Bender. A forensic artist based in Philadelphia, PA (he died a few years ago I think), Bender was renouned for his startling accuracy when sculpting faces with clay using skulls the police had found. Bender once stated in an interview that he felt a real connection to the victims and humbly insisted it wasn't his talent that solved Jane /John Doe cases but his intuitive connection to his victims. This ties in to what Emily Craig had written. She became personally involved in these cases and thus honed her intuitive skills. It's hard to say which came first but the end result is the same; a high rate of success in unsolved cases. Craig , of course had long hours and was on call. This makes having any semblance of normalcy in your personal life moot. So, we can all be thankful there are people willing to do this tedious difficult work as they really are giving something to society. She was in charge of working all of Kentucky and apparently there are plenty of places to dump bodies there. She went into detail on this and her sometimes risky/tricky recovery missions when called to a site. Not just getting the remains/bones but she needs to make sure any and all small clues are recovered as well. Plenty of anecdotes throughout the book that are salient to what she brings up and ties it all in nicely. A really enjoyable read. Some of the passages come across as a bit boastful but to be honest, she really should be because of all that she has accomplished. It's just boggling to think of all the work that goes into identifying/analyzing something as seemingly straightforward as bones. The gnarly part, not for the squeamish I'd say was her account of training at The University of Tennessee's 'Body Farm'. Corpses are donated to medical science and laid out in a field in various stages of decomposition. The 'Farm' workers gauge different times of exposure/etc and documents what happens to a body using that information to solve crimes. BODY. FARM. No cows. No cute chickens. Just lots of creepiness happening and yeah. Nope. In depth book and very informative.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Jones

    This book is a skimmer, and I never skim. But there are really interesting parts, and not so interesting parts.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tiffeny

    I read this book upon recommendation from a Goodreads Friend. I thought it was great. The author, Emily Craig is a Forensic Anthropologist. She's one of only about 50 in the whole US. This book tells of life's events that led her into this field of study. And then of course various experiences she's had through the years with her work. She tells of studying at the infamous "Body Farm" in Tennessee, where donated corpses are laid out in the open and doctors and scientists can observe and document I read this book upon recommendation from a Goodreads Friend. I thought it was great. The author, Emily Craig is a Forensic Anthropologist. She's one of only about 50 in the whole US. This book tells of life's events that led her into this field of study. And then of course various experiences she's had through the years with her work. She tells of studying at the infamous "Body Farm" in Tennessee, where donated corpses are laid out in the open and doctors and scientists can observe and document their level and rate of decomposition. This chapter isn't for the faint of heart. Maggots anyone? I was thoroughly gross out, but also completely fascinated. I have a love/hate relationship with the lines, ". . .and by the next afternoon, the man's nose and mouth were building with baby maggots and fly eggs. . .his lips seemed to be moving as if he were trying to speak". She wrote about her experiences in Waco, trying to sort out the massive, tragic mess left behind by David Koresh and the Branch Davidians. There was much speculation about whether Koresh had escaped the compound. I loved reading the thrill and feeling of accomplishment she had when she was able to positively ID his body. She wrote about the Oklahoma City Bombing and her work there. She wrote about The World Trade Center and the two months she spent in New York trying to identify human beings who's bodies were broken into tiny pieces during that worst of all national tragedies. I learned so much and was saddened by what I learned. Out of the 3,000 people killed in the towers, they recovered less than 300 whole bodies. The rest were in bits and pieces. They would sort through the debris with men and heavy machinery, and when they spotted human remains, all the machines would stop and one man would go in and carefully excavate the remains, which were then sent to the morgue. Then, workers would excavate the rubble and debris from that same location, and that would then be sent to a landfill on Staten Island, where workers would once again go through it bit by bit, piece by piece to ensure that there was no other traces of human tissue. For more than eight months experts worked around the clock trying to recover family's fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children from Ground Zero. Unbelievable. I also enjoyed reading about the cases she worked in Kentucky, identifying bones that had been left behind years and decades before. There was a bit of scientific mumbo jumbo, especially at the beginning, and I skimmed that a little, but all in all, it wasn't too wordy, very informative and completely fascinating. I loved the amount of compassion, respect and sensitivity she displayed when talking about handled these bodies, or often just bones. Great book!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    I always have a hard time reviewing books that I consider "continuing education" books--books that I read as a supplement to my undergrad/graduate studies. On one hand, I appreciate an author that doesn't dwaddle around explaining things that I spent 3.5 years studying how to do, and gets to the stuff that didn't get covered. On the other hand, I recognize the need for books to be accessible. To Craig's credit, this book does one of the best jobs I've seen at doing both. Craig is a respected for I always have a hard time reviewing books that I consider "continuing education" books--books that I read as a supplement to my undergrad/graduate studies. On one hand, I appreciate an author that doesn't dwaddle around explaining things that I spent 3.5 years studying how to do, and gets to the stuff that didn't get covered. On the other hand, I recognize the need for books to be accessible. To Craig's credit, this book does one of the best jobs I've seen at doing both. Craig is a respected forensic anthropologist, and for those people who haven't watched TV since the early 2000s, she applies her knowledge of the human skeleton to criminology. It's a difficult profession for multiple reasons--one must possess an almost supernatural understanding of the human body, it's mentally challenging, and most bodies aren't dumped in easy-to-access locations. Craig acknowledges all of these difficulties, while also showing why so many people are eager to study it. The book covers Craig's career as a medical illustrator, her graduate studies at the Bass Institute, and anecdotes from working both major crime scenes and her "regular" job as Kentucky's forensic anthropologist. Each part is interesting for its own reasons, although depending on your reason for picking up this book, you may find some parts more interesting than others. True crime aficionados will probably enjoy the sections describing a criminal case from beginning to end, while criminal justice students will hone in on the mass disaster sections that detail the technical procedures used by medical professionals. Personally, being the entomology nut that I am, I preferred the bits detailing how she dealt with maggots, insects, etc. I also thought her chapter on Waco to be fascinating, both technically and narratively. (I have distinct memories of sitting in a college lecture hall as a federal agent slapped a picture of Waco, all while saying, "This is a golden example of what not to do. " At least I now know the anthropologists had a good system going.) It does drag a bit right before the section on 9/11, though, and ends on a bit of a "Well, that's all folks! note," without really landing any kind of real ending. Those are small, narrative quibbles though, and as a whole, this is an interesting little tome for anyone even remotely interested in the subject matter.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karyl

    I’m not entirely certain why I am so fascinated by death and by forensic anthropology, but before I had a DVR, Cold Case Files and Forensic Files were some of my favorite shows, ones I would watch almost obsessively at night while my husband was on deployment. I was always intrigued by how a pathologist or a forensic anthropologist could figure out how a person was killed and how long ago. It’s not pretty; in fact, the research is pretty gruesome, but it’s so interesting nonetheless. Emily Craig I’m not entirely certain why I am so fascinated by death and by forensic anthropology, but before I had a DVR, Cold Case Files and Forensic Files were some of my favorite shows, ones I would watch almost obsessively at night while my husband was on deployment. I was always intrigued by how a pathologist or a forensic anthropologist could figure out how a person was killed and how long ago. It’s not pretty; in fact, the research is pretty gruesome, but it’s so interesting nonetheless. Emily Craig is at the top of her field, having worked the attack on the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, the tragedy in Waco with the Branch Davidians, as well as the aftermath of September 11th in Manhattan. She describes how she goes through the tissues and bones left behind to try to determine a person’s race, sex, and age, and these parts are a little gruesome in her description, by necessity. I was more interested in the smaller cases she described, like the body that was found in Craig’s home state of Kentucky. Initially thought to be a derelict who had drowned after being under the influence, Craig put the pieces together of the significance of the items found with the remains to realize that this man had to have been quite large in life, and one who was rather wealthy. (As a person who loves quality pens, it pleased me that he was found with a matching Cross pen and pencil set, a company founded here in my state of Rhode Island.) Craig also describes her breakthroughs in her field without coming across as extremely self-congratulating. She deserves all the accolades she has won; it was fascinating to get a glimpse into how her mind works and how her intuition very often takes over from her conscious brain. As a book describing the work of a forensic anthropologist, this book is downright fascinating. Highly recommended.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alexandria

    I'm a bit of a sucker for profiling and forensic books. I'm fascinated by what we can learn from those who cannot answer our questions. Emily Craig's book falls exactly into that niche. She does not shy away from the gruesome truth of what she does. But she doesn't try to dehumanize it either. It isn't some grim carnival or macabre sideshow. It's a process by which she can help victims find justice and families find closure. And contrary to the usual media representation of wise-cracking and gene I'm a bit of a sucker for profiling and forensic books. I'm fascinated by what we can learn from those who cannot answer our questions. Emily Craig's book falls exactly into that niche. She does not shy away from the gruesome truth of what she does. But she doesn't try to dehumanize it either. It isn't some grim carnival or macabre sideshow. It's a process by which she can help victims find justice and families find closure. And contrary to the usual media representation of wise-cracking and generally detached forensics experts, Craig highlights how hard the job is. In every instance she recounts, she takes pains to explain how it is possible - and necessary - to gain some detachment from the emotional pain brought on by the case so she can weigh the facts. And she is just as careful to detail how that detachment cannot - and should not - last. How after a time even the most seasoned experts have to take a step back and let themselves feel the trauma of what they're facing. Teasing Secrets from the Dead is a humane and human look at the aftermath of the monstrous. From mass fatality instances to individual cases in rural areas largely overlooked or unknown by the majority of people, Craig treats every situation with the same balanced approach. To paraphrase the author herself, it is science and art side by side. She brings enough humor to the table to temper what she recounts but not so much that it veers into disrespect. It is a blend that had me deep in this book every chance I had. In short if you're a forensics nerd, I cannot recommend this book enough.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    How do I get to hang out with Dr Emily Craig?!?! Besides by being dead that is! What a cool down to earth book! Being a nurse, I totally understand her take on trying to filter what comes out of your mouth with non medical friends. But Dr Craig explains the dirty, gritty parts of her job with empathy and compassion. This is a very readable account of the work of a forensic anthropologist (1 of only 119 in the states). Her openness to discuss her vulnerabilities in the face of the horrific things How do I get to hang out with Dr Emily Craig?!?! Besides by being dead that is! What a cool down to earth book! Being a nurse, I totally understand her take on trying to filter what comes out of your mouth with non medical friends. But Dr Craig explains the dirty, gritty parts of her job with empathy and compassion. This is a very readable account of the work of a forensic anthropologist (1 of only 119 in the states). Her openness to discuss her vulnerabilities in the face of the horrific things humans can do to each other is refreshing. Dr Craig takes you through some of the procedures and hard work it takes a forensic team to provide evidence to convict murderers or find causes of death. The science she provides is very low tech so it provides an easy to read account of her passion for her job. She has been part of multiple huge American disasters such as 9/11 and the 1995 Oklahoma bombing. She also discusses several other unique cases during her career. She highlights with great respect the colleagues she has been lucky enough to work with as well as the dead who have seen her morgue table. And she is my favourite kind of person......a dog person! 🐾❤️ I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys forensic fictions like Kathy Reichs or Patricia Cornwell.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Fred

    A great memoir from a medical illustrator turned forensic anthropologist, including her work on some of the most notable and devastating mass fatalities the US has seen in the 90s and early 2000s. Craig describes her path, and her craft in detail, without sugarcoating the grosser parts of death that she deals with daily. Some have noted that at times, she can sound mildly self-aggrandizing, but she shall be forgiven, for being a pioneer, in general, and a woman in a male dominated field, requires A great memoir from a medical illustrator turned forensic anthropologist, including her work on some of the most notable and devastating mass fatalities the US has seen in the 90s and early 2000s. Craig describes her path, and her craft in detail, without sugarcoating the grosser parts of death that she deals with daily. Some have noted that at times, she can sound mildly self-aggrandizing, but she shall be forgiven, for being a pioneer, in general, and a woman in a male dominated field, requires an exceptional amount of determination and confidence. Besides, it is what competence looks like, both the confidence about the tools of the trade, and the all-consuming struggle against failure and letting everybody else and herself down that she so often describes. Ultimately Craig reveals little groundbreaking new, but her insightful, empathetic, and sincere account is hard to put down.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dakota Shively

    Dr. Emily Craig has been somebody I’ve admired for many years, inspiring my interest in forensic science. Her stories in working in some of the most infamous crime scenes, as well as the former Forensic Anthropologist for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, are tried and true. She does a great job of portraying her accounts in a way where even those who aren’t relatively familiar with anatomy can still be captivated by her detail. She brings you down to see the human and emotional aspect of her work t Dr. Emily Craig has been somebody I’ve admired for many years, inspiring my interest in forensic science. Her stories in working in some of the most infamous crime scenes, as well as the former Forensic Anthropologist for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, are tried and true. She does a great job of portraying her accounts in a way where even those who aren’t relatively familiar with anatomy can still be captivated by her detail. She brings you down to see the human and emotional aspect of her work that can be easily overlooked by those who only look for the “thrill” of the crimes. Dr. Craig’s passion and professionalism in her work truly spills out of these pages, and easily inspire her readers to keep learning about the field of forensics.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Tieman

    Excellent and timely account of a truly gifted scientist.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    Really fascinating look at Emily Craig's storied career as a forensic anthropologist. There are lots of hard-to-stomach and truly repulsive (even to me!) details in this book, but I was absolutely enthralled getting a chance to see what a forensic anthropologist's day-to-day is really like. The insight into Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Teams (DMORT) and their organization and deployment was really interesting, as well. Really fascinating look at Emily Craig's storied career as a forensic anthropologist. There are lots of hard-to-stomach and truly repulsive (even to me!) details in this book, but I was absolutely enthralled getting a chance to see what a forensic anthropologist's day-to-day is really like. The insight into Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Teams (DMORT) and their organization and deployment was really interesting, as well.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    A must read! I cannot give this book enough stars! It was wonderful and sad. The writing is excellent and the content heartbreaking. What a woman!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anne Hawn Smith

    I've read this book before, maybe more than once. and it is one of my favorites. That sounds for a 75 year old grandmother, but it is fascinating. I am so intrigued by the science. It is amazing how forensics gave the scientists the ability to read the past and in many cases, bring justice to the victim. As this book ages it is amazing to think of how much the world of science has changed since its writing. Just the fact that the participants all wear pagers is jarring. I want to say that that w I've read this book before, maybe more than once. and it is one of my favorites. That sounds for a 75 year old grandmother, but it is fascinating. I am so intrigued by the science. It is amazing how forensics gave the scientists the ability to read the past and in many cases, bring justice to the victim. As this book ages it is amazing to think of how much the world of science has changed since its writing. Just the fact that the participants all wear pagers is jarring. I want to say that that was so long ago, but so many things have happened since then I feel like time should be expressed in inventions instead of dates. I found myself wanting to tell characters how much the internet and cell phones were going to help them. Even taking that into consideration, it is still an excellent book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    I remember hearing about this woman first in another book I read, so it was slightly strange to read the part about her correctly answering the trick anatomy question during her studies. Made me stop and think had I read this book before. Neverless I liked this book quite a bit, especially the last chapter to do with 911, as it put to rest a rumour about how most of the remains of the victims had been swept up and just dumped. Thankfully, as the author explains, this is not the case. Great read f I remember hearing about this woman first in another book I read, so it was slightly strange to read the part about her correctly answering the trick anatomy question during her studies. Made me stop and think had I read this book before. Neverless I liked this book quite a bit, especially the last chapter to do with 911, as it put to rest a rumour about how most of the remains of the victims had been swept up and just dumped. Thankfully, as the author explains, this is not the case. Great read for those intrested in this line of work.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dirk

    This book will not leave you the same I like the way Emily shows how she deals with the remains of the dead: as a scientist and as a human being with feelings, showing respect for the dead. The book gives a unique view of two major disasters/crimes in American history: the mass murder of the branch Davidians in Waco, Texas in 1993 and the attack on the twin towers in 2001. Reading her personal and professional experiences as a forensic anthropologist at these crime scenes will leave you with ling This book will not leave you the same I like the way Emily shows how she deals with the remains of the dead: as a scientist and as a human being with feelings, showing respect for the dead. The book gives a unique view of two major disasters/crimes in American history: the mass murder of the branch Davidians in Waco, Texas in 1993 and the attack on the twin towers in 2001. Reading her personal and professional experiences as a forensic anthropologist at these crime scenes will leave you with lingering thoughts of the meaning of life and death.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mystereity Reviews

    Teasing Secrets From The Dead Disappointing.  I expected this to be more like case studies of cases she had worked on.  Instead it was more like a biography and a rather boring biography.  It was all I did this.....then I did that...and whoops! A case! And I did this...   You get the picture.   A likeable writing style, just not was I was wanting to read. I got through nearly half, so I feel confident that I can rate this 2 stars - liked it, but just barely.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Anjella

    Incredibly frustrating book. Some really interesting tales, surrounded by so much fluff and stories that go nowhere. She seems to get sidetracked by tangents while in the middle of something fascinating and then spends pages on this tangent that ends up having no real point. She also writes parts of it as if the reader is a simpleton and then other parts are much more in-depth and well written.

  21. 4 out of 5

    SouthWestZippy

    Emily Craig is a forensic anthropologist. Very good look into the world of the people who puts the pieces together of people last moments. Explains biological profiling. Tells the stories of her experiences with the in Waco, the Oklahoma bombing and 9-11. Does not go into detail of the overall crimes just gives the facts of the found body.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Riveting Amazing accounts of what has gone on "behind the scenes" of several of the most recent mass tragedies in US history. Waco, Oklahoma City and the destruction of the Twin Towers. Dr. Craig also relates stories of her many years in training and as the forensic anthropologist for the state of Kentucky. Captivating and easy to read. Riveting Amazing accounts of what has gone on "behind the scenes" of several of the most recent mass tragedies in US history. Waco, Oklahoma City and the destruction of the Twin Towers. Dr. Craig also relates stories of her many years in training and as the forensic anthropologist for the state of Kentucky. Captivating and easy to read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Craig takes you insides some of the countries worst tragedies...She makes you a part of the investigation...Making it very human.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Substance was fascinating, but the writing was pretty rough.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ann Gabhart

    Not for the faint-hearted, but I found her experiences as a forensic anthropologist fascinating.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jerry Jares

    Emily Craig trained with Dr. William Bass at the famous Body Farm in Knoxville, Tennessee. She started out as a medical illustrator and through some interesting experiences decided to make a midlife career move. Her style of writing is a bit more gruesome than Bass's (perhaps because he has a co-author who might smooth out the more gruesome facts). However, it is obvious that Craig knows her stuff and her writing about working of the Branch Dividian bodies in 1993 (Dividians were in Waco; the an Emily Craig trained with Dr. William Bass at the famous Body Farm in Knoxville, Tennessee. She started out as a medical illustrator and through some interesting experiences decided to make a midlife career move. Her style of writing is a bit more gruesome than Bass's (perhaps because he has a co-author who might smooth out the more gruesome facts). However, it is obvious that Craig knows her stuff and her writing about working of the Branch Dividian bodies in 1993 (Dividians were in Waco; the analysis took place in Fort Worth, TX) was particularly interesting. The Oklahoma bombing work that Craig did was stunning. They not only had to find body parts, but they also had to do it while gathering evidence for the trials of McVeigh and Nichols. The last chapter of the book is about Craig's experiences at the World Trade Center. It was amazing to see what these professionals did in order to piece together bodies for the loved ones to bury. They worked 24/7 for 8 months to find body parts and reconnect them for the waiting relatives. The grief and the emotional drain that Craig describes is sobering. Because there were no living perps, they did not have to worry about gathering evidence. I'm glad I read this book; forensic anthropology has really moved into the mainstream of law enforcement over the past two decades. People like Emily Craig and Bill Bass have written fascinating books about how they have learned to be more useful to detectives and district attorneys.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Annika

    This is one of the most interesting and detailed forensics-based books I have ever read, but it isn't for the faint of heart. Thankfully, no pictures. Dr Craig is one of only a handful of forensic anthropologists in the US. She details her life, through her training at UT's "Body Farm", to investigations in need of a bone expert, to national cases and then national mass destructions (OKC bombing, 9/11). She isn't crass at all, or gory really, but she's descriptive. Also, there IS a body farm in This is one of the most interesting and detailed forensics-based books I have ever read, but it isn't for the faint of heart. Thankfully, no pictures. Dr Craig is one of only a handful of forensic anthropologists in the US. She details her life, through her training at UT's "Body Farm", to investigations in need of a bone expert, to national cases and then national mass destructions (OKC bombing, 9/11). She isn't crass at all, or gory really, but she's descriptive. Also, there IS a body farm in San Marcos, Texas attached to Texas State University, so I'm not sure why she says that the one in Tennessee is the only one in the US. At the time of writing? Just for being the original one? Also, those aren't the only two, but the one in Texas got attention for being the biggest, land-wise, thus far. On a personal level, I definitely was interested in the OKC bombing chapter. I'd always known about the "missing leg" and the idea there were possibly 169 victims instead of 168, because of the unidentified leg. This gives a "rest of the story" for the leg, and a truly unnerving incident involving a trucker on an Oklahoma City highway. (I had also forgotten about John Doe #2, but that's all saved for my tinfoil-hat rainy days and has nothing to do with this book.) If you have an interest in bone forensics, any forensics, the Body Farm, go ahead.

  28. 4 out of 5

    jammaster_mom

    This is outside of what I usually read but I have been very interested in forensic science recently. The idea that our bones can tell the story of who we were, what we did in our lives and even how we died is really interesting to me. This book is not for people who get squeamish with descriptions of decomposing bodies. Ms. Craig does not hold back with the details of her investigations. Her career has taken her to Waco after the Branch Davidians compound incident, Oklahoma City after the bombing This is outside of what I usually read but I have been very interested in forensic science recently. The idea that our bones can tell the story of who we were, what we did in our lives and even how we died is really interesting to me. This book is not for people who get squeamish with descriptions of decomposing bodies. Ms. Craig does not hold back with the details of her investigations. Her career has taken her to Waco after the Branch Davidians compound incident, Oklahoma City after the bombing of the Federal building and New York City after 9/11. There are tons of clinical details about why and how she does her job, but there are also very moving personal details that keep the humanity in the process. Ms. Craig doesn't lose site of the fact that she is dealing with the remains of what used to be people. This is a great book and very engaging material. The author makes it a point in every story to give credit to the entire team working on the case. She is very aware that her work is not done in isolation and working with law enforcement is critical to each of her cases. This is a great book for anyone who is interested in forensic science and the process of studying and respecting human remains.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anson Cassel Mills

    The author, both a medical illustrator and a forensic anthropologist, has written what is best considered as much personal memoir as a series of case studies. Craig provides some sobering details about her chosen profession—especially the ubiquity of maggots—but many readers will find the extended treatment of her personal life to be of less interest, especially because Craig comes across as vaguely unmoored (though in my view, less egotist than insecure). Probably contrary to the author’s inten The author, both a medical illustrator and a forensic anthropologist, has written what is best considered as much personal memoir as a series of case studies. Craig provides some sobering details about her chosen profession—especially the ubiquity of maggots—but many readers will find the extended treatment of her personal life to be of less interest, especially because Craig comes across as vaguely unmoored (though in my view, less egotist than insecure). Probably contrary to the author’s intention, I finished the book with the belief that forensic anthropology is probably better suited to putting names to victims than at crime solving. In what to my mind is the best chapter of the book, “A Single Death,” which concerns the identification of prosperous stockbroker Henry Scarf, Scarf's violent death is never solved, and his remains are not identified by anthropology at all but by some letters on a set of corroded keys.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tess Taylor

    4- This isn't a book for everyone, but if you are interested in forensics, anthro/pathology, murder mysteries, adventure, or modern crime, this is a very interesting read. Most of the time, Teasing Secrets read like an interactive forensics textbook. This could occasionally be tedious, but for the most part it was a piece of the writing that I enjoyed. It is not only an interesting book, but one that is utterly unique. My favorite part was reading about her experiences at Waco and the World Trade 4- This isn't a book for everyone, but if you are interested in forensics, anthro/pathology, murder mysteries, adventure, or modern crime, this is a very interesting read. Most of the time, Teasing Secrets read like an interactive forensics textbook. This could occasionally be tedious, but for the most part it was a piece of the writing that I enjoyed. It is not only an interesting book, but one that is utterly unique. My favorite part was reading about her experiences at Waco and the World Trade Center, (especially the part about piecing David Koresh's skull back together!) although does mention countless other bazaar and/or traumatic cases she has worked on throughout her career. Dr. Emily Craig is a Boss Lady, and she has lead quite a life. Reading about her career and schooling was a true pleasure. Note to the wise: Do not attempt to read this book while eating.

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