A Voice for the Dead: A Forensic Investigator's Pursuit of the Truth in the Grave
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A Voice for the Dead: A Forensic Investigator's Pursuit of the Truth in the Grave

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  57 ratings  ·  11 reviews
With the help of cutting-edge technology as well as his unique expertise in forensic science, James E. Starrs goesbehind the scenes in a passionate and fascinating pursuit of the answers to such questions as:

- Was Albert DeSalvo really the Boston Strangler?
- What was revealed in the excavation of the victims of cannibal Albert Packer?
- What is the mystery behind the as...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 7th 2006 by Berkley Trade (first published 2005)
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M. D.  Hudson
“A forensic investigator’s pursuit of the truth in the grave” concerns digging up famous corpses to investigate how they really died. Since I was a child, I’ve been graveyard-obsessed (but not in a Jeffrey Dahmer way, I swear), so this kind of book is like catnip. It is, however, the worst-written book in the world. Just awful. Starrs is by turns preening, obnoxious and vain. His prose displays an almost unbelievable capacity for cliché. When not indulging in cliché, he shares pointless side sto...more
I am quite sure that should I ever have the chance to hear the author speak that one of the following would occur;
1) He would be as long winded as his writing style, or
2) He might prove to be more interesting that he comes across in his writings.

The stories were fascinating, but a bit long winded in parts... often clothed in what I perceived to be some sort of self aggrandizement. I kept being reminded of the Hemingway followers who go to the running of the bulls, grow a beard and end up trying...more
I can honestly say this was a horrible book. It felt like a CSI kids book that tries to impress you by using big words with little relevant content. I hate to say this but I felt bored with it. The author held grudges against people who disagreed with him and seems to have felt that this book would be a great forum to express his opinion that only his view can be correct. If you are interested in forensic science, the work by Bill Bass & Jon Jefferson Book entitled Death's Acre: Inside the L...more
I really enjoyed Dr. Starr's book and the cases he presents, especially the Boston Strangler case. However the main thing that I did not like about the book is that he would use these large words that I didn't know what they meant and I read a lot. Granted I could have looked them up but I feel that this not only wastes my energies and takes away from the flow of the book if I have to stop and look up a word. He also uses Latin words that he doesn't define, expecting the readers to know what the...more
Batgrl (No, GR I Don't Trust You With My Paperwhite Data)

Introduction: Desiderata for an Exhumation
1. Alfred G. Packer, The Colorado Cannibal with a...Conscience
2. Carl Austin Weiss, MD, He Died in Marble Halls
3. Frank Olson, The Man Who Fell Thirteen Stories
4. Jesse James, The Houdini of Western Outlaws
5. Mary A. Sullivan, She Was Just Nineteen
6. The Unheard of Voices of the Dead
Selected Bibliography by Chapter
This book is more like 2 1/2 stars for me. I liked the stories inspite of the author. I really enjoy true crime and the stories in this book are fascinating. I found the author a bit wordy and he came off to me a bit smitten with himself.
Very interesting to learn about the history of persons exhumed, why they were exhumed, and the results of exhumation.

It was difficult to get through the last chapter. The author just rambled on a bit too much.
Stephanie A.
I read it based on my obsession with CSI. This was not a good reason. I enjoyed reading about the original cases and not much else.
An interesting story about information from many of the famous deaths.
Not as riveting as some of the other forensic books I've read.
Kitty Tomlinson
Couldn't get into it. May try again later.
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