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The Girl with the Crooked Nose

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  205 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
MORE THAN THIRTY MURDERS, NINE FUGITIVES, AND ONE OBSESSED MAN In this thrilling and fascinating account of Frank Bender and his work, readers will be drawn into the cases he has solved, the intricacies of his art, the colorful characters he encounters, and the personal cost of his strange obsession. Through breathtakingly realistic sculptures, Frank Bender reconstructs th ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by Berkley Books (first published 2008)
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Dec 14, 2011 Fran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Girl with the Crooked Nose

On a lonely evening on young girl accepts a ride from a stranger. As she decides whether to get into the truck with this man who has anything but good intentions in mind, she thinks about getting home to a warm bed and a good night’s sleep rather than waiting for the bus in the cold. Naïve, really not thinking about what could really happen she allows herself to be convinced to take this ride and the end result is what happens to a girl named Linda with an odd shape
May 16, 2008 Vanessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in fine art, forensics or a riveting read

review by Luan Gaines

Although the primary focus of this book, the gruesome murders of low-income young women in Mexico, is never satisfactorily resolved, the author does a thorough job of introducing a fascinating character to the criminal investigation lexicon. Frank Bender, an unusual, driven man finds his passion in recreating the facial distinctions of victims by building plaster busts from the skulls of the deceased. Making his living in adverti
Sep 10, 2016 Ema rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. But I disappointed about the chronology of Bender's career. I hope there are more pictures.
Jan 23, 2016 Fishface rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised and delighted to realize that this is in effect a biography of Frank Bender, a man I really look up to because he has put faces on so many unidentified skulls and helped solve more than a few stubborn mysteries. This book explained that all my assumptions about him were wrong. The main focus of the book is his work on the Ciudad Juarez femicides, but goes far beyond that -- I am sorry to say, in a rather confusing way that skates back and forth between projects and decades withou ...more
Oct 02, 2009 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not your run-of-the-mill forensics story. The author is a self-taught artist, a biker, a regular guy who got caught-up in.....had a great talent for.....making eerily accurate busts from skulls and other fragments of unidentified murdered people. He was haunted by the people he resurrected. Here are a couple of gems from the book:

"Everything about Mexico said to give it up __ the warning e-mails, the margaritas, the messy evidence room at the Juarez police station, the secrecy over the G
My only real gripe with this book is the way it jumped back and forth in time. I've read other books with that format but for some reason it really irritated me in this book. Otherwise, the book had interesting stories and details about one of the first forensic artists and his art. It would have been really cool to have more pictures included, especially a start-to-finish progression of working on a skull.

In The Girl with the Crooked Nose, Ted Botha tells the absorbing story of Frank Bender, a
I have always been fascinated by forensic sketch artists and this book gives you a peek into the life of one who just stumbled into this line of work, yet became very successful. Frank Bender actually did facial reconstructions based on the skull alone as well as age progression images of fugitives. His story is very interesting, but the author tore it apart so much that it lost a bit of its sparkle.

I'm fine with jumping back and forth in chronology of a story, but Botha jumps around so much an
Sep 09, 2008 Cam added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
This isn't the usual type of book I find myself reading, but I saw a good review for it in the newspaper and thought I would check it out. It's about a self-taught artist that has a gift for sculpting faces onto skulls. It was really interesting to learn about the process and how each skull is unique and can really show you what somebody looks like. But his talent goes beyond that- there's a lot of intuition. He even reconstructed an I.D. on a skull where the whole face was missing. He has been ...more
Ted Botha gives us the interesting and somewhat quirky story of Frank Bender. It is the history of Bender's education and success in the world of forensic artistry. The book, aside from Bender's personal journey, outlines many cases and shows how cooperation, or lack of it, can really impact criminal investigation. Most interesting is Bender's journey to Mexico, at the request of profiling superstar Robert Ressler. Brought to the country to aid in the investigation of feminicidos in Chihuahua Be ...more
Botha's biography of Frank Bender is for you if you have an interest in forensic reconstruction of faces from photos or skulls (Bender does both). Bender is an artist who first visits the medical examiner's office to learn anatomy. He begins sketching unidentified victims, then quickly moves into sculpting busts, beginning in the late 1970's. He is one of the first people doing this type of reconstruction in the U.S. He became involved with the "feminicidios" case in the area of Juarez, Mexico, ...more
This review originally appeared on Feeding My Book Addiction

Ted Botha's detailed account of the life of Frank Bender, artist, photographer, and forensic sculptor, is one of those books that will stay with you long after you finish reading it. Botha gives life to Bender, the missing people he sculpts in hopes of identifying them, and the ins and outs of law enforcement and government in this creative non-fiction account.

The Girl With the Crooked Nose focuses on Bender's work with the local polic
Apr 21, 2012 Sandie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Girl With The Crooked Nose, Ted Botha follows the career of Frank Bender and his forsenic sculpting work. Frank was a commercial photographer but his love was sculpting. As with most sculptors, he hired models to try to determine how human anatomy worked to make his pieces more authentic. This desire to know about human anatomy eventually led him to the Philadephia medical examiner's office. There he started to study corpses.

After several visits, the police approached Frank about a murder
Mar 07, 2013 Stephanie rated it it was ok
I generally enjoy books by artists who do facial reconstructive work for medical examiners; and this one had a few interesting cases, but overall it was rather dull.

The most interesting case was about the women who have been disappearing by the dozens along the Texas/Mexico borders for many years now. I shouldn't say "disappeared", as many of the bodies have been found in gruesome condition. But although Frank Bender did some innovative work in this field (he did the aged reconstruction of kill
Apr 02, 2009 Susie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall I liked the book - I read it to the end. The author goes in details into the life path of Frank who accidentally becomes an expert at creating busts of dead people from their skulls to help in the identification of the bodies, which generally have decomposed to quite a degree before being found by the police. Identifying the bodies seems to go a long way toward finding the murderer. Frank's talent is quite exceptional, and that's one of the interesting aspect of the book - the study of a ...more
Maria Kramer
Botha examines the professional life and often astounding successes of Frank Bender -- forensic artist and skull reconstruction prodigy -- from his first bust of an unidentified murder victim to his trip to Mexico to help identify victims of the feminicidios.

This book was fascinating -- I had read a little about Frank Bender before in "The Murder Room" and I enjoyed getting to know more about him. Bender's story is full of both successes and failures -- his bewildering and unsatisfying Mexico ex
Lisa A.
Jun 06, 2014 Lisa A. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very intriguing look into the world of a forensic artist, the amazing Frank Bender. After I read "The Murder Room" by Michael Capuzzo (which I also recommend) about the Vidocq Society of which Frank was one of the founders, I was happy to see this book would focus on Frank's incredible ability to put a face on a skull or do an age-progression on a fugitive. The stories of the victims that Frank worked on are truly horrific and heartbreaking. The skulls of the murdered girls from Mexico are espec ...more
May 08, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always admired Frank Bender's work. This book gave a wonderful overview of his work with forensics and the cases where he had involvement and input.

It also glossed over the Vidocq society.
Jul 08, 2014 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Fascinating, and well-written. I would love to have seen more pics of Frank Bender's work, though. This could easily have been a couple hundred pages longer and still not have completely covered his work or the stories behind the skulls.
Katy B.
May 19, 2016 Katy B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who is passionate about crime from any perspective.
Shelves: amazing
One absolutely amazing tale of a talented man from the perspective of someone looking in. Ending is a bit lazily-wrote, though.
Jan 18, 2016 SouthWestZippy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, true-crime
Very good book. It is not just a true crime but a bit of a Biography of Frank a man who does forensic reconstructions.
Oct 27, 2014 Rita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is an interesting history of the work of Bender. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I have not previously read a few things about bender. This book is well written.
The man in the book is a little obsessed with making faces out of people's skulls. Granted, he helped a lot of people, but the repetitive details about how he sculpted a full face just from the skull got to be boring. The most interesting part of the book was the sections that dealt with Mexico and the women who are murdered there by serial killer(s) and the police can't stop it. It was sad and scary. The writing was not great and the author detoured into a detailed discussion of the man's roman ...more
Feb 22, 2011 Diana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An interesting if very uneven tale about Frank Bender, a high school grad who evolves into a forensic sculptor. The anecdotes are interesting but leave you hanging e.g., did they find the killer(s) what really happened in Mexico? This is all probably due to the fact that Mr. Bender never gets to find out either.

I think it would have been better if the author had either concentrated on Mr. Bender's rather colorful life style or on his professional experiences rather than attempting to combine the
Margaret Sankey
Jul 23, 2011 Margaret Sankey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever since I saw that Philip II of Macedon in National Geographic (who DOES look eerily like Val Kilmer on a bad day), I've loved forensically reconstructed heads. This book chronicles the various successes and yet-unidentified works of Frank Bender and his involvement with the investigations of the Juarez murders. When the system is as screwed up as the corruption, chaos and mayhem that is Mexican law enforcement, it is no surprise that this is still unresolved and most of the women's reconstru ...more
Mar 01, 2014 Tori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating piece of nonfiction.

Read if you like true crime books.
Aug 05, 2008 J.R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in forensics.
I've had the pleasure of meeting Frank Bender and the opportunity to see him work. So I knew I had to read this book.
Bender is a self-taught forensic artist whose work has helped identify murder victims and apprehend fugitives. Botha does a good job of outlining Bender's career and also provides information on the history of facial reconstruction and the founding of the Vidocq Society by Bender, William Fleishcher and Richard Walter.
You can read my full review of this book on Amazon.
Feb 19, 2012 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a very grim but fascinating book about Frank Bender. God bless him for his talent and determination plus his artistic skills. I was amazed at all the dedicated people who strive every day to bring justice to victims. I was also sickened by man's inhumanity to others....and still do not understand how you can get so angry so as to hurt and/or kill any person. Hoping there are still more people like Frank Bender plus loving human beings who populate our earth.
Aug 28, 2015 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
3.5 stars I am glad I read this, informative, but not very exciting. My main complaint would be that it jumps back and forth in time for no reason that I could tell. A straight forward approach to his life would have worked better. The big plus is that it comes with pictures. You get to see examples of Frank's vision unfold, into at times with amazing accuracy, to what a person looked like before death or how they had aged 20 years later.
Jul 03, 2008 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: true-crime lovers
This book details the work of Frank Bender, an artist reborn as a forensic expert. He puts faces on skulls of the unknown dead in hopes of getting an identification. There are pictures and the story does get a bit too technical at times. I enjoyed the reading, because Frank is from Philadelphia and I knew some of the stories firsthand. Unless you are especially artsy or enjoy true-crime, this book isn't for you.
Jul 22, 2008 J.D. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Although this book was poorly organized, it was so interesting that I whipped through it in about 2 days. It gives a lot of detail about how sculptures are derived from skulls in order to identify murder victims. The parts about the feminicidios in Juarez, Mexico, are less thorough, but do provide a glimpse into the corruption that runs rampant in the Mexican government and police force.
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