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Never Suck A Dead Man's Hand: Curious Adventures of a CSI

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  763 ratings  ·  103 reviews
Informative, witty...Kollmann delivers terse commentary and gory detail while puncturing common misconceptions about forensics. --Booklist

Step past the flashing lights into the true scene of the crime with this frank, unflinching, and unforgettable account of life as a crime scene investigator. Whether explaining rigor mortis or the art of fingerprinting a stiff corpse o
ebook, 272 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Citadel (first published February 1st 2007)
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The author of this is deeply annoying, but I read it to the end anyway.

A few things that grated:

1. I don't think you should publish, even anonymously, photos of corpses to take the piss out of, especially not one where I'm pretty sure that if you showed it to the family they would recognise the man pictured. This particular photo is captioned: "This is exactly why you should always put sheets on your bed. After a long night of drinking, this guy decided he'd forgo the bed linens and now look at
This author is a bitch. I’m sorry but I truly can’t think of a more apt description of her. Actually I can but it's worse than the word I just used. In her little book she spends countless pages harshly judging and criticizing others. In no specific order:

*She talks about a house call with a drunken woman she spends (wastes) paragraphs about how ugly she is and calling her a beast and so forth.
*She makes fun of an obese man and refers to him as “Butt Front” because he’s so fat his stomach looks
Lori Summers
I hated this book. I wouldn’t have finished it were it not for The Project and that I needed it for the tally.

I have a longtime fascination with forensic science (which I had way before it was cool and popular, I feel compelled to point out) and studied it for a short time in graduate school, so pop-science books about it are usually a fun read. One of my favorites of the genre is Dead Men Do Tell Tales, by the late William Maples, one of the founders of the science of forensic anthropology.

The first half chapter was amazing. I was lost in a world of the living having to deal with the dead and all the gore that accompanies these jobs. Then as the book progressed I started to notice she was judgmental, critical, and in some cases downright mean to both victims' families, friends, and victims themselves (burglary victims, ect).

She's even highly offensive when she used the words "midget" and "retarded" to describe thoughts and opinions of others.

To give some examples of her mean strea
I took a bunch of classes with Dr. Kollmann at Towson University, and the book is a good addition to her many anecdotes. She definitely has a certain tone in her writing but I found it amusing and right on par with what you'd get from her in person. If you're sensitive about death, gore, etc, then obviously this is not the book for you. It's not a textbook about forensic practices and it's not a crime thriller. It's just some stories about Dr. Kollmann's experiences as a CSI, and how ridiculous ...more
This book is just okay, although it is compulsively readable. I ma now in the third chapter and I continue to have the same complaint at this point as I had when I first started reading, which is that the author has a tone to her writing which seems confrontational. It's as though she's writing the book to prove something, and indeed, the entire first chapter is about how stupid the crime shows are on t.v. and how the real thing is nothing like those shows. Then she goes on to prove that theory ...more
This was informative and often extremely funny -- my favorite story being the one where she called a funeral home and asked to buy two coffins for "sixteen dead people in beer boxes in my garage" which she had "dug out of the cemetery and needed to put back." (These were old skeletons from an almshouse cemetery that had been uncovered during some construction and needed to be re-interred elsewhere.) The style of writing reminds me of Mary Roach. author of Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science an ...more
What a fun (gross), quick read. :) Be prepared - she spares you nothing! It is the cold hard truth of what she has seen but I found it really interesting. Especially since she comes from this area so it was cool to know that the cases I was reading about were from around here.

I never thought I'd read a book like this but I'm glad I did. It was very entertaining. And it was informative to learn what a crime lab is really like. I'm a CSI watcher and of course it's not at all like TV makes it out
EXTREMELY graphic and not for the those without strong stomachs. I generally consider myself to be fairly immune to being "grossed-out," but I had to read this book in small doses. Never-the-less I enjoyed reading it. The author is especially good at telling stories in a way that will captivate you and make it truly worth your time. I also feel like I have a more realistic concept of the life of a CSI (and I'm so happy that I went into research instead of forensics!).
A brilliant book but not for the faint hearted.
This is all about the experiences of an an American CSI.
At times very gruesome when detailing the processes involved in her work and at other times absolutely hilarious as the author seems to have a strong sense of humour and this is obviously a big help in her line of work and also as a writer as it gives the reader something to laugh at in between the horror of what society can inflict upon each other.
All aspects of crimes are discussed, rape, mu
Feb 25, 2009 Michelle rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Michelle by: Dana Kollmann
saw her speak at the NJAFS convention and bought her book there (it's signed, YAY!). wonderful speaker, wonderful writer. I cannot believe these things have happened to her! Fantastic book, totally enjoyable.
There is no one funnier than Dana Kollman when it comes to making the best of a bad situation. Humor is a necessary part of her work, or it's just too depressing. A good, fun read!
Kim Morris
The beginning is the best.
This is a fantastic book that tells of all those 'ewww gross' moments that Kollmann experienced during her time as a CSI. This isn't a forensic science book but it does show the realities of being a forensic scientist and some of the more squeamish things that such a job requires, basically all the stuff you don't see on the T.V. Kollmann is completely candid and doesn't shy away from the black humour and slightly unusual pranks her and her colleagues played on each other in an effort to maintai ...more
Apr 14, 2010 Angela rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of CSI
Recommended to Angela by: a bookring from shelj7k
Shelves: non-fiction, work
I did enjoy the tales Dana had to share -- although many of them were her own dang fault (the cockroaches falling on her head is still creeping me out though) -- I marked a few things near the beginning with sticky notes, but quickly stopped, as I would have marked most of the book.

But, the things I did mark are:
on page xii - i didn't get very far before something struck me...

"the Fourth of July fireworks to take me back to the time when they misfired and landed in a crowd of spectators" -- she
So, the cover caught my eye as I was perusing the used books in Goodwill. After scanning a couple of chapters, I went ahead & bought it. It's an interesting look into the life of a real CSI, albeit a seemly random collection of meandering stories from her private & personal life. (She goes into great detail about the odd set of superstitions her mother & family adhere to, which didn't add to the book as much as she was likely hoping it would.) There is some graphic stuff in here (you ...more
From Publishers Weekly
Fans of CSI and Court TV, your book has arrived: a chronicle of the most unusual, macabre and malodorous experiences from 10-plus years of crime scene investigation. Baltimore Police Department CSI Kollman has the enthusiasm, wit (she dedicates the book "to all the bugs I've loved before") and natural storytelling ability to make this memoir sparkle-not easy for a text devoted largely to death and decay. Kollmann aims to educate those with "a Hollywood mentality about a Hel
I really wanted to read more non-fiction this year and when I saw this book on a In My Mailbox vlog at In the Library of Lady Violet I just had to have it. I actually downloaded it for my Kindle right after seeing the vlog. Although Kollmann describes some pretty gruesome things she does it such a way that actually makes you laugh out loud. I couldn't put this book down. Kollman describes things like rotting decomposing bodies, what happens to a body once it's been enbalmed and the discomfort of ...more
This book illustrates the very reason I cannot watch any of the CSI TV shows. They are so far from real life! I can completely understand the "gallows" humor the author displays in this book- written and visual- because other fields must also learn to cope with the normal emotions that are evoked from being in contact with death. Like the military. Although I have never been "in combat", I did have to deal with the prospect of death on a regular basis when I was posted in Baghdad. After a while ...more
Janet Leszl
Never Suck a Dead Man's Hand by Dana Kollmann
If you are at all squeamish about, well virtually anything, this book might not be for you. Then again, perhaps for that very reason you should read it. Most of us go about comfortable lives unaware of gruesome details associated with certain jobs necessary in our society. Television shows like the various incarnations of CSI have moderately raised public awareness of this particular field.

Dana Kollmann’s book strips away the glitz and glamour of Hol
This book was kind of a disappointment. I love reading about the professions that involve crime and murder and you expect to get some really funny, horrifying, disgusting, stories. Ms. Kollmann does have some interesting stories to tell, but instead of hearing all the dirt, so to speak, I got to learn about Ms. Kollmann, you know, as a person. And to be perfectly honest, I don't think I would like her if I ever actually met her. She comes off as someone who thinks of herself as far better than t ...more
Dana Kollmann was a crime scene investigator for 10 years and these are the reminisces of her time on the job.

The main problem with the book is the writing: There is not a well-developed sense of timing, pace, or change to her character. Dana describes things abstractly, gives the reader little insight the technical aspects of CSI, and very little insight into other thoughts or emotions of co-workers.

She does do well with some of the humor and some of the odd characters. The scenes that come ali
I enjoyed this book. I was a closer-to-facts tale than what you see on a lot of television shows which was very refreshing. It was eye-opening to see the politics, procedure and routine nature of a job that television has glamorized in three cities. There was a very high level of grit and gross that made it very authentic (and also not for the faint of stomach). It also contained a certain level of dark humor that took the somber edge off things like suicides and drug overdoses such as the side- ...more
I don't think I'd like to meet the author of this book, but it was still interesting and engaging. I got all the way through it no problem thanks to the colorful language and the interesting choices of stories.
However, I think that the author comes off as mean sometimes. Actually, for most of the book. So if that will annoy you, don't pick this up.
Eh. Not what I was hoping for. And my god, do publishing houses simply not employ proofreaders at all anymore??!! When the author pointed out a misspelling as part of the story I almost choked, having recently read incorrect uses of their, they're and there, it's and its, and numerous other crimes against grammar.

The story also wasn't well told, the author lingered on uninteresting details, and talk about telegraphing -- you could guess her several 'surprise' story endings from a mile away. I w
The first half of the book was good, fast-paced and on subject. During the last half, the author started talking about archaeology as it related to some other work that she did, as well as CSI work. She seemed to go on a tangent too much at the end, with archaeology and other subjects, like she was trying to meet a word count requirement. There was also too much redundancy for my taste. For example, she kept mentioning that her friend's mom is from New Jersey in parenthesis.

While the stories sh
I'm in the process of reading this--3 chapters in--and I'm trying hard to like it. Not going well. The basic premise in interesting and entertaining, but the writing is clunky and amateurish. Which is fine, because the author is a forensic scientist, not a grammarian or a literary writer. But this would have benefited from more proactive editorial guidance. Also, I've found basic grammatical editors that should have been caught in copyediting: "shuttered" for "shuddered" etc.
Bill Glose
This book relates some of the highlights and many misadventures Kollman experienced for 11 years as a Crime Scene Investigator. With a mixture of scientific detail and fast-paced narrative, she discloses all the things that go on behind the yellow tape that they don’t show you on TV. From identifying suspects by the dog doo on his shoe to scraping mung (a generic reference to unidentified human chunks) from the soles of her boots, the stories she tells could easily turn one’s stomach, yet the ma ...more
Vaguely interesting. Not as detailed as I would have liked. Didn't feel like there was much a story, just sort of like splatters of information.
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Dana Kollmann examines ancient skulls on the weekends, teaches anthropology during the week, and her four young children can sum up their mother's passion in three words: "Mama studies bones."

She has had a dead man's finger in her mouth. She also has been covered in bugs. She interviewed a pig and a man who carried on extensive conversations with his imaginary wife. Kollmann spent 10 years as a c
More about Dana Kollmann...
Never Suck A Dead Man's Hand: Curious Adventures of a CSI Never Suck A Dead Man's Hand: Curious Adventures of a CSI Forensic Science: Introduction to the Crime Scene nunca coloque a mão de um cadáver na boca Never Suck a Dead Man's Hand: Curious Adventures of a Csi

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