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

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  1,186 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 281 pages
Published August 31st 2004 by Crown (first published 2004)
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Rachel Jones
Mar 30, 2009 Rachel Jones rated it liked it
This book is a skimmer, and I never skim. But there are really interesting parts, and not so interesting parts.
Jan 26, 2013 Tiffeny rated it really liked it
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
Jul 05, 2015 Cat. rated it it was amazing
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
Tam (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.
Feb 07, 2014 Anjella rated it it was ok
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.
Dec 11, 2007 Suzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthropology
Craig takes you insides some of the countries worst tragedies...She makes you a part of the investigation...Making it very human.
Ann Gabhart
Nov 11, 2015 Ann Gabhart rated it it was amazing
Not for the faint-hearted, but I found her experiences as a forensic anthropologist fascinating.
Brenda Selner
Nov 24, 2016 Brenda Selner rated it it was amazing
Well written, as if a friend is sharing with you.
Kati Polodna
Oct 10, 2016 Kati Polodna rated it really liked it
Awesome. This totally sucks you in.
Jul 11, 2010 Ashley rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Non-squeamish persons
A quick, interesting read.

Her background is unique - she began as a medical illustrator and then went to the University of Tennessee to get her Ph.D in forensic anthropology. UT is infamous for its "Body Farm", a secluded outdoor area where bodies donated to science are left to decompose in order for scientists to study how the bodies are effected by differing outdoor elements. Craig is now the state forensic anthropologist for the state of Kentucky.

She dispels some common portrayals that abou
Nov 30, 2013 Ubiquitousbastard rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, nonfic
Overall, I found this to be rather interesting, but there was no moment where I was ever completely rapt or impressed. I think what I found to be the best aspect was the focus on the development of the field of anthropology. It's kind of unbelievable that it is such a new field compared to most of the other sciences, and its practical application toward crime began mostly in the later half of the last century. I also liked the descriptions of the different nuances of bones. I always wondered how ...more
Nov 17, 2013 Alysa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick and enjoyable read describing the journey of a real forensic anthropologist. As a biological anthropologist with some training in forensics (my specialty is in living humans) and many friends in the field, I could very much appreciate her descriptions of the training that goes into becoming a full fledged forensic anthropologist, as well as the feelings of self doubt that arise as you begin to be perceived as an expert, and the pleasure of having accomplished something and made a ...more
Apr 01, 2016 Laura rated it it was amazing
My dark side loved, loved, loved this book! I loved it because I find the subject matter super interesting and compared to some other books that I've read on this same subject this one blows them all out of the water. I had a difficult time putting it down and couldn't wait to get reading again.
What struck me the most about this book was the easy and interesting way it was written. It wasn't bogged down in a whole bunch of scientific terms and the dryness that comes from that form of writing. Yo
Mar 31, 2008 Brookers rated it it was amazing
I'm a sucker for books about the people who piece together murder mysteries. I don't go for the fictionalized serials like CSI. I much prefer to read first hand what it's like to take what's left of a victim, and somehow give a name to someone who was nameless, or give a story to someone whose story had been ripped away. Teasing Secrets From the Dead is one of the best of its kind. Often, authors writing about their experiences working with the dead are removed from what they have written. Emily ...more
Gillian Wong
I'm a little obsessed with crime TV series, so I wanted to read this book very badly from the start. One of the things I read recently said that law enforcement is finding it harder to convince juries because jurors so often demand evidence on the level of the CSI and other series. Emily Craig has written a highly interesting book, but doesn't sugarcoat (at least it doesn't feel that way) how difficult it is to get evidence. She writes in clear language that anyone can understand. She could ...more
Jamee Zielke
Aug 22, 2014 Jamee Zielke rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Craig's book about her work as a forensic anthropologist (basically "Bones" on tv) is just about the right length. The work she does with skeletal remains is interesting, but gets a bit dry to read about after 250 some pages. And depressing.

Craig was involved with many if the recent major disasters in recent history - Waco, Oklahoma City, 9/11 - and gives a unique perspective on the work done there. She keeps the writing as light as possible, given the circumstances, so that the reader
Jul 25, 2013 Havala rated it really liked it
A little clunky chapter to chapter. But since each is a separate case- and far between her numerous daily cases -the incongruity is acceptable. I disliked the repeating of methodology described in nearly every case. You'd think that she could drop the class and just provide the case she had. But since thats her practice, thats the tone of the book.

Edit: I think I lowered the rating on this book compared to other FA books is because of the emotion she brings. I don't think that it should be viewe
Vince Gotera
Dec 16, 2011 Vince Gotera rated it really liked it
Fascinating read. Emily Craig's Teasing Secrets from the Dead chronicles her work with anatomy, first as a medical illustrator; then as a PhD student at the University of Tennessee, where she did research at the "Body Farm"; and finally as a forensic anthropologist ... actually THE forensic anthroplogist for the state of Kentucky. Among her famous cases are the Oklahoma Federal Building bombing, the Branch Davidian conflagration in Waco, and Ground Zero from 9/11. What comes through so strongly ...more
Page Wench
Nov 13, 2012 Page Wench rated it it was amazing
Extremely fascinating and well-written account of the professional life of a forensic anthropologist and her road to becoming one. Emily Craig is very adept at bringing warmth and feeling to a subject that can be easily clinically cold; however, she doesn't skimp on the facts and details of processing human bodies. Always striking the perfect balance with details about environment, colleagues, emotions, she is able to place you right beside her at every crime scene. Anyone who even thinks they ...more
Mar 10, 2016 Maureen rated it liked it
I found some of this book quite confronting and I am not easily spooked by medical stuff. However I overcame my revulsion of maggots and ploughed on. It was interesting to me to discover things like how to ascertain race from a skeleton and to learn how disaster identification is done. Bones tell you more than flesh, so squeezing bits of bone out of a piece of rotting meat and putting them together to decide what bit of a person they came from is part of the job. Laughter at a pork chop finding ...more
Jan 29, 2016 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 07, 2015 Mustang rated it it was amazing
Emily could of written my life story, except, I never was able to get to the world trade center ID Center. This book is a story of How Forensic Investigations go from beginning to the end and also follows Her life through some of the most prolific Crime scenes in the USA. I found this book to be intriguing, informative and answers questions if you could do this job. The only difference is she went to Kentucky, and I went to the UT and worked at the body farm in it's infancy state. Great read.
Feb 22, 2008 Kirsten rated it really liked it
I highly recommend this book if you're interested in forensic anthropology. It's not for the weak of stomach; Craig vividly describes her experiences with human remains (quite often small parts of human remains...) and sometimes it's a pretty squishy, bug-filled, disgusting business. But it's also absolutely fascinating. She covers a lot of different aspects of the field, from describing how forensic anthropologists do facial reconstructions from a skull, to the clues that help determine from ...more
Matt Kuhns
Nov 19, 2012 Matt Kuhns rated it liked it
Interestingly, this is the third book I’ve read about a southern lady forensic anthropologist, the first two being the short works of Mary Manhein. Craig’s work is a bit longer, perhaps a bit richer in its narratives, but all in all remarkably similar to the other books I’ve read in this mini-genre, and that’s no bad thing. This is a well-told story, or series of stories, with plenty of fascinating crime scene details, mystery elements and a well-judged leavening of the author’s personal life.
Jun 14, 2014 Liz rated it liked it
This was definitely an interesting read. It really makes you think about the behind the scenes efforts that have to happen in order to identify a person. I liked the book but after awhile it can tend to seem a little long and emotionally taxing as it is a lot of the same. It really makes you think about how emotionally taxing it must be for the investigators and pathologists and forensic anthropologists who work on these cases and the measures they have to go through in order to separate ...more
Claudia Loureiro
Jul 19, 2014 Claudia Loureiro rated it really liked it
Shelves: death-and-dying
Emily gave many interesting insights of behind the scenes investigative procedures such as at the Wako and 9/11 disasters. Compared to the writings of other authors, Emily is very full of herself, I prefer to see humility in a person so I struggled a bit with this book. For me, the problem with this book is that there is very little about crime or criminals. Although it was an enjoyable and interesting reading.
Mar 14, 2012 Mary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Social science—criminology—forensic medicine. In Teasing Secrets from the Dead, Emily Craig has written a warm account of her career, and cleared up some interesting pieces of misinformation as she goes. She worked on the Branch Davidian crime scene in Waco Texas, on the Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City, and on the clean up/investigation of the World Trade Center. I picked up this book on a sale table as I left the library last Sunday, and I have not put it down.
Nov 05, 2009 Kate rated it liked it
Shelves: academic-reading
This is more memoir than forensic anthropology tutorial in both tone and content, but it's as pleasant a read as one could hope to find on as morbid a topic as the aftermath of violent death. The writing style is a bit more casual that I would have preferred, but then again, I wasn't expecting it to be such a personal book. It's a good choice for people looking to get a better idea of the truth behind the crime shows.
Jul 20, 2013 Jen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read2013
In this, Dr. Craig welcomes her readers to explore - in vivid detail - the world of the victims of crimes where sometimes the only clues left are the bones. From the Body Farm to 9/11, she takes away our TV born expectations and introduces us to the real world of forensic anthropology. At the end, we are reminded that these men and women are only human striving to do their best for their fellow mankind - the dead and those still alive to mourn them.
Oct 17, 2015 Sobriquet rated it really liked it
As a former student of forensic anthropology, I really enjoyed the stories and details of this book. As much as it reminded me of why I was so interested in the field to begin with, it also made me glad I didn't pursue it. The last chapter was the most difficult but still worth reading. It took me only a few hours to read, as it was thoroughly engrossing and well written. If you're easily creeped out though, this is not the book for you!
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