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Mop Men: Inside the World of Crime Scene Cleaners

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  659 Ratings  ·  122 Reviews
Neal Smither doesn’t hide his work. The side of his van reads: “Crime Scene Cleaners: Homicides, Suicides and Accidental Death.” Whenever a hotel guest permanently checks out, the cops finish an investigation, or an accidental death is reported, Smither’s crew pick up the pieces after the police cruisers and ambulances have left.

Alan Emmins offers a glimpse at this little-
ebook, 320 pages
Published January 20th 2009 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published June 29th 2004)
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"I simply will not leave a speck behind for the parents, or loved ones or whoever, to find."
Neal Smither,
Crime Scene Cleaners, Inc.

The hotel room bathroom is covered with blood. It's everywhere. Walls, floor, fixtures, even the ceiling. Two hours later, Smither has the room clean and sparkling and ready to be used again by the next unsuspecting customer.

Keep THAT in mind on your travels this summer!

" price will clean it, disinfect it, deodorize it, and dispose of the waste."

Smither got t
Aug 10, 2010 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Neal Smither and his business, Crime Scene Cleaners, are great material for a book, but are they enough material? The answer is yes and no. Author Alan Emmins had enough material for a great book, but that book would have been only 60% as long as this one. Instead, he turns backflips padding his way to a bloated word count, and you can actually pinpoint the moments where he first becomes desperate and then gives up. Desperate: Beginning on page 181, he drops in a chapter on cryonics--material th ...more
Jan B
Mar 14, 2009 Jan B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
A great book! The book deals with an unusual subject in a sensitive way. Graphic at times, but the author pulls back when needed with compassion and feeling for the victims.
Mr. Emmins is amazed with Americans who do not take care of their neighbors or look in on their own relatives, as all of us should. I'm amazed, too. He writes of a country obsessed with CSI television that needs to be turned off. The court case throughout was especially enlightening and sad.
A few quotes were more British th
Feb 25, 2009 Evelyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Journalist Alan Emmins profiles Neil Smither, the owner and CEO of Crime Scene Cleaners, Inc., in this wacky, irreverant look at the horrifyingly gruesome world of the detritus left behind from murders, accidents and suicides that happen everyday.

In a nutshell, Neil's company enters the room when the CSI techs leave. In blunt words he tells how he removes baseboards to get any blood that might have seeped under them, checks for brain splatter on the ceilings, and disposes of personal effects so
Aug 21, 2010 jacky rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Too much of it is about the author's feeble attempt at self-examination (Why am I drawn to the world of crime scene cleaners? Does that make me a bad person? Wah, wah, wah). More voyeurism and less faux introspection for me, please!
Feb 22, 2012 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mop Men is highly addictive – partly due to the colourful Neal Smither (owner of Crime Scene Cleaners Inc.) and his no holds barred outlook on death but mainly because of the macabre subject matter – crime scene cleaning. The topic, by nature of its title leads the mind down a path of unpleasantries but is explored in a humours, yet respectful way. Seeking common people’s perspective on death as a sidebar to the core theme was a nice tie-in to the profession and provided some basis for compariso ...more
Apr 23, 2009 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engrossing subject matter, believe me. Hard to put down! This is a good first-person account by a narrator squeamish enough to be an "everyman" to any reader. (He regularly has to run out of jobsites to throw up.) The book focuses on three things, the first is the creator of the "Crime Scene Cleaners" business, a gifted, sometimes outrageous personality whose words and ideas easily carry the book: "This what I do, Alan. I wake up every morning and pray for death!"

Second, is the author's regular
May 16, 2014 Linda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have read much non-fiction about forensic science and pathology. I have found the subject matter fascinating even before CSI aired its first episode.

I thought this might be an interesting read. I wa interested in the legalisties, science (i.e. infection control protocols) and precedures of doing the work of cleaning body fluids from a crime scene.

In this way - the book disappointed. I got interested when they were given the job of cleaning a meth lab. I wanted to know more about the dangers,
Feb 11, 2011 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011february
I was one chapter from finishing Mop Men yesterday when my condo flooded -- burst pipe from next door leaking thousands of gallons of water into my home. As I sucked up all I could with a ShopVac, all I could think was, "At least it's not blood." Alan Emmis and his subjects, Neal Smither and Crime Scene Cleaners, had me seeing the bright side.

Which is funny, because the book is simultaneously about the gory and the light, the lost and the hopeful. The folks who do these jobs are both hardened an
Who cleans up after a car wreck, suicide, or murder? Not the police...and hopefully not the grieving family. This book focuses on Neal Smither, head of California-based Crime Scene Cleaners Inc. Smither mainly comes across as a big asshole, but he managed to take an idea that everyone scoffed at and turn it into a highly profitable business. And he’s still right in there scrubbing the blood off the walls alongside his employees.
Journalist Emmins, who lives in almost crime-free Denmark (he is rel
Jamie Ferguson
Jul 05, 2009 Jamie Ferguson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
When I first saw this book I thought this would be an interesting book to read about what goes on in the world of Crime Scene Cleaners. What I didn't know is what I was getting myself into upon reading this.

Alan Emmins takes you into the world of Neal Smither and his company Crime Scene Cleaners. Not only does Emmins tell of the gruesome details of cleaning a crime scene, but he manages to keep you interested at the same time. With Neal Smither's weird and sometimes jaw dropping jokes, you get t
Mar 23, 2010 Shawna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book I've read about crime scene cleaners. It had the requisite gory stories and moral abiguity of making money/being curious about such a business. The main hook of the book was a case of a man who had murdered an older gentleman he was staying with and then proceeded to live in the man's apartment for a month while the body deteriorated. This led to, what I considered to be the weakest part of the book, basically a transcript of the presumed killer's pretrial hearing, which ...more
Apr 14, 2009 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: truecrime
Alan Emmins follows Neal Smither, founder, president, and general Grand Pooh-Bah Woo-bah of Crime Scene Cleaners, which, as you might be able to noodle out from the name, cleans crime scenes, and also scenes of suicides and natural death. As you may imagine, these scenes get, um, messy. Very messy.

Not for the faint of heart (unless, of course, your heart goes pitty-pat at graphic descriptions of how maggots eat human flesh), this is nonetheless an engrossing (hm, maybe an unfortunate use of "eng
Mar 20, 2016 Liralen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, reviewed, 2016
Another one for my list of Jobs I Never Knew I Didn't Want: crime-scene cleanup. Every time I started to think that it sounded pretty interesting, at least as something to do between other jobs, the book landed right back in the land of maggots and shit and smells. No thanks.

That being said, 'don't want the job' does not mean 'don't want to read about the job'. Of course this is interesting material: it's the gross stuff most of us don't think about. In Mop Men, Emmins does a sort of extended pr
CaptKirk42 Classic Whovian
"Since hanging around with the Crime Scene Cleaners, I have been giving serious thought to the choice of method by which people put an end to their own lives, and what these methods say about them."

NOTE: This review may contain SPOILERS.

Mop Men: Inside The World Of Crime Scene Cleaners by Alan Emmins. This is a fascinating book. If you have ever wondered who has to clean up after a messy murder or a suicide involving blood splatter then you might want to crack open this book. The author spent a
A good book, but not the best I've read on the topic. The writing was fine and the subject matter made interesting, there was just something missing that I can't put my finger on.
Part of it was the author himself, who seemed to be making the book more about him than the company. I understood he was a journalist from another country with no experience in viewing crime scenes prior to working on this piece, but he kept reminding readers and using up space that should have been about Crime Scene Cl
Oct 21, 2010 Kimberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: true crime readers
I was not sure what to expect from this book. Would it be one gruesome story after another about crime scene clean up? How can that stay interesting for 300 pages?

If was definitely more than that. It was almost as if the clean up and the gore was the side story, and the real story was about the people doing the clean up, the characters Alan met along the way, and the back story of victim.

We never think about who cleans up after us when we die. There are so many ways to die, and they can all be a
The subject of this book is Neal Smither, founder and owner of Crime Scene Cleaners in San Francisco. Neal is a hell of an interesting guy, and I've followed his career since his years-ago appearance on Dave Attell's "Insomniac."

However, the book was written by a prissy, whiny, bitchy sop of an Englishman, who spent far too much time philosophizing about death, wondering if he's a bad person for his choice of subject matter, and inexplicably devoting five chapters (including dull court transcri
Mar 24, 2009 Martha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Call me a rubbernecker, go ahead, but I liked it! This isn't start-to-finish gore and one messy cleanup after another, though there is enough of that going on. As Emmins follows a crime scene cleaner through several weeks at his job he takes the time to inspect his own attitudes about death. Would he ever kill himself? How would he like to go? What part does media play in our attitudes toward crime-related death? How do I want my body disposed of?

I didn't feel guilty about being fascinated by th
Oct 16, 2012 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A lot of stating the obvious in this one. Americans are distanced from death, dealing with it daily can make you callous, fluids from decomposing humans smell very bad etc. I was hoping for some new insight, but this just reads like a long report written by an eighth grader about his neighbor that has an exciting job cleaning crime scenes. I would like to have had more people profiled and a lot less about the author's feelings and life during the months he was going on "clean-alongs." I think th ...more
Jerry Smith
Well, certainly this wasn't something I had thought about before! learning new stuff is all important and this kind of fits the bill. It is a very entertaining, easy read. Emmins has done a great job articulating the month or so that he spent with one individual (and his company) who cleans up crime scenes, suicide scenes and generally horrible clean up jobs.

As I say, entertaining and amazing what these guys have to put up with. The story is well told with one in particular that runs through th
Feb 19, 2010 Laren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
After shadowing the owner of a cleaning company specializing in crime scenes, suicides and other unusual cleaning situations, the author writes a magazine article about it. But upon reflection, he starts to feel that he might have missed the real story, so he goes back to investigate more intensely, and this book is the result.

The author paints clear portraits of the people he shadows, and the book provides a glimpse into several different scenarios from their daily world. Less successful are th
Mar 07, 2011 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Extremely quick read, and extremely entertaining to boot. Considering the subject matter, I was never grossed out or thought that the gore descriptions were gratuitous. One comment: The author is an Englishman who lives in Denmark. I used to work closely with an old co-worker who was a Dane who lived in Copenhagen, and so the style of speech and the mannerisms were familiar. If you don't have the good luck to have that experience, however, some of his thoughts and ideas may seem a bit off to you ...more
Interesting topic for a book as I'd never really given much thought before as to who cleans up a messy death once the crime investigators are done with the scene. Rather educational and a bit gruesome in parts. The author also explores current society's attitude towards death and for some reason seemed to keep an eye on the elections in California (not sure how relevant that was!). My only bugbear is that for a journalist, Emmins does not have a great grasp on the English language as the book is ...more
May 27, 2009 Tricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spectacularly engrossing! Alan Emmins was a joy to read; a witty, brutal joy to read. I almost forgot about the reality of what I was reading, and ended up reading while at lunch, an absolute mistake!! Images of liquified remains stopped me mid-spoonful (I was eating soup!). While Arnold runs for governor and Jon Stewart cracks jokes, Alan learns what the death business is all about from Neal Smither, the charismatic President of Crime Scene Cleaners. From funeral directors to curious gangbanger ...more
Feb 22, 2011 JesiMarie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writing style is awesome. Considering what the book is about, Emmins really keeps it up beat and funny. Unfortunately, it kind of turns into a drag to read. It's basically the same thing over and over. There are parts that don't need to be there, and really, it's just repetitive. Emmins does and awesome job of making you feel like you're there and he portrays the people he met so vibrantly that you feel like you're actually talking to them and know them. It should have been shorter though, i ...more
Mar 18, 2010 AC rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-2010
I don't quite know what to say about this book. It's intriguing. It's disgusting. It's funny. It's deep. It's intelligent. It makes you think about the prevolence of death in out society and our complete ignorance of the subject. There's quite a lot of good to this book. However, it didn't really move or interest me. It wasn't boring but...I feel like there should've been something more to it, something stronger. Maybe it's because I'm not the target audience. Maybe it's because this is my first ...more
Nov 19, 2009 Martha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book is about Crime Scene Cleanup, a company who does exactly what the title implies. it takes a certain kind of person to be able to stay in the ain't a pretty one. it would be so easy to turn this into one grisly tale after another. but the author does a wonderful job of presenting this crew of men who carry out this work with care, dignity and compassion. it's a fascinating read. but keep in mind, there are some graphic details about some of the jobs. there's your disclaime ...more
The writing style wasn't quite what I expected. Emmins is a British journalist who chronicles the work of Neal Smither, a professional cleaner in California. A professional cleaner of crime scenes.

If you like detail on how one might go about cleaning up a putrefying body in a bathtub, then this is your book.

Smither is quite a character, a mix of unabashed entrepreneur, Mr Bravado and family man. He is, above all however, a hard worker who takes pride in his business.

It was interesting.
I have NO idea what possessed me to get this book. I was completely grossed out and think I had nightmares from it. Probably not the best choice for someone with a brain injury. But, that being said, I really did find the topic interesting. If you're ever interested in how crime scenes get cleaned up (which I'm sure you probably never will be, and I don't blame you), then you will enjoy this book. Emmin's writing style is very similar to Chuck Klosterman's.
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