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A Life in Death

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  14 reviews

“Fascinating. Highly recommended.”
For the Love of Books blog

“I was so absorbed by this book and found it such an easy read that I knocked it over in two days. Venables does a magnificent job of hitting the appropriate tone with a difficult and somewhat unpalatable topic.”
The Bookshelf Gargoyle

“I absolutely loved this book, it is a f
Kindle Edition, 262 pages
Published May 18th 2016 by Thistle Publishing
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  157 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Bruce Gargoyle
I received a copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley for review.

Ten Second Synopsis:
The author recounts his life's work in Disaster Victim Identification in the UK and abroad and the ways in which the recovery and identification of victims of man-made and natural disasters has evolved in response to lessons learned.

A Life in Death deals with a specific subset of post-death work; Disaster Victim Identification, or the recovery and reunification of a deceased victim of a natural or hum
Ivory Castle
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Richard Venables was a naive 19 year old when he started in the UK police force. By retirement he had become a disaster response expert after dealing with a large number of fatalities from air and rail disasters in the UK as well as mass fatalities overseas. Thailand’s Tsunami in 2004 where 230,000 people were killed was the greatest challenge for Richard and his team.
He tells an amusing story where as a new recruit he learned an important lesson. Called to make a welfare check on an elderly wom
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Richard Venables have had a unique position in developing the disaster victim identification work in UK. He shares his experiences with graphic details. This would have been a solid 4-star book, but lack of proofreading was annoying at places and writers contradictory views on his own work. Venables states that a DVI officer should not get attached to the victims, but he himself does – to the degree of publishing list of names and family details of victims. Of course the book is an autobiography ...more
Katia M. Davis
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a highly readable memoir. It delves into the intricacies of disaster victim identification and response to mass events. The author has had a distinguished career, but aside from admitting to a need for control, there is not the arrogance that so often comes across in these types of memoirs. It's well written and absorbing. It has emotion and empathy while still being highly informative. This is well worth the read if you enjoy disaster investigation and police forensics. I couldn't put i ...more
Lazy Cornish Cat
Feb 26, 2017 rated it liked it
It is hard to review this book. It isn't your typical bedtime read but it was interesting and informative and I thought the subject matter was handled sensitively. It was shocking in places (the opening words of the book pull no punches) but it wasn't too in your face to be incredibly upsetting but written just so as to give you a behind the scenes look at something that probably doesn't occur to us when we hear of another tragedy on the evening news. ...more
Heather E Petrie
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fascinating insight

Really interesting book about the complex work of identifying remains following tragedies. I previously worked in bereavement support and breaking bad news by professional medical staff and it is very much about empathy. It was interesting to see the other side where Richard showed obvious respect to every victim but could not allow themselves to be consumed by the human stories while carrying out this work.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very good

Fascinating insight into the methods behind Disaster Victim Identification (DVI). Told from a personal perspective, this ended up being a much more informative and at points emotionally charged story than expected.

If you have any interest in crime fiction or non fiction, this is a must read.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Very interesting in parts and grips the attention with some of the well - known UK tragedies, but many parts semi - repetitive and pedestrian. Overall, well worth reading it to know what goes on in mass disasters.
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
The book was ok. I was hoping for more of "him" in the book but it was a lot of data and background for me.

Received this book from NetGalley for my honest review.
kirstin mcdonald
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Interesting Read

I enjoyed this book although I thought it ended a bit abruptly and I felt the author had more to say. A good read though on an interesting subject.
Lucie Poxon
Mar 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting if a little repetitive

Interesting for my field of work but some typos and didn't feel as polished as it should as a published book.
Mark Jennings
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable factual book, what this guy did for DVI was/is amazing.
Feb 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Sounds like it should be a morbid read, but was in fact quite an interesting autobiography of a policemen who ended up as the UK expert on disaster victim identification, working on various air crashes and disasters over the years, including the tsunami in Thailand. Some of the book was a bit procedural, and some parts a bit repetitive, but it was an interesting look into a subject that is rarely discussed, yet very important.
Richard Venables
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Aug 19, 2016
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