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Death Scenes: A Homicide Detective's Scrapbook

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  912 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
The strange and gruesome crime-scene snapshot collection of LAPD detective Jack Huddleston spans Southern California in its noir heyday. Death Scenes is the noted forerunner of several copycat titles.
Paperback, 168 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Feral House (first published April 1st 1996)
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Death Scenes is a morbid scrapbook of Jack Huddleston, a man who worked as an police officer in Los Angeles area from 1921 to early 50's. This, now quite famous among true crime fanatics, scrapbook was found in a used bookstore and was delivered to a proper individual, who then decided to publish it in order to save these records as the paper doesn't last forever.

We do not know much about Jack Huddleston, his work records are buried under a thick dust, and he has been long gone as is the family
Paul Bryant
Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Books to dare someone to read on public transport : this one and the Complete Works of Gottfried Helnwein - this guy:


This book is proof that sometimes I do go a little click crazy. When it arrived I said “I didn’t order that” but of course I had.


Jack Huddlestone was a cop in LA between 1921 and around 1953 and this is his collection of photos of murder victims, with a few other grotesqueries thrown into the mix, like circus freaks (hermaphrodites) and medical monstrosities (man with scrotum th
Eva Leger
Oct 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I have absolutely no idea how to rate this. And that's a first for me. I had no idea there was any collection like this out there. Finding it on a shelf in Borders I was shocked speechless while thumbing through.
I used to read a lot of true crime books, and still read them on occasion so my curiosity has been there for a long time, years at least. So I knew I wanted to go through this and I know I'll go through a few other books I've found since this.
But this is a shocker. I don't know a singl
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the more graphic collections of old crime scene photographs.
Nanci Svensson
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's borderline autopsy porn, but as a historical documentation of many issues (forensics, racism and sexism in general and in the police force in particular, the "losers" of Hollywood (ah, that beloved theme!), medical examinations etc) I enjoyed this coffee table book, that should be kept away from all coffee tables.

As a former researcher in forensic medicine I am desensitized, and therefor just now realized that "enjoyed" might not be the right word but whatever.
Mar 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A good children's book. It shows true love.
May 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
This is a scrapbook from a LAPD detective from the 20's. It has gory crime scene photos with the original notes. Some really disturbing pics and sometimes more disturbing notes. Remember, it was the 20's and they weren't very tolerant of what they did not understand. And they got the wrong impression about a lot. I would not recommend this book to anyone with a weak stomach. But I loved it. It's on my coffee table.
Sharon Roy
Apr 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you dont like gore DO NOT even open this book. It is a Los Angeles detectives scrapbook of homicide, suicide and just bizarre photos of men women children hemaphrodites and animals, he is not prejudiced, its all inclusive. The pictures (especially babies n children) burn your retinas, but its like a car crash, you cant not look...
Nov 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is not a book for the weak stomached kind. It's no worse then some true crimes with pictures. I really felt for the detective who compiled all these pictures for his scrapbook. In the book I got the impression some people might have found this sick on his part. I go along with Katherine Dunn on that Detective Jack Huddleston wanted people to see what he saw, feel his pain. Pictures leave out so much the officers see on a daily basis. The smells, the 3D real life image of these people who ha ...more
Dec 26, 2010 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book lives up to its title. The pics are crime scene photos, dating from the 20s to the 50s, taken with the stark, staring, unrepentant eye of a police photographer. Most are murders, some are suicides, some are physical oddities. It's a pretty harsh book.

The introduction does a fair job of analyzing what this book can do for its reader. Help him/her sympathize with what homicide detectives do on a daily basis, discard the rose-colored-glasses effect of nostalgia, and understand the part o
Sep 15, 2012 rated it liked it
This is simply the annotated reproduction of -- as the title says -- a homicide detective's scrapbook. I thought the annotations, by Katherine Dunn, went on far too long and explained too much, as if she thought the readers were stupid. But some of the insights in there -- like, humans are no worse now than they were in the 1930s -- are strikingly shallow and shortsighted. The photos -- super-grody crime-scene and autopsy candid snaps -- more than spoke for themselves.
Jan 02, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is reality at its worst. I know that this was just a scrap book kept by a police officer many years ago but the one thing I really wanted out of this book was a little more story to the people in the photos. I realize that he more then likely didn't have much back story but without it the book just makes me feel like some kind of creepy peeping tom looking that the end game without knowing what happened to end it.
Jan 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own
All I can say is this is as close to death as I care to be!! Stomach churning photos taken from a scrapbook compiled by a homicide detective, the scrapbook was found in books bought at an estate sale and digitally remastered to create this book. Really opened my eyes to what police officers, EMT's and the like have to cope with just doing their jobs. Great introduction by Katherine Dunn!
Mark Desrosiers
Apr 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime
Highly combustible nightmare fuel: a vivid parade of crime-scene corpse photos from a long-dead homicide detective's secret "necro-porn" stash. I love it. Not for the faint of heart. Or even the relatively sturdy of heart.
Kimberly King
Apr 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting book. But some of the pictures, ugh! It just shows human depravity is timeless.
Kendall Moore
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: silver-medalists
"When you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes into you."

Friedrich Nietzsche

Disturbing, haunting, and profound. These images linger in my mind long after I've finished.
Darlene Payne
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting book, mainly photos though. Jack Huddleston was a detective who worked many gruesome crimes back in the day. Which is actually a good thing, as the photos are in black and white, and it this book was written today I'm sure they would be in color, which would have been entirely too graphic.
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Started this book because of the Katherine Dunn introduction. That was pretty much all it was good for, even though it wasn't one of her best pieces. Even if you're into gore, honestly the pictures are somewhat inscrutable. I guess it's good that this exists.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: death-and-crime
A book to satisfy ones morbid curiosity.
You can by all means take a philosophical outlook on this work but it simply is what it is. Snap shots of unnatural endings mostly with no questions answered, leaving one to speculate as to the circumstances.
babadum tsts
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
i love how words arranged so poetically to describe death and depressing stuff, never read book some quite like this.
Chloe A-L
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
super fascinating, obviously very intense. the only reason i didn't give it five stars is because of some super weird and uncomfortable transmisogyny in the introduction.
Katherine Wu
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Doug Brunell
Mar 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
A line on the back cover of this book reminds readers that there were no "good ol' days." No truer words have been spoken.

The photos in this book come from a 40s-50s era California (primarily Los Angeles) homicide detective. They are stark black and white crime scene shots. Bodies. Parts. Blood. Disarray. Destruction. Alongside many of the photographs are the detective's own hasty scrawl. His opinions or the facts on the men, women, children and infants. Why a head was caved in. Mugshots with th
Nicola Mansfield
Katherine Dunn's introductory essay is very opinionated giving various motives as to why Huddleston would have kept this scrapbook. These are not based on fact and are merely her obnoxious opinions. She also lays down her judgments on many other topics such as how could parents watch a child suffer without lovingly suffocating it with a pillow, the benefits of euthanasia and the horrible crime of presenting a good public image of the police. This almost ruined the whole book for me as it was so ...more
Claudia Loureiro
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dead-and-dying
This is a book that you should take very seriously, and I made sure to treat it with respect. Overall this is a good portrayal of what homicide investigators, police officers, coroners, medical examiners see on a daily basis, especially in the big cities, like Los Angeles; where most of the photos were taken. The photos were retouched up the best the editor could using Photoshop, so to enhance clarity.
Apr 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: morbid-books
Hard to believe these grisly relics record the violence of the 1930s and 40s, before television became a "bad influence."

Jack Huddleston served as a homicide detective in Los Angeles in the first half of the last century. He collected these photos into a scrapbook, to which he wrote a preface that implies he intended the work for the edification of the general public. One wonders if he ever had the nerve to approach a publisher. After an estate sale in the mid-1980s, the scrapbook came to a used
Nicole Garcia
Oct 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is definitely not for those who can't handle real life crime scene footage because that is what this whole book is all about! If your stomach turns even at the site of blood I would not recommend this book. But those of us who can stomach it and have interest in true crime and want to know what a homicide detective really has to deal with on a daily basis this book is for you. The back of the book says it all and that is there were no "good ole days". I liked this book not because it w ...more
Stephanie Borders
Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
First off, be aware that this book is incredibly gory and graphic.

I liked the scrapbook idea but the prologue, written by Katherine Dunne, frustrated me to no end. It took up half the book and most of what she wrote was conjecture. It seemed like she just needed fillers. It also got confusing and repetitive when she would include pictures for some of her tidbits and not others, only to have the same pictures shown again later on.
 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*
Apr 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Real pictures that are not for people who don't like to see dead bodies. This has a little of every possible way to die, murder, gunshot suicide, burn victims, leopracy patients, hanging, prostitutes, bandits..... Very interesting scrapbook collection of pictures this detective collected over the years in Los Angeles. Some of the pictures have the addresses so spooky to find out where murders have taken place.
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Definitely not for the weak of heart or stomach. A fascinating look at vintage police photography of crime scenes and victims. The details are what get me - the shoes, the hand placement, the lamp in the corner...things that hinted at the lives of these unfortunate souls. Warning - there are deceased children in here, which is hard to view.
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“Nudity and explicit sex are far more easily available now than are clear images of death. The quasi-violence of movies and television dwells on the lively acts of killing – flying kicks, roaring weapons, crashing cars, flaming explosions. These are the moral equivalents of old-time cinematic sex. The fictional spurting of gun muzzles after flirtation and seduction but stop a titillating instant short of actual copulation. The results of such aggressive vivacity remain a mystery. The corpse itself, riddled and gaping, swelling or dismembered, the action of heat and bacteria, of mummification or decay are the most illicit pornography.

The images we seldom see are the aftermath of violent deaths. Your family newspaper will not print photos of the puddled suicide who jumped from the fourteenth floor. No car wrecks with the body parts unevenly distributed, no murder victim sprawled in his own juices. Despite the endless preaching against violent crime, despite the enormous and avid audience for mayhem, these images are taboo.”
“Fear is neither a disease nor a perversion. Fear is our most essential survival mechanism. It has many forms and functions. The mouse staring into the snake’s face doesn’t apologize for its interest.” 0 likes
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