Liz Porter's fascinating Written on the Skin has that rare distinction of being a truly unique and wholly entrancing work: a casebook recording, in intricate and abundant detail, a body of forensic fieldwork that may seem, to the average listener, almost akin to magic.
Voice actor Elizabeth Kaye uses her warm, dry voice to great effect in her performance of this audiobook, and her careful, consistent tone is well-suited to Porter's subject matter: the methodical review of corpses which can reveal so much about the circumstances of their lives, and deaths.
In a close examination of an assault victim's body, a forensic physician can 'read' the terrible alphabet that fists and weapons have written across it.
A crime scene investigator notes the tiny indentations on the fragments of a tin can identified at a bomb site, enabling him to find the can opener that made them - and the bomb-maker who used it.
A forensic dentist identifies the thief who dropped some chewing gum, with his teeth marks in it, during a burglary.
Liz Porter's riveting case book shows how forensic investigators - including pathologists, chemists, entomologists, DNA specialists, and document examiners - have used their expertise in dozens of fascinating crimes and mysteries.
©2007 Liz Porter; ©2009 Bolinda
"Elizabeth Kaye narrates this Australian forensic casebook with vitality and intelligence. As she presents the particulars of selected cases solved by forensics - the 2002 Bali bombing, a fatal hit-and-run in Victoria, the Lindy Chamberlain case - listeners grow to understand that crime technicians don't have the glamour jobs seen on the popular C.S.I. shows that pepper the TV airwaves. Each of the 10 chapters deals with one special area used to solve cases, including 'Reading the Blood,' 'Reading the Bones,' and 'Reading the Crime Scene'. Porter's writing style mixes science with storytelling, and Kaye's reading is as exciting as the scientific study of decomposition can be, taking listeners through labor-intensive tests of bugs, bones, blood, and DNA. Well-organized research and a solid reading make this gripping listening." (AudioFile)
I listen to it often. It reader has great voice, and the stories are haunting and interesting and well worth several listens.
That it doesn't shy away from the horror, but doesn't exploit it either. The aim is to showcase great forensic work, while keeping it accessible to the layperson. It succeeds on both counts.
All the cases are moving in their own way, which is the greta strength of this book.
Great broad overview for people who are ready to step beyond the CSI stuff.
The content of the book - I really enjoyed the detail of the cases rather than the quick overviews you get with a lot of forensic stories
Again the content
I thought that the narrator wasn't the best choice - might have been better read by an Australian to match the content. She seemed to stumble over a few words and the pace was wrong - she read too quickly where pauses would have helped to digest the material
Most of the cases were very harrowing
Great book, lots of scientific content, let down for me by the narrator a bit
"Not enough true stories"
Seemed more sciencey than true stories. Not my favorite book but not the worst either.
"I really wanted to like this, but..."
This book jumped around almost at random, dropping references to cases and then taking multiple chapters to get back to them. Perhaps it was safe of the author to assume that most readers would have come across the "A dingo ate my baby!" case, but a short synopsis would have helped.The cases that were supposed to illustrate the various areas of forensic medicine often had very little to do with the subjects being addressed.There was no flow from case to case, or chapter to chapter. I am still listening (about halfway through) and I keep having to go back and re-listen to sections to follow what is going on. I am willing to keep listening because it is a subject I am interested in, but it is a slog.Each chapter addressing a particular topic (insects/bones/brains,etc) could have used a brief explanation of what was going on - what forensic scientists can learn from the evidence. And a chronological format would have helped, rather than jumping all around the time period covered.
No, I love the genre.
I found her accent distracting. She should have just pronounced everything in her American accent, rather than using Australian pronunciation on a few (but frequent) phrases or words. Every time she said "Mel-bon" instead of Melbourne I cringed. Mel-bon may be the way Melbournians say their city's name, but it just sounds bizarre and affected from an American.
I would have reorganized it for better flow, and I would have cut most of the snarky references to CSI being an unrealistic portrayal of forensic science.
I really wanted to like this book, but couldn't.
Yes i would as its a great insight into what happens in day to day life that turns horrible wrong.
Listening to how a father kills his own kids to get back at his ex wife. To be honest it stuck in my head for weeks and i didn't listen for a while just because of how terrible the tail was. I just could not wrap my head around it.Or the guy who did not like the fact that a girl how he liked did not have feelings the same way towards him just sets her on fire in a moving car with a friend in the car. This happened in Melbourne, Victoria were i live so it really hits home how many sick, mentally ill killers are walking the streets.
Some readers are very monotone but Elizabeth really puts the finishing touch to a great book.
Yes were the sister of a mentally ill guy kills him for a small amount of cash! What runs through some people's mind?
This book is a great listen, i listened to hours of it in one hit but found i was looking at other people with different eyes. Break the book up if your listening. Its insightful and sad at the same time. Your connected with all the victims in the story the way its been narrated.
"explaining the unexplained"
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in forensic science. The factual presentation of the various topics and explanations surrounding the different cases made the book very interesting.
The short case presentations, the events occured in Australia.
yes the entire novel is overwhelming
Though I am usually fascinated by anything having to do with forensics, this book did not grab my interest. I did not finish it and probably will not go back to it in the future. Disappointing.
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