Unnatural Causes by Dr. Richard Shepherd
Today I am thrilled to share my book review of Unnatural Causes by Dr. Richard Shepherd. Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.
‘Heart-wrenchingly honest’ Professor Sue Black, author of All That Remains
‘One of the most fascinating books I have read in a long time. Engrossing, a haunting page-turner. A book I could not put down’ The Times
Meet the forensic pathologist, Dr Richard Shepherd. He solves the mysteries of unexplained or sudden death. He’s a detective in his own right. And he has one, ultimate and pressing question to answer: How did this person die?
Dr Shepherd has faced serial killers, natural disaster, ‘perfect murders’ and freak accidents, all in the pursuit of the truth. And while he’s been involved in some of the most high-profile cases of recent times, it’s often the less well-known encounters that prove the most perplexing, intriguing and even bizarre. In or out of the public eye, his evidence has put killers behind bars, freed the innocent and turned open-and-shut cases on their heads. But a life in death, bearing witness to some of humanity’s darkest corners, exacts a price and Shepherd doesn’t flinch from counting the cost to him and his family. The dead do not hide the truth and they never lie. Through him the dead can speak . . .
Unnatural Causes is an unputdownable record of an extraordinary life, a unique insight into a remarkable profession, and above all a powerful and reassuring testament to lives cut short.
When I heard about Unnatural Causes, the biography of Dr. Richard Shepherd, forensic pathologist I knew that I simply had to read it.
After watching and reading thousands of true crime stories, there are always questions floating around my rather morbid brain about how a cause of death is identified. There is also healthy respect and fascination for the highly trained experts in this field.
Dr. Shepherd explains the technicalities of a post mortem (autopsy) clearly and concisely, explaining medical jargon without patronising the reader. I was impressed by his unfailing respect for the dead, something that concerned me in the past. He explains ways which he can identify how long a person has been deceased plus many other procedures which have to be performed to give a detailed and accurate report.
Dr. Shepherd takes us through his childhood, how his mother died prematurely and his father behaved erratically following her death. We get to hear how Dr. Shepherd meets his wife and goes on to become a father. It was interesting to hear how Dr. Shepherd could attend to the bodies of the most horrific tragedies, then detach himself enough to go home to resume life as a family man. I enjoyed the contrast of hearing about the personal side to Dr. Shepherd’s life as well as the professional side.
This is an amazingly honest and graphic account of both the private and professional life of a forensic pathologist who has worked on some of the most high profile cases in recent British history. It is delivered with extreme compassion and respect for the deceased.
This book is a must for crime readers but for writers of crime novels, it is an absolutely essential reference guide.
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