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Blood on the Table
By Colin Evans

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Blood on the Table

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Blood on the Table
The Greatest Cases of New York City's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
By Colin Evans
Thorndike Press, Large Print Edition (2008)
ISBN 10: 1-4104-0721-7
ISBN 13: 978-1-4104-0721-4
Genre: True Crime, Nonfiction

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - July 2, 2008

To be honest, I'm not a fan of true crime books. I get all too much of 'that' on the evening news. So I figured that there was no way that I'd enjoy Colin Evans' book, Blood on the Table. Boy, was I wrong. I found Blood on the Table to be an engaging and interesting book from beginning to end.

Blood on the Table chronicles, in part, the history of the New York City's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) and it highlights some of the biggest and most notorious cases that this office investigated. As such, this book is partly a history book and partly a detective thriller. Best of all Evans writes in a lyrical narrative style that makes this book read like a novel. In addition to detailing the history of the OCME, it also illustrates the vast strides that have been made in the realm of forensic science since the OCME was first established in 1918, with the appointment of New York's first Chief Medical Examiner. The new OCME replaced the old, corrupt, coroner system that had been a plight on New York's legal system, and social consciousness.

Within the pages of this book, which takes the reader up through 2007 and includes the investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center buildings, Evans provides a unique behind the scenes glimpse into the everyday workings of the OCME and the activities of the men and women who work for the office. Thankfully, Evans does not provide graphic accounts of the autopsy's performed, nor the state in which the various bodies were found. He provides just enough information for you to follow the story, without making you lose your lunch.

If you have any interest in forensic science, or if you are a fan of any of the criminal investigation television shows such as CSI, you will be mesmerized by the authentic cases detailed in this book. As well, anyone interested in learning about a unique aspect of New York City's history, the development of forensic science and medical investigation, or New York's social history, will find this book invaluable, although hard core historians will bemoan the fact that this book included neither a bibliography nor footnotes. In short, Blood on the Table makes for an informative, and yes, even entertaining, read. In addition, it will give you new appreciation for the invaluable work done by medical examiners around the country.


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