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“The dead have much to say that only special people with special training and special gifts have the patience to hear, despite the assault on the senses. Only special people can interpret a language very few amount the living care about, much less understand.”

As mentioned in many previous reviews and blog posts, I love books about forensics and true crime. Another book reviewer friend of mine on Good Reads recommended Death’s Acre after reading my review of The Education of A Coroner by John Bateson. I chose to listen to the audio version of this because I am recently back to work following maternity leave and can listen to creepy non-fiction books about death again without fear of my kids listening in. Ha!

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OK. So I liked this book, but not as much as I had expected to. It may have been because my expectations were extremely high about all the fun facts and details I was going to learn about the legendary Body Farm in Tennessee. Not only is it a one of a kind research facility highly regarded in the forensic science and anthropology fields, it has also helped solve some of the most notorious murder cases. The book had a lot of information about the farm, but not as much as I had hoped. It mainly went through case studies and connected them to how research at the body farm had helped the investigators with time of death and other important details in their cases. What I wanted was more of the story about the farm itself and more of what they had learned over the course of its life. I wanted details on future studies and more about the studies currently taking place. I was reading for the grisly details and unexpected issues that had arisen over the course of its “life” thus far. I got some of that, but not enough. Maybe there isn’t more of that type of detail to write about? Death’s Acre was written in 2004 so I do realize that the content is a bit outdated now. From what I gather there have been more recent books written by Dr. William Bass so I will definitely be checking them out. Another gripe I have is that there were a lot of details about Dr. Bass’ life which were interesting, but the parts unrelated to the Body Farm felt a bit unnecessary. What I mean by that is the details about all of his wives was too much. It came off in a way that was sort of like I got married, loved my wife dearly, she passed and it was horrible but then I found a new wife. This happened twice and he was married three times in total. At one point someone says “You should marry ______” and so he does. (Sorry I couldn’t remember her name and since I listened to the audio, I can’t go back and find it.) I think it’s wonderful that he found love again and again, but I didn’t find it relevant to the story other than to say he faced multiple tragedies and understood the personal side of death not just the scientific part.

One thing that I found funny was that the last big case in the book is actually one I have heard about before on a show called Forensic Files. It was really cool to hear about the case from the forensic anthropology side. I want to see if I can find the episode of Forensic Files now to see if Dr. Bass is mentioned by name or if they just discuss the Body Farm.

Side Note: That show is extremely binge-worthy. You should check it out when you have an afternoon to kill. No pun intended…

All in all this was a good book. I just love when I get fully immersed in the subject matter and I found myself drifting in and out of focus while I was listening.

PS: The narrator was great on this audio book!

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