Beyond the Body Farm

HarperAudio

Narrated by Tom McKeon

Abridged6 hr 17 min

The Dead Do Tell Tales...

A pioneer in forensic anthropology, Dr. Bill Bass created the world's first laboratory dedicated to the study of human decomposition. Bill Bass's research at "the Body Farm" has revolutionized forensic science, helping police crack cold cases and pinpoint time since death. In this riveting book, the bone sleuth explores the rise of modern forensic science, using cases from his career to take readers into the real world of "CSI."

Some of Bill Bass's cases rely on the simplest of tools and techniques, while other cases hinge on sophisticated techniques Dr. Bass could not have imagined when he began his career: using computer data and video image processing to help identify murder victims; harnessing scanning electron microscopy to detect trace elements in knife wounds; and extracting DNA from a long-buried corpse, only to find that the female murder victim may have been mistakenly identified a quarter-century before. Witty and engaging, Bass dissects the methods used by homicide investigators every day, leading readers on an extraordinary journey into the high-tech science that it takes to crack a case.

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Additional Information

Publisher
HarperAudio
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Published on
Sep 4, 2007
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Duration
6h 17m 19s
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ISBN
9780061554353
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Language
English
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Genres
True Crime / General
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Eligible for Family Library

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In two previous New York Times bestselling novels, Jefferson Bass enthralled readers with ripped-from-the-headlines forensic cases, memorable characters, and plots that "rival Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). Drawing on research at the Body Farm—three acres of land in the backwoods of Tennessee, where bodies are left to the elements to illuminate human decomposition—Bass has moved fiction to a fascinating new realm, with forensics expertise drawn from his five decades of work as the world's leading forensic anthropologist. But this latest novel cements Jefferson Bass as one of the finest writers of suspense working today, and in a work of drama, cunning, and heartbreak, thrills the reader with fiction that feels all too real.

A woman's charred body has been found inside a burned car perched atop a hill in Knoxville. Is it accidental death, or murder followed by arson? Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton's quest for answers prompts an experiment straight from Dante's Inferno: In the dark of night, he puts bodies to the torch, researching how fire consumes flesh and bone.

In the meantime, Brockton is sent a mysterious package—a set of cremated remains that looks entirely unreal. With the help of a local crematorium, he investigates and discovers a truth too horrifying to believe: A facility in another state has not been disposing of bodies properly, instead scattering them all around the grounds.

Little does Brockton know that his research is about to collide with reality—with the force of a lit match meeting spilled gasoline. En route to trial, his nemesis, medical examiner Garland Hamilton, has escaped from custody. What follows is a deadly game of cat and mouse, played for the ultimate stakes: Brockton's own life. With help from his loyal graduate assistant, Miranda, and ace criminalist Art Bohanan, Brockton eventually tracks Hamilton, but when the police arrive, they find only a smoldering ruin. Sifting through the ashes, Brockton finds the incinerated remains of Hamilton . . . or does he? The answer—along with Brockton's ultimate test—comes in a searing moment of truth.

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One late spring evening in 2010, Shannan Gilbert, after running through the oceanfront community of Oak Beach screaming for her life, went missing. No one who had heard of her disappearance thought much about what had happened to the twenty-four-year-old: she was a Craigslist prostitute who had been fleeing a scene—of what, no one could be sure. The Suffolk County Police, too, seemed to have paid little attention—until seven months later, when an unexpected discovery in a bramble alongside a nearby highway turned up four bodies, all evenly spaced, all wrapped in burlap. But none of them Shannan's.

There was Maureen Brainard-Barnes, last seen at Penn Station in Manhattan three years earlier, and Melissa Barthelemy, last seen in the Bronx in 2009. There was Megan Waterman, last seen leaving a hotel in Hauppage, Long Island, just a month after Shannan's disappearance in 2010, and Amber Lynn Costello, last seen leaving a house in West Babylon a few months later that same year. Like Shannan, all four women were petite and in their twenties, they all came from out of town to work as escorts, and they all advertised on Craigslist and its competitor, Backpage.

In a triumph of reporting—and in a riveting narrative—Robert Kolker presents the first detailed look at the shadow world of escorts in the Internet age, where making a living is easier than ever and the dangers remain all too real. He has talked exhaustively with the friends and family of each woman to reveal the three-dimensional truths about their lives, the struggling towns they came from, and the dreams they chased. And he has gained unique access to the Oak Beach neighborhood that has found itself the focus of national media scrutiny—where the police have flailed, the body count has risen, and the neighbors have begun pointing fingers at one another. There, in a remote community, out of sight of the beaches and marinas scattered along the South Shore barrier islands, the women's stories come together in death and dark mystery. Lost Girls is a portrait not just of five women, but of unsolved murder in an idyllic part of America, of the underside of the Internet, and of the secrets we keep without admitting to ourselves that we keep them.

In two previous New York Times bestselling novels, Jefferson Bass enthralled readers with ripped-from-the-headlines forensic cases, memorable characters, and plots that "rival Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). Drawing on research at the Body Farm—three acres of land in the backwoods of Tennessee, where bodies are left to the elements to illuminate human decomposition—Bass has moved fiction to a fascinating new realm, with forensics expertise drawn from his five decades of work as the world's leading forensic anthropologist. But this latest novel cements Jefferson Bass as one of the finest writers of suspense working today, and in a work of drama, cunning, and heartbreak, thrills the reader with fiction that feels all too real.

A woman's charred body has been found inside a burned car perched atop a hill in Knoxville. Is it accidental death, or murder followed by arson? Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton's quest for answers prompts an experiment straight from Dante's Inferno: In the dark of night, he puts bodies to the torch, researching how fire consumes flesh and bone.

In the meantime, Brockton is sent a mysterious package—a set of cremated remains that looks entirely unreal. With the help of a local crematorium, he investigates and discovers a truth too horrifying to believe: A facility in another state has not been disposing of bodies properly, instead scattering them all around the grounds.

Little does Brockton know that his research is about to collide with reality—with the force of a lit match meeting spilled gasoline. En route to trial, his nemesis, medical examiner Garland Hamilton, has escaped from custody. What follows is a deadly game of cat and mouse, played for the ultimate stakes: Brockton's own life. With help from his loyal graduate assistant, Miranda, and ace criminalist Art Bohanan, Brockton eventually tracks Hamilton, but when the police arrive, they find only a smoldering ruin. Sifting through the ashes, Brockton finds the incinerated remains of Hamilton . . . or does he? The answer—along with Brockton's ultimate test—comes in a searing moment of truth.

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