Unnatural Causes
The dead do not hide the truth and they never lie. Through me the dead can speak ... As the country's top forensic pathologist, Dr Richard Shepherd has spent a lifetime uncovering the secrets of the dead.When death is sudden or unexplained, it falls to Shepherd to establish the cause. Each post-mortem is a detective story in its own right - and Shepherd has performed over 23,000 of them. Through his skill, dedication and insight, Dr Shepherd solves the puzzle to answer our most pressing question: how did this person die?From serial killer to natural disaster, 'perfect murder' to freak accident, Shepherd takes nothing for granted in pursuit of 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.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.'Heart-wrechingly honest' Sue Black, author of All That Remains

Unnatural Causes Details

TitleUnnatural Causes
Author
ReleaseSep 20th, 2018
PublisherMichael Joseph
ISBN-139780718182717
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Crime, True Crime, Science, Medical, Autobiography, Memoir, Health, Medicine, Mystery

Unnatural Causes Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    Dr Richard Shepherd writes a fascinating and riveting blend of autobiography and memoir about his time as a top forensic pathologist in Britain. He has been involved in too many to count headlining criminal cases, disasters, and terrorist incidents in recent British history. He has carried out almost 25,000 post mortems, a head spinning number, in his search to determine the truth of how a person died. The nature of truth itself is a complex and complicated beast that he has to tussle with. Give Dr Richard Shepherd writes a fascinating and riveting blend of autobiography and memoir about his time as a top forensic pathologist in Britain. He has been involved in too many to count headlining criminal cases, disasters, and terrorist incidents in recent British history. He has carried out almost 25,000 post mortems, a head spinning number, in his search to determine the truth of how a person died. The nature of truth itself is a complex and complicated beast that he has to tussle with. Given the nature of his profession, it is inevitable there are plenty of grisly aspects to his job, and to be honest, I completely respect Shepherd, he does a job I could not ever imagine wanting to do, I just would not be able to handle it, particularly given the close encounters with the dead on almost a every day basis, through all those years. And he himself is not left untouched as he provides insights into his personal life, the emotional wear and tear, and the toll it takes on his mental health and the impact on his family. I was surprised just how wide ranging aspects of his work are, including the need to be so well acquainted with extensive parts of the law. This is an insightful book, I was hugely impressed with Dr Richard Shepherd, his compassion, his dedication, determination, and using his expertise to act as a advocate for the dead. This is for true crime aficionados and crime fiction fans alike, its eye opening and knowledgeable about forensic pathology, providing real life clarity and written in a easy to read style. Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC.
    more
  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. When I saw this on Netgalley, I was intrigued. I was already reading a book on the concept of death and what comes after for bodies (Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers) so I was fascinated to read about the work of a pathologist in a world that still feels very inaccessible to the general public. The book encompasses many famous cases that Richard Shepherd has been directly involved with during what could be called the ‘gol I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. When I saw this on Netgalley, I was intrigued. I was already reading a book on the concept of death and what comes after for bodies (Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers) so I was fascinated to read about the work of a pathologist in a world that still feels very inaccessible to the general public. The book encompasses many famous cases that Richard Shepherd has been directly involved with during what could be called the ‘golden age’ of pathology, as well as examining the personal troubles pathologists may face in the course of their career. My first thought while reading was just how ‘human’ Richard Shepherd came across in his writing. He treats his patients with obvious care, and has a great passion for the profession and with passing that knowledge on. It was lovely to read about an individual who actively seeks to improve their profession, not only for their own benefit, but for the greater good. His writing certainly made the concept of post mortem more acceptable and less ‘scary’ or morbid. I found the content itself rather mixed. I think this is a result of the fact it was written over a long period of time, and is full of information, but unfortunately not all of it is that compelling. I loved the chapters based around his work and cases, which ranged from mass disasters like the Marchioness sinking to famous cases such as the Stephen Lawrence murder and Princess Diana. These cases are often described quite clinically, with a detached scientific approach, of how the autopsies are carried out and the processes and agencies involved. It’s empathetic and to the point but without getting too personal. The earlier sections also include some almost ‘Sherlock Holmes’ style deductions to cases that helped determine what happened to the deceased, which I really enjoyed. However, these become less frequent as the book progresses due to the changing nature of pathology as a profession and the introduction of DNA evidence. There are also some truly heartbreaking chapters dedicated to the difficult, and often controversial, subject of child autopsies. The subject is dealt with delicately, with a range of cases explored, while still managing to convey the emotional difficulties encountered by all involved. I would say that the book does tend to jump from case to case quite rapidly, sometimes disrupting the overall flow of the book. As it progresses these examples of cases also become less frequent, which was a shame as I found them so interesting. However, the latter half is compelling on a more personal level, as we see the harsher realities of experiencing so much death, as well as the often unnerving cross examinations in court which can lead to self doubt and PTSD. I personally would have preferred less focus on the author’s private life as I was less interested in it, however it does make him feel more approachable. A thoughtful insight into a closeted world that’s told with obvious passion and extensive knowledge of the subject.
    more
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    There's something indescribably fascinating about what comes after death. And I don't mean the whole heaven/hell scenario, but what happens during the inevitable breakdown of our bodies, the processed falling apart of that place we inhabit before some event, some failure, or some person takes it from us. As a forensic pathologist, Dr Richard Shepherd has dealt with death of all types, from everyday, natural passing to murder sprees like that at Hungerford. Sounds good, right? However, this suffe There's something indescribably fascinating about what comes after death. And I don't mean the whole heaven/hell scenario, but what happens during the inevitable breakdown of our bodies, the processed falling apart of that place we inhabit before some event, some failure, or some person takes it from us. As a forensic pathologist, Dr Richard Shepherd has dealt with death of all types, from everyday, natural passing to murder sprees like that at Hungerford. Sounds good, right? However, this suffers on two fronts. The first being that it's not enough about the cases. I find the dead interesting, the drama of the doctor's life much less so, and there's far too much of the latter. My fault for not checking the focus, but honestly his struggles with his private life were not what I wanted to read about. The book sets a very emotional tone and it was hard going. Pretty quickly I decided to skip anything personal and just read about his work. However, this leads to the second problem- the basic and uninspiring nature of the storytelling. The book has no flow, it's stilted and manages to make even the sections dealing with murder a little bit tedious. Sadly, he is not one of those people who can transfer their exceptional talent into an engaging tale.So, if you want a medical memoir with a strong dose of personal reflection and emotional contemplation, this may be for you, but my recommendation would be to read All That Remains: A Life in Death. Unfortunately, this one is not nearly as interesting as it sounds.ARC via Netgalley
    more
  • K.J. Charles
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely excellent. A fascinating read about the life of a forensic pathologist, full of not just intriguing details about bodies and what we do to them, but also a lot of honesty about the emotional toll on the pathologist and the bereaved. Really compelling and extremely well and fluently written.
    more
  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Usually with non fiction I read in dribs and drabs around my other reads – not so with “Unnatural Causes” which I read from cover to cover whilst barely drawing breath.A fascinating man and a fascinating life – Dr Richard Shepherd tells it how it is and his involvement in so many high profile cases makes this a hugely compelling look behind the scenes, beyond all those news stories and into the true realities. From Hungerford to 9/11 his very honest and genuinely compassionate way of describing Usually with non fiction I read in dribs and drabs around my other reads – not so with “Unnatural Causes” which I read from cover to cover whilst barely drawing breath.A fascinating man and a fascinating life – Dr Richard Shepherd tells it how it is and his involvement in so many high profile cases makes this a hugely compelling look behind the scenes, beyond all those news stories and into the true realities. From Hungerford to 9/11 his very honest and genuinely compassionate way of describing events, challenges and difficult truths is endlessly, brilliantly evocative.What struck me was his way of giving as much to the smaller, everyday tragedies as to the hugely well known ones. Every case he takes on gets the same descriptively emotional resonance and his obviously moral determination that the truth will out, however unpalatable that truth may be.He is also very open about his own faults and rather than holding himself up as infallible, keeps the fact of his humanity and his own human errors – whether professional or personal – woven into the narrative as seamlessly as his successes. This makes for a genuine understanding of the world of Forensic pathology, a subject I now know more about than I ever thought I would, as well as of the man himself.I thought it was brilliant. I’m sure that Unnatural Causes barely scratches the surface of a life and career ongoing.Highly Recommended.
    more
  • Tariq Mahmood
    January 1, 1970
    Very interesting read about a subject I knew little about. The book is an autobiography the author, his love for extracting the truth from dead bodies. I thought he did a commendable job in presenting his excitement across to the reader. I got to know details of the postmortem, and all the mysteries a dead body hides.The book reads like a glorified diary with the author's personal life's story juxtaposed with his career.
    more
  • Carol - Reading Writing and Riesling
    January 1, 1970
    My View:For a pathologist this author makes a wonderful wordsmith! This is an intriguing narrative, a creative memoir that discusses the changes in society and attitudes to policing, medicine and science in an easy to read format that is engaging and illuminating. The discussion around autopsies, mass shootings/acts of terror and suspicious deaths are handled sensitively and considerately, the writer’s humanness shines through these sections of the book. The author is open, honest and empathetic My View:For a pathologist this author makes a wonderful wordsmith! This is an intriguing narrative, a creative memoir that discusses the changes in society and attitudes to policing, medicine and science in an easy to read format that is engaging and illuminating. The discussion around autopsies, mass shootings/acts of terror and suspicious deaths are handled sensitively and considerately, the writer’s humanness shines through these sections of the book. The author is open, honest and empathetic. This is a sensitively and intelligently written book that will appeal to lovers of memoir, history, true crime and social science.
    more
  • Kate~Bibliophile Book Club
    January 1, 1970
    I love a good medical memoir, so when I spotted Unnatural Causes I was definitely interested to read it. Richard Shepherd is a forensic pathologist who has dealt with some of the UK's biggest tragedies and this is his story. At times it is a difficult read due to the fact that it deals with "mans inhumanity to man" as he says himself, and it is not nice to read about. His own personal journey and emotions were well written, and it is definitely an emotive read. Recommended for sure if you like m I love a good medical memoir, so when I spotted Unnatural Causes I was definitely interested to read it. Richard Shepherd is a forensic pathologist who has dealt with some of the UK's biggest tragedies and this is his story. At times it is a difficult read due to the fact that it deals with "mans inhumanity to man" as he says himself, and it is not nice to read about. His own personal journey and emotions were well written, and it is definitely an emotive read. Recommended for sure if you like medical non-fiction.
    more
  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐This proved to be a fascinating account of the career and personal life of one of the country's foremost forensic pathologists, a gentleman who comes across as genuinely caring about the people he's working for - not just the dead themselves, but their families and wider society. Equally clear is that he cares about the noble principles of truth, justice and integrity, even in the face of incredibly challenging circumstances. The cases he worked on or was involved in were both run o 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐This proved to be a fascinating account of the career and personal life of one of the country's foremost forensic pathologists, a gentleman who comes across as genuinely caring about the people he's working for - not just the dead themselves, but their families and wider society. Equally clear is that he cares about the noble principles of truth, justice and integrity, even in the face of incredibly challenging circumstances. The cases he worked on or was involved in were both run of the mill and of international interest, from bar brawls to the Hungerford massacre. There's enough science and anatomy described to satisfy the curiosity of readers with a particular interest in the forensic side without being off-putting to the less scientifically-minded. Dr Shepherd's account is made all the more engaging for his sometimes tumultuous personal life and eventual struggle with anxiety and PTSD, which I was happy to read he has come to manage, and that the writing of this book was part of the process of coming to terms with all he's seen and done. Remarkable man and a well-written, accessible and fascinating book. Highly recommended for those with an interest in medicine and forensics.
    more
  • Nigel
    January 1, 1970
    In brief - This covers some fascinating cases and provides much information about the subject area. However I was never really gripped by it. 3 or maybe 3.5/5 and full review nearer publication
  • Sara Marsden
    January 1, 1970
    I devoured this book in a few hours, something I’ve not managed to do for a while now.I love reading about forensic science and this is perhaps the best of the nonfiction books I’ve read on the subject. Shepherd’s enthusiasm for his work and his respect for the people he worked on just shines through the pages. It’s incredible that someone who has such an emotionally taxing job that involves having to become quite resilient and hardened to death writes in such a poetic way with such tenderness t I devoured this book in a few hours, something I’ve not managed to do for a while now.I love reading about forensic science and this is perhaps the best of the nonfiction books I’ve read on the subject. Shepherd’s enthusiasm for his work and his respect for the people he worked on just shines through the pages. It’s incredible that someone who has such an emotionally taxing job that involves having to become quite resilient and hardened to death writes in such a poetic way with such tenderness towards these people. As he mentioned this is a man who has performed over 20,000 post-mortems and he hasn’t even retired yet. Considering the work cases he was on, many high profile, there is no arrogance here. He’s brutally honest about his life and his attitude towards displaying emotion in such a raw and refreshing way. I really loved it. This is how you write a memoir. I’d highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in forensics. I learnt a lot about the biology but also the politics that goes on regarding forensic pathology A wonderful read.
    more
  • Ashleigh
    January 1, 1970
    Unnatural Causes is the memoir of one of Britain's top forensic pathologists, Dr Richard Shepherd. This memoir chronicles Dr Shepherd's prolific career, as well as his personal life and how certain milestones helped and hindered his career.I'm a huge true crime fan and I especially love reading books by people who work in forensics or crime investigation. This book was a delight to read! When I say Dr Shepherd is a prolific forensic pathologist, I mean prolific. The man worked on over 23,000 p Unnatural Causes is the memoir of one of Britain's top forensic pathologists, Dr Richard Shepherd. This memoir chronicles Dr Shepherd's prolific career, as well as his personal life and how certain milestones helped and hindered his career.I'm a huge true crime fan and I especially love reading books by people who work in forensics or crime investigation. This book was a delight to read! When I say Dr Shepherd is a prolific forensic pathologist, I mean prolific. The man worked on over 23,000 post-mortems, including several of Britain's biggest disasters such as the Hungerford massacre and the Marchioness boat crash on the River Thames. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish, and highly recommend to anyone who has a love of true crime. Great read!
    more
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    From the victims of terrorist attacks, murders, serial killers, car accidents and seemingly straightforward natural deaths, one of the U.K’s top pathologists examines the cases that have defined his varied and fascinating career. I loved it and and couldn’t put this book down. The author documents in his book some of the most high profile unusual, controversial or unexpected deaths that have occurred either on home ground or abroad. He offered support after the 9/11 attacks on New York City, the From the victims of terrorist attacks, murders, serial killers, car accidents and seemingly straightforward natural deaths, one of the U.K’s top pathologists examines the cases that have defined his varied and fascinating career. I loved it and and couldn’t put this book down. The author documents in his book some of the most high profile unusual, controversial or unexpected deaths that have occurred either on home ground or abroad. He offered support after the 9/11 attacks on New York City, the London 7/7 bombings and even the death of princess Diana in the summer of 1997. The authors humility and never ending desire to find the truth at whatever cost is what comes across most strongly in his book - he repeatedly details how he had to learn to detach himself emotionally from his patient in order to find out the true cause of death. It’s simply astounding just how much the human body can tell us about the dying process. What is perhaps most touching is that writing this book has acted as a cathartic activity for the author and helped him to reflect on the impact his career has had on his own mental health, family life and wellbeing. Highly recommend for anyone interested in the link between crime and the medical sciences.
    more
  • Ruthy lavin
    January 1, 1970
    A fantastic, one sitting read, bringing enlightening insight into the fascinating life of Dr Richard Shepherd, eminent Forensic pathologist. He has worked on more than 230,000 autopsies, which is incredible in its own right, over a career spanning 40 years. Some of his cases are extremely high profile - Princess Diana being one of them. Written honestly and openly, this book is a revelation.
    more
  • Jo
    January 1, 1970
    Shepherd is one of the UK's top forensic pathologists; this is his story. He has worked on many high profile cases from serial killers to terrorist attacks to mass murders. This was fascinating and an absorbing read.
  • Flapper72
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing book. Obviously kindle recommends have got me sussed! Another book I downloaded after a recommendation from amazon and a cheap deal. I always then admit that I'm a medic and wonder if that might make me see some of these books differently but I think that this really would be a great read for everyone. A forensic pathologist who has been involved in so many high profile cases during his career it really is quite astounding. Hungerford, Stephen Laurence, Rachel Nickel, Lady Di, 9/11 etc e Amazing book. Obviously kindle recommends have got me sussed! Another book I downloaded after a recommendation from amazon and a cheap deal. I always then admit that I'm a medic and wonder if that might make me see some of these books differently but I think that this really would be a great read for everyone. A forensic pathologist who has been involved in so many high profile cases during his career it really is quite astounding. Hungerford, Stephen Laurence, Rachel Nickel, Lady Di, 9/11 etc etc etc. It's a part of medicine I never really think about but the way that forensic pathologist used to work was astounding - being called out to crimes, seeing victims in situ, taking notes there, then, back to the mortuary, full external examination and then the part we all think about, the internal examination. Patients are still referred to as patients and the forensic pathologist was integral to all these crimes and paid by the government. His experience leaves me speechless and the all encompassing way that cases would take over his life. Thinking about the wounds, the bruising, the way the patient was found. Thinking back to other cases, other experiences and learning from them so that, over his career, he became an expert in knife crime - what knife caused the crime, which wound caused the injury. Also, how he instigated change in restraint of vulnerable individuals and set up a training course after he noticed an increasing number of people dying whilst being restrained. I know this review is all over the place but, genuinely, it was quite amazing. Not surprisingly, it took it's toll on Dr Shepherd personally. Also, there has been a change in funding of forensic pathologists such that the government (universities, medical schools) no longer pay forensic pathologists to lecture and thus they are now self employed. They're maybe not called in early in crimes or unclear deaths, we, as a population might suffer not knowing things and not being able to change for the future. The experience of a career and working as part of a team meant that Dr Shepherd was able to change things for us, the British public, (restraint of vulnerable individuals leading to increased death, Rachel Nickel's death being linked to another similar attack, his experience in knife injuries being used in convicting Stephen Laurence's killers) I worry that in this brave new world where pathologists are only called if it's blatantly obviously does a disservice to many people in our society who are no longer able to tell their story.
    more
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Book reviews on www.snazzybooks.com This is such an interesting book; it's right up my street as it sort of combines elements of 'true crime' with medicine and gives me, as the reader, an insight into how forensic pathology works - these combined together makes a truly intriguing read!Richard Shepherd writes in quite a factual way, so if you're a fan of dramatic retellings then you're probably better looking elsewhere. I am glad of this; it lends the proper respect and care to the work - after a Book reviews on www.snazzybooks.com This is such an interesting book; it's right up my street as it sort of combines elements of 'true crime' with medicine and gives me, as the reader, an insight into how forensic pathology works - these combined together makes a truly intriguing read!Richard Shepherd writes in quite a factual way, so if you're a fan of dramatic retellings then you're probably better looking elsewhere. I am glad of this; it lends the proper respect and care to the work - after all, most of the content is about people who have died, and this book highlights the stress and pressures of being a forensic pathologist. It also opened my eyes to the political implications of some cases, without being too dry or complicated. At times I felt a bit queasy reading about the autopsies but that's no surprise as I'm not great with gory details!I absolutely loved that the book covers so many key historical moments, some of which I remembered and some I'd heard about - these included: Princess Diana's death in 1997 and the absolute furore over the incident; 9/11; the murder of Stephen Lawrence, and many more. It was so interesting to read about well-known cases from a different point of view - namely from that of the pathologist working the case. The many things they have to consider, and the wide-range of medical knowledge which is required to do their job, is something I found very interesting to read about.I think I'd prefer less information about the author's personal and family life - although this does of course feed into elements of his career and the pressure of trying to juggle family life with big cases - but the interesting case details more than made up for this in my opinion!Many thanks to Michael Joseph for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.
    more
  • Gayle Noble
    January 1, 1970
    Dr Richard Shepherd has had a long and distinguished career in forensic pathology, and has worked on some of the UK's most famous cases including the notorious Harold Shipman, a doctor who killed many, perhaps hundreds of his patients. Dr Shepherd has also worked on the fallout from some of the worst terrorist attacks and disasters of the last thirty years.I've always had an interest in forensic science and pathology is definitely one area that fascinates me. Whilst reading this book, I was stru Dr Richard Shepherd has had a long and distinguished career in forensic pathology, and has worked on some of the UK's most famous cases including the notorious Harold Shipman, a doctor who killed many, perhaps hundreds of his patients. Dr Shepherd has also worked on the fallout from some of the worst terrorist attacks and disasters of the last thirty years.I've always had an interest in forensic science and pathology is definitely one area that fascinates me. Whilst reading this book, I was struck by how different the actual job is to what is portrayed onscreen. (I was absolutely aghast, and yet not surprised, at the fact that pathology has been allowed to fall prey to the academic insistence on research above all and perhaps even cost-cutting. Very sad state of affairs. Especially when you consider what an important job it is.) I felt that the author did a good job of balancing out the personal information alongside the work. The author was also extremely honest about his dealings with PTSD and having his competency questioned towards the end. Naturally I found the cases compelling reading, especially the ones about Diana, Princess of Wales, and the sinking of the Marchioness. They were detailed without being sensationalist, graphic without being overly gory. It is a fascinating book and one that I would recommend to anyone with an interest in this area. Thanks to NetGalley and publishers, Penguin UK - Michael Joseph, for the opportunity to review an ARC.
    more
  • Andi
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant! I feel as though I have learnt so much about death and how our bodies die. Also how the system works when someone has had a tragic death. I watch and read lots of crime dramas but this book describes it at the coal face! Absolutely mesmerising stuff! Thank you for your care and expertise Dr. Shepherd but please don’t take this the wrong way but I don’t want to meet one of your colleagues 😉.
    more
  • Helen Costello
    January 1, 1970
    I'm well known for my love of books on a medical theme so this one was always going to be up my street. With some autobiographies they can be a bit dry though but I needn't have worried about this one. Its incredible how many well known disasters Richard Shepherd has been involved in but for each post mortem he always treats each of the deceased with respect. For all my love of medical procedures (reading about them, not having them!) I can still be rather squeamish but this book didn't bother m I'm well known for my love of books on a medical theme so this one was always going to be up my street. With some autobiographies they can be a bit dry though but I needn't have worried about this one. Its incredible how many well known disasters Richard Shepherd has been involved in but for each post mortem he always treats each of the deceased with respect. For all my love of medical procedures (reading about them, not having them!) I can still be rather squeamish but this book didn't bother me. There are descriptions of bodies having post mortem and murder scenes but it is so fascinating that there was no need to feel nauseous.
    more
  • Louise
    January 1, 1970
    An outstanding book that has you gripped from the first page to the last. Not for everyone - there are some scenes that some may describe as gruesome - but the care and dedication that Shepherd puts into his work from day 1 is incomparable. A must-read for anyone with any remote interest in the medical, pathology, or forensics field.
    more
  • Kolumbina
    January 1, 1970
    A really good book!!!
  • Grace
    January 1, 1970
    A fascinating read by an inspiring author. Dr Shepherd had worked on many cases included 9/11, the Hungerford massacre and the sinking of the Marchioness, Harold Shipman cases and the terrorist attack in Bali. He has had an incredible career which has taken him all over the globe. I certainly couldn't do his job but the fact he still has the same passion for it as when we first started out is amazing and admirable. 5 out of 5 stars doesn't seem enough.
    more
  • Noel Powell
    January 1, 1970
    I sort of came upon this book by accident. I had recently read the very funny "This is going to hurt" by Adam Kay about the life of a junior gynacoligist. I thought that I had enjoyed the jolly japes so much that I would read another medical autobiography. However this time the fun would be centred around cadavers not lady parts. Boy was I in for a surprise. No farcical comedy here. It is a very serious book. Nonetheless I found myself being drawn in to the cases of infamous deaths through the e I sort of came upon this book by accident. I had recently read the very funny "This is going to hurt" by Adam Kay about the life of a junior gynacoligist. I thought that I had enjoyed the jolly japes so much that I would read another medical autobiography. However this time the fun would be centred around cadavers not lady parts. Boy was I in for a surprise. No farcical comedy here. It is a very serious book. Nonetheless I found myself being drawn in to the cases of infamous deaths through the eyes of the man who cuts up the bodies to find the clues. Thousands of bodies. While fascinating though this career was, it has a heavy price. There is a thread of doom, melancholy and misery through out this book but you feel you have to turn the page. The writer would seem to be an unemotional type to begin but his choice of career and the need to close off mentally sees him being dragged down into PTSD. So you read on for the compelling murder puzzles while also have a sinking feeling. Its like watching disaster from afar. Its fascinating and sad at the same time but you just have to look. I should say it is very well written. It is a very different book from the one I thought I was going to read but I am glad that I have read it all the same.
    more
  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    Unnatural Causes is an autobiography, memoir of Britain’s top forensic pathologist.It’s never an area that I have thought much about but it is truly incredible. To be able to identify from a dead body, the exact cause of death is fascinating.The cases that Dr Shepherd writes about include high profile cases such as Lady Diana, serial killers and mass murderers, terrorist and natural disasters. It was interesting to read how pathology had changed from when he first began practicing to how it is n Unnatural Causes is an autobiography, memoir of Britain’s top forensic pathologist.It’s never an area that I have thought much about but it is truly incredible. To be able to identify from a dead body, the exact cause of death is fascinating.The cases that Dr Shepherd writes about include high profile cases such as Lady Diana, serial killers and mass murderers, terrorist and natural disasters. It was interesting to read how pathology had changed from when he first began practicing to how it is now. With body fat, tattoos and piercings and self-harm being more common it today’s society. I am in awe of any pathologist who can do autopsies on humans of all ages who have experienced so many causes of death and be able to separate their own lives from their work. Shepherd had his own personal experiences and described his PTSD as being caused by seeing constantly man’s inhumanity to man.A really fascinating and interesting book.🥼🔪 🧬 💀
    more
  • Dorothyredboots
    January 1, 1970
    Audiobook, well read by the author. I thought this was fascinating. I didn't know an awful lot about the work of forensic pathologists and it would have been interesting simply to explore that topic. The fact that Dr Shepherd was involved in some very high profile cases, and some major disasters (natural and man-made) added another dimension to his story. It is easy to see how his chosen career took a toll on him mentally and it came across how much the profession, like so many others, has chang Audiobook, well read by the author. I thought this was fascinating. I didn't know an awful lot about the work of forensic pathologists and it would have been interesting simply to explore that topic. The fact that Dr Shepherd was involved in some very high profile cases, and some major disasters (natural and man-made) added another dimension to his story. It is easy to see how his chosen career took a toll on him mentally and it came across how much the profession, like so many others, has changed very rapidly and not necessarily for the better. I was interested to hear about the trauma that was sometimes involved in giving evidence in court and how our adversarial judicial system seeks to find a truth; not necessarily THE truth. It was sad that his marriage failed and I was a bit frustrated that neither he nor his wife seemed prepared to work to save it. He was obviously a good and proud father and credit to him for that. Dr Shepherd comes across as a very likeable, genuine person and one I'd quite like to meet and chat to. His writing is clear and accessible when talking about scientific matters and lively when discussing personal issues. I did think the endings of some of the chapters was a bit odd, the transitions not always smooth for me, but that is a very minor complaint. Well worth spending time with this man.
    more
  • James
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed Unnatural Causes. While it obviously provides a lot of detail on the life of a Home Office forensic pathologist, the most striking thing for me was how the profession has changed over time. Dr Shepherd has the unique perspective as a long serving member of the pathology community to describe the introduction of DNA analysis and the impacts it had on criminal investigations, and how this impacted field work by both police and medical professionals. Some reviewers have comment I thoroughly enjoyed Unnatural Causes. While it obviously provides a lot of detail on the life of a Home Office forensic pathologist, the most striking thing for me was how the profession has changed over time. Dr Shepherd has the unique perspective as a long serving member of the pathology community to describe the introduction of DNA analysis and the impacts it had on criminal investigations, and how this impacted field work by both police and medical professionals. Some reviewers have commented that the book focuses too much on personal endeavours as opposed to pathology. I, however, feel that there is an excellent balance of personal to work life content, and all personal life content was directly relevant to how it was impacted by the author's work.Overall, an excellent read which I sped through and simply could not put down.
    more
  • Ana
    January 1, 1970
    This had sooo much potential.One of the top forensic pathologists, personally involved in some of the most famous forensic cases in Britain of the last 30 years. Surely a memoir by him would be chock-a-block full of interesting info on pathology and autopsies and forensic science?Nope.Instead we get a whole lot about his disintegrating first marriage - spoiler alert - and a lot about the admin involved in being a pathologist. yay.There are cases he outright refuses to really discuss at all, clai This had sooo much potential.One of the top forensic pathologists, personally involved in some of the most famous forensic cases in Britain of the last 30 years. Surely a memoir by him would be chock-a-block full of interesting info on pathology and autopsies and forensic science?Nope.Instead we get a whole lot about his disintegrating first marriage - spoiler alert - and a lot about the admin involved in being a pathologist. yay.There are cases he outright refuses to really discuss at all, claiming that basically the readership can't handle it, and for the others, well, not a lot is said either.The writing style was fairly easy to read - I devoured this in a few days - but the substance of it was not.
    more
  • Louise
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsThe whole new wave of medical memoirs is an interesting one,and I'm happy to read them when they come my way.There were some moments in this where I actually winced,but I don't think the author has gone overboard in his grusome explanations.In fact I feel I know a bit more about autopsies than I did before.The main reason I found this book so interesting,was it dealt with a lot of cases in the media I remember... so reading the other side of it was an experience.
    more
  • Didde Elnif
    January 1, 1970
    If you're interested in forensics, this is the book. It's a close discussion of cases through the latest 40 years of british crime history. Where Dame Sue Blacks book is about life and death and forensics, this is a much closer look at cases. If I'd known more of the cases (as I would have with a Danish equivalent), I would without a doubt have had an easier time telling them apart, but at one point it felled a bit like enumeration of cases. Overall it's an interesting read and well told read.
    more
Write a review