Morgue: A Life in Death (Hardcover)

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In this clear-eyed, gritty, and enthralling narrative, Dr. Vincent DiMaio and veteran crime writer Ron Franscell guide us behind the morgue doors to tell a fascinating life story through the cases that have made Di Maio famous-from the exhumation of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald to the complex issues in the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

Beginning with his street-smart Italian origins in Brooklyn, the book spans 40 years of work and more than 9,000 autopsies, and Di Maio's eventual rise into the pantheon of forensic scientists. One of the country's most methodical and intuitive criminal pathologists will dissect himself, maintaining a nearly continuous flow of suspenseful stories, revealing anecdotes, and enough macabre insider details to rivet the most fervent crime fans.

About the Author


Vincent Di Maio, MD, is an American pathologist and an internationally renowned expert on gunshot wounds. Now a private consultant who's performed more than 9,000 autopsies, he's played pivotal roles in some of the most provocative trials and death investigations of the past 40 years. Di Maio was chief medical examiner of San Antonio, Texas, until 2006. He is editor-in-chief of The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, and has been awarded many honors. In 2014, he was appointed to the U.S. Department of Justice's first-ever National Commission on Forensic Science to help develop uniform federal codes in death investigations.

Ron Franscell is a journalist whose work regularly appears in publications such as the Washington Post, Chicago Sun-Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Denver Post, San Jose Mercury-News, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. He is also a novelist, whose books include Angel Fire and The Deadline. He grew up in Wyoming and currently lives in Texas.

Praise For…


"[An] engrossing look behind the headlines of notorious homocides. . . . The often lurid, occasionally sad, and always intriguing details never overpower the drive for justice that fuels Di Maio's life and work. . . . A well-paced, thoughtful, and absorbing work that will fascinate crime buffs and scholars alike." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Vividly memorable and unsettling. . . . Utilizing high-profile and puzzling cases he has investigated, DiMaio illustrates just how critical a thorough autopsy and close attention to even the littlest details are. . . . Fans of the TV shows CSI, Bones, or Quincy, M.E., will love this book.”—Booklist (starred review)

“In my view, Ron Franscell is one of the very finest and most exciting true-crime writers in America. And he’s just the man I’d send behind the morgue doors for an unprecedented look at forensic medicine and its dramatically increasing role in modern justice. —Vincent Bugliosi, #1 New York Times bestselling author of "Helter Skelter" and prosecutor of Charles Manson

“The fascinating making of a global leader in forensic pathology from his Brooklyn beginnings tutored by his father, the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City, to San Antonio, Texas. From Trayvon Martin to Lee Harvey Oswald, Phil Spector, and the West Memphis Three, an expert’s insights into the real world of autopsies, exhumations and courtroom testimony.” —Michael M. Baden, M.D., former New York City Chief Medical Examiner

“Dr. Vincent Di Maio and Ron Franscell have produced a powerful book … in language and style that the lay person can easily comprehend. Di Maio comes across as fair and unbiased, and as a strong advocate for justice regardless of whether it is a defense attorney or prosecutor examining him on the stand. This is a book that you will not want to put down … I highly recommend this book, especially to forensic practitioners and lay persons interested in the criminal justice system.” —Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, Chairman of Forensic Sciences at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and commentator at CNN, Court TV, CBS, and others

“I thoroughly enjoyed this compelling read. So many fascinating reminiscences. So much factual detail of cases I only read about in the newspapers. Wonderful historical details too. This will certainly take pride of place on my pathology shelf.” —David McCallum, actor who plays NCIS medical examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard in the American television series NCIS.

“When one of the world’s most celebrated medical examiners teams up with one of the world’s best true-crime authors, the result is a brilliantly written forensic masterpiece. MORGUE is a must-read for all CSI fans. I highly recommend it.” —Steve Hodel, New York Times bestselling author of Black Dahlia Avenger and LAPD Homicide Detective (Ret.)

“Astonishingly good and compulsively readable, this book is what happens when one of the world’s most renowned medical examiners meets a veteran crime journalist. Part insider’s memoir, part CSI on steroids, this book is a must-read for all crime fans.” —Gregg Olsen, New York Times bestselling author of Starvation Heights and A Twisted Faith

“A forensic-literary tour de force, Di Maio and Franscell exhume some of the most controversial murders and deaths of our time for examination, from Trayvon Martin to Lee Harvey Oswald and Vincent Van Gogh, in this fascinating, new and uniquely compelling take on unsolved mysteries.” —Caitlin Rother, New York Times bestselling author of Lost Girls and Poisoned Love



Product Details
ISBN: 9781250067142
ISBN-10: 1250067146
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Pages: 288
Language: English