Blood Beneath My Feet
Nov 12, 2012
The Journey of a Southern Death Investigator
Author: Joseph Scott Morgan
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Feral House (July 3, 2012)
Have you ever been locked in a cooler with piles of decomposing humans for so long that you had to shave all the hair off your body in order to get rid of the smell? Joseph Scott Morgan did. Have you ever lit a Marlboro from the ignited gas of a bloated dead man's belly? Joseph Scott Morgan has. Have you ever wept over a dead dog while not giving a shit about the dead owner laying next him? Morgan did. Were you named after a murder victim? Joseph Scott Morgan was.
This isn't Hollywood fantasy—it's the true story of a boy born into the deprivations of a white trash trailer park who as an adult gets further involved in the desperate backdoor sagas of the "new South." No hot blondes here, just maggots, grief, and the truth about forensics and death investigation.
Joseph Scott Morgan became a death investigator with the Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office in suburban New Orleans in 1987, the youngest medicolegal death investigator in the country. During the day, Morgan worked in the morgue, and at night investigated for the coroner. In 1992 Morgan became senior investigator with the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office in Atlanta.
This book has been described as a memoir, and it is in a way - but not your warm fuzzy memories of your youth and 'this is what shaped me' type of memoir. These are hard, graphically descriptive memories of time on the job. Pulling burned bodies out of cars, finding fetuses in the trash, trying to get past all the blood and injuries on homicide victims to find clues, etc.
These are memories that drove Joseph nearly to the point of breakdown and they are described here very clearly and in great detail.
Along with the stories, and some very nice black and white pictures of his youth and family, is a full color middle section of extremely violent and graphic "crime scene" photographs - that I do wish I had been provided warning about before thinking "ooh, pictures! Fun, let's go look." I was extremely startled to realize what it was I was looking at.
This is a great book for the hard core crime novel reader. This tells it like it really is, no glamor and glitz. It is NOT a book for anyone with a squeamish bone.
But if you ever watch detectives and investigators at work by crime scene tape and wonder just what it is they do............this book will tell you.
Reviewed by Idgie. If you would like to have the Dew review a book, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org