Dead Center
Shiya Ribowsky & Tom Schachtman
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Buy *Dead Center: Behind the Scenes at the World's Largest Medical Examiner's Office* by Shiya Ribowsky & Tom Schachtman online

Dead Center: Behind the Scenes at the World's Largest Medical Examiner's Office
Shiya Ribowsky & Tom Schachtman
Regan Books
272 pages
September 2006
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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Those with an interest in forensics must pick up Dead Center: Behind The Scenes At the Worlds Largest Medical Examiner’s Office. The stunning look inside the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York (OCME) by co-writers Shiya Ribowsky and Tom Shachtman is a totally engaging read from the introduction all the way through its two hundred and forty-nine pages. The book opens up with Shiya’s memory of the tragic events of September 11th: how he walked to work because it was such a beautiful day; the shocked reaction of everyone in the office when the planes hit; the deployment of the chief medical examiner with some staff as first responders; and ultimately, the beginning efforts to start identifying the deceased.

“I wanted to go down with the chief, and at first I was disappointed when he told me to stay behind at the office. But somebody had to remain at headquarters to prepare for the task ahead. Whatever bodies were recovered at the site would have to be processed and identified, and as director of identifications for the office and senior medicolegal investigator (MLI) for Manhattan, it fell to me to start organizing or efforts.”
After that initial introduction the book goes on to describe Shiya’s training and experiences at the OCME: the happenings in his personal life that helped him choose this profession, the bizarre cases, the politics behind the scenes, and an actual autopsy procedure from start to finish. Through this section, Shiya goes from rookie (MLI-I) making rookie mistakes to moving up the ranks as an MLI-II, becoming more professional and being accepted by police officers as “one of the guys.”

From halfway into the book on, Shiya goes into what went into the daunting task of identifying the remains from the World Trade Center attacks. This section is thoroughly engrossing and gives much insight into the processes and emotional toll of doing that daunting task. Overall, Dead Center gives an amazingly intricate (and humanistic) look at what goes on at OCME.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Bobby Blades, 2006

buy *Dead Center: Behind the Scenes at the World's Largest Medical Examiner's Office* online
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