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Buy *Deadhouse: Life In A Coroner's Office* online

Deadhouse: Life In A Coroner's Office

John Temple
University Press of Mississippi
184 pages
April 2005
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars
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Deadhouse: Life In A Coronerís Office is John Templeís (former staff writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune and the Tampa Tribune) compelling look at life and death at the Allegheny County Coronerís Office. We follow two female interns, Tracy and Carey, as they learn the lingo and get occasional advice from the nationally known Dr. Cyril Wecht. Particularly interesting is Tracy, who is less the pathology buff (she canít even watch a bloody slasher flick) and more interested in the crime laboratory. Her first day is a doozy:

Fifteen minutes ago, Tracy saw her first dead body. Now here she is, a summer intern riding with a death investigator to confront a second one. In the backseat of the aging red Chevy Blazer, Tracy tries to prepare for whatís coming: an old lady, dark patches on her neckÖ possibly murdered. Thatís all Tracy knows. She wonders if there will be blood. She wonders how she will handle it.

Tracy knows, of course, that sheíll see plenty of dead bodies during her internship at the coronerís office Ė she just hadnít expected quite so many, quite so soon. Her first shift at the coronerís office began half an hour earlier. She was still meeting folks when a deputy coroner asked her to help him turn a body over to a funeral home director. The deputy wheeled a gurney into an elevator, and Tracy rode down with him, feeling jumpy right next to that bright blue plastic body bag.

And then, unexpectedly, in the garage, the funeral director unzipped the bag to check the identification bracelet. Tracy saw her Ė the sleeping face and limp arm. The deep incision that began her shoulder and headed for the stomach Ė the autopsy cut. Tracy knew the woman felt no pain but nevertheless she winced.
Clocking in at one hundred and seventy two pages and interspersed with small chunks of history, Deadhouse: Life In A Coronerís Office is a fast, enjoyable read. The prose is smooth and flows just right for those who donít want to get walloped with a vast amount of science.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Bobby Blades, 2005

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