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Pointing from the Grave: A True Story of Murder and DNA | [Samantha Weinberg]

Pointing from the Grave: A True Story of Murder and DNA

Helena Greenwood, a doctor with a Ph.D. in chemical pathology, was working in biotechnology when she was the victim of sexual assault. She survived and was scheduled to testify against her attacker until she was found brutally murdered in her garden. Everyone believed the killer was her past attacker; but there was not enough evidence to convict him, until ten years later when a local District Attorney working the "cold cases" used Helena's own DNA research to finally bring her killer to justice.
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Publisher's Summary

This is the true story of 35-year-old Helena Greenwood, a doctor with a Ph.D. in chemical pathology, who had recently moved with her husband from England to California. She was embarking on a new, exciting career in biotechnology when she was the victim of sexual assault in her own home. She survived and was scheduled to appear in court as the key witness against her attacker. But after moving to another town to escape her past, one morning she was found brutally murdered in her garden. Everyone believed the killer was her past attacker; but there was not enough evidence to convict him, until ten years later when a local District Attorney working the "cold cases" used Helena's own DNA research to finally bring her killer to justice.

Pointing from the Grave is not only a riveting true-crime story but also a fascinating history of the development of DNA research and its role in forensics, taking the reader on a virtual history of DNA with hard science presented in a very accessible and exciting way. It is also an unforgettable story about an unforgettable woman.

©2003 Samantha Weinberg; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"An expertly told, deeply satisfying account of a rotten crime solved by chemical sleuthing." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Fascinating stuff....a thoroughly researched account." (Washington Post Book World)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (97 )
5 star
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3.9 (27 )
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Story
3.9 (28 )
5 star
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Performance
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  •  
    reggie p PA 09-15-04
    reggie p PA 09-15-04 Member Since 2003

    reggie

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Perfect Book"

    This was the perfect audiobook for me--excellent writing, good subject, and great narrator. I learned about the history of DNA analysis as well as things about our justice system and human behavior. It was all couched in a gripping but tragic story about a woman scientist that kept me on the edge of my seat. It provided some technical details of DNA analysis but was not overwhelming or boring. I didn't want to turn it off. It was the fastest 12 hours of audio I have listened to in a while. Better than any work of fiction by a longshot.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Fremont, NE, United States 06-10-05
    Tim Fremont, NE, United States 06-10-05 Member Since 2004

    Computer Programmer and Worship Leader. Have enjoyed reading since my mom got me hooked on Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie prior to my teen years. My brother got me hooked on audio books after I started having a longer commute to work. Love a variety of genres.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "GREAT BOOK - Riveting Story!"

    I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with a couple of the other reviewers here. First of all - this was a riveting story! I took the CD out of my car at the end of the day and listened in the house to see how it was all going to come out.

    Although I agree with one reviewer that the narrator mispronounces a few locations, it had little to no impact on the book. Nadia May is one of my favorite narrators, and it's always a pleasure to listen to her.

    While the historical background of the discovery of DNA and the subsequent discoveries regarding its forensic use may slow the pace of the book for some readers, there are others who will find this background information very interesting and inseparable from the story. Personally, I don't think we would respect an author who wrote a book of this type and didn't give us a moderate amount of background material on the technology that is at the heart of the story.

    The one truth that really stands out after reading this book is the fact that while only one person was truly murdered, those close to the main characters in a murder often have their lives ruined as a result of one person's choice to take a life.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonny Linden, MI, USA 12-21-05
    Bonny Linden, MI, USA 12-21-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Can an audio book be a"

    I enjoyed this audio book, and didn't want to "put it down". Good work! I probably would not recommended this book for those who get bored with scientific discussions, however I felt the science was discussed in a very understandable way, and was appropriate to the story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Celia New Orleans LA 07-29-05
    Celia New Orleans LA 07-29-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating!"

    Don't worry about the in depth description of the emergence of DNA, sometimes you lose track of what in the world is going on, but it doesn't matter. Soon enough, you can pick up the thread and in no way is the story compromised - plus most of the DNA subject matter is very, very interesting. Underneath it all is the sad and poignant story of Helena Greenwood and her family. This is two fascinating stories in one - one scientific and one very human. I had a little trouble in the beginning with the reader but she grew on me as time went on.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra San Diego, CA, United States 10-10-07
    Sandra San Diego, CA, United States 10-10-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "good listen!"

    I really enjoyed this book. I had to laugh out loud when you could hear a dog (or human) snoring in the background on occasion. It is technical but not so much so that a lay person would get lost or bored. It's interesting and I looked forward to getting in my car so I could listen again...I found the historical development of DNA as a forensic tool very interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen New York, NY, USA 08-05-06
    Kathleen New York, NY, USA 08-05-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "alright already"

    I love this genre but the writer of the book needed an editor, desperately. And, the audio production was very sloppy. Numerous re-reads of sections, very jarring, and contributing to the already over-long telling of the tale. Brevity is the soul of wit. I love details but this lacks tautness and discriminations between what to include and what is just windy. The author inserts herself into the story late in the day and can't seem to tear herself away -- it is not about her. Ultimately the reader drowns in the numbing details of DNA and genetic science and gets tired of the whole story.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caroline Morgan Hill, CA, USA 04-06-05
    Caroline Morgan Hill, CA, USA 04-06-05
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    "Great True Crime Story, Stuffy British narrator"

    I am an avid fan of true crime, and I was so looking forward to this book. I think the writing and depth of the content was excellent, however the stuffy female British narration left me dry. Many words were mispronounced, especially when referring to California communities. Also irksome was the use of British "slang" words used in American witness quotes. This annoying effect made the perpetrator of this heinous murder crime sound like an upper class genius, which he was not. Even thought the victim was British, the narration was severely lacking the firm touch and correct vernacular need to establish believability and excitement.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 10-09-13
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 10-09-13 Member Since 2010

    Audio-addict!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is a great audiobook! 5+ stars"

    Samantha Weinberg had written an exceptional book! It is both a fascinating true crime story and a discussion of the history and advances of DNA use in forensic science. Brilliantly written, Pointing From the Grave is perfectly paced to keep the listener mesmerized until the very last word!

    I actually could not sleep last night because I wanted to know what happened next!! I could not stop listening.

    Making the experience all the more enjoyable is narrator Nadia May, who also narrates under the names Wanda Mccaddon and Donada Peters. Ms May is easily one of the finest narrators in the business. Certainly at the top of my list!

    Highly recommended!!

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia New Bern, NC, United States 05-23-13
    Patricia New Bern, NC, United States 05-23-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "For the Detail Oriented!"

    This book was very good in the details of the crime and getting to know the characters involved. The less than five stars are given due to trememdous detail on DNA processing and research. I love the topic but sometimes wanted the story line to back rather than the detail. You'll enjoy the story....give it a try!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ralph Corpus Christi, TX, USA 03-13-05
    Ralph Corpus Christi, TX, USA 03-13-05
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    "DNA DETAILED"

    This would have been a terrific book but for the amount of detail applied to the development of DNA science. The basic story was well done and developed however I thought it was too often hampered by an incredible amount of time spent on the origin of this science.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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