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
"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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you're looking for the life of DNA in REAL time this is the book for you.
If you're looking for an interesting true crime story keep looking.
This was not what I expected and found my mind wandering while trying to listen. It just did not capture my attention. Too much scientific babbling! I am not sure I cared for the narrator either.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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