All That Remains

A Renowned Forensic Scientist on Death, Mortality, and Solving Crimes
By: Sue Black
Narrated by: Angela Dawe
Length: 10 hrs and 22 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (134 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For fans of Caitlin Doughty, Mary Roach, and CSI shows, a renowned forensic scientist on death and mortality.

Dame Sue Black is an internationally renowned forensic anthropologist and human anatomist. She has lived her life eye to eye with the Grim Reaper, and she writes vividly about it in this book, which is part primer on the basics of identifying human remains, part frank memoir of a woman whose first paying job as a schoolgirl was to apprentice in a butcher shop, and part no-nonsense but deeply humane introduction to the reality of death in our lives. It is a treat for CSI junkies, murder mystery and thriller fans, and anyone seeking a clear-eyed guide to a subject that touches us all.

Cutting through hype, romanticism, and cliché, she recounts her first dissection; her own first acquaintance with a loved one’s death; the mortal remains in her lab and at burial sites, as well as scenes of violence, murder, and criminal dismemberment; and about investigating mass fatalities due to war, accident, or natural disaster, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. She uses key cases to reveal how forensic science has developed and what her work has taught her about human nature.

Acclaimed by bestselling crime writers and fellow scientists alike, All That Remains is neither sad nor macabre. While Professor Black tells of tragedy, she also infuses her stories with a wicked sense of humor and much common sense.

©2018 Professor Dame Sue Black (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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What listeners say about All That Remains

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too much sap ...

This book had some interesting forensic information, but I purchased it anticipating a little bit more science. There was a lot of sappy reminiscences about her family and her family members that had died, and she went on about family that were alive, and frankly I wasn't looking for a book with a bunch of nostalgia.

5 people found this helpful

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I wanted a science book about forensics. I got a mostly-memoir instead.

I’m disappointed because I expected to read about forensic sciences, not an author waxing poetic about her thoughts, beliefs, and life experiences. This has too much feels and associated filler, because IMHO, it’s an autobiography/memoir w free-floating blather about meditation and/or various philosophical ramblings. It took me a long time to finish this book. I usually enjoy Audiobook versions, but unfortunately the Audible version is no better than Kindle. In many ways, it’s worse, because blathering is more annoying when skillfully narrated. When reading this review, please keep in mind that I was expecting to read about forensic sciences, and also, I’m amongst the minority of reviewers.

4 people found this helpful

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Scottish narrator needed

This was a fantastically interesting book and the woman who narrated did a fine job. However, this is the story of a Scottish woman’s experiences and should not have been narrated by an American woman. All the little linguistic quirks and expressions sounded SO weird!

3 people found this helpful

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Misleading description

I'm over two hours in and find this book to be much more of a personal history and self-analysis about facing her first cadaver and dealing with the death of her relatives than it is about science or crime solving. I was in it for the science and crime solving, so it falls flat. I find myself tuning in and out and not pausing it when I leave the room.

3 people found this helpful

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Bad narration

To be fair, the subject matter was great, but I couldn’t get over the pseudo-robotic voice.

6 people found this helpful

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Rigor Mortis

I could never find the 'hook' that would make me continue listening to its conclusion. I had quite different expectations than this book delivers. It is much more personal than scientific. Perhaps I wanted more existentialism or philosophy on the subjects of mortality and death. Whatever the reason, I bailed out less than two hours into it. Ms. Dawe shouldn't try to be flippant or funny. It just seemed contrived.

2 people found this helpful

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An Interesting Delight

This book was an interesting delight to listen to, and I hope the author and narrator work together again in future as I’d love to hear more!

3 people found this helpful

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One tiny criticism

This was a MOST fascinating book. I am very much looking forward to her next. My only criticism (and it’s not specifically about the narrator), is that I wish the narrator had a Scottish accent. The reader was perfectly fine, but I think that would have added something entirely different. Highly recommended.

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Fantastic book about death

This is not your average book talking about death and the fact that you are going to die. But rather, that in life by helping the dead you yourself can also become more connected to death.

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loved it

working in the medical field, I understand and appreciate her macabre sense of humor. This book is also enlightening and thought provoking.

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  • Ronald
  • 07-11-19

Frustrated

I really enjoyed this book except for 1 factor. The narration! I didn’t know much about Sue Black & assumed she was American until it was clear fm the text that she is British!!! So why is the narration in an American accent?!?!? At the very least it should b a ‘Standard’ English if not a Northern accent, at least close to the Author’s own. This would not be hard to research. A quick phone call to Mrs Black would be enough to ascertain which narrator to hire! The narration itself was fine but constantly distracting as not authentic to the context of the book. If it were fiction, I suspect more effort would be made to ‘set the scene’. So this book is best read, not heard on Audible. Then the reader will naturally build a more accurate ‘image’ of Mrs Black. I especially enjoyed the chapter on the author’s life/death choices & her discussion of her decisions for meeting death. Refreshing! Audible: please re-record this properly!!!!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • sean Buchanan
  • 07-05-19

Are there no voice artists in Scotland?

This is a well written, honest and heart wrenching account by one of Scotland's great natural scientists. But the authenticity is lost in the performance of the audiobook which is read by an American. In the end I was sorry I bought the audiobook rather than the Kindle or paperback. If you are looking for technical descriptions of forensic activities or case studies of criminal exploits this is not the book for you. It is a very personal account of the intersection of the author's personal and professional lives with some 19th century naturalist style musings thrown in for good measure. An excellent book, inappropriately produced as an audiobook.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-04-19

Interesting Book

Good book let down by the narration. It is obvious that the author and indeed the story is Scottish so it lost some credibility and enjoyment that the narrator has a North American accent!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dogwoman
  • 09-07-19

Scottish author, American narrator

Book was enjoyable and interesting to listen to but the awful accent of the American narrator was just too much for me I’m afraid.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-13-19

for those who would rather know

loved it really interesting and varied wish I'd met Uncle Willy he and the older guy who donated his body to medical science were proper characters. Plain speaking no nonsense and yet sensible and reassuring

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bambiofthefens
  • 06-05-20

disappointed

The main issue I have with this book is the author makes a lot of references to being Scottish and stories from Scotland, and its then read by an American. I feel it takes away from the story.

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  • Rah
  • 06-07-19

human experience through the eyes of death

Brilliant non-fiction depicting the experience of a forensic anthropologist. interesting perspective on life and death.