Beyond the Body Farm

A Legendary Bone Detective Explores Murder, Mysteries, and the Revolution in Forensic Science
Narrated by: Tom McKeon
Length: 6 hrs and 17 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (204 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A pioneer in forensic anthropology, Dr. Bill Bass created the world's first laboratory dedicated to the study of human decomposition. Bill Bass' research at "the Body Farm" has revolutionized forensic science, helping police crack cold cases and pinpoint time since death. In this riveting book, the bone sleuth explores the rise of modern forensic science, using cases from his career to take readers into the real world of "CSI".

Some of Bill Bass' cases rely on the simplest of tools and techniques, while other cases hinge on sophisticated techniques Dr. Bass could not have imagined when he began his career: using computer data and video image processing to help identify murder victims; harnessing scanning electron microscopy to detect trace elements in knife wounds; and extracting DNA from a long-buried corpse, only to find that the female murder victim may have been mistakenly identified a quarter-century before.

Witty and engaging, Bass dissects the methods used by homicide investigators every day, leading liseners on an extraordinary journey into the high-tech science that it takes to crack a case.

©2007 Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Liked it

I am a huge fan of Bill Bass and after reading his first book (The body farm) years ago; I was pleased to find a second.
It is actual/factual yet not text bookish. A good read for forensic fans.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Forensic Geek Staple Reading

Fantastic, interesting read about the bone farm and some of Bass’ most noteworthy cases. Given the dated material it does predate some of the forensic tools used today or “as seen on tv”, but they started out somewhere (eg pioneering scientists, the dawn of forensic databases, use of technology in forensic anthropology/pathology).

Bass does goes into rather graphic detail when describing the conditions of the bodies found say after an explosion and how they go about identification. Just a little forewarning in case you are squeamish - which raises the question why are you reading a book titled beyond the body farm? His rather medically candid detailing of the bodies maybe disturbing to some. I personally found it interesting. Certainly made an impact on me when it came to how they went about identifying skeletonized remains.

Tom McKeon does a fabulous job narrating. His capable voice and cadence was perfect.

My only complaint is the cheesy blast of longer and louder than necessary elevator music that heralds in marking the end of one chapter and the start of another. It blurs over the reader at the start of each chapter and is very annoying. Unless it’s an audio drama there doesn’t need to be music, and certainly not louder than the reader or over top of the reader as they are beginning the story.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting Listen

If you like Patricia Corwell novels but want the reaaallll story behind all of the forensic information - here you go. I found it very interesting and even bought one of this author's fiction books to see how he does in that area.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I'll Be a Donor for Sure

If you've read Dr. Bass' previous non-fiction book, Death's Acre, you know exactly what you will be getting yourself into, but with substantially more grit. This is not as much a personal story of Dr. Bass as it is hard facts about tough cases. Dr. Bass never disappoints, and I am forever grateful for the work he has done in the forensic field, as we all should be. Good book, excellent man.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I'll Be a Donor for Sure

If you've read Dr. Bass' previous non-fiction book, Death's Acre, you know exactly what you will be getting yourself into, but with substantially more grit. This is not as much a personal story of Dr. Bass as it is hard facts about tough cases. Dr. Bass never disappoints, and I am forever grateful for the work he has done in the forensic field, as we all should be. Good book, excellent man.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Always a winner!

I have read other books about the body farm and have always been intrigued by the details and stories of the Dr. Blass. This book was exceptionally interesting because of the stories associated with his cases.....especially one...but you'll have to read the book to find out which one! Great book!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    out of 5 stars

Really interesting.

Fascinating book, wonderfully read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Informative and Entertaining

Dr. Bill Brass delivers a delightful mix of information and entertainment in his book, Beyond the Body Farm. In this book, he delves into fascinating aspects of forensics as well as interesting case studies. One of which, includes the mysterious events behind the death of the Big Bopper. The hard core facts are balanced by witty commentary and personal internal dialog. A great read for all forensic fans and highly recommended.


1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinatingly educational and informative

(As posted in GoodReads)
It's too bad it is abridged. Sigh. And the detour about Jay Richardson's (? The son of the Big Bopper) experience with the exhumation of his dad was a little unsettling in terms of the location, but for the most part it was enlightening and educational – and an extremely interesting work! It's interesting to have demonstrated some of the enlightening things about forensic studies. I knew there was a reason that I chose this book…

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

Excellent and Educational

Loved each and every second of this book. I highly recommend this as a purchase!