Wecht, a forensic pathologist and lawyer (Cause of Death, 1993), provides disappointingly little insight into some...


"GRAVE SECRETS: A Leading Forensic Expert Reveals the Startling Truth about O.J. Simpson, David Koresh, Vincent Foster, and Other Sensational Cases"

Wecht, a forensic pathologist and lawyer (Cause of Death, 1993), provides disappointingly little insight into some sensational trials and tragedies of recent years. Wecht is often called in as an expert when local coroners have trouble establishing a cause of death or when attorneys need a fresh take on the record of an autopsy. But rather than concentrate on the interpretive abilities that have made him professionally so well known, Wecht includes a curious amount of padding here and even, in one chapter, offers transcripts of television interviews he gave on a case. Equally disappointing is his approach to some of the famous cases on which he's been consulted. Wecht provides page after page of gelatinous information about the Simpson case, including much rehashing of familiar material; along the way, he shares his personal beliefs about the Holocaust and offers an apologia for Johnny Cochran's use of bodyguards supplied by the Nation of Islam. As for forensic insight, he states two ""startling truths"": O.J. may have done it, and the police may have planted evidence. As for the deaths of David Koresh and his followers in Waco, the murder of Black Panther Fred Hampton by Chicago police in 1969, the mysterious death of White House counsel Vincent Foster (it was, Wecht decides, a suicide), and the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire in Kentucky in 1977, in which over one hundred people died--the author's takes frequently seem terse or incomplete, rough drafts for a memoir rather than detailed records of investigations or explanations of forensic science. He concludes with a curiously indecisive take on the so-called ""alien autopsy"" film screened on television last year. A sloppy, dissatisfying work from an author who has done better.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 1996


Page Count: 288

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1996