A former crime-scene investigator describes the stuff that perps take away from the places they violate and, particularly, the stuff they leave behind.
Mortality, perforce, is featured in Kollmann’s forensic follies. Death and defecation play equally well in her reminiscences of a decade in the Baltimore crime lab. Maybe the jejune gallows humor in this criminological procedural is simply an attempt to gain necessary emotional distance and preserve professional perspective. That’s no excuse, however, for the lax, slapdash prose that informs this “blood and brains in the shag carpeting” school of narrative. Kollmann has the means, opportunity and certainly the motive to tell of her grisly adventures. She provides some instruction about human, animal and plant DNA as well as livor, algor and rigor mortis. (There were no open caskets for her subjects.) She touches on crime-scene preservation, protocols and procedures. She works suicides on Sundays and burglaries on Mondays. She dons her Kevlar vest and waits for the medical examiner. She dusts for prints, snaps photos, measures and sketches. Our perky CSI figures out where bodies are buried by checking the growth of covering greenery. She finds clues in the putrefaction, stories in the body sludge and evidence in the gore. She encounters funny cops, freaky witnesses, giant roaches, endemic filth, rabid people and dogs. As her title hints, she aims to transmute all the blood and guts she sifts through into jaunty entertainment. Readers will decide for themselves if this rises to a reasonable level of humor.
CSI in a frivolous mood.