Morgue: A Life in Death

2017 EDGAR nominee!

Now in US paperback from Picador and
and various foreign languages around the world.

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Dead men tell tales.

Forensic science is booming. TV dramas, books and movies have made morgues cool. Complex technology and intricate research can take curdled blood, bone shards, and flakes of skin and turn them into justice. And Vincent Di Maio, MD, son of a famous New York City medical examiner, is one of the lions of forensic science in his own right. In this clear, gritty, and enthralling narrative, Di Maio himself guides us into the inner sanctum, through the cases that have made him famous, from the exhumation of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and the racially charged shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, to the unmasking of a serial baby-killer and the mysterious death of troubled genius Vincent van Gogh. Along the way, one of the country’s most methodical and intuitive criminal pathologists will dissect himself, maintaining a nearly continuous flow of suspenseful stories, revealing anecdotes, and enough macabre insider details to rivet the most fervent crime fans.

With a Foreword by Dr. Jan Garavaglia
Discovery Channel’s “Dr. G: Medical Examiner”


Praise for MORGUE

“In my view, Ron Franscell is one of the very finest and most exciting true-crime writers in America. And he’s just the man I’d send behind the morgue doors for an unprecedented look at forensic medicine and its dramatically increasing role in modern justice.”  —VINCENT BUGLIOSI, #1 New York Times bestselling author of “Helter Skelter” and Manson prosecutor

“To satisfy ‘CSI’ fans hungry for details about the decomposition of the human body, Di Maio obliges with some vividly depicted exhumations.”  — NEW YORK TIMES

“Explosive!” — RADAR ONLINE

“Engrossing … the often lurid, occasionally sad, and always intriguing details never overpower the drive that fuels Dr. Di Maio’s life and work. … Di Maio and Franscell deliver a well-paced, thoughtful, and absorbing work that will fascinate crime buffs and scholars alike.”  —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)

“DiMaio’s career reads more like a true crime novel than a personal narrative.”  —SAN ANTONIO MAGAZINE

“I thoroughly enjoyed this compelling read. So many fascinating reminiscences. So much factual detail of cases I only read about in the newspapers. Wonderful historical details, too. This will certainly take a place of pride on my pathology shelf.” —DAVID McCALLUM, star of CBS’ hit TV drama “NCIS” and forensic science buff

“The fascinating making of a global leader in forensic pathology from his Brooklyn beginnings tutored by his father, the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City, to San Antonio, Texas.  From Trayvon Martin to Lee Harvey Oswald, Phil Spector, and the West Memphis Three, an expert’s insights into the real world of autopsies, exhumations and courtroom testimony.” MICHAEL M. BADEN, M.D., former Chief Medical Examiner of New York City, author, and host of HBO’s “Autopsy”

“Extremely readable and engaging.”  SAN ANTONIO (TX) EXPRESS-NEWS

“Readers interested in forensic pathology, medical investigation, justice, courtroom dramas, and criminal law will find this book simply to die for.” — LIBRARY JOURNAL

“Breathtaking!”   RAINING BOOKS (Brazilian edition)

“Vincent Di Maio and Ron Franscell have produced a powerful book … in language and style that the lay person can easily comprehend. Di Maio comes across as fair and unbiased, and as a strong advocate for justice regardless of whether it is a defense attorney or prosecutor examining him on the stand. This is a book that you will not want to put down … I highly recommend this book, especially to forensic practitioners and lay persons interested in the criminal justice system.”  — DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, chairman of Forensic Sciences at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and commentator at CNN, Court TV, CBS, and others.

“In laudably dispassionate language, [Dr. Di Maio] offers a glimpse into the confounding and curious ways in which death can arrive, in the puzzles it presents and, ultimately, how evidence lives forever.” — MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE

“If you’ve got even one morbid bone in your body – heck, if even a morbid hair on your head – Morgue: A Life in Death is a book you’ll want to get your hands on.”  —

“Astonishingly good and compulsively readable, this book is what happens when one of the world’s most renowned medical examiners meets a veteran crime journalist. Part insider’s memoir, part CSI on steroids, this book is a must-read for all crime fans.” — GREGG OLSEN, NYTimes bestselling author of “Starvation Heights” and “A Twisted Faith”

“Corpse flies, gunshot residue, and a gaggle of grisly details make the stories in MORGUE vividly memorable and unsettling. Medical examiner DiMaio, along with journalist Franscell, provides a peek into the often wild world of forensic science. … Fans of the TV shows ‘CSI,’ ‘Bones,’ or ‘Quincy, M.E.,’ will love this book.”  — BOOKLIST (starred review)

“When one of the world’s most celebrated medical examiners teams up with one of the world’s best true-crime authors, the result is a brilliantly written forensic masterpiece. MORGUE is a must-read for all CSI fans. I highly recommend it.” — STEVE HODEL, NYTimes bestselling author of “Black Dahlia Avenger” and LAPD Homicide Detective (Ret.)


“A full plate, because it is not only an informative reading, but also addictive for those who love to read about real life crimes. … Prepare yourself for a dense, breathtaking reading, for Di Maio and Franscell do exactly what they promise: they explain the bare truth of what happens in a morgue.”  CONTRA CAPA (Brazilian edition)

“A forensic-literary tour de force, Di Maio and Franscell exhume some of the most controversial murders and deaths of our time for examination, from Trayvon Martin to Lee Harvey Oswald and Vincent Van Gogh, in this fascinating, new and uniquely compelling take on unsolved mysteries.” — CAITLIN ROTHER, NYTimes bestselling author of “Lost Girls” and “Poisoned Love”

One of the best true crime books of the year … a page-turner, MORGUE is one of those rare books that actually teach the reader something useful.— KIDNAPPING, MURDER & MAYHEM

“MORGUE gives readers a detailed tour into graphic, sometimes hideous death scenes … it keeps you turning the page, as each chapter offers a case that you might think you know. But you probably don’t know as much as you think. In MORGUE, you’ll learn much more.”  —Forensic psychologist DR. KATHERINE RAMSLAND, in PSYCHOLOGY TODAY

(In American book-review journals, a starred review means the reviewer thinks the work is outstanding in its genre.)


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