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Never Suck A Dead Man's Hand: Curious Adventures of a CSI PDF, ePub eBook This is a unique personal perspective on forensic science, written in a darkly humorous voice by an expert who worked as a crime scene investigator for over 10 years.

30 review for Never Suck A Dead Man's Hand: Curious Adventures of a CSI

  1. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    ***NO SPOILERS*** A book titled Never Suck a Dead Man’s Hand isn’t going to be normal. Dana Kollmann is a former crime scene investigator who here shares her most bizarre experiences on the job--and bizarre they are. The title comes from an on-the-job fiasco, and it’s not even the worst. During her ten years as a CSI, Kollmann saw it all--until she finally burned out, tired of sacrificing her whole life for the profession: “Overtime, court, and scheduling issues would cause me to miss countless b ***NO SPOILERS*** A book titled Never Suck a Dead Man’s Hand isn’t going to be normal. Dana Kollmann is a former crime scene investigator who here shares her most bizarre experiences on the job--and bizarre they are. The title comes from an on-the-job fiasco, and it’s not even the worst. During her ten years as a CSI, Kollmann saw it all--until she finally burned out, tired of sacrificing her whole life for the profession: “Overtime, court, and scheduling issues would cause me to miss countless bridal and baby showers, retirement and anniversary celebrations, weddings, birthday parties, doctor’s appointments, hair appointments, lunch dates, family dinners, and even the cookout that I was hosting.” She didn’t turn her back on forensics entirely, though. She now passes along her knowledge as a forensics professor. The book is most valuable as a warning to those considering a career in CSI, a field of study that’s on the upswing thanks to the t.v. show “CSI.” Kollmann wants people to know, however, the extent to which Hollywood has glamorized the profession. There’s no doubt about that after reading Never Suck a Dead Man’s Hand, but she also explains early on that no CSI in her right mind would go to work in heels and a skirt or with a full face of makeup and coiffed hair. It was workman’s boots for Kollmann, unflattering baggy clothing, and a practical ponytail. Many students enter CSI programs expecting the Hollywood version and quickly drop out when they learn the reality. Work hours can be irregular and exhausting; the work itself is gruesome and depressing; and, more than anything, one must have a steel stomach. The only way to manage CSI work psychologically is to develop an emotional distance, and Kollmann explains that she and her colleagues engaged in a lot of gallows humor. Her decade on the job, however, may have caused her to lose awareness of how inappropriate such humor is outside of the profession. Though much of what Kollmann says is funny, she also often comes off as judgmental of others and heartless, and in these accounts, she and her colleagues don’t regard the dead with any reverence, or, as in one case, her colleagues don’t treat a dead body with respect. Kollmann’s accounts vary in relevance. She dives right into the disgusting thick of things with anecdotes from her most harrowing experiences on the job, accounts that turn the stomach yet are too riveting to stop reading; however, she couldn’t maintain this kind of storytelling standard. Other chapters don’t fit, either because they have nothing to do with CSI or because they have little to do with CSI. Nevertheless, when this book is good, it’s very good. With descriptions of everything from the amount of CSI gear needed to process a dead body to the decomposition process itself, Kollmann left out nothing. The simply curious reader could read this and be fully done with the subject, and prospective CSIs would be well served if Never Suck a Dead Man’s Hand were required reading. Complementary reading: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    The author of this is deeply annoying, but I read it to the end anyway. A few things that grated: 1. I don't think you should publish, even anonymously, photos of corpses to take the piss out of, especially not one where I'm pretty sure that if you showed it to the family they would recognise the man pictured. This particular photo is captioned: "This is exactly why you should always put sheets on your bed. After a long night of drinking, this guy decided he'd forgo the bed linens and now look at The author of this is deeply annoying, but I read it to the end anyway. A few things that grated: 1. I don't think you should publish, even anonymously, photos of corpses to take the piss out of, especially not one where I'm pretty sure that if you showed it to the family they would recognise the man pictured. This particular photo is captioned: "This is exactly why you should always put sheets on your bed. After a long night of drinking, this guy decided he'd forgo the bed linens and now look at him.... He's going to be known in heaven as "you know - the guy with the mattress pattern on his back"." 2. Lots of random photos that didn't pertain much to anything. 3. Spelling/grammatical mistakes, including lots of confused homophones, and getting "former" and "latter" the wrong way round. 4. Her insistence on giving everything in 10 codes, then translating in brackets. It's one thing in direct speech, but it's another when you're just reporting something. 5. Her smugness at lots of "hilarious" incidents like playing pranks on people (including one where she adopts "a thick English accent" - what, like Brummie?), trying to fly with a carry-on bag of skulls and no documentation or papers then acting all 'what the hell?' when they dare to question her about it even though she's late for her flight, and calling up a funeral home to ask for coffins for the 16 dead people she has in her garage (bones that need to be re-interred) while refusing to explain the exact situation and acting like they're jerks for wanting to know what's going on. 6. Her habit of over-explaining things. For example, she phoned up the Crime Lab as a prank wanting to know when it was going to "process the tusks of my wombats for latent prints". Of course, we wouldn't have realised this was stupid if she hadn't specified that, "wombats don't even live in the USA, nor do they have tusks". Similarly, prank calls where she "requested detailed information on how to properly destroy blood evidence and reduce a body to ash". Naturally, we wouldn't have got the joke if she hadn't specified that this was to "[leave:] the impression I had just killed someone". 7. The way incidents stretch out over paaaaaages and paaaaaaages unnecessarily. Nonetheless, parts were interesting. With much better editing, it could have been a not-bad book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This author is a bitch. I’m sorry but I truly can’t think of a more apt description of her. Actually I can but it's worse than the word I just used. In her little book she spends countless pages harshly judging and criticizing others. In no specific order: *She talks about a house call with a drunken woman she spends (wastes) paragraphs about how ugly she is and calling her a beast and so forth. *She makes fun of an obese man and refers to him as “Butt Front” because he’s so fat his stomach looks This author is a bitch. I’m sorry but I truly can’t think of a more apt description of her. Actually I can but it's worse than the word I just used. In her little book she spends countless pages harshly judging and criticizing others. In no specific order: *She talks about a house call with a drunken woman she spends (wastes) paragraphs about how ugly she is and calling her a beast and so forth. *She makes fun of an obese man and refers to him as “Butt Front” because he’s so fat his stomach looks like an ass. *She writes about “those” neighborhoods, wink, wink. Reminded me of when I was told by a company not to submit the resumes of “those kind of people”. *She picks apart a burglary victim on the account that he had the audacity to have hairy feet that she found “ghastly”. She refers to him as Frodo and says he should be in the circus. In the same story she bemoans that “Frodo’s” kitchen is filthy and make the observation that the female significant other “sucked at housekeeping”. I guess that outdated thinking crosses into her thoughts on women’s roles as well. *She writes of a gentleman who accidentally kills himself via autoerotic asphyxia and calls him “Mr. Fancy Pants” because he was dressed as a woman and apparently also because she has the mental maturity of a 12 year old bully. *When she calls a funeral home to get a quote on some coffins for remains that were removed from their original site and needed to be re-interred, apparently she was annoyed by the voice of the lady who answered the phone, goes on to mock her, make the judgment that she was blonde and big-boobed without seeing her and then basically made fun of the girl because she was confused about her calling to buy as many could for the remains of 16 people in her garage. Really? I don’t think she was confused because she was stupid, clearly you were calling with an out of the ordinary circumstance. She also surmised the lady’s name was Suri or Shiloh or something like that. Because clearly everyone has to have a NORMAL name like Dana. *She tried to take six skulls on a plane in her carryon baggage and then when she was stopped and questioned by airport security she gets pissy with them for wasting her time and missing her flight, never mind that she didn’t have the proper paperwork or identification with her. Oh and the airport lady’s pants were too tight. Clearly she has issues with overweight people. Jeez Louise I could go on and on about this woman. It horrifies me she is in a profession where she has to interact with victims, people with cognitive problems, people with lesser education then her, etc. I’m sure her arrogance and disdain are apparent when she has to get off that high horse of hers and actually work with them

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jody McGrath

    This book I should awesome. It is about a serious subject but the dark humor is laugh out loud funny. Not a book to read in public, if you don't want to be stared at. I had to read a lot of the scenes out loud to my DH. If you like NF science type books, I highly recommend this book!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lori Summers

    I hated this book. I wouldn’t have finished it were it not for The Project and that I needed it for the tally. I have a longtime fascination with forensic science (which I had way before it was cool and popular, I feel compelled to point out) and studied it for a short time in graduate school, so pop-science books about it are usually a fun read. One of my favorites of the genre is Dead Men Do Tell Tales, by the late William Maples, one of the founders of the science of forensic anthropology. This I hated this book. I wouldn’t have finished it were it not for The Project and that I needed it for the tally. I have a longtime fascination with forensic science (which I had way before it was cool and popular, I feel compelled to point out) and studied it for a short time in graduate school, so pop-science books about it are usually a fun read. One of my favorites of the genre is Dead Men Do Tell Tales, by the late William Maples, one of the founders of the science of forensic anthropology. This book promised an inside look at the life of a real crime scene analyst and her adventures. What we got were some drawn-out, not terribly interesting anecdotes with no beginning, middle or end, related by an extremely unpleasant narrator who seems to have nothing but contempt and disdain for everyone who isn’t her. She writes her “adventures” as if she’s writing a sitcom script starring herself as the cleverest, most snarky ones, giving herself all the best smartass lines. I say “best” with tongue in cheek, but she isn’t very funny, but clearly thinks she is. The book is also rife with egregious editing errors. Three times the word “hoards” is used when “hordes” is intended. The tone is offensive, there are long tangents into things I don’t care about (such as her mother’s superstitiousness and – no kidding – the toilet habits of pretty much everybody Kollman knows), and based on the slapdash way she seems to have gone about her job I’ll be amazed if she ever gets another one once people read this book. Not recommended.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    The first half chapter was amazing. I was lost in a world of the living having to deal with the dead and all the gore that accompanies these jobs. Then as the book progressed I started to notice she was judgmental, critical, and in some cases downright mean to both victims' families, friends, and victims themselves (burglary victims, ect). She's even highly offensive when she used the words "midget" and "retarded" to describe thoughts and opinions of others. To give some examples of her mean strea The first half chapter was amazing. I was lost in a world of the living having to deal with the dead and all the gore that accompanies these jobs. Then as the book progressed I started to notice she was judgmental, critical, and in some cases downright mean to both victims' families, friends, and victims themselves (burglary victims, ect). She's even highly offensive when she used the words "midget" and "retarded" to describe thoughts and opinions of others. To give some examples of her mean streak, she once came upon a delusional/mentally unstable woman and her submissive, if not troubled son in the middle of the night. She spent a lot of time telling us how funny and amusing she found the scene. Rather than care for the outcome of their plight she laughed about how crazy the mom was and how mentally slow the son was. It was humorous to her and she told the story with a comedic tone. Instead of having some compassion for a raging alcoholic woman and her firefighter husband, she referred to the wife as "The Thing" and called her ugly. She made fun of an obviously mentally unstable man who had an imaginary wife. She wrote that she used the fingerprint dusting brush she usually reserved for nasty things like toilets to dust "Frodo's" telephone. She got great pleasure in imagining him using the phone without realizing she dusted it and getting not only the germs from her nasty brush but also black face. Her reason? Because he annoyed her. (She called him Frodo because of his large, hairy feet...so she's not above name calling in her book either) It was heart-wrenching reading the pleasure she got from being so mean and cruel to someone who is obviously mentally challenged. Now that I've explained how mean and cruel she can be, let me tell you how she managed to annoy me. She has a whole chapter on human excrement. It would be explainable if it contained stories of how the dead are sometimes found in it or around it but the first part of that chapter was dedicated in telling toilet stories of herself, her co workers, and others (not dead). It didn't make any sense being in this book. It was just gross. She did throw in a couple of stories of how excrement played a role in some of the deaths she had to work, but otherwise, the chapter only served to gross us out. Her meanness peaked through again with her telling the very detailed (unnecessarily) of the time she flushed the gas station toilet that was already packed with paper and it overflowed, excrement and all on the floor and out the door. She was on duty at the time and was there to process a robbery scene. Instead of telling the manager of the overflow she claims she ran out of there while he was busy talking to a police officer. She said another officer went to use the bathroom after she left and he was blamed for the overflow. She thought that was very hilarious while I find it immature and unprofessional. And....as I said before... unnecessary. That story as was most of the human excrement chapter had no place in this book. I'm very disappointed in the book as I wish the rest of it was as good as the first several pages. I thought I was getting a writer comparable to books written on the subject by Mary Roach (awesome author, btw). Mary knows how to successfully balance funny with morbid and gore. Kollmann, on the other hand, has a lot of gore but very little funny and almost all meanness. Kollmann is like one of the Mean Girls while Roach is more like the girl-next-door who is funny and charming. I'm sticking with Mary Roach from now on.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lyndsay

    I took a bunch of classes with Dr. Kollmann at Towson University, and the book is a good addition to her many anecdotes. She definitely has a certain tone in her writing but I found it amusing and right on par with what you'd get from her in person. If you're sensitive about death, gore, etc, then obviously this is not the book for you. It's not a textbook about forensic practices and it's not a crime thriller. It's just some stories about Dr. Kollmann's experiences as a CSI, and how ridiculous I took a bunch of classes with Dr. Kollmann at Towson University, and the book is a good addition to her many anecdotes. She definitely has a certain tone in her writing but I found it amusing and right on par with what you'd get from her in person. If you're sensitive about death, gore, etc, then obviously this is not the book for you. It's not a textbook about forensic practices and it's not a crime thriller. It's just some stories about Dr. Kollmann's experiences as a CSI, and how ridiculous the job can sometimes be. I think her derisive tone towards the media is at least in part due to the vast amount of misconceptions the media puts in her students' and colleagues' minds. There's a limited number of times one can be asked if you wear high heels to collect sperm at a crime scene before you want to choke someone. The book is a quick read with a lot of humor (if you don't mind dark humor) so if you like forensics, give it a try.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    This book is just okay, although it is compulsively readable. I ma now in the third chapter and I continue to have the same complaint at this point as I had when I first started reading, which is that the author has a tone to her writing which seems confrontational. It's as though she's writing the book to prove something, and indeed, the entire first chapter is about how stupid the crime shows are on t.v. and how the real thing is nothing like those shows. Then she goes on to prove that theory This book is just okay, although it is compulsively readable. I ma now in the third chapter and I continue to have the same complaint at this point as I had when I first started reading, which is that the author has a tone to her writing which seems confrontational. It's as though she's writing the book to prove something, and indeed, the entire first chapter is about how stupid the crime shows are on t.v. and how the real thing is nothing like those shows. Then she goes on to prove that theory being as gross and crass as she posisbly can be. The thing is, she's undoubtedly right. But the way she's presenting the material is aggressive and annoying. It's too in-your-face. It's got something to prove. And it's a whole bunch of vignettes and stories about how awesome she is and how killer it is that she made it in thie field filled predominantly with men. She IS awesome, and it's wonderful that she made it but I think the book would be more likable if she weren't constantly tooting her own horn. And in three chapters she's found it necessary to use the phrase "swab his rectum" at least 3 times. This is purely for shock and disgust value. I will read as much of this as I can stand. I wish it were written by someone who didn't seem to have such an incredible chip on her shoulder, and who wasn't using every cliche in the book to try to be funny, clever and cute, all while attempting to come across as deadpan and totally unaffected by the things she sees and experiences. Her descriptions of her own feelings and processes don't make her human and don't let the reader relate to her at all. Instead she keeps herself separate from the reader, and maintains the tired "we're cool because we do gross stuff and don't get burned out but we still have nightmares and we're in a separate club" theme that has been pervasive in books of this type over the last several years. I would have much rather seen the author as a human in a crazy career reacting and experiencing things in a real way rather than this testosterone-fueled, dukes up kind of book she's written.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Meaghan

    This was informative and often extremely funny -- my favorite story being the one where she called a funeral home and asked to buy two coffins for "sixteen dead people in beer boxes in my garage" which she had "dug out of the cemetery and needed to put back." (These were old skeletons from an almshouse cemetery that had been uncovered during some construction and needed to be re-interred elsewhere.) The style of writing reminds me of Mary Roach. author of Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science an This was informative and often extremely funny -- my favorite story being the one where she called a funeral home and asked to buy two coffins for "sixteen dead people in beer boxes in my garage" which she had "dug out of the cemetery and needed to put back." (These were old skeletons from an almshouse cemetery that had been uncovered during some construction and needed to be re-interred elsewhere.) The style of writing reminds me of Mary Roach. author of Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex and other books. Recommended.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    What a fun (gross), quick read. :) Be prepared - she spares you nothing! It is the cold hard truth of what she has seen but I found it really interesting. Especially since she comes from this area so it was cool to know that the cases I was reading about were from around here. I never thought I'd read a book like this but I'm glad I did. It was very entertaining. And it was informative to learn what a crime lab is really like. I'm a CSI watcher and of course it's not at all like TV makes it out What a fun (gross), quick read. :) Be prepared - she spares you nothing! It is the cold hard truth of what she has seen but I found it really interesting. Especially since she comes from this area so it was cool to know that the cases I was reading about were from around here. I never thought I'd read a book like this but I'm glad I did. It was very entertaining. And it was informative to learn what a crime lab is really like. I'm a CSI watcher and of course it's not at all like TV makes it out to be! :)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    EXTREMELY graphic and not for the those without strong stomachs. I generally consider myself to be fairly immune to being "grossed-out," but I had to read this book in small doses. Never-the-less I enjoyed reading it. The author is especially good at telling stories in a way that will captivate you and make it truly worth your time. I also feel like I have a more realistic concept of the life of a CSI (and I'm so happy that I went into research instead of forensics!).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    saw her speak at the NJAFS convention and bought her book there (it's signed, YAY!). wonderful speaker, wonderful writer. I cannot believe these things have happened to her! Fantastic book, totally enjoyable.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    Boring.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kim Morris

    The beginning is the best.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aleithea

    There is no one funnier than Dana Kollman when it comes to making the best of a bad situation. Humor is a necessary part of her work, or it's just too depressing. A good, fun read!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Easily the best book on forensics I've ever read. Gross but HILARIOUS

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Working at an academic library, you never know what is going to jump off the shelf and say "read me". This was one of those. I read it on my occasional lunch hour, when I would multitask by reading while getting my steps in walking through the serial stacks. I didn't make very good progress, though, so I finally brought it home for the long weekend and finished it off. I'd give it 2.5/5.00 - the title is pretty catchy, though, don't you think? This fulfills my Around the Year in 52 Books Weekly T Working at an academic library, you never know what is going to jump off the shelf and say "read me". This was one of those. I read it on my occasional lunch hour, when I would multitask by reading while getting my steps in walking through the serial stacks. I didn't make very good progress, though, so I finally brought it home for the long weekend and finished it off. I'd give it 2.5/5.00 - the title is pretty catchy, though, don't you think? This fulfills my Around the Year in 52 Books Weekly Topic 9: A book with a body part in the title and also the Popsugar prompt of: Book about death or grief.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Peapod

    The only thing I do not care for is that she often tries to use "humor" to combat the seriousness of situations she goes into. She also uses a lot of language that I find to be offensive. Not political correct terms and it seems less scientific (she has a bachelor's of Science and a master's in forensic science, also a Ph. D.; so there is NO reason why she can't make it scientific) and more insulting. She gives "nicknames" to people or corpses that she interacts with which is super unprofessiona The only thing I do not care for is that she often tries to use "humor" to combat the seriousness of situations she goes into. She also uses a lot of language that I find to be offensive. Not political correct terms and it seems less scientific (she has a bachelor's of Science and a master's in forensic science, also a Ph. D.; so there is NO reason why she can't make it scientific) and more insulting. She gives "nicknames" to people or corpses that she interacts with which is super unprofessional, especially if they read her book. She doesn't do much to hide their identity. I am finding it hard to finish this book because of her cavalier attitude.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alisha

    Overall the book was interesting but not well written, though I tried to keep in mind that she's not an author by trade. Some of the stories were amusing, but she seemed especially mean-spirited. Another reviewer said she was "smug" and I feel that sums it up nicely.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Loved the dark humor in this book!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Guerrero

    Truly enjoyed this book. A look into a fascinating world most people never even think about.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Comtesse DeSpair

    A friend recommended this book for its crazy tales of disgusting crime scene moments, and it did not disappoint in that regard. There are some disgusting doozies in here! However, as with most memoirs, there is also a lot of filler that isn't that interesting to me. The term "self-indulgent clap-trap" came to mind reading a few paragraphs. The photographs also are mostly amateurish and silly. However, considering that my expectations for memoirs are always rather low, and considering a few of th A friend recommended this book for its crazy tales of disgusting crime scene moments, and it did not disappoint in that regard. There are some disgusting doozies in here! However, as with most memoirs, there is also a lot of filler that isn't that interesting to me. The term "self-indulgent clap-trap" came to mind reading a few paragraphs. The photographs also are mostly amateurish and silly. However, considering that my expectations for memoirs are always rather low, and considering a few of the stories are *really* fascinating, it's definitely worth a read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    innae

    I did enjoy the tales Dana had to share -- although many of them were her own dang fault (the cockroaches falling on her head is still creeping me out though) -- I marked a few things near the beginning with sticky notes, but quickly stopped, as I would have marked most of the book. But, the things I did mark are: on page xii - i didn't get very far before something struck me... "the Fourth of July fireworks to take me back to the time when they misfired and landed in a crowd of spectators" -- she I did enjoy the tales Dana had to share -- although many of them were her own dang fault (the cockroaches falling on her head is still creeping me out though) -- I marked a few things near the beginning with sticky notes, but quickly stopped, as I would have marked most of the book. But, the things I did mark are: on page xii - i didn't get very far before something struck me... "the Fourth of July fireworks to take me back to the time when they misfired and landed in a crowd of spectators" -- she is talking about why she left, and what she will get back -- that fireworks will just be pretty...so, the fourth of July that strikes me is...i was working with my good friend Wendy J, and we got a call, just after we had watched the fireworks the city we work for so nicely send off every year -- I was headed to a local park where a shooting (and come to find out a death) had occurred -- while I was heading out in the crazy traffic around the department (lots of people come to watch the fireworks), she got the call to head over to where they had been shooting of the explosives, to photograph the injuries caused when one of the fireworks didn't go up, but out. Second thing I marked...on page xv.. she is talking about her polygraph experience. I have had three (one for dispatch at the college police, one for dispatch at the city, and one for the lab at the city) -- and well, they aren't like they show on TV. Her story was good -- and my stolen things were grapes at the grocery store...and my polygrapher almost forgot to say "except what we have talked about", and I started to look at him (you aren't supposed to do that) -- and then he remembered. what fun they are...might be the reason I have stayed where I am for 11 years, I don't want to take another one :-). The third thing I marked is on page 1, the first paragraph of her first chapter. NO -- no I don't watch CSI, no I can't get fingerprints off a rock, and no, I won't show you my gross pictures (that last one is mine...and it comes from a few close friends who really wanted to see my book -- I have collected some pictures and their stories for when I go and "teach" about what I do -- out of the three who wanted to see them, only one (an OR nurse) was able to handle them all -- trust me, you don't want to see them...:-) Okay, that was all I marked, I would have kept on, but, as you can tell, I already have a few stories....so, to end this overly long journal entry, I thought I would tell my favorite story -- I call it "The Samurai brothers" I got called to an apartment because there was a large amount of blood. The officers didn't think there was anything criminal, but -- now my thoughts are, a lot of blood...right. usually that means a few drops in several locations and the officers are screaming "there is blood everywhere" -- and while they may be accurate, it is not a lot of blood. Now this scene -- now that was a lot of blood. There was blood all over the linoleum in the kitchen, in the dining area, on the carpet...it really was everywhere and there was a lot of it. Looked like someone had been killed on the kitchen table. Here is how it happened...two young men (in their 20's) were drinking and having a good time. They decided they would like to be blood brothers -- but they didn't want to just use a pocket knife....so they pulled out the Samurai sword on display in the living room. Boy #1 cuts his arm with the SHARP sword, and hands the knife to Boy #2. Boy #2 cuts his arm. Boy #1 says "Hey, you cut yourself deeper, give me the sword" and Boy #1 cuts himself again. Boy #2 says "Hey, you have two cuts, give me the sword" and cuts himself again. this goes back and forth for a bit before one of them decides there is too much blood and calls for an ambulance. Surprisingly, neither of these lovely young men would let me photograph them when I got to the hospital,in fact they were quite irate. sigh.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarai

    From Publishers Weekly Fans of CSI and Court TV, your book has arrived: a chronicle of the most unusual, macabre and malodorous experiences from 10-plus years of crime scene investigation. Baltimore Police Department CSI Kollman has the enthusiasm, wit (she dedicates the book "to all the bugs I've loved before") and natural storytelling ability to make this memoir sparkle-not easy for a text devoted largely to death and decay. Kollmann aims to educate those with "a Hollywood mentality about a Hel From Publishers Weekly Fans of CSI and Court TV, your book has arrived: a chronicle of the most unusual, macabre and malodorous experiences from 10-plus years of crime scene investigation. Baltimore Police Department CSI Kollman has the enthusiasm, wit (she dedicates the book "to all the bugs I've loved before") and natural storytelling ability to make this memoir sparkle-not easy for a text devoted largely to death and decay. Kollmann aims to educate those with "a Hollywood mentality about a Hell's Kitchen kind of job," and to that end she accentuates glamourless, largely drama-free case-solving. Thankfully, however, there's no lack of adventure: Kollman gets her title from a mishap she suffered while trying to get prints on a bitterly cold night, huffing on the fingers of an accident fatality. At another scene, a rotating ceiling fan flings down grisly bits of a suicide victim's head; at another, maggots are already devouring a body as Kollman tries to get photos. Amid consideration of office politics and her long-suffering family ("literally sickened by my job"), crime-scene anecdotes can get bogged down in details; luckily, Kollman's bright prose, which achieves an approachable, chick-lit tone without sounding flip, makes this squirm-inducing tale highly enjoyable. Annette gave me this book for Christmas and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But you probably have to be interested in forensics and perhaps have a strong stomach to read this book. A morbid sense of humor helps.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    So, the cover caught my eye as I was perusing the used books in Goodwill. After scanning a couple of chapters, I went ahead & bought it. It's an interesting look into the life of a real CSI, albeit a seemly random collection of meandering stories from her private & personal life. (She goes into great detail about the odd set of superstitions her mother & family adhere to, which didn't add to the book as much as she was likely hoping it would.) There is some graphic stuff in here (you So, the cover caught my eye as I was perusing the used books in Goodwill. After scanning a couple of chapters, I went ahead & bought it. It's an interesting look into the life of a real CSI, albeit a seemly random collection of meandering stories from her private & personal life. (She goes into great detail about the odd set of superstitions her mother & family adhere to, which didn't add to the book as much as she was likely hoping it would.) There is some graphic stuff in here (you probably don't want to read it during lunch), but also parts that made me laugh. However, there are some stories that really made her come off as mean & uncompassionate. I understand that in her line of work, you have to have a mechanism for dealing with what you see, but she was rather cruel in her descriptions of the living, too. Overall, I enjoyed reading it, but it wasn't so awesome that I'd recommend it. Yucky spoiler: Oh, and the title: there was a frozen body that the police needed to ID right away (car accident). In order to get prints off of him, by pressing his fingers onto a card vs. using finger print powder (a no-no since the ME hadn't gotten to the body yet), she needed to huff onto the fingers to warm & moisten them. At one point, while she had a frozen, straightened finger in her mouth, her gloves slipped, allowing it to curl back into its claw-like position & it hooked onto her lower jaw. Yes, it was bloody. She gargled with rubbing alcohol, I believe.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Janet Leszl

    Never Suck a Dead Man's Hand by Dana Kollmann If you are at all squeamish about, well virtually anything, this book might not be for you. Then again, perhaps for that very reason you should read it. Most of us go about comfortable lives unaware of gruesome details associated with certain jobs necessary in our society. Television shows like the various incarnations of CSI have moderately raised public awareness of this particular field. Dana Kollmann’s book strips away the glitz and glamour of Hol Never Suck a Dead Man's Hand by Dana Kollmann If you are at all squeamish about, well virtually anything, this book might not be for you. Then again, perhaps for that very reason you should read it. Most of us go about comfortable lives unaware of gruesome details associated with certain jobs necessary in our society. Television shows like the various incarnations of CSI have moderately raised public awareness of this particular field. Dana Kollmann’s book strips away the glitz and glamour of Hollywood's version of the work they perform. Her vivid recollections help readers comprehend assaults on the senses (particularly smell) this line of employment endures. Narratives are filled with easily understood explanations of processes and sprinkled liberally with her humorous outlook on life. Some might find offense in the occasional cavalier attitude yet it becomes abundantly clear this defense mechanism is necessary to preserve sanity in this line of work. Never Suck a Dead Man's Hand is highly entertaining and extremely informative. It should be required reading for starry eyed CSI wannabes. I now have a deeper appreciation for their skills, dedication and willingness to endure unspeakable circumstances in order to assess situational truths we as a society require.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Meaghan

    I really wanted to read more non-fiction this year and when I saw this book on a In My Mailbox vlog at In the Library of Lady Violet I just had to have it. I actually downloaded it for my Kindle right after seeing the vlog. Although Kollmann describes some pretty gruesome things she does it such a way that actually makes you laugh out loud. I couldn't put this book down. Kollman describes things like rotting decomposing bodies, what happens to a body once it's been enbalmed and the discomfort of I really wanted to read more non-fiction this year and when I saw this book on a In My Mailbox vlog at In the Library of Lady Violet I just had to have it. I actually downloaded it for my Kindle right after seeing the vlog. Although Kollmann describes some pretty gruesome things she does it such a way that actually makes you laugh out loud. I couldn't put this book down. Kollman describes things like rotting decomposing bodies, what happens to a body once it's been enbalmed and the discomfort of any talk about bodily functions. This book is not for the squeamish but if you love the show CSI you will enjoy reading this. Kollmann makes it quite clear that being a real CSI is much different than the way it is portrayed in the media. She also explains how this is affecting judicial system in the United States. I guess most people think there should be more evidence and that it is easier to get than it actually is therefore more people are being acquited of crimes that are judged by a jury. I don't want to say much because I don't want to give much away but I would most definitely recommend going to pick this up as soon as you can. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This book illustrates the very reason I cannot watch any of the CSI TV shows. They are so far from real life! I can completely understand the "gallows" humor the author displays in this book- written and visual- because other fields must also learn to cope with the normal emotions that are evoked from being in contact with death. Like the military. Although I have never been "in combat", I did have to deal with the prospect of death on a regular basis when I was posted in Baghdad. After a while This book illustrates the very reason I cannot watch any of the CSI TV shows. They are so far from real life! I can completely understand the "gallows" humor the author displays in this book- written and visual- because other fields must also learn to cope with the normal emotions that are evoked from being in contact with death. Like the military. Although I have never been "in combat", I did have to deal with the prospect of death on a regular basis when I was posted in Baghdad. After a while you get used to it. When the sirens go off you are more likely to roll over in bed and keep sleeping instead of running away from the window which as it happens was right next to my bed with a sizable crack in it already from previous mortors. It is easier than you think to become numb or used to these situations. But this is an adaptation mechanism-- one which military members (and other such fields of service) must deal with when leaving such situations. This book is great for anyone thinking about signing on to a real CSI job. I know it's not for me! I'll stick to forensic psychology, thanks!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Dana Kollmann was a crime scene investigator for 10 years and these are the reminisces of her time on the job. The main problem with the book is the writing: There is not a well-developed sense of timing, pace, or change to her character. Dana describes things abstractly, gives the reader little insight the technical aspects of CSI, and very little insight into other thoughts or emotions of co-workers. She does do well with some of the humor and some of the odd characters. The scenes that come ali Dana Kollmann was a crime scene investigator for 10 years and these are the reminisces of her time on the job. The main problem with the book is the writing: There is not a well-developed sense of timing, pace, or change to her character. Dana describes things abstractly, gives the reader little insight the technical aspects of CSI, and very little insight into other thoughts or emotions of co-workers. She does do well with some of the humor and some of the odd characters. The scenes that come alive the most are the gross of the gross, such as her encounter with a ceiling fan decorated with the brains of a suicide by gun shot, the book's title story, and her first encounter with a hanging. Here is a litany of some of her comments on the odd characters: People who have their headlights on dim, Her belt didn't go through all the loops, Her wheel was spinning but the hamster was clearly dead, A few feathers short of a full duck, The cheese surely slid off the cracker, All foam and no beer...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    This book was kind of a disappointment. I love reading about the professions that involve crime and murder and you expect to get some really funny, horrifying, disgusting, stories. Ms. Kollmann does have some interesting stories to tell, but instead of hearing all the dirt, so to speak, I got to learn about Ms. Kollmann, you know, as a person. And to be perfectly honest, I don't think I would like her if I ever actually met her. She comes off as someone who thinks of herself as far better than t This book was kind of a disappointment. I love reading about the professions that involve crime and murder and you expect to get some really funny, horrifying, disgusting, stories. Ms. Kollmann does have some interesting stories to tell, but instead of hearing all the dirt, so to speak, I got to learn about Ms. Kollmann, you know, as a person. And to be perfectly honest, I don't think I would like her if I ever actually met her. She comes off as someone who thinks of herself as far better than the people she encounters on a regular basis. The worst of it was her decision to rename all of the people in her story, which is perfectly understandable and certainly a preferable choice, but the names she chose as replacements were often somewhat offensive. I could have done without the 50% of the book where she decided it was necessary to tell me that the officer was a jerk or the victim was a nut job. I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if Ms. Kollmann had stuck with telling me the stories and explaining the science.

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