Book review: Risking Life for Death

Risking Life for Death

Ryan Blumenthal

Jonathan Ball Publishers

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

A colleague beat me to Ryan Blumenthal’s first book, Autopsy: Life in the trenches with a forensic pathologist, published in 2020, so I was eager to get my hands on this book.

Blumenthal is a forensic pathologist with more than 20 years’ experience in the field and Autopsy was an instant best-seller so I had high hopes for this follow-up but was disappointed.

It’s not that the book wasn’t interesting because the science in it definitely is, but the lack of narrative made it ‘textbooky’ and some of the real-life examples in the book were left open-ended, which left me dissatisfied.

I also felt the bend towards self-help was not working. On the back cover, the synopsis reads: “An understanding of Locard’s Exchange Principle (which underpins all forensic science) can help you become a medical detective in your own life, can help you be a happier person and can even provide you with a better philosophy for growing older, Blumenthal argues.”

Personally, I don’t think forensics and self-help a happy marriage make. I think people who have a professional interest in forensic science might find more enjoyment in this book but I would have preferred more of a story-telling narrative, with a discernible closed ending.

I don’t like reading a factual book and then being left with the question; “What happened next? How did it end?”