Sunday, July 28, 2013

Walk of Death a Good Read

Walk of Death by Mike Tabor is billed as a forensic novel and it is every bit that. Mike has been since 1983 the Chief Forensic Odontologist for the State of Tennessee Office of the Medical Examiner. In his day job, he is a dentist. Mike’s father lives in our continuing care retirement center here in Nashville. According to the publisher’s blurb:

In the spring of 1997, two rural Tennessee addicts find themselves under investigation for dealing crystal meth. Together, they concoct an ill-conceived plan to outrun the law, letting nothing stand in their way. Murder, insurance fraud and switched identities are only the beginning of a cat and mouse mystery that leaves an unidentified murder victim in their wake.
As the case goes unsolved, Dr. Chris Walsh, Chief Forensics Odontologist of the Tennessee Medical Examiners office sets his sights on identifying the nameless victim and solving the gruesome crime.
Fact and fiction collide in this intricate and chilling story by first time author Dr. Mike Tabor. Culled from real case history, Tabor leads the reader on a journey that takes them from the world famous Body Farm in Knoxville, TN to the site of World Trade Center terror attacks and the identification of nearly 1000 victims.
Intrigue, drama and edge-of-your-seat suspense help make Walk of Death an exciting and frightening read that rivals some of the best crime dramas ever published.

The author says the book is about 75% fact and 25% fiction and the story is largely autobiographical. One element of the fiction part is that the names of the characters have been changed to protect the _____. Only the dogs were allowed to keep their real names. This combination works to create a gripping true crime forensic docudrama which has rich character development of both the good guys and the bad. 
I’m sure most of the regular readers of this blog will enjoy the book. When fingerprint identification fails because of the condition of the corpse, dental records usually fill the breach if they can be located. Teeth can provide up to 5 to the 32nd power combinations for identification. That is a very big number. But what happens when dental identification also fails? I won’t say more because I don’t want to give the ending away -- except that you may want a hankie handy for the conclusion. 

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