Lay Them to Rest: On the Road with the Cold Case Investigators Who Identify the Nameless

Hachette. Oct. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9780306828805. $30. CRIME
Can a true-crime podcaster, working with experts, identify a decapitated head found in a southern Illinois state park? Readers have the opportunity to follow Norton’s (podcaster, The Fall Line and One Strange Thing) first-person narrative as she shows the different methods of finding a lost person via databases, forensic anthropology, dentistry, and DNA analysis. The local police welcome her team’s help as the author spends pages speculating on how the victim’s head ended up in the park and whether the gruesome murder is connected to other crimes. There are details about skeletal analysis, radiocarbon dating, and forensic art. Similar to Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, there is a lot of information about the author’s work on the case and her personal life. For many readers, being alongside the podcaster is quite appealing. In the end, DNA analysis helps locate the murder victim’s family in Tennessee. As for the crime, there is no resolution.
VERDICT True-crime podcast listeners will take the invitation to tag along on a challenging case.
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