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Death Scenes: A Homicide Detective's Scrapbook Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Feral House (April 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0922915296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0922915293
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 10.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Warning: this sad, powerful, grotesque collection of black-and-white photos of mostly dead, often naked, human beings is not for the easily disturbed. The introductory text by Katherine Dunn (author of Geek Love) helps give a context to the macabre scrapbook, and the handwritten captions display irony and sometimes humor; but this is no antiquarian's sentimental portrait of the past. This book documents butchery and brutality, horrible disease and mental illness, suicide and murder. And as Dunn observes, the eye of the beholder is not innocent: "The old cop, like the old con, tries to trick us into forgiveness and complicity. By witnessing he has participated, by understanding he is culpable. And his real purpose is to disguise the truth--that he started out terrified and ended up liking it, fascinated, an aficionado."

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Customer Reviews

I enjoyed reading/looking at this book.
Paul Arellano
If you want to give yourself a reality check, or "wise up" your teens about how safe the world really is from their "safe" suburban nest, please buy this book.
Kate London
This book should be looked at by those interested in the facts or in the literature of true crime.
Fernando Melendez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Dymon Enlow on March 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
Although the pictures in this book are gruesome and disturbing it's not meant to be laughed at or lusted over by gorehounds. This is not gore for your pleasure.

"Death Scenes" is a presentation of a scrapbook kept by LAPD Homicide Detective Jack Huddleston while he was with the LAPD from 1921 until the early 1950's.

In the forward to the scrapbook he explains "The purpose of this collection of homicide pictures is to show the work of the peace officer and his problems." Then later "...crime does not pay."

This book is not made for all people. Here a brief description of some of the pictures I found most unsettling:

Pg. 58 -59 children who played with dynamite.

Pg. 102 two week old boy with head cut off by mother.

Pg. 73 fifteen year-old boy suicide with gun

Pg. 132 severely mutilated woman

Pg. 137 husband looking at 74 year-old wife who was raped and murdered.

I will never think of the idealistic "good old days" without thinking about the reality of this book.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Sarah E. Golding on November 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is definately for people who are looking to explore the pictures and scenes of death and crime. The book is comprised completely of pictures from a detectives scrap book--be warned now that there is very little writing in this book. The pictures in the book are fascinating. When you look at the pictures you can almost feel how still and vacant the rooms must have felt at the time the photos were taken. Not all the photos in the book are death scenes, there are many pages of criminal head shots that include an explanation of the person crime under them. This part of the book is really interesting because it lets you get an idea of what the times were like back when the photos were taken. Many of the "crimes" they committed are not so by todays standard. This book is an interesting pictorial reflection on both death and the time period.
Some of the photos in the book are graphic and some photos contain images of sexuality. However, don't think that this book is overly filled with gore. All the pictures are in black and white so the images are not as vivid as the would have been had the moments been recorded on colored film. I think this book is interesting and I would recommend it to anyone who was interested in crime and death scene photos.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13, 1997
Format: Paperback
This book is wonderful...but not for the faint of heart. There are explicit crime scene photos...all B&W (which probably helps to lessen the graphicness of the pictures).

Many crimes are portrayed: suicide, murder, auto accidents, etc. And there are even pictures and text of things/people that we no longer see as against the law. Such things include lesbians and hermaphrodites. My how times have changed!

An interesting note is that one may notice how different the justice system was just 40 to 60 years ago. Within the text written by the detective, he lists some dates for events such as the arrest or execution of certain individuals. I realized that in the execution cases, the criminal was killed within a year or so from being convicted! Today the minimum jail time before execution is 13 years!

I also wanted to comment on what another reviewer stated about this book...this being the inclusion of images of dead children (and the fact that she wouldn't buy it due to this). These pictures are included, in my opinion, because that is reality! It is not only adults that are killed, or that have violent crimes commited against them. It is naive to think as such. And it is a fact that we all must face. Yes, it is shocking. But it is necessary. Young people die too. We hear about it every day on the news, so why it still remains so shocking is a mystery to me.

All in all, I recommend this book highly to people who are interested in death, crime and related subjects. It's real, straight forward and death IS a part of life.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Fernando Melendez on April 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I rate this book highly because it is honest. It does not pretend to be anything other than what it is: a scapbook containing dozens of photographs of murdered remains, or bodies after suicide, of decapitations and decompositions, of naked bodies diseased or tattooed; it is a gallery of gruesomely altered human physiques. The pictures and their captions have a direct and stirring effect on the gut of the reader, and only later do they permit the reader's reason to come into play. The book's title is true to its contents; its cover is also honest (a sample of what is inside) and the brief introduction by Katherine Dunn is perceptive and functional. That introduction does what an introduction is supposed to do: prepare the reader for what is ahead while furnishing a sensible commentary on the nature of the work. In all this is a neat book, worth having.
I cannot understand the negative comments by some readers concerning "Death Scenes." Surely they were not ambushed into gazing at these (horrible) pictures. They should have known by the title, by the cover, and even by the publisher (Feral House) that this was not a book of, say, children's poems. Much can be learned from "Death Scenes:" it contains great beauty and even some rhapsodic traits which can be perceived once the initial horror has been bypassed. This book should be looked at by those interested in the facts or in the literature of true crime. It is sure to bring pause to those contemplating suicide. "Death Scenes" certainly contains aspects of reality which some will prefer to avoid but which others will incorporate into their view of the world.
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