Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Book Review: Jefferson Bass novels

Wow, great series of novels, written by Jefferson Bass (who are actually Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass writing together - check out their website at http://www.jeffersonbass.com/). Anybody who is interested in forensic science must pick up these books. They are easy to read, gripping, and educational to boot!

Dr. Bass is the founder (1971) of the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Research Facility, better known to most as the Body Farm. This facility is the birthplace for much of the forensic science we enjoy so much in television shows such as CSI or NCIS, amongst others. The Body Farm plays a starring role in the books, as does Dr. Bill Brockton, who I am guessing is based, in a not so thinly veiled portrait, on Dr. Bass himself. He entangles himself in a variety of mysteries, ably assisted by his beautiful graduate assistant, Miranda Lovelady.

Pick up Carved in Bone, Flesh and Bone, The Devil's Bones, Bones of Betrayal, and The Bone Thief at your local bookstore or library.

Next up? I'm going to find their two non-fiction books: Death's Acre and Beyond the Body Farm.

From the website:

General Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I visit the Anthropological Research Facility (Body Farm)?

We do not offer tours to our research facility. If we honored all requests for tours, we would be unable to conduct any research. Also, having too many visitors would compromise the research we do conduct.

2. What is Forensic Anthropology?

Forensic Anthropology is the recovery and examination of human skeletal remains for the medical-legal community. This can include excavation, the creation of a biological profile, or trauma analysis, but does not include trace evidence recovery, DNA testing, Ballistic analysis, or autopsies. For more information see www.aafs.org.

3. How can I donate my body to your program?

Please see the tab “Body Donation” for information, directions and forms on how to donate. All other inquiries can be directed towards donateinfo@utk.edu.

4. Are there job openings at the Anthropological Research Facility?

Most of our positions are for University of Tennessee graduate students in anthropology. Please check the university’s human resource page for any other positions available.

5. I would like to conduct research at your facility. How do I go about getting permission to do so?

Please contact Dr. Lee Meadows Jantz, ljantz@utk.edu for any research requests.

6. What is the difference between the FAC Body Donation Program and a medical school donation program?

We use the body/remains for research and teaching. We do not return the remains to the family after a period of time. We do not embalm the body. Medical schools typically embalm a body for teaching anatomy to medical students. After use, the body may be cremated, and at the request of the family the remains are returned.

7. I like the idea of donating my body, but cannot decide what I want to do. Can I make a monetary donation?

Yes, we gladly accept financial donations and they are a tremendous help to our program. If you wish to do this, please contact us so that we may direct any of these donations into the FAC.

8. How much longer will you be accepting body donations?

We do not anticipate a time where we will not be accepting body donations.

9. Do you provide any payment to my family when I donate my body? Do I get paid for donating my body?

We do not provide any payment to you or the family.

10. I am trying to make arrangements for a family member to donate to your program?

If you are a representative to the family (POA, next-of-kin, or funeral home) you will need to contact the Anthropology Department directly in order to make arrangements for a donation (865-974-4408). There are separate forms for donation of deceased individuals.

More info on the Anthropology Research Facility -- watch the video:


  1. ok-you've got this NON-reader writing down titles to buy these!! Sound awesome.

  2. My wife will love these...thanks for the tip,


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