Unnatural Causes - Richard Shepherd

Death is constant but only a handful of us ever investigate the inner workings of it. Dr. Richard Shepherd has been one of the UK's top forensic pathologists and has been on hand to some of the country's and the globe's worst disasters. His book 'Unnatural Causes' delves into the lengths a pathologist will go to provide the truth and the effects being surrounded by death has had on him and his family.

My outlook on non-fiction reads is that I'll only read them if I'm seriously interested in it's topic and/or it has been written by someone I am interested in. Forensic science has always been an interest of mine and at one point forensic investigation was going to be my ideal career path. 'Unnatural Causes' provided that insightful look into a more niche aspect of forensics that not many of us will know about, he discusses his first experience with a cadaver and his first real dissection without leaving out the details.

I truly enjoyed reading his recollections of his first experiences as it brought to life the fact that all 'top' people started somewhere. Shepherd was a part of some key historical moments for the UK public and even part of 9/11 but he started where we all do, with serious training and an aspiration. You wouldn't expect this to have an emotional element but it did, following Shepherd realise his dreams and let go of negativity he felt in his family felt powerful to read.

Through the book Shepherd touches on troubles he has faced in his line of work but in a refreshing way. He goes through a whole level of emotional responses to his work and family life but writes about them positively and details what he learnt from them. Although the topic is dark I came out the book feeling refreshed and optimistic about my own dreams and emotions. I'm not sure if this was the aim for Shepherd's book and whilst it did give an interesting and detailed look at the world of forensic pathology it gave me hope from Shepherd's personal experiences facing so many blows but standing up again and again.

I'd definitely recommend this to everyone, it does get slightly gory as he does not hide any details when it comes to the autopsies but other than that it is an intelligent and sensitive dip into his world that deserves to be seen.

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