Unnatural Causes by Richard Shepherd


The dead do not hide the truth and they never lie. Through me the dead can speak …

As the country’s top forensic pathologist, Dr Richard Shepherd has spent a lifetime uncovering the secrets of the dead.

When death is sudden or unexplained, it falls to Shepherd to establish the cause. Each post-mortem is a detective story in its own right – and Shepherd has performed over 23,000 of them. Through his skill, dedication and insight, Dr Shepherd solves the puzzle to answer our most pressing question: how did this person die?

From serial killer to natural disaster, ‘perfect murder’ to freak accident, Shepherd takes nothing for granted in pursuit of truth. And while he’s been involved in some of the most high-profile cases of recent times, it’s often the less well known encounters that prove the most perplexing, intriguing and even bizarre. In or out of the public eye, his evidence has put killers behind bars, freed the innocent and turned open-and-shut cases on their heads.

But a life in death, bearing witness to some of humanity’s darkest corners, exacts a price and Shepherd doesn’t flinch from counting the cost to him and his family.

Unnatural Causes is an unputdownable record of an extraordinary life, a unique insight into a remarkable profession, and above all a powerful and reassuring testament to lives cut short.

‘Heart-wrechingly honest’ Sue Black, author of All That Remains

My Review

Richard Shepherd is a forensic pathologist who has dealt with some of the UK’s biggest tragedies and this is his story.

From cases such as Dr Shipman, Rachel Nickell and Stephen Lawrence to the everyday person this is a real glimpse into what is a fascinating subject. Dr Shepherd’s passion for his work is evident in every page, the 16 years it took to fulfill his ambition to become a forensic pathologist and the impact the years of study and relentless hours of work impacted on his home life. His dedication is admirable and he is honest enough to not portray himself as infallible showing he is only human after all.

Although it is a fairly in-depth account of the post-mortem/autopsy process it isn’t overly gruesome so don’t let that put you off! I can imagine any crime author’s will find this a treasure trove of information 😀

Death comes to us all, be it through natural causes, illness or tragic circumstances and it is reassuring to know in death we are treated with the utmost respect and care. The science is written in a way everyone can understand thankfully unlike my daughters science homework! That might as well be in a foreign language and goes right over the top of my head 😂😂😂

I’m sure this book will appeal to a wider audience than aspiring doctors and nurses or forensic pathologist’s but for anyone with an interest in the human body, medical practises and what actually goes on beyond the morgue doors this is a must read, as well as anyone with an interest in true crime stories.

A fascinating insightful read that should be an inspiration to our generation as well as generations to come.

Unnatural Causes will be published on 20 Sep 2018 in the UK and can be pre-ordered below


A big thank you to Dr Richard  Shepherd, the publishers Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and NetGalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

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