CRIME SCENE - Esther McKay

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Crime Scene
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Book Synopsis

When Esther McKay, an idealistic young constable with the NSW police, entered the tough, male-dominated world of forensic investigation, she was determined to hold her own. She soon found herself at deeply confronting crime scenes, often working alone and without supervision. After years of long, lonely, exhausting days and nights, and following a particularly harrowing high-profile case involving the disappearance of two young boys, Esther had a break-down and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. This is Esther's story. Powerful, moving and unforgettable, Crime Scene takes us inside the life of a forensic investigator, and reveals as never before the extraordinary demands and dangers of forensic work.

Book Review

"Day after day my life was consumed by killings, distress and gruesome sites, each one adding another piece to an ever-growing mosaic that seemed to be made up of bloodied disposable gloves, plastic bags and human waste. . ."

I don't think there's any way that Esther McKay could describe her life as a forensic crime investigator in terms that would make it comfortable reading for anybody.  Which means it's no surprise whatsoever that this book is confrontational, difficult and frequently disturbing, just as the job must have been.

McKay has a way of telling the stories that gives the reader more than enough of a feeling for the more gruesome aspects of the crime scenes that she experienced, giving you just enough of the facts to make it obvious how horrendous that work must be, drawing out the personal affect of dealing with not just the nature of the job, but the ridiculous amounts of stress, overtime and pressure involved.

Not an easy read, and I couldn't help but hope that family members of the people caught up in the cases discussed were avoiding this book like the plague, but for the rest of us, this is a real job that somebody does.  You have to hope that education and training levels have improved, you've also got to hope that support and staffing is considerably better than it was when McKay worked in the job, but regardless it's still a dreadful job for anybody to have to do.

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