Cover image for No stone unturned : the true story of NecroSearch International
No stone unturned : the true story of NecroSearch International
Jackson, Steve (Steven)
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Kensington, 2002.
Physical Description:
374 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
"The true story of NecroSearch International, the world's premier forensic investigators"-Cover.

Includes index.
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV8073 .J28 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



"New York Times" bestselling author Steve Jackson offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at NecroSearch International, an organization of the nation's top scientists and other specialists who help solve "unsolvable" crimes.

Author Notes

Steve Jackson, one of the country's top journalists, was a runner-up for the 1988 prestigious DART Award (Michigan State University College of Journalism) and Casey Award (University of Maryland College of Journalism) for his true crime writing. An avid skier, fly-fisherman, and martial arts instructor, he lives in Colorado with his wife and children

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In 1810, the world's first purely investigative agency, the French Surete, was created, and in 1856, in Dickens' Bleak House, the term detective was first used to describe a police specialty. NecroSearch, formed in 1991, boasts a wide range of specialists--geologists, entomologists, geophysicists, and others--whose discreet skills are put to finding buried murder victims. The key individuals in it are the "Pig People," scientists who track varying rates of human decomposition under differing conditions by burying and periodically digging up the carcasses of mature pigs--pigs because their weights and metabolisms closely resemble those of humans. Jackson traces the development of the firm's expertise and acceptance by law enforcement professionals and the media by presenting several cases in minute detail. Jackson's account of the development and crime-solving uses of forensic science may be grim, but it is also a fascinating, macabre journey sure to entrance true-crime buffs and police-procedural detective fiction fans. --Whitney Scott

Publisher's Weekly Review

Founded in 1991 as a nonprofit forensic investigative team, NecroSearch International specializes in homicide cases shelved because of "corpus indelecti" that is, a body cannot be produced as evidence that a murder has taken place. Coming from a wide range of backgrounds geophysicists to "cadaver dog" specialists to chemists and rank-and-file cops the members of NecroSearch combine their skills to produce the most proficient (and most exciting) detective work since Sherlock Holmes. They take the coldest cases and comb for hidden graves on rural hillsides, in suburban backyards and at the bottom of mud-choked riverbeds, searching for remains that have been buried anywhere from two to 20 years. (Or 70, as in the notorious Romanov family case.) Having sharpened his true crime teeth on Monster, Jackson competes here with two other books on forensic science to appear this season: Michael Baden and Marion Roach's Dead Reckoning and Corpse by Jessica Snyder Sachs. But while those books concentrate on the establishment of forensic methods as formidable weapons in the fight for criminal justice, this book combines the burden of scientific proof with rousing tales of police work out in the field or the quarry, the Rocky Mountains or someone's backyard. The book covers the group's quirky beginnings and digs into its most important cases suspensefully; Jackson's sharp eye misses nothing in the painstakingly rendered details. A must-have for true crime fans, it should also be of great interest to anyone fascinated with the practical applications of science. 32 pages of photos not seen by PW. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

True-crime author Jackson (Monster) has created a fascinating account of a group of extraordinary people who volunteer their time and expertise to locate hidden murder victims for the police and prosecutors. Before the advent of NecroSearch International, police had few choices in searching for buried evidence. Using a backhoe for clues buried in the ground often destroyed the data, while searching in water was difficult and risky. Often, police would be within a few inches of evidence and not realize it. G. Clark Davenport, a geophysicist who had expertise in using equipment the police were not familiar with, knew there had to be a better way. At the same time, two law enforcement officials were coming to the conclusion that experts in different fields could help the police solve crimes. Davenport and the two officials met, and "the evolutionary tree of forensic science grew a new branch." From this meeting, NecroSearch International was eventually born. Recommended for public and academic libraries. Karen Evans, Indiana State Univ., Terre Haute (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. ix
Prologuep. 1
I. A Brief History of Forensic Sciencep. 7
II. NecroSearch Internationalp. 27
Beginningsp. 29
Project PIGp. 49
Le Cochon Connectionp. 91
III. The Michele Wallace Casep. 111
The Crimep. 113
The Investigationp. 122
The Trialp. 173
IV. The Diane Keidel Casep. 191
The Crimep. 201
The Investigationp. 208
The Trialp. 228
V. The Cher Elder Casep. 241
VI. The Christine Elkins Casep. 275
The Setupp. 283
The Searchp. 299
VII. The Romanov Casep. 339
Afterwordp. 357
Acknowledgmentsp. 363
Indexp. 365