cover image Aftermath, Inc.: Cleaning Up After CSI Goes Home

Aftermath, Inc.: Cleaning Up After CSI Goes Home

Gil Reavill, . . Gotham, $25 (284pp) ISBN 978-1-592-40296-0

In this grisly, swaggering tale of gut-churning crime scenes and the men who clean them up after the forensics team is done, veteran true crime scribe Reavill (Beyond All Reason: My Life with Susan Smith ) holds nothing back. From descriptions of crimes ("The fusillade of bullets tore through Johnson's body.... Blood, bits of flesh and bone fragments exploded everywhere") to hepatitis C "bleed-outs" ("All four walls of the bathroom looked like someone had taken a blood hose and turned it on them"), Reavill grabs the reader by the throat and doesn't let go. He follows the techs from Aftermath, Inc.—a bioremediation outfit in suburban Chicago—as they make the rounds of shotgun suicides, multiple murders and meth lab cleanups; dealing not only with the gross-out of the work but trying to stay sane doing it. While some black humor seeps in around the edges, Reavill mostly depicts a cadre of low-key, hardworking men doing a horrible job with respect and compassion. The narrative pace flags a bit in the last 50 pages when Reavill tries to connect Aftermath's work with larger moral issues, but otherwise, if anything can get CSI watchers to flip off the tube and pick up a book, this is it. (May)