Unnatural Causes by Dr Richard Shepheard – An Audio Book Review

Unnatural Causes


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

He solves the mysteries of unexplained or sudden death.

He has performed over 23,000 autopsies, including investigating some of the most high-profile cases of recent times; the Hungerford Massacre, the Princess Diana inquiry, and 9/11.

He has faced serial killers, natural disasters, ‘perfect murders’ and freak accidents.

His evidence has put killers behind bars, freed the innocent and turned open-and-shut cases on their heads.

Yet all this has come at a huge personal cost.

Written and narrated by Dr Richard Shepherd, Unnatural Causes tells the story of not only the cases and bodies that have haunted him the most, but also how to live a life steeped in death.

Author: Dr Richard Shepheard

Narrator: Dr Richard Shepheard

Genre: Non-Fiction

Publisher: Penguin

Audio Release Date: 20th September 2018

Run Time: 11hrs 46 mins (394 pages on Kindle)

My Rating of ‘Unnatural Causes: 5 out of 5

Purchase: Audible, Amazon


I snagged this when it was an Audible Daily Deal. I’ve a keen interest in all things science and thought how my interests had yet to travel to the realm of ‘the science of the dead’.

I hadn’t really got any pre-conceived notion as to what to expect other than ‘quite case heavy’. I was looking forward to getting lost in ten hours of scientific explanation of deaths, crimes, motives etc … and whilst all that was present, this book was so much more. I’m not used to picking up a memoir, especially one by someone I have no real knowledge of. It’s never been my cup of tea. This one, however, hit the sweet spot.

Unnatural Causes gives not only a look into the professional life of one the UK’s leading forensic pathologists, but also the personal life too. You get to see how carving into flesh and weighing organs day in and day out affects the human psyche. Dr Shepheard’s story is an intriguing one and, despite it being no wish of mine, were it the wish of someone to go into the life of a pathologist, this is certainly the kind of book you should read. You get to see the stresses applied to the people who do this job and how it shapes those wearing the gloves and wielding the scalpel.

Dr Shepheard has been on hand for several high-profile disasters and autopsies in general (everything from the racially motivated killing of Stephen Lawrence, to the 9/11 terror attacks and even being involved in the Princess Diana case in some way). Seeing how they deal with the aftermaths of disasters (both natural or those caused by man) was particularly interesting and rather eye-opening. Overall, this book is a fascinating read/listen, and one I’d recommend to anyone who has anything ranging from a passing interest to a keen one in anything medical.

If you have a fear of death, I highly doubt this is the book to help you overcome it.

I usually dislike books read by the author, but Dr Shepheard did a phenomenal job. I’m sure where memoirs are concerned, it adds so much more to have it straight from the horse’s mouth.


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