Seeing dead people

My novel in progress begins with the discovery of a dead body buried beneath the oleander in the protagonist's backyard, and the cascading wall of research that ensued led me to the web page of Houston's own Dr. Ed Uthman, pathologist, web worm, deep thinker, enthusiastic ranter, and apparently really, really cool guy. Hard research resources that I will definitely be visiting and revisiting include A Screenwriter's Guide to the Autopsy ("Remember the brain? We left it suspended in a big jar of formalin for a few weeks. After the brain is "fixed," it has the consistency and firmness of a ripe avocado. Before fixation, the consistency is not unlike that of three-day- old refrigerated, uncovered Jello."), an introduction to Forensic Pathology, and a delicious section on Exotic Infections ("For medical students, any treatment of infectious diseases at the survey level will of necessity leave out a huge amount of medical knowledge, so please consider this an apology in advance for when your Medicine attending drills you about "Lobo's disease," and you have no idea what it is. Well, at least now you know how to spell it.")

"If you enjoy watching someone deterioriate with age, I have a series of personal photos," says the good Doctor. Shown here is a man and his brain, circa 1977. The moment I saw that, Dr. Ed Uthman ratcheted directly to the top of my fantasy dinner party guest list. Now that's what I call dead sexy.

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