Remains Silent

Remains Silent

3.6 14
by Michael Baden, Linda Kenney

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When a body is found beneath a construction site near the Catskill Mountains, New York City deputy chief medical examiner Jake Rosen is called to the scene, where he meets his match: Philomena “Manny” Manfreda, a beautiful crusading attorney. Together they stumble upon a decades-old mystery involving a long-shuttered mental institution,


When a body is found beneath a construction site near the Catskill Mountains, New York City deputy chief medical examiner Jake Rosen is called to the scene, where he meets his match: Philomena “Manny” Manfreda, a beautiful crusading attorney. Together they stumble upon a decades-old mystery involving a long-shuttered mental institution, shocking medical experiments, and a troubled love affair.

From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

In their debut novel, former New York City chief medical examiner Michael Baden and CNN legal commentator Linda Kinney spin an arresting forensic thriller about a mysterious murder that won't go away. The novel features type-A lawyer Philomena "Manny" Manfreda and laid-back deputy chief medical examiner Dr. Jake Rosen.
Publishers Weekly
Married couple Baden, former New York City medical examiner, and Kenney, legal commentator for CNN and Court TV, team up for this debut thriller starring a romantic and professional pair with job titles remarkably similar to their own. Dr. Jake Rosen, deputy chief medical examiner for New York City, gets a call from his beloved mentor, Dr. Pete Harrigan, who as county medical examiner in his retirement upstate, has just been handed a pile of bones dug up in an excavation for a new mall. After Harrigan identifies the bones of Korean War vet James Albert Lyons, who mysteriously disappeared in 1963, Jake suggests that Lyons's daughter hire an attorney, Philomena "Manny" Manfreda, a fashionista spitfire who specializes in representing the downtrodden. On their first date, Jake takes Manny to dinner and then to an emergency autopsy, where they banter cute while he dissects the corpse. After Harrigan dies of apparently natural causes, the body count rises, the romance between Manny and Jake heats up and soon nefarious experiments by the government come to light. Pedestrian writing and an implausible ending detract from this vehicle for Baden and Kenney's medical and criminal expertise. 11-city author tour. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In this forensic mystery with a lighter side, medical examiner Jacob "Jake" Rosen is called upon to investigate multiple human remains found at a construction site and suspects that an adjacent but now defunct psychiatric facility is somehow related. A short time later, feisty, fashion-obsessed legal crusader Philomena "Manny" Manfreda is hired by the family of a missing former patient of the facility. Together, Manny and Jake set out to identify the bodies and determine why they were buried so unceremoniously in the field behind the institute. Standing in their way is someone who will resort to murder to ensure that information remains secret. Baden, a former New York City medical examiner and host of HBO's Autopsy, and Kenney, a legal commentator for CNN and Court TV, have written a brisk debut novel full of forensic details and unforgettable characters. Fans of Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs who appreciate a little humor with their thrillers will enjoy this one. Recommended for popular reading collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/05.]-Leslie Madden, Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A tightly plotted but clumsily written debut thriller by a husband-and-wife team with high-profile careers in forensic pathology and law. Baden (former New York City medical examiner; chief forensics pathologist for the Congressional investigations into the assassinations of JFK and MLK; host of HBO's Autopsy) and Kenney (civil-rights and criminal lawyer; frequent Court TV talking head) offer dual-and sometimes dueling-protagonists: Dr. Jake Rosen is New York's deputy chief medical examiner, a rumpled, absent-minded professor type, while Philomena "Manny" Manfreda is a brassy, expensively clothed civil-rights litigator. The only thing they have in common is that they seem to have marched onto the page straight from central casting. Rosen is summoned to the upstate town where his revered mentor lives to assist in the investigation of human bones unearthed during the building of a mall, and he and Manfreda are soon unraveling a decades-long conspiracy involving Cold War-era medical experiments, the mentor's dark secrets and, more recently, the local sheriff's suspicious hostility to a forensic investigation that's holding up construction on a high-dollar development. (In their downtime, the pair yield to their grudging mutual attraction and-surprise!-hook up.) If read simply for story, the twists come reliably and the pages breeze by. But much of it is disposable. The authors have a fatal knack for broad, pulpy prose that robs their characters of the subtlety that would make them come alive. And interior thoughts ("Too late. Dear God, forgive me. Too late," as Jake says after finding a friend dead) are expressed with the nuance of a wrecking ball. Light and not terribly original. Firstprinting of 250,000
From the Publisher
“Wonderfully done. . . . Baden and Kenney are formidable, and Remains Silent sparkles.” –Patricia Cornwell“Chilling. . . . Will keep even the most sophisticated reader guessing until the very last page. . . . [It] makes CSI and NYPD Blue look like child’s play.”–Ann Rule
“A satisfying read for fans of both medical and classic mysteries.”–Decatur Daily“Personality abounds. . . [Remains Silent] evoke[s] popular authors like Janet Evanovich and Stuart Woods.” –The New York Times“Baden and Kenney have given us the best wisecracking, crime-fighting couple since Nick and Nora Charles.”–Catherine Crier

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Read an Excerpt

It was Jake’s idea of a perfect rainy Friday night. The trial was over, the truth had prevailed—too bad about Manny Manfreda; she had done a good job but she didn’t have the right evidence—and now he was alone in his Upper East Side brownstone kitchen, eating Chinese food, reading a treatise on blood spatter, and listening to Duke Ellington’s soundtrack of Anatomy of a Murder. Brilliant movie, inspiring music. Peace, it’s wonderful.

Alongside his take-out containers, piles of paperwork cluttered the top of his chrome-and-red Formica table; he’d tackle it over the weekend. His kitchen held a motley group of appliances: a recently purchased commercial stainless steel refrigerator, an avocado-green stove from the sixties, a white porcelain double sink from the fifties. The countertops were fifties Formica in green geometrical patterns; the metal cabinets, painted and repainted over the years, were a drab beige. A butcher-block island, scarred by years of white rings from wet plates and glasses, stood in faded glory in the center of the space. French doors in the back opened into a garden, converted by neglect into living quarters for a few happy squirrels, some pigeons, and an occasional chair.

Jake had bought the five-story brownstone in the mid-1980s, shortly after being hired at the ME’s office. He could only afford it because it was north of Ninety-sixth Street near Harlem, in those days not the nicest of neighborhoods. But he didn’t see it as an investment or even a possession. He saw New York’s history: the wealthy who had once populated the area, the careful work of nineteenth-century stonemasons, and the varied texture of the constantly changing community. When he finally had the money to do some work on the place, it was so full of forensic teaching materials and artifacts he had no idea where to start. Besides, he didn’t have the time. This was New York. People died by the hundreds every day. He never had the time.

The music stopped, and he stopped eating and stared at his food. The sauce on his sesame chicken, he realized, was nearly the consistency of human blood. He picked up a knife, dipped it, and spattered the sauce across the kitchen table and the wall behind it, as though someone had stabbed the chicken from behind.

The phone rang. Damn. He picked it up. “Rosen.”

“Miss me?”

The two words gave him a jolt of pleasure. The only voice allowed to intrude into his solitude was Pete Harrigan’s—any time and any place. Pete, thirty years Jake’s senior, was one of only two people on this earth Jake loved. The other was his brother, Sam, and Sam didn’t have intrusion privileges.

“Sure I miss you.” Jake studied the mess on the table. “In fact, I was just thinking about you. The influence of knife length on cast-off blood spatter patterns.”

“I’m flattered,” Harrigan said. “But you should be out on a date. Weren’t you seeing that fingerprint expert from—”

“Broke it off,” Jake said quickly, feeling a flash of pain. “Too soon after my divorce.”

“Trouble with women, trouble in the office. I hear you’ve had a go-round with the chief. Too much private work, not enough time serving the city.” Harrigan had once been chief himself. Retired now, he obviously still had tentacles inside the ME’s office. “How is my old friend Charles Pederson?”

“Still the same where you’re concerned,” Jake said. “Hey, you’re the one who taught me any medical examiner worth a damn pisses off the powers that be. Comes with the territory.”

“And you were my best student. Developed pissing off into a specialty. How’s Wally?” Harrigan was given to abrupt changes of subject.

“Blossoming. The man’s a godsend. I thank you for him every day.”

Dr. Walter Winnick—Wally—was a protégé whom Harrigan had recommended to Jake. The man had a clubfoot, but his mind sprinted to invariably accurate conclusions; Jake couldn’t have handled his workload without him.

“Glad to hear it.”

“How’s Elizabeth?” Jake asked.

“Fine. The woman’s going to be New Jersey’s next governor. Ever since she married that Markis fellow, though, she’s pretty much stopped visiting. If I want to see my daughter, I have to go to New Jersey, and even then I have to make an appointment through her press agent.”

There was a pause. Unusual, Jake thought. Pete was generally so voluble Jake couldn’t shut him up. He could hear Harrigan’s labored breathing. Sick, Jake wondered, or in trouble? “What’s up?”

“Let’s talk shop.”

“Sure,” Jake said, relieved. “You heard about the Carramia case?”

“As a matter of fact, no. For once I’m not calling about your cases, I’m calling about one of mine.”

“Shoot,” Jake said.

A hesitation, a cough. “I was wondering if you’d like to come up here and help me decipher some bones.”

Dr. Peter Harrigan lived in the hamlet of Turner, a little town on a big lake two hours north of the city. Jake got there at six the next morning. He met Harrigan at his home, a white Cape Cod cottage with yellow shutters, which looked from the outside more like a doll’s house than the residence of a globally respected forensic pathologist.

The two men embraced. “We’ll have to take your car,” Pete said. “My Suburban’s sick.” He piled a box of autopsy tools, a camera, and a few body bags into the backseat of Jake’s Camaro and brought two mugs of coffee to the front. He was wearing the same blue Polartec jacket Jake had given him seven years ago on the eve of Pete’s departure; Jake had on the dark green oilskin Marianna had bought him on their only trip to London.

“You do realize,” Jake said, as Pete backed the Camaro out of the driveway, “that you live in the geographical center of nowhere.”

Harrigan grinned. “It’s exciting, though. Big-time crime. Just last week our mayor shot an elk out of season. Town’s still debating how much to fine him.”

Jake swallowed hot coffee. It was bitter and strong; considering his sleep deprivation he was going to need a lot of it. “You lived in New York for over thirty years.”

“I got over it.”

After almost four decades in forensic pathology, Harrigan had retired to the country to please his wife, Dolores, who died less than three years later. Bored with fishing, he had taken on the post of Baxter County medical examiner, which meant signing off on one or two death certificates a week and doing two or three autopsies a month. At seventy-two, he was the oldest sitting medical examiner in the state of New York.

“So explain,” Jake said. “Why did I drive up here in the middle of the night?”

“To get here before the excavation starts up again.”

“Excavation of what?”

“That field in the distance.”

“And they’re digging on a Saturday morning?”

“Apparently,” Pete said, “the building of a shopping mall waits for no man—or bones.”

They were traveling on a two-lane road, passing trees, not houses. “A shopping mall? Up here?”

“Rumor has it the governor’s going to give the Senecas rights to build a casino. The town fathers are half mad with the prospect of all those tourists, so naturally they want to give them a place to spend their winnings. And what more appropriate location than in back of the Turner insane asylum?”

Jake grunted. “Fat chance anyone will win.”

Pete glanced at him, amused. “You never were much of a gambler, were you.”

“Only at love. And look what that won me: a monthly alimony check.”

Jake still felt the divorce of his parents with almost the same pain he’d experienced with his own. He remembered hugging his father’s leg the last time he walked out the door. His younger brother, Sam, had been a baby, couldn’t even stand yet, and didn’t know what was going on. But Jake’s childhood had gone downhill from that moment. After twenty years of being a medical examiner, he was convinced that the biggest risk factors for murder were love and marriage. He believed the marriage vow should say, I promise to love, honor, and not kill you. He had chosen a career as an ME both to improve society and to prove that a delinquent kid could make something of his life. The time it took to make a marriage work wasn’t compatible with his goals.

They continued down the road, sunlight just starting to peek through the trees. “They’d just broken ground on their god- forsaken center early yesterday afternoon,” Pete said, “when the backhoe brought up the upper part of a skull. The lower jaw, the mandible, was missing, probably carried off with the dirt before the crew realized what they had. In a construction site like this, the first instinct is to ignore anything that gets in the way, but the backhoe driver called the authorities and they called me. I found an ulna and a tibia to go along with the skull and ordered a shutdown; I left them at the site, of course.” Harrigan shot Jake a look. “I leave you to guess what the developer said the delay would cost him.”

Jake smiled into his mug. “An arm and a leg?”

“Just so.”

“I’m guessing those aren’t an old settler’s bones or you wouldn’t have brought me up here.”

“You got it. Within an hour, the scene was crawling with people: the developer himself—R. Seward Reynolds—his lackeys, his lawyers, the mayor, the sheriff, half the town council, and the ever-lovely Marge Crespy, doyenne of the Turner Historical Society.”

“Good God!”

“All of them seemed eager for the remains to be a settler. I told them, Impossible.”

Jake got the familiar queasy feeling in his stomach that came with the suspicion of corruption. “Sure. A settler means no fights over Indian burial grounds, no worries about a crime scene. They can just rebury the bones somewhere else and get on with the mall.” He looked at his friend and mentor, feeling the anger in Pete’s bearing. “Do you think it’s a Native American?”

“I found an incisor. It isn’t shovel-shaped. The skull has rectangular eye sockets and a triangular nasal opening. You tell me.”

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Michael Baden, M.D., is one of America’s leading forensic experts.  He has overseen cases ranging from the death of John Belushi to the examination of the remains of Tsar Nicholas II and has served as an expert witness in countless criminal cases, including the trials of Claus von Bulow and O. J. Simpson. He has been a consulting forensic pathologist to the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the FBI, and the Russian government, as well as a visiting professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Albany Medical College.

Linda Kenney Baden has won dozens of civil rights lawsuits and has appeared as a guest legal commentator on Court TV, CNN, and MSNBC.

They live in New York City with their dog, Mycroft. For more information, visit

From the Paperback edition.

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Remains Silent 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. I like books that leave you with a cliff-hanger at the end of the chapter and you just have to read a little more to find out whats going to happen.This book did that frequently. It was worth the time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not put this one down. Have read all of Dr Baden's non-fiction books . Loved this one! Can't wait to read the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dr Baden may be a brilliant doctor, but he is a poor writer. I had very high hopes for this book as I am a fan of Autopsy on HBO, but I was very disappointed. For being a forensic pathologist and a lawyer, I thought they would have been better with the details. If a passenger car window is broken out, the passenger can not fall asleep against the window on the drive home. There were little problems like that throughout the story that is distracting. I was not expecting the ending, but that was because it made no sense and seemed very forced. Dr Baden, I promise to forget this mistake of a story if you promise not to write anymore.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Philomena 'Manny' Manfreda and Dr. Jake Rosen in Remains Silent are the couple that would make any dinner party buzz. Great dialogue between the protagonists. A real forensic pathologist knows that a visiting attorney could easily be deputized into action in assisting on an autopsy. This book is thrilling, believable, and realistic. Hopefully we will hear more from these two authors.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once you start you don't want to stop.The unique blending of Jake and Philomena make for an entertaining read. It's nice to read a book where the characters are believable and bright. This duo should be around for a long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw them on 'The View' today and it prompted me to write about this book. Michael Baden and Linda Kenney take their expertise in the real world and turn it into a page turner of a novel that will keep you up at night until you finish. They keep you guessing throughout the book, even to the point where you try to figure out if they will finally be more than friends! This book should make for more than a great novel ¿ someone should pick it up for a show! Please, can¿t wait for book two!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really expected more, but this was a CHEESY book. It took all of the cliche crime novels and forensics and put them in one book
Guest More than 1 year ago
The novel reads like a creating writing exercise: implausible as it is amateurish. When Spenser and Susan banter, it's clever and funny. When the book's two main characters do it, it is painfully unfunny and sounds like the dialogue was written by an elementary student. I much prefer Baden's nonfiction work, and his wife should find another hobby. Writing is definitely not for her.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Remains Silent is such light reading that the book should float into the air unless you keep a firm grip on it. Stilted, unrealistic dialogue between the protagonists is slightly embarrassing and clumsy at times. No, the thought of a defense attorney assisting in an autopsy and straddling a 60-something-year-old female corpse to assist the pathologist she's just realized she has a crush on isn't thrilling -- it's unbelievable, unrealistic and awkward. The two authors might be brilliant in their professions, but they should stick to what they know best -- and it isn't writing a good thriller.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first saw Michael Baden on Court TV's 'Catherine Crier Live' discussing her book 'A Deadly Game' on the Scott Peterson case. Baden is definately the real deal. He's the former Chief Medical Inspector for the City of New York. He's a great story teller as well. An enthusiastic two thumbs up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its no small feat to take complex forensic science and turn it into a story so compelling you will be late for work because you stayed up all night reading it. But that is exactly what the authors accomplished in this fast paced novel that will leave you wanting to read about even more cases solved by this dynamic couple. While most couples would be happy with dinner and a movie on their first date, Jake and Philomena conduct an autopsy and begin to solve a murder. Makes you wonder what they will do on their second date. I guess we will all have to wait for the sequal to find out. Can't wait.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have picked up in a long time. It is incredibly interesting and was hard to put down. I was impressed by the fact that the author kept the book to only about 225 pages, but he kept out all the boring fillers that many novels have and that make them drag. The book is fast paced. Manny is hysterically funny. The romance part of it is refreshingly fun, funny, and funtastic. I was rooting for them all the way and to go all the way. I hope this is a start of a new series with these two main characters. Since finding out that CSI is mostly fiction it is refreshing to read a book that is written by someone in the field. He and his co-author wife Linda Kenney have written a real winner. This book would make a wonderful movie. Please, please be writing book number two!!!!!!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Attorney Philomena ¿Nanny¿ Manfred works for the underdog, the indigent, and the ones who have nobody else to turn to for justice. Medical Examiner Dr. Jacob Rosen knows many downtrodden and calls on her when a person he meets needs legal help. In Turner, two hours north of New York City, Jake¿s mentor requires such assistance. Four sets of skeletal remains were found where a shopping mall is supposed to be built halting construction.................... The bones belonged to patients incarcerated in a mental hospital that used to be located in the area. Two of the patients are identified and the daughter of one wants to know what happened to her father. Manny agrees to take her case knowing at the time Jake¿s mentor didn¿t die from cancer but was murdered. As Jake and Manny investigate, attempts on their lives are made. Neither the lawyer nor the doctor has any intention of quitting intending to discover the secrets of the asylum that someone wants kept buried.................. Readers who love the work of Robin Cook and writers of legal thrillers will find REMAINS SILENT one of the best debut crime thrillers of the year. The romance between Jake and Manny starts slow but eventually picks up steam making it seem believable and realistic. There is plenty of action and many times the protagonists are almost killed, but what makes this book so fascinating is that the readers and characters don¿t have a clue why.................. Harriet Klausner