Cover Image: A Taste for Poison

A Taste for Poison

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Member Reviews

This book was a page turner from beginning to end. It is crazy to not only know the history of poison but what people actually think that they can get away with and then how they get caught. Highly recommend if you are a fan.   I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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A Taste for Poison is fascinating! The different uses of poison is clearly explained and the science behind them is easily understood. You don't have to be well versed in science/chemistry. Dr. Bradbury includes some chilling stories about the insidious use of poison by seemingly "nice" people. Loved every page of this must-read book.
Thank you to NetGalley.
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Bite-sized chapters (bad pun) make make for easy reading. Thought-provoking, informative, but most of all a very interesting book written so  laypeople can understand more about poisons.
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I really enjoyed this book. The author was able to relate complex scientific principles in a straightforward,  easy to understand manner. He gave the history of a poison, how it was discovered, its action, treatment (when available), and real-life examples of when the poison was used to kill or attempt to kill someone. The book is very descriptive and detailed without going overboard or too far into the weeds.
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I received an advance copy of, A Taste for Poison, by Neil Bradbury, PH.D.  This was a really good, informative story on poison.  The many types of poison, and how they can kill you.  Also, people who used poison to kill.
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Entertaining book! The stories are fascinating to hear and are great mini true crime novels in themselves. My only gripe would be the sections of the chapters where they go into the history and chemical affects of the poisons. Those parts read just like a textbook, informative but a bit boring.
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This was such a cool book! Every now and then I need a break from thrillers and horrors, and I’ll usually grab a non-fiction as a palate cleanser. I’ve had my eye on this one for awhile and I was lucky to get an Advanced Read Copy so I didn’t have to wait long…

I really liked this one. Informative and interesting are two great qualities, and this book was both. I learned a lot of fun facts, like insulin was once used to control schizophrenia (by putting patients into a coma), or that so many things were once used as both medicine and poison, with the doses between the two being way too close for comfort.

The eleven poisons examined are aconite, arsenic, atropine, chlorine, cyanide, digoxin, insulin, polonium, potassium, ricin and strychnine. You’ll get the chemical breakdown, history and other uses for each - and you’ll also get examples of times these substances were used to kill.

History, science and true-crime all in one; this book is a triple threat! I’m giving this 4.5 stars rounded down because it got a bit dry in spots, but it was still a great “infotainment” book. If you like any of the above-mentioned genres, I’d recommend this one to you!

(Thank you to the publisher, author and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my review.)
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This was an interesting book describing the most used poisons for homicide! well written and intriguing, I enjoyed it!
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As a hospital pharmacist, I found this book very intriguing and easy to read.  It is an entertaining mixture of crime, history and pharmacology.   Each poison is presented with a nice balance of physiologic description, nefarious uses, and current knowledge and practical utilization of the chemical.  I highly recommend  "A Taste for Poison".
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4.5 stars
A Taste for Poison
by Neil Bradbury, Ph.D.
A fascinating book that immerses the reader into an in-depth look at poisons and how they have been used through the years to commit murder. Prior to reading this book, I had not heard of most of these crimes. It was quite interesting how old some of these murders were, it is easy to forget that murder is not something of just the last century but is as old as man himself.


 I highly recommend this book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley.
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This enchanting book covers the most famous poisons in history.  Dr. Bradbury has crafted stories about each poison with a historical perspective of infamous crimes, details the poison’s development and mode of action in scientific laymen’s terms, and with a spark of wry humor.  This is a highly recommended read for those with an inquisitive mind and a penchant for the dark arts.  Lane L Clarke, D.V.M., PhD.
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I didn't initially enjoy this book as much as I expected to since I obviously did not read the description very carefully. I was expecting a mystery with poison as the killer's choice. This is not a fictional novel. 

After reading more of the reviews from others and moving along with learning more about novel-writing, I realized what a wonderful "RESEARCH' opportunity this book provides. If you're a mystery writer and you need to choose your poison, this is your book. 

Poison Choices were provided with brief descriptions of fictional stories which utilized this choice along with the chemical properties and details of death. At this point in my writing career, this is the perfect choice.
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Bradbury uses a breezy writing style to tell about poisons used to kill. Interspersed in each section is a narrative of someone who has killed or been killed with the poison being discussed as well as information on the poison, where it comes from, how it is made and what effect it has on the body. Many of these poisons have extremely gruesome effects on the body, so be prepared to be grossed out. 
The stories Bradbury has chosen to tell caught my interest and in more than one case, i felt the need to look up more on the victim or the killer. What does it say about me that I loved this book?
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I absolutely loved this informative true crime book based on poison.  Is divided into chapters based on the type of poisoning and a crime committed with it.  There are also several references in the book to crimes  created in fiction books.
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Poisoning is perhaps the most discrete manner in which to murder someone. Judicious choice of toxic agent provides the poisoner with a number of potentially useful options: do you need to make a getaway, in which case poisons can be chosen that will not exert their dreadful effect until you are far from the crime scene, or potentially even days after you have left the country; was the perceived slight so great that you want your victim to suffer unduly, thereby incorporating a fearsome added element to the process; do you want your toxin to be untraceable, therefore causing your victim’s demise to be put down to natural causes or misadventure? Further, you can also deliver the poisonous agent at a remote distance; the arrival of an unsolicited box of chocolates should always be treated with suspicion.  

These methods and their perpetrators are admirably described in Neil Bradbury’s “A Taste for Poison”, published by St. Martin’s Press. Examples of poisoning for profit, love, revenge or power have been known since early times and while some of the cases have been previously described, some will undoubtedly be unfamiliar even to aficionados of the true crime genre.  However, what differentiates this entertaining little book from other similar accounts, is the accompanying explanation of how these agents wreak their terrible damage on the cells and organs of the body. Drawing on his academic background, Dr. Bradbury explains the biochemical and physiological mechanisms of how poisons kill, even if only minute quantities are absorbed.  The scientific details are accurate, concise and easily readable – you will not need to have aced Chem 101 in order to be able to appreciate the mechanisms underlying the effectiveness of the agent being described.  Additionally, the author makes an important point that is frequently overlooked; many poisons can have valid therapeutic effects, only becoming toxic at high concentrations or in particular situations; after all even water is toxic if too much is ingested.  Details of toxic doses, methods of administration, and biological/chemical source are provided in an appendix. However, this is not an instruction manual for the would-be poisoner; fortunately the author has also included periodic asides on the development of forensic detection methods that will, (one hopes!), reassure the reader that the chances of a poison being detected and traced back to the poisoner are now much greater than they were even 20 years ago.  Overall, for those interested in the history of poisons, murder and the science behind the madness, this will be a diverting and engaging read.
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Such a wonderful cookbook! I simply can't wait to try out these recipes at my next dinner party!

I'm just kidding. In all seriousness' do not use this book as a way to spice up your home cooked meals. This is however, a wonderful book that gives you an up close and personal look at some really interesting poisons.
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YES!  Finally - I have been waiting for a book like this.  I am a huge nerd when it comes to chemistry, true crime, and microbiology.  This was a dream come true book. I am always on the hunt for new material to read regarding medical history.

This is not an intimidating book by any means- so don't be fooled by the words molecules and chemistry in the synopsis of the book.  

The author did such a fine job balancing everything-from the science aspect to the crimes themselves. This is one heck of a fascinating book.

This was a very enjoyable read- and will be picking up a copy for myself to transfer over my notes and all the highlighting I've done in my kindle.

Thank you to Neil Bradbury and St Martin's Press for an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I have seen Dr. Bradbury give a talk about Cystic Fibrosis and have even been lucky enough to hear him present on the poisons that he writes about in A Taste for Poison. He did such a wonderful job explaining everything during the talks that I was concerned that the book could not match the same level of enthusiasm and educational utility. I am happy to inform you all that I was wrong. Even though I have a decent background in science and currently teach about the human body, I think this book is accessible to a wide range of readers. There is a perfect mix of science and dark history to not only inform the reader but to keep them interested as well.  

Dr. Bradbury does a fantastic job of setting the scene for how each molecule was utilized in a nefarious manner but also intertwines the medical properties for the individual molecules. I would recommend this book for readers who are interested in murder mysteries, medical history, or those who are just looking to appreciate how complex our body really is. It was easy to read, difficult to put down, and left me wanting more when I reached the end of the book.
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Very unusual approach to examining several toxic chemicals and concoctions that humans use to kill one another. This book is loaded with scientific explanations of what the different substances do to the human body, how they interfere with normal workings of the body and what symptoms pathologists look for in the deceased. It's dense because it discusses science. It's not a murder mystery who dun it. I found it fascinating.
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Neil Bradbury seamlessly weaves together the cat-and-mouse story of poisoner and investigator with the molecular explanations for poisons, and the medical history of these mysterious, alluring substances. He finds new and fascinating stories about the ways people have used medicines and toxins to harm each other as well as the human motivations behind such actions. Bradbury describes paradigm-shifting concepts as well as Gould, gives illustrative anecdotes as well as Gladwell, and provides apt metaphor like Hawking. I only wish he had been my toxicology instructor in grad school!
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