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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Forensics, 2nd Edition

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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Forensics

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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Forensics, 2nd Edition
Discover How Crimes are Solved Through Science and Detection
By Alan Axelrod and Guy Antinozzi
Alpha Books - A Member of the Penguin Group (USA) Inc.: 2007
ISBN: 978-1-59257-677-7

Reviewed by Angela Evans - Posted February 25, 2009

While fiction writers are well known for their creativity and wild imaginations, it is often essential that you add ample doses of reality to your story or novel in order to connect with the reader and to give your story credibility. This is especially true in the realms of crime, police procedurals, true-crime, and mystery fiction as many of your readers have already obtained at least some knowledge about forensics and crime scene and criminal investigations from the numerous CSI-styled television shows and novels that are currently in vogue. If you get your information wrong in these arenas, your readers will catch your mistakes and might not read your next book!

In The Complete Idiot's Guide to Forensics, 2nd Edition, Alan Axelrod and Guy Antinozzi provide an accessible overview of forensic science and crime scene investigation. This book provides an overview of the entire field of crime scene investigation and how evidence is obtained via the forensic and medical sciences. It walks you through the entire process of a criminal investigation from the 'crime' and crime scene investigation through the processing of evidence. Detailed information is provided on policing and the role that police have in preventing crime. This text covers a range of topics and fields including criminal profiling, pathology, DNA evidence, toxicology, crime scene analysis, investigative photography, lie detector testing, and the future of criminal investigation. In addition, the fields of forensic odontology, anthropology, geology, botany, and entomology are covered in detail. General introductions to each field are provided, as well as explaining their role in crime scene investigation including the methodologies used within each field to process evidence, identity victims and criminals, and the role that the information provided by the forensic sciences is used in criminal prosecutions.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Forensics is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to forensics or crime scene investigation. Rather, its purpose is to provide you with a general, and understandable, introduction to this vibrant area investigation. Case histories that illustrate how forensic science is used to solve crimes, are provided throughout. The information in this book should prove sufficient for the needs of most writers seeking general information on forensics for their story. However, if you need more detailed information, you will find that this book will give you a solid foundation upon which to pursue this intriguing subject in more detail. For a more in-depth study of forensics and criminology, I highly recommend the college-level textbook, Criminalistics - An Introduction to Forensic Science, by Richard Saferstein.

Both writers, readers, and fans of CSI and similar shows will find The Complete Idiot's Guide to Forensics to be both informative and edifying. It serves as a handy reference book that is a must-have for all mystery and crime writers as it provides information that will prove useful in not only orchestrating a crime, but also in investigating and solving it.

Please note: that this book was previously published under the title, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Criminal Investigation.

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