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Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA, and More Tell Us about Crime

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA, and More Tell Us about Crime.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Val McDermid(Author)

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In the course of researching her best-selling books, McDermid has become familiar with many branches of forensics, and now she uncovers the history of this science and the people who make sure that for murderers, there is no hiding place. Forensic scientists can unlock the mysteries of the past and help serve justice using the messages left by a corpse, a crime scene, or the faintest of human traces. Now available in paperback, Forensics goes behind the scenes with some of these top-level professionals and their groundbreaking research, drawing on original interviews and firsthand experience on scene with top forensic scientists. Along the way, we discover how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine time of death; how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer; and how a team of young Argentine scientists led by a maverick American anthropologist were able to uncover the victims of a genocide. The journey takes us to war zones, fire scenes, and autopsy suites, reveals both extraordinary bravery and true wickedness, as we trace the history of forensics from its earliest beginnings to the cutting-edge science of the modern day.

Praise for "Forensics"McDermid s entertaining foray into nonfiction . . . offers fascinating glimpses into the grisly crime-scene investigation arena . . . McDermid brings the same pleasurable, scrupulous attention to detail and highly visual descriptions to "Forensics" as she does to her fiction. "Boston Globe"Fascinating . . . A gripping history of the anatomy of crime. Each of the chapterswhich examine themes such as fire scene investigation, toxicology, fingerprinting, DNA and blood splatter and facial reconstructioncontains a wealth of surprising information. . . . If McDermid is ever stuck for inspiration for her novels she could do worse than turn to her own book of the dead for inspiration. "The Independent" (UK)An energetic, eye-opening work of reporting by the distinguished Scottish crime novelist Val McDermid . . . Real-world forensics is no less fascinating than fictionand perhaps just the opposite . . . McDermid, a former newspaper journalist and bureau chief, has her reporter hat on this time. The result is clear-eyed, vigorous, unpretentious and mesmerizing . . . Thanks to McDermid s resolute curiosity, every page of "Forensics" has astonishing stuff. "The Seattle Times"McDermid examines the creativity of forensic experts through the analytic techniques they apply to real-life crime . . . McDermid has not lost her early journalistic genius for telling a good story plainly and with passion. "Times Saturday Review" (UK)Fascinating . . . Val McDermid is one of the most skilled of crime writers and she has gone a step beyond killing by writing with crisp authority on the facts that lie behind gruesome events. "The Washington Times"[McDermid] burrows into the wild history of forensics, interviewing top scientists and culling from innovative research to explain practices like using maggots to calculate time of death. "Entertainment Weekly" ( Brainy & Brilliant Beach Books )Our fascination with crime has spawned libraries of books and years of TV programming. Val McDermid is a major player in the genre . . . She has now written a guide to criminal forensics that is every bit as compelling as the best of the fictional genre. She combines science with the macabre, from the Great Fire of London to some of the most sensational trials of recent times. "The Irish Times"In charting the astonishing leaps that forensic science has made over the past two centuries, McDermid provides a grimly absorbing account of crime and its detection. "The Observer" (UK)[McDermid] approaches the grisly realities of crime scenes and corpses with a neophyte s sense of wonder . . . A satisfying insider s excursion into the scientific realities behind "CSI"-style pop culture. "Kirkus Reviews"McDermid s deep dives into history and science add substance. She does a commendable job of explaining some timely issues, such as the use of mega-data in digital forensics and the latest controversies about forensic DNA . . . An enjoyable read . . . It will certainly please readers of McDermid s novels, who will want to have her take on the subject. "The Washington Post "Gruesomely fascinating . . . Fans of McDermid s fiction will gain a greater understanding of where her ideas come from. "Publishers Weekly"McDermid would make a good doctor, managing to be clinically precise but engaging at the same time. . . . Drawing on interrogative skills learned from her first career as a journalist, the result is a highly readable, eye-opening account of the way in which criminals have slowly had their wings clipped and their getaways thwarted over the past hundred and more years. "The Herald" (Scotland)"Praise for ForensicsMcDermid s entertaining foray into nonfiction . . . offers fascinating glimpses into the grisly crime-scene investigation arena . . . McDermid brings the same pleasurable, scrupulous attention to detail and highly visual descriptions to Forensics as she does to her fiction. Boston GlobeFascinating . . . A gripping history of the anatomy of crime. Each of the chapterswhich examine themes such as fire scene investigation, toxicology, fingerprinting, DNA and blood splatter and facial reconstructioncontains a wealth of surprising information. . . . If McDermid is ever stuck for inspiration for her novels she could do worse than turn to her own book of the dead for inspiration. The Independent (UK)An energetic, eye-opening work of reporting by the distinguished Scottish crime novelist Val McDermid . . . Real-world forensics is no less fascinating than fictionand perhaps just the opposite . . . McDermid, a former newspaper journalist and bureau chief, has her reporter hat on this time. The result is clear-eyed, vigorous, unpretentious and mesmerizing . . . Thanks to McDermid s resolute curiosity, every page of Forensics has astonishing stuff. The Seattle TimesMcDermid examines the creativity of forensic experts through the analytic techniques they apply to real-life crime . . . McDermid has not lost her early journalistic genius for telling a good story plainly and with passion. Times Saturday Review (UK)Fascinating . . . Val McDermid is one of the most skilled of crime writers and she has gone a step beyond killing by writing with crisp authority on the facts that lie behind gruesome events. The Washington Times[McDermid] burrows into the wild history of forensics, interviewing top scientists and culling from innovative research to explain practices like using maggots to calculate time of death. Entertainment Weekly ( Brainy & Brilliant Beach Books )Our fascination with crime has spawned libraries of books and years of TV programming. Val McDermid is a major player in the genre . . . She has now written a guide to criminal forensics that is every bit as compelling as the best of the fictional genre. She combines science with the macabre, from the Great Fire of London to some of the most sensational trials of recent times. The Irish TimesIn charting the astonishing leaps that forensic science has made over the past two centuries, McDermid provides a grimly absorbing account of crime and its detection. The Observer (UK)[McDermid] approaches the grisly realities of crime scenes and corpses with a neophyte s sense of wonder . . . A satisfying insider s excursion into the scientific realities behind CSI-style pop culture. Kirkus ReviewsMcDermid s deep dives into history and science add substance. She does a commendable job of explaining some timely issues, such as the use of mega-data in digital forensics and the latest controversies about forensic DNA . . . An enjoyable read . . . It will certainly please readers of McDermid s novels, who will want to have her take on the subject. The Washington PostGruesomely fascinating . . . Fans of McDermid s fiction will gain a greater understanding of where her ideas come from. Publishers WeeklyMcDermid would make a good doctor, managing to be clinically precise but engaging at the same time. . . . Drawing on interrogative skills learned from her first career as a journalist, the result is a highly readable, eye-opening account of the way in which criminals have slowly had their wings clipped and their getaways thwarted over the past hundred and more years. The Herald (Scotland)"Praise for Forensics"McDermid's entertaining foray into nonfiction . . . offers fascinating glimpses into the grisly crime-scene investigation arena . . . McDermid brings the same pleasurable, scrupulous attention to detail and highly visual descriptions to Forensics as she does to her fiction."--Boston Globe "Fascinating . . . A gripping history of the anatomy of crime. Each of the chapters--which examine themes such as fire scene investigation, toxicology, fingerprinting, DNA and blood splatter and facial reconstruction--contains a wealth of surprising information. . . . If McDermid is ever stuck for inspiration for her novels she could do worse than turn to her own book of the dead for inspiration."--The Independent (UK) "An energetic, eye-opening work of reporting by the distinguished Scottish crime novelist Val McDermid . . . Real-world forensics is no less fascinating than fiction--and perhaps just the opposite . . . McDermid, a former newspaper journalist and bureau chief, has her reporter hat on this time. The result is clear-eyed, vigorous, unpretentious and mesmerizing . . . Thanks to McDermid's resolute curiosity, every page of Forensics has astonishing stuff."--The Seattle Times "McDermid examines the creativity of forensic experts through the analytic techniques they apply to real-life crime . . . McDermid has not lost her early journalistic genius for telling a good story plainly and with passion."--Times Saturday Review (UK) "Fascinating . . . Val McDermid is one of the most skilled of crime writers and she has gone a step beyond killing by writing with crisp authority on the facts that lie behind gruesome events."--The Washington Times "[McDermid] burrows into the wild history of forensics, interviewing top scientists and culling from innovative research to explain practices like using maggots to calculate time of death."--Entertainment Weekly ("Brainy & Brilliant Beach Books") "Our fascination with crime has spawned libraries of books and years of TV programming. Val McDermid is a major player in the genre . . . She has now written a guide to criminal forensics that is every bit as compelling as the best of the fictional genre. She combines science with the macabre, from the Great Fire of London to some of the most sensational trials of recent times." --The Irish Times "In charting the 'astonishing leaps' that forensic science has made over the past two centuries, McDermid provides a grimly absorbing account of crime and its detection."--The Observer (UK) "[McDermid] approaches the grisly realities of crime scenes and corpses with a neophyte's sense of wonder . . . A satisfying insider's excursion into the scientific realities behind CSI-style pop culture."--Kirkus Reviews "McDermid's deep dives into history and science add substance. She does a commendable job of explaining some timely issues, such as the use of mega-data in digital forensics and the latest controversies about forensic DNA . . . An enjoyable read . . . It will certainly please readers of McDermid's novels, who will want to have her take on the subject."--The Washington Post"Gruesomely fascinating . . . Fans of McDermid's fiction will gain a greater understanding of where her ideas come from."--Publishers Weekly "McDermid would make a good doctor, managing to be clinically precise but engaging at the same time. . . . Drawing on interrogative skills learned from her first career as a journalist, the result is a highly readable, eye-opening account of the way in which criminals have slowly had their wings clipped and their getaways thwarted over the past hundred and more years."--The Herald (Scotland)Praise for Forensics

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Book details

  • PDF | 320 pages
  • Val McDermid(Author)
  • Grove Press; Reprint edition (12 July 2016)
  • English
  • 2
  • Society, Politics & Philosophy

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Review Text

  • By Catherine Poe on 5 September 2016

    Very disappointed! They did make it look like it's a different book, but it's actually 'Forensics. Anatomy of Crime' that I bought before. Sometimes I don't read books for a while and they're waiting for their turn on the shelf. So did happen with this one. When I opened index page I did realise it's exactly same book. Don't know why and who decided to change cover and name for it, but as a result I have 2 identical books that seem to be different. It was also confusing as when I found this book on amazon it did say that it will be released in June and I did pre-order it.I think that The book itself is really good. But don't see why it was released again with different name.

  • By David Wineberg on 7 July 2015

    If the study of forensics were put on a chart, it would look like human population. It would flatline for thousands of years, then suddenly take off about 200 years ago, and shoot straight up in the 21st century. Val McDermid leverages that parabolic curve in her crime fiction. Her research is meant to make her stories exciting, amazing and authentic. But as in everything, truth is stranger than fiction, and Forensics is amazing because it traces these astonishing developments in depth. The level of sophistication seems to rise almost daily, changing the nature of investigations, the rate of convictions, and the very process of justice. Cold cases can be revived and solved, and the wrongly convicted can go free. Sometimes.Along the way, it is inevitable that the reader learns some odd facts:-dead bodies absorb arsenic from surrounding soil, making the claim of arsenic poisoning suspect.-hair grows about a centimeter month, allowing scientists to track drug consumption.-the iphone 5S has a specialized location chip that runs off reserve power. People have reported their iphones continuing to track their movements for four days after the battery has died and the phone shut itself off.-thanks to various insatiably curious scientists, we know the thickness of facial flesh and can reconstruct faces from skulls. We can determine the size and shape of an entire body from a bone fragment. We know what bugs consume dead human flesh, when they do it, what stage of life they were at the time, and can pinpoint the time of death by them.-the study of blood splatter has come to the point where we can reconstruct everything about the scene from it. Tiny splatters of DNA-worthy blood are now expected and found in places no one ever looked before.-women are 85% of forensic psychologists.-the British police hire scientists and psychologists to solve crimes, creating profiles from the clues at the crime scene. They help narrow the list of suspects and focus searches. And add their own errors and prejudices.Forensics would do Sherlock Holmes proud. It makes a continually changing and fascinating read. The successes, failures and abuses of the system share space with the human sloppiness and mistakes that land innocent people in prison for life – or worse. McDermid demonstrates them concretely and fairly. She obviously both loves and appreciates it all, and it shows.David Wineberg

  • By Laura Naz on 10 July 2015

    www.snazzybooks.comForensics is a detailed, fascinating look into the world of forensic science. Val McDermid covers various different elements and skills which are utilised by forensic scientists and investigators, covering topics from fingerprinting to facial reconstruction and toxicology. Each section is explained and explored in just the right level of detail, ensuring the reader gets the whole picture without becoming too scientific for the average reader.McDermid brilliantly weaves information about forensics techniques and procedures with real life cases and their outcomes. She shows the reader how the case was dealt with and manages to be fairly unbiased in her writing. Some past ideas and preconceptions are now known to be invalid but she shows why investigators and/or scientists at the time would have believed them to be true, so you get a real feel for the context.I was surprised at how much I loved reading this book. Perhaps I had preconceptions that it might be hard to read or quite dry but I got as addicted to reading it as I have done in various other novels, perhaps even more so because all the cases are real. Some of them I could remember from my childhood or teenage years, and this was to a certain extent even more interesting, as I often hadn’t understood them properly back then. This all adds to the mystery and intrigue.For those who are queasy or easily upset, be warned- Val McDermid doesn’t pull any punches here. Some really brutal crimes are laid out for the readers to learn about and there were a few times when I felt quite horrified reading about them, which I was surprised about as I read a LOT of crime (though real life is always more shocking). However, I’d obviously prefer this to a diluted or sugar-coated version of events.Overall this is just a fascinating book- I can’t imagine anyone would find it boring unless you really aren’t interested in the subject matter at all. I felt like I learnt a lot from it and will no doubt bore other people with my new found wisdom about the world of forensics! Highly recommended.**Many thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC of this novel in return for an honest review **


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