7 Popular Books About Forensic Science

The field has become popular from media coverage and TV programs

Crime scene investigation

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Forensic science is the application of scientific methods and techniques to investigations by law enforcement agencies or courts of law. It has become more popular in the public mind because of intense coverage of legal cases in the media and a number of television programs regarding crime scene investigation.

Here's a selection of top-rated books about forensic science by authors with years of hands-on experience and knowledge. They have packaged their information in a way that those interested in forensics will be able to understand what they are have been reading or watching.

'Criminalistics: An Introduction to Forensic Science'

Criminalistics - An Introduction to Forensic Science
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This book by Richard Saferstein is an excellent guide for the nonscientific reader. It explores how forensic science is applied to criminal investigations, the techniques used, current terminology, and standard practices in crime laboratories.

The book also offers an interactive crime scene CD-ROM that allows readers to participate as investigators while a crime is being solved. This is a good resource for anyone interested in the fields of forensics and criminal justice.

'The Casebook of Forensic Detection'

Author Colin Evans' book gives readers a chance to delve into 100 investigations and learn how experts from various forensic fields used their knowledge to solve the cases. It's a great book for beginners to seasoned veterans interested in reading how specific cases were solved using the science of forensics.

'Forensic Pathology'

Forensic Pathology
Amazon.com

This medicolegal textbook was written by Vincent J.M. DiMaio, a pathologist who was the chief medical examiner for Bexar County, Texas, and Dominick DiMaio, a pathologist and former chief medical examiner for New York City. Its topics deal with time of death, blunt trauma wounds, and airplane crashes. The book, written for medical and investigative professionals, presents an overview of medicolegal investigative systems. 

'Practical Homicide Investigation'

Practical Homicide Investigation
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Vernon Geberth wrote an excellent guide for anyone involved in homicide investigation and for newcomers to the field of forensic science. This latest edition offers new and revised chapters including case histories and techniques that reflect the latest forensic methods and modern investigative procedures.

"Geberth, the worldwide expert on homicide investigation, is the real thing," wrote Edwin T. Dreher, retired deputy chief of detectives for the New York City Police Department. "His chapter on DNA is one of the most readable and comprehensive treatments on the subject."

'Practical Homicide Investigation: Checklist and Field Guide'

Practical Homicide Investigation
Amazon.com

Geberth also wrote this how-to guide that offers readers checklists and step-by-step guidelines on procedures, tactics, and forensic techniques used in sudden and violent death investigations.

The appendix categorizes evidence by type so that officers working in the field, for example, can quickly find the correct procedure for collecting evidence that they have never dealt with. It also contains multiple checklists to help ensure that proper procedures are followed and investigations are completed.

'Gunshot Wounds'

Gunshot Wounds
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Vincent J.M. DiMaio's "Gunshot Wounds: Practical Aspects of Firearms, Ballistics, and Forensic Techniques" contains numerous photographs of victims who died from gunshot wounds plus lengthy discussions and references to the forensic study of such wounds and weapon identification.

The third edition of "Gunshot Wounds" provides readers with the latest and most comprehensive information on firearms and best practices for examining firearm-related wounds.

'Interpretation of Bloodstain Evidence at Crime Scenes'

Interpretation of Bloodstain Evidence at Crime Scenes
Amazon.com

Editors William G. Eckert and Stuart H. James complied this popular book, now in its second edition, which delves into such topics as bloodstain interpretation; low-velocity impact and angular considerations; medium and high-velocity impact; and partially dried, clotted, aged, and physically altered bloodstains. Another chapter deals with luminol. a chemical that reveals invisible blood traces. 

One reviewer said, "Anyone involved in law enforcement or criminal law will cherish this informative, well written text. It takes a very complicated, mind-numbing subject and pilots the reader in an organized, comprehensible manner to a well-rounded understanding of the subject. This one should be required reading for all law students and criminal law practitioners."