Forensics: A Guide for Writers
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Forensics: A Guide for Writers

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  132 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Just because you don't have all the tools and training of a full-time medical examiner doesn't mean you can't learn your way around a crime scene.

In "Forensics," award-winning author and TV show consultant D.P. Lyle, M.D., takes each area of forensics--from fingerprint analysis to crime scene reconstruction--and discusses its development, how the science works, how it help...more
Paperback, 438 pages
Published April 4th 2008 by Writer's Digest Books
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"Howdunit: Forensics" is a basic course in forensics. Though the subtitle says it's a guide for writers, there's a lot more information in it than an author could use in a novel without bogging the action down (though I do highly recommend they read this!). It's actually a book for anyone interested in learning the basics of forensics. It doesn't say things like, "In your novel, you could do this..." but simply gives real life examples of how everything works or how real criminals act.

The book w...more
Gwen Huff
Sep 29, 2012 Gwen Huff rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: crime, mystery, thriller, sci-fi writers
Recommended to Gwen by: search engine lol
Shelves: writing-books
This book should be in every writers' case of "tools". Mystery,thriller,and crime novelists are not the only type of writer who could and should use this book. Why?

Besides covering every detail of a crime and all the branches of Forensics in way that would be useful for a writer--television shows like CSI, NCIS, Burn Notice, all the crime and some medical shows present the viewer that every crime lab has all the resources shown on the television screen and it is assumed that your crime lab would...more
Betsy Ashton
If you are interested in learning more about forensics beyond what you see on CSI and Law and Order, this is the book for you. Dr. Lyle explains complex details of all topics that fall under the broad rubric of forensics in simple terms. If you are a writer who touches on any of the standard crime topics, motive, means, DNA, blood splatter, etc., this book should be on your shelf. After you've read it cover to cover.
Deanna Knippling
Not knowing a lot about forensics, I can't say whether this book is a) accurate or b) thorough. However, gave me some story ideas and did spend some time on how forensics was handled through the years, so I could extrapolate a reasonable investigation in, say, 15th-century China, if I wanted to. Good enough for me :) The lack of fifth star came from the poor editing, though. Not atrocious, just...surprisingly poor.
Ever watched an episode of CSI and been fascinated by what they say? This is ALL of that. It explains rather difficult concepts and even has diagrams that seem like they should belong in a criminal justice textbook. I'm sure you can BS a lot of details and have it pass, but if you want to make sure your stuff is medically sound, seriously check out this book.
Eric Susak
The table of contents and index make this a good reference guide for writing about crime, but I wouldn't recommend reading it all the way through (think textbook, a stream of out-of-context facts).

Unrelated to the content: I noticed quite a few typos.
Dec 14, 2010 rabbitprincess marked it as to-read
Shelves: non-fiction
I keep seeing this at Chapters when I go browsing, and one of these days I shall actually buy it. Not that I really intend to write murder mysteries, but it looks like a really good reference book (and I do love me some forensics).
One of three books of an amazing series that I hope will have further volumes. It's very handy to use a reference book as a writer and it's pretty fascinating just for reading as well.
Fun little reference book. Some interesting points in here. I do not use it for a career, but I got it for enjoyment and it has given me that.
Dawn Turner
Fabulously helpful book for authors who need this sort of research material.
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