19 Apr 2011

Book Review: Crime Scene by Vivien Bowers

By L. E. Carmichael

Title: Crime Scene: How Investigators Use Science to Track Down the Bad Guys
Author: Vivien Bowers
Publisher: Maple Tree Press
ISBN: 9781897066560
Book Source: library

There are a ton of children's forensic books on the market - including "bookstore" books and those produced for school libraries, over 100.

I've read more than 30 of them.

Many of the books available are clearly written, well laid out, and accessible to kids.  Many contain enough gruesome details to capture the attention of even the most videogame-jaded twelve-year-old.  Many of them are scientifically accurate.  Many of them read like they've used each other as primary reference sources.

That's why Vivien Bowers' Crime Scene was so refreshing to me.  It's got lots of sidebars to help pull readers into the text.  It's got both illustrations and photos, including some rather creepy step-by-step pictures of a facial reconstruction.  It's error free, and it's full of information I didn't find anywhere else, particularly in the extensive "Computers and Crime" chapter.

Other topics include:
  • trace and toolmarks
  • forgeries
  • fingerprints and DNA
  • forensic dentistry and anthropology
  • entomology 
The book is detailed enough to serve as a reference in report writing, but lively enough to read for fun.  It's even got activities and mysteries kids can solve, using the techniques outlined in the text.  This one gets a definite recommend.

Vivien is one of our contributors - look for her first post next week!


Cross-posted at Ten Stories Up.

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