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Forensics For Dummies, 2nd Edition



Forensics For Dummies, 2nd Edition

Douglas P. Lyle

ISBN: 978-1-119-18168-2 February 2016 384 Pages


Understand the real-life science behind crime scene investigation

Forensics For Dummies takes you inside the world of crime scene investigation to give you the low down on this exciting field. Written by a doctor and former Law & Order consultant, this guide will have you solving crimes along with your favorite TV shows in no time. From fingerprints and fibers to blood and ballistics, you'll walk through the processes that yield significant information from the smallest clues. You'll learn how Hollywood gets it wrong, and how real-world forensics experts work every day in fields as diverse as biology, psychology, anthropology, medicine, information technology, and more. If you're interested in a forensics career, you'll find out how to break in—and the education you'll need to do the type of forensics work that interests you the most. Written for the true forensics fan, this book doesn't shy away from the details; you'll learn what goes on at the morgue as you determine cause of death, and you'll climb into the mind of a killer as you learn how forensic psychologists narrow down the suspect list.

Crime shows are entertaining, but the reality is that most forensics cases aren't wrapped up in an hour. This book shows you how it's really done, and the amazing technology and brilliant people that do it every day.

  • Learn who does what, when they do it, and how it's done
  • Discover the many fields involved in crime scene investigation
  • Understand what really happens inside a forensics lab
  • Examine famous forensics cases more intriguing than any TV show

Forensic scientists work in a variety of environments and in many different capacities. If you think television makes it look interesting, just wait until you learn what it's really like! Forensics For Dummies takes you on a tour of the real-world science behind solving the case.

Introduction 1

Part I: Cracking Open the Case 5

Chapter 1: Understanding the World of Forensic Science 7

Chapter 2: Getting to Know the Forensics Team 17

Chapter 3: Collecting and Protecting the Evidence 29

Chapter 4: Delving into the Criminal Mind 49

Part II: Analyzing the Evidence 73

Chapter 5: Fingerprints: Your Personal Signature 75

Chapter 6: Painting A Gruesome Picture: Bloodstain Analysis 87

Chapter 7: Leaving Impressive Impressions: Shoes, Tires, and Tools 103

Chapter 8: Burning Down the House: Is It Arson? 117

Part III: Examining the Body 131

Chapter 9: Determining the Cause and Manner of Death: Forensic Autopsies 133

Chapter 10: Identifying Unknown Victims 149

Chapter 11: Estimating the Time of Death 167

Chapter 12: Ouch! That Hurts: Traumatic Injuries and Deaths 181

Chapter 13: Gasping for Air: Asphyxia 203

Part IV: Utilizing the Crime Lab 219

Chapter 14: Analyzing Blood and Other Bodily Fluids: Serology 221

Chapter 15: Looking Deep Inside: DNA Analysis 235

Chapter 16: Testing for Drugs and Poisons: The Toxicology Lab 253

Chapter 17: Picking Apart Trace Evidence 275

Chapter 18: Bang! Bang!: Analyzing Firearms Evidence 293

Chapter 19: Questioning the Validity of Documents 305

Part V: The Part of Tens 319

Chapter 20: Ten Famous Forensic Cases 321

Chapter 21: Ten Ways Hollywood Gets It Wrong 333

Chapter 22: Ten Great Forensic Careers 339

Index 347