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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Valerie L. Ng, PhD MD(Alameda County Medical Center/Highland Hospital)
Description: This is a textbook of basic principles of forensic chemistry.
Purpose: The purpose was to consolidate scattered sources of previously published information on forensic chemistry in one book.
Audience: It is intended for students of forensic chemistry, specifically undergraduates majoring in criminalistics intent on a future career as a forensic examiner. This book also would be of interest to anyone with a science background (especially in chemistry and physics) curious about today's practice and underlying theory regarding forensic chemistry.
Features: This is a pretty interesting book. It begins with a quick review of chemistry (inorganic and organic), tools of forensic chemistry (nomenclature, chemical screening, microcrystal techniques), methodology (chemical extraction, chromatographic and spectroscopy methods), examination of drugs and narcotics, and clandestine laboratory operations. Each chapter has plenty of relevant pictures and figures. The section on clandestine operations is quite interesting — the authors provide enough detail to understand clandestine synthetic processes but not enough to replicate them. The final section is a laboratory manual with 20 experiments to test students' knowledge. One flaw — the index is way off. I looked up two topics, and in neither case was the subject on the page indicated in the index.
Assessment: This is a great textbook for forensic chemistry students.