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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Jennifer Forsyth, M.D.(City of St. Louis)
Description: This is a review of the current state of knowledge regarding investigating the juvenile skeleton in cases of abuse.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a deep and detailed review of skeletal findings in cases of juvenile abuse. These objectives are indeed worthy as scientific information on this subject tends to be scattered and found only in academic journals. Unfortunately, the book fails to deliver, as it is more of an introduction to the techniques than a detailed review. With the exception of the chapter on tooth and bone comparisons, chapters are far too general.
Audience: It is written for an audience of forensic investigators, ranging from medical death investigators to forensic pathologists and forensic anthropologists.
Features: The book covers many different aspects of death investigation in cases of suspected child abuse. Several useful charts that appear throughout the chapters would be useful references for a death investigation. However, there is considerable overlap in information between the chapters and a lengthy chapter devoted to general scene investigation that is not specific to skeletal trauma. One of the major shortcomings is a lack of photographs and illustrations.
Assessment: This is a useful primer that provides a good introduction to the techniques available for the evaluation of abuse in the juvenile skeleton. The references are a great place to research the details of these techniques. The book may have been better combined with the recently published Skeletal Atlas of Child Abuse, Love et al. (Humana Press, 2011). The atlas would have provided great side-by-side pictorial representations of the text descriptions.