Police Lab: How Forensic Science Tracks Down and Convicts Criminals

Overview

Is there such a thing as the perfect crime?

In 1979, US Army captain, Jeffrey MacDonald claimed that three "hippies" broke into his house and attacked him and stabbed his wife and daughters. Despite the Army Captain's careful attempts to conceal evidence, forensic scientists were able to prove that MacDonald himself was guilty. Police Lab shows how forensic scientists gather and analyze evidence, examine weapons and bodies and use DNA testing and other techniques to help solve ...

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Overview

Is there such a thing as the perfect crime?

In 1979, US Army captain, Jeffrey MacDonald claimed that three "hippies" broke into his house and attacked him and stabbed his wife and daughters. Despite the Army Captain's careful attempts to conceal evidence, forensic scientists were able to prove that MacDonald himself was guilty. Police Lab shows how forensic scientists gather and analyze evidence, examine weapons and bodies and use DNA testing and other techniques to help solve crime. Twenty real-life case studies show forensic scientists in action and demonstrate the fascinating secrets of police labs.

Police Lab includes:

  • analyzing physical evidence and weapons
  • fraud and forgeries including handwriting analysis
  • DNA testing and the future of forensic science
  • "forensic facts" sidebars throughout the book explaining how even the smallest detail and shred of evidence can help solve crime
  • 20 real-life case studies including: The World Trade Center bombing, O.J. Simpson trial, assassination of John F. Kennedy and the conviction of serial killer Ted Bundy
  • more than 200 color photographs
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Editorial Reviews

TeensReadToo.com - Jennifer Warden
For those interested in how forensic science works, then Police Lab is a must-read... This is a great starting point for teens interested in the forensic field.
Chicago Sun papers - Linda Plwowarczyk
Fascinating ... enough criminal horrors to be found in the 20 case studies to keep teens turning pages.
Science Books and Films - Robert R.J. Grispino
Owen has provided young readers with a very good introduction to the fascinating world of forensic science ... I recommend this entertaining, highly accessible text to all budding forensic-science buffs.
Library Media Connection - Patricia S. Brown
Compelling overview of forensic science ... Recommended.
Booklist - Roger Leslie
Fascinating ... Whether moved by morbid curiosity or by Owen's command of his topic, both middle- and high-school readers will find this book an exciting, enlightening read.
North Bay Nugget
While not for the faint of heart, this book provides a wealth of information in a fascinating and clearly written presentation.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-What with CSI one of the more popular shows around, forensic-science methods have made an entrance into many living rooms around the country, and there has been corresponding activity in the previously placid 363.25s. This addition to the genre discusses current methodology interspersed with actual forensic investigations into crimes as diverse as a brutal murder in 1889 to the causes of the gun turret explosion on the USS Iowa in 1989. Poison, strangulation, burning, drowning, shooting, and stabbing are some of the murderous methods explored in the readable text, as are such forensic tools as facial reconstruction, bite matching, ballistics, DNA screening, and the old standby, fingerprinting. Color photos abound, as do "Forensic Fact" and "Crime File" boxes. This title is on a comparable level with Andrea Campbell's more stolid Forensic Science (Chelsea, 1999) and Brian Lane's Crime & Detection (DK, 2000), and more difficult than Charlotte Foltz Jones's chattier Fingerprints and Talking Bones (Delacorte, 1997). Couple Owen's book with Mark P. Friedlander, Jr., and Terry M. Phillips's competent When Objects Talk (Lerner, 2001) and Donna M. Jackson's superb The Bone Detectives (Little, Brown, 1996) and put CSI on TiVo.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781552976197
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 10/5/2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 549,807
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

David Owen is the author of Hidden Evidence and Hidden Secrets. He has written extensively on military deception, espionage, and written and produced television documentaries on computer crime and electronic intelligence.

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Table of Contents

Foreword

Introduction: The Origins of Forensic Science

Chapter 1: The Crime Files Opens

Crime File: Justice Bites Back: Ted Bundy

Chapter 2: Positive ID

Crime File: The Ruxton Body Bags: Buck Ruxton

Chapter 3: Pure Poison

Crime File: Caroline Grills: Aunt Thally's poisoned tea
Crime File: Georgi Markov and the poisonous pellet

Chapter 4: The Cut of a Knife; the Blow of a Hammer

Crime File: Jeffrey MacDonald and the ice pick

Chapter 5: Starved of Air: Strangulation and Suffocation

Crime File: A Trunk Full of Clues: Michel Eyraud & Gabrielle Bompard

Chapter 6: Fire and Water: Death by Burning and Drowning

Crime File: Robert Maxwell afloat

Chapter 7: The Smoking Gun

Crime File: The Kennedy Investigation: one marksman or two?
Crime File: The tragic turret on USS Iowa

Chapter 8: The Flames of Destruction: Fire and Explosives

Crime File: Steven Benson a family destroyed
Crime File: The double tragedies of the World Trade Center
Crime File: Ground Zero: World Trade Center

Chapter 9: Unmasking the Criminals: Frauds and Forgeries

Crime File: The Hitler Diaries

Chapter 10: Criminal Traces

Crime File: High Fiber: Wayne Williams
Crime File: hooded attacker Malcolm Fairley

Chapter 11: Written in Blood

Crime File: The Dingo Baby: Lindy Chamerlain
Crime File: The bloody message of Ghislaine Marchal

Chapter 12: DNA: The Ultimate Identifier?

Crime File: The DNA Link the conviction of Colin Pitchfork

Chapter 13: The Future of Forensic Sciences

Crime File: Richard Ramirez outstalked by a computer
Crime File: O.J. Simpson and the pitfalls of DNA

Glossary
Index
Bibliography and Picture Credits

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 14, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius" for TeensReadToo.com

    For those interested in how forensic science works, then POLICE LAB is a must-read. <BR/><BR/>Author David Owen presents a great beginning presentation into how forensic science works in regards to ballistics, DNA processing, fingerprint evidence, bite marks, tire imprints, and even handwriting analysis -- and how they can be used to figure out the person who has committed a crime. Using more than twenty true-life cases, from the death of INXS rocker Michal Hutchence to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, Mr. Owen takes us inside the science that helped cracked the case. <BR/><BR/>Although there are other books that delve deeper into the actual workings of the science behind the science, this is a great starting point for teens interested in the forensic field. Be warned, though -- the book includes several full-color photographs of actual dead bodies, which might not be suitable for everyone. On the other hand, if you're planning on a career in the field of forensic science, you might do well to get used to such things now!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2003

    Just some info

    I am prety sure that 'Police Lab' is just a shorter version of 'Hidden Evidence'. I own them both. I've read 'Police Lab' and haven't read 'Hidden Evidence', but flipping through 'Hidden Evidence', it had the same pictures and crime files and 'Police Lab'...only more. SO, although 'Police Lab' was a great, interesting, informing book, I would recomend 'Hidden Evidence' - by the same author - instead. It's only $10 more and 10x's the size.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2003

    is it good?

    i want to be a crimenalist when i go to college so would this book be a good reading choice?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2002

    Good!

    I want to be a forensic scientist when i grow up so this book is really good! It gave me a very good look at the stuff they do!

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