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Publishers WeeklyFor those unfamiliar with the crime-scene forensics television drama C.S.I., be forewarned: there will be blood, gore and dismembered body parts. Prolific author (of both novels and non-fiction) and forensic specialist Ramsland digs up the real life corollaries to 25 popular episodes, some obviously drawn from a single source ("Gentle, Gentle," based on the 1996 murder of 6-year-old Jon-Benet Ramsey), others composed from disparate incidents ("Blood Drops," drawing from the 2002 Flores Family murders in California, Charles Manson's horrific 1969 murder spree and Jeffrey MacDonald's 1970 family slaughter). Not all episodes lead to true crime; perhaps disappointingly, the series' popular "miniatures killer" storylines were not based on cases, but on crime scene dollhouses built in the 1940s as a teaching aid by philanthropist Frances Glessner Lee. Gore and devastation is handled in a responsibly clinical tone, but Ramsland can overstep when speculating without scientific backup or attribution (stating, for instance, that the admiration female sex offenders receive from their young partners is "probably the source of the addiction"). Clunky prose can also distract, but that shouldn't matter to C.S.I. fans, who will enjoy this professional-and professionally morbid-treatment of their favorite T.V. crime dramas.
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