Want to create believable crime scenes and establish the facts that crack your case? Too many authors cut corners or ignore procedure when finding the evidence in their stories. This guide offers an accurate and accessible overview of crime scenes and the investigative process.
Written as a practical reference for authors in any genre, this helpful “Forensics for Fiction” title unpacks a range of authentic details:
- Terms and techniques associated with crime scenes.
- Methods used to search and document types of scene.
- The various on-scene professionals and their duties.
- Case studies in which crime scenes decide the outcome.
- Laws and jurisdictions that regulate investigations.
- Ways to incorporate crime scenes in any popular genre.
Whether you’re writing CSIs or private eyes, this illustrated guidebook offers a comprehensive, user-friendly reference to cracking the scene of your crime.
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About the Author
He has direct, first-hand experience investigating cases including murder (of all types), suicide, arson, kidnapping, bombings, sexual assault, child exploitation, theft and financial crimes. He has specified and certified training in the collection and preservation of evidence, blood-spatter analysis, autopsies and laboratory techniques. You can reach him at GeoffSymon.com.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction and Legal Concepts 1
- Constitutional Law 6
- Legal Searches 10
- Legal Search Exceptions 13
- Legal Punishments for Illegal Searches 16
- Jurisdiction 18
- The Law and Your Story 20
Chapter 2: First Responders 23
- Types of Scenes 23
- Emergency Personnel 25
- Perimeter 29
Chapter 3: Crime Scene Processing 35
- The Lead Investigator 35
- Scene Integrity 39
- Crime Scene Pathway 43
- Crime Scene Equipment 44
- Search Patterns 51
- Searching Pitfalls 58
- Death Scenes 59
Case Study #1: JonBenét Ramsey – Chaotic Scenes Beget Chaotic Cases 63
Chapter 4: Crime Scene Documentation 77
- Sketches 77
- Photographs 86
- Film vs. Digital 88
- Camera Settings 90
- Photographing the Scene 92
- Crime Scene Photography Techniques 95
- Photo Scales 96
- Exposure Bracketing 97
- Black and White 98
- Painting with Light 99
- Photo Log 103
- Videography 106
Chapter 5: Crime Scene Complications 109
- Private Investigators 109
- Outdoor Scenes 112
- Water Scenes 113
- Multiple Scenes 115
- False Scenes 120
- Crime Scene Cleaners 122
Case Study #2: O.J. Simpson – How Cross-Contamination Can Topple a Mountain of Evidence 125
Chapter 6: Writing Your Crime Scene 135
- Solve Your Crime First 135
- Crime Scene Menu 137
- Complicating Your Evidence 141
- Considerations for Fictional Crime Scenes 144
- Crime Scene by Genre 149
- Cracking the Cozy Mystery 154
- Quick References 156
- Closing Thoughts 159
About the Author 185