The Criminalist: A Novel of Forensic Science Suspense

The Criminalist: A Novel of Forensic Science Suspense

by John Houde


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"CSI—Without the makeup."


A Russian model and a reluctant forensic scientist must join forces to fight a dangerous sex trafficking ring.


Paul Connert, just your everyday forensic scientist, keeps a dark secret as he combs through scenes of violent death. Then his world is rocked by the beautiful and desperate Vika Koslava, a Russian model who arrived in the US with her sister for an erotic photo shoot. When the sister disappears, he must join forces with Vika and use all his skills to stop a deadly sex trafficking ring before she meets a similar fate. The Criminalist is the story of forensic science at its best, and it’s all about teamwork, but can everyone on Paul’s team be trusted?


It's been five years since PAUL CONNERT'S fiancée died of a drug overdose and he's never forgiven himself for not trying harder to help. Now he plans to atone. He seeks a woman who reminds him of his lost love and fantasizes about getting her into rehab, even if by force. But then he meets the feisty, alcoholic, VIKA KOSLAVA, a beautiful Russian model who was sent on an erotic website assignment to Santa Barbara with her heroin-addicted sister. When her sister goes missing, Vika is left homeless. Paul uses a clever means to meet Vika, but his intervention fantasy is quickly busted when he meets her, face-to-face.

Paul and his crime lab friends join forces to protect Vika by enrolling her in a secret clinical trial but also continue the search for her sister. We follow Paul and Vika as they go through their daily routines: Paul as he processes a murder scene, Vika as she is exposed to experimental nanoparticles as a part of her addiction therapy. When they get together and form a powerful alliance to fight the violent members of a sex trafficking ring, he will need to use all his scientific skills to keep her safe.

The Author says,

"When I retired from a twenty-five year career as a forensic scientist in southern California, I took home a treasure-trove of story ideas. I've been there, I've collected that and I've weathered the subsequent cross-examination, too. When I cooked up The Criminalist, I wanted readers to feel what it was really like to work in a crime lab. I drew from the colorful personalities I had worked with and blended in scenes from real-life cases. The story includes several strong female leads and a plausible, suspenseful plot. There are a few graphic (but not gory) crime scenes and a dash of courtroom drama. Running throughout is an engaging, romantic thread."


John Houde, author of the award-winning nonfiction book, Crime Lab: A Guide for Nonscientists, has had a career in forensic science spanning four decades. Now he draws upon his experience to spin an intricately woven adventure in the world of truth and lies, love and hate, science and crime...

384 pages, 88,000 words.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780965828659
Publisher: Calico Press, LLC
Publication date: 04/01/2016
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

John Houde, B.S., D.A.B.C. is a board certified, twenty-plus year veteran criminalist and the author of over twenty articles on the subject of forensic science. His articles have appeared in such publications as The California Narcotic Officer and the Journal of Forensic Sciences. He is in his 23rd year as publisher of the CACNews, the official journal of the California Association of Criminalists, representing over 700 criminalists worldwide. John has spent much of his career educating juries, investigators and attorneys in various topics of forensic science. His specialty areas include the analysis of narcotics, trace and fire debris evidence.

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The Criminalist: A Novel of Forensic Science Suspense 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite The Criminalist: A Novel of Forensic Science Suspense by John Houde is just the ideal length for a successful thriller, well-crafted, giving the reader so much to satisfy his or her curiosity and to excite his or her interest. This is a thriller that deals with one of the world’s most dangerous trades — human trafficking. Vika Koslava is a beautiful, spirited, and an alcoholic Russian model who comes to the US with her sister for an erotic photo shoot, but then her sister goes missing and she is determined to do everything to find her. Coincidentally, she meets Paul Connert, a forensic scientist who holds himself responsible for the death of his sister and who believes that helping Vika can allay his pain and atone for his lackadaisical attitude that must have ensured the death of his sister. The search soon escalates into a deadly game against a ruthless and powerful clique of human traffickers. Breathtaking, fast-paced, and solidly written, The Criminalist: A Novel of Forensic Science Suspense features the science of forensics at its best. I was left in no doubt that the author has great knowledge of forensic science, which is deftly explored throughout the novel. The crime scenes are expertly described and the reader is transported into a world where the least particle can lead to heartbreaking truths. I loved the writing and the plot. John Houde has succeeded in doing the one thing I have always wanted in books — to transport the reader into the world of the characters' psychology. The characters are very realistic and they are thrust into a world that feels so real that the reader seems to walk and live in it as well. Overall, it's a satisfying read.
ThePurpleCat More than 1 year ago
If you like Michael Crichton novels, you'll like this. Lots of real science pushed to the "what if." We meet a man in his darkest hour and follow him as he reaches out to his friends. Along the way his scientific talents are needed to prevent a vulnerable young woman and her sister from being recruited into a sex trafficking ring. Author John Houde, who's proven his skills in the lab with his nonfiction book, spins an exciting tale and accomplishes the most basic, and most essential task of a good novelist: Create characters that you care about. Then put them in danger. Give it a read!