From Publishers Weekly
In the tradition of Alphonse Bertillon and Lee's close friend and contemporary Michael Baden (author of the recent Dead Reckoning), the latest from renowned forensic criminologist Lee (Henry Lee's Crime Scene Handbook) takes readers through the steps of the investigative process of five homicide cases. Lee exposes the methodologies of crafty killers an air conditioner cranked up to disguise a victim's time of death, a shooting concealed as a suicide, a corpus delecti (literally, "the body of the crime") destroyed via a woodchipper in four of the five investigations; in the fifth, he revisits the mangled O.J. Simpson inquiry. Lee takes his responsibility to the scientific method seriously (which comes through in somewhat cold storytelling) and does not hesitate to place blame where he feels it's due. Justifying his work for the defense in the O.J. Simpson case, Lee criticizes the LAPD investigation as being compromised by bumbled procedure, cross-contamination and the mishandling of crucial blood evidence. Each of the cases considered here not only provides a rousing tale of forensic work, but also details the practical techniques such as bloodstain pattern analysis, crime scene photography and latent fingerprint detection through the use of alkyl-2-cyanoacrylate (Super Glue). If Lee's material has an element of the slapdash, it's probably for good reason after all, he's been a consultant to over 300 law enforcement agencies and is the editor of seven peer-reviewed journals. But attention to storytelling reveals the characters behind the cases, and supports Lee's assertion that "no one person... is responsible for the guilty being found out and successfully prosecuted." B&w photos throughout; color insert not seen by PW. (Apr.)Forecast: The true-crime crowd will consider this essential reading, and with a segment scheduled on ABC TV's 20/20, it may reach a broader audience.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Lee, a renowned forensic criminologist, reviews five domestic homicide cases that he has worked on, all of them examples of a male fatally assaulting a female to whom he was currently or had recently been married. Sketching out the scenarios surrounding each of the murders, he establishes the chronological flow of events both before and after the homicide, and he brings the personalities of murderer and victim into focus. Often, his detailed accounts of the murder scenes are horrific, bloody, frightening, and graphic. Lee separates the emotional response and focuses on the scientific skills required to ferret out information needed to solve the crimes. This sometimes leads to explanations of the equipment, procedures, chemicals, and so on needed to find and process data. For example, he details how to figure out the angle of the drip of blood drops in order to discover the angle of the blow to a body. A book for teens interested in working in forensics, police work, or true crime.Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.