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The Forensic Science of C.S.I. First Edition Edition

21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0425183595
ISBN-10: 0425183599
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Editorial Reviews


"With the mind of a true investigator, Katherine Ramsland demystifies the world of forensics with authentic and vivid detail." John Douglas

"Fascinating...this book is a must for anyone who wonders how the real crime-solvers do it." Michael Palmer, New York Times bestselling author of The Patient.

About the Author

Katherine Ramsland has a master's degree in forensic psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She has published thirteen books, including biographies of Anne Rice and Dean Koontz, and has been translated into six languages. Her reference book on Anne Rice's work, The Vampire Companion, was a national bestseller. Next year Writer's Digest Press will publish Mental Judgment: A Guide for Writers to Forensic Psychology.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; First Edition edition (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425183599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425183595
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Katherine Ramsland began her career as a writer with Prism of the Night: A Biography of Anne Rice. She had a bestseller with The Vampire Companion. Since then, she has published 40 books and over 1,000 articles, reviews and short stories. From ghosts to vampires to serial killers, she has taken on a variety of dark subjects. She holds graduate degrees in forensic psychology, clinical psychology, criminal justice, and philosophy. Currently, she teaches forensic psychology and criminal justice at DeSales University. Her books include The Forensic Psychology of Criminal Minds, The Human Predator: A Historical Chronicle of Serial Murder and Forensic Investigation, Inside the Minds of Serial Killers, Inside the Minds of Sexual Predators, and Inside the Minds of Mass Murderers. Her background in forensic studies positioned her to assist former FBI profiler John Douglas on his book, The Cases that Haunt Us, and to co-write a book with former FBI profiler, Gregg McCrary, The Unknown Darkness, as well as The Real Life of a Forensic Scientist with Henry C. Lee and A Voice for the Dead with James Starrs. She speaks internationally about forensic psychology, forensic science, and serial murder, and has appeared on numerous documentaries, as well as such programs as The Today Show, 20/20, 48 Hours, NPR, Coast to Coast, Montel Williams, Larry King Live and E! True Hollywood.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Russell A. Rohde MD on August 3, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Forensic Science of C.S.I." by Katherine Ramsland, ISBN 0-425-18359-9 (ppb), Berkly Blvd. Books 2001 - is a 242 page exposition by established writer (15 books plus masters in forensics) cleverly utilizing the characters, plots and forensics presented in the popular TV series "C.S.I."
It is helpful (but not essential) to have followed "CSI" on TV as Ramsland's reference to the TV shows' titles and characters is merely a ploy in her easy-to-read presentation of basic modern forensics. Indeed, she skillfully introduces and outlines, in a series of 11 chapters, the crime scene and the elements of crime scene reconstruction including criminal logic, deceptions, and forensic puzzles & methodology in up-to-date evidence collection. Indeed, the last chapter "Evidence Response" is especially well presented.
Aside from the oft encountered confusion in definition of "trace evidence", the book is excellent from the standpoint of crime scene coverage, categorization of forensic methodologies, and readability. It has an excellent glossary (13 p.), consequential references (4 p.), and helpful index (11 p.). The book is informative, well organized, priced fairly and is thusly recommended.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you are a serious fan of CSI or if you are fascinated by forensic science then this book might belong in your collection. The author actually has a degree in the subject so she really knows what she's talking about. The good points about the book are: You get a quick overview of how crimes are really solved. It's not by the flashy cop like in the movies it's by the CSI person in the lab. The author liberally sprinkles examples real life crimes and how use or misuse of evidence affected the outcome. For instance she shows how the JonBenet Ramsey crime scene was ruined and why the coroner will never be able to get an approximate time of death. She also mentions the O.J. Simpson case. Poor handling of physical evidence turned the tide there. The only objections I have to the book are the design problems. The brittle paper feels horrible... your visible fingerprints will be left on it... frankly for the cost of this book I think the publisher could've made a better looking product.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By medic2001 on November 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be marginal at best. That may have something to do with my education and the amount of reading I have done in real forensics books. It would be a good read for teens interested in a possible career in this field, or for adults whose primary exposure is through the TV series. I'm sure that the writer knows much more than is in this book, and I would like to see a more in-depth coverage written for those who aren't in medicine or law enforcement but who have a genuine interest in the science. If your teen likes the show, it might be an excellent way to get them interested in reading science outside of that dull text from high school.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Manfred Zeichmann on October 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
The hit TV series CSI has spawned interest in forensic science in the public. This book shows you how forensic works in reality, from fingerprint and DNA to blood spatter pattern analyis.

It is not an episode guide to the TV show with some explanations tagged on, as another reviewer wrote. The book uses the CSI show merely as an angle to introduce the general reader into this interesting topic. You will surely find much of interest here, even if you have never seen an CSI episode. Author Katherine RAMSLAND also clearly points out where the series does not get it right:

* forensic investigations take much more time in reality (whereas in the TV show uses some artistic licence due to narrative necessities)

* crime scene investigators don't interrogate suspects

* proceedures and tests, which look rather easy in the show, are difficult and time consuming.

I liked the methodological approach of the book: It starts with the definition of a crime scene, details the investigation from the inital response of law enforcement personel to the processing of the scene all the way to what happens during the autopsy and in the crime lab. It gives you a good insight into what crime scene investigators do (the kits, equipment and tools they use, what legal and scientific proceedures they have to adher to, how evidence is collected, preserved, investigated

and stored, what happens at the lab and so forth) without being overly technical.

As mentioned above, the angle author Katherine RAMSLAND uses is the CSI TV show. So there are often references to the show, what tests GRISSOM and his team used and they are explained in detail without being overly technical.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Lionetti on November 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
I wasn't looking for a manual of forensic science. I'm just a fan of CSI and true crime in general. This book supplied fascinating details about the equipment and procedures that are featured on the show, and even included real cases that many of the shows seem to depict.
I highly recommend it to anyone who's as curious about the investigation process as I am.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
Excellent book! I liked the ties to the show. It helped a lot because you could think back to the episode and remember what the gang did, or what the process looked liked. This book was well written. It was very descriptive, and it goes in to so much detail I think anyone, fan or not, can understand. It was small and light, which was helpful considering I couldn't put it down!
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