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Forensics and Fiction: Clever, Intriguing, and Downright Odd Questions from Crime Writers Hardcover – August 21, 2007

21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Indispensable . . . Don't even think of writing a medical mystery without the wise counsel of Dr. D. P. Lyle."
- Lee Goldberg, author of the Diagnosis Murder and Monk novels
 
"A terrific resource for crime writers and anyone interested in forensics . . . will jump-start your imagination about all kinds of ingenious crimes, crime-solving techniques, and plot twists."
- Matt Witten, supervising producer of the Fox TV show House
 
"Every crime-fiction author's best friend . . . as essential to my library as my Strunk and White."
- Hallie Ephron, author of Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel
 
"There's damn good reason why Dr. Doug Lyle's e-mail is in every crime writer's address book and why his reference books belong on every aspiring writer's book shelf: His advice comes from the head of a medical expert but also from the heart and imagination of a writer. Whenever I paint myself into a forensic corner, Dr. Doug is always there to rescue me."
- P. J. Parrish, author of An Unquiet Grave

About the Author

D. P. Lyle, M.D., is the Macavity Award–winning and Edgar Award–nominated author of the nonfiction books Murder and Mayhem: A Doctor Answers Medical and Forensic Questions for Mystery Writers, a compilation of the most interesting questions he has received over the years, and Forensics for Dummies, an in-depth look into the world of forensic science.

            Dr. Lyle is a practicing cardiologist in Orange County, California, and has worked as a story and technical consultant with many published authors and with the writers and producers of several popular television shows, including Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Diagnosis Murder, Monk, Judging Amy, Cold Case, Peacemakers, House, Medium, and 1-800-Missing.

            Through the Writer’s Medical and Forensics Lab (www.dplylemd.com), Dr. Lyle works with writers and readers to enrich the authenticity of stories they write and read.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (August 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312365519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312365516
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,224,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David Montgomery VINE VOICE on September 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Nothing ruins a good crime novel faster than factual errors or logical mistakes. That's why so many writers turn to Dr. D.P. Lyle for help. A practicing physician, Lyle is a writer himself, and he helps his colleagues figure out inventive (and accurate) ways of doing mayhem to the human body. "Forensics and Fiction" collects some of the most interesting questions Lyle has answered. Want to know how long a human head immersed in the North Sea would remain recognizable? This is the place to look. Not only is the book valuable for all the useful, obscure information it contains, it's also fascinating to see what kinds of questions writers ask. (Some of them, as you might expect, are rather strange.) "Forensics and Fiction" is an excellent resource for writers and an entertaining, informative read for fans.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Phifer on August 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of those books you don't just sit down and read. It's a reference book that you reach for when you come to a bump int the road during your manuscript.

I've already found it quite useful ih my writing and I recommend it to anyone who is writing mystery, suspense, thriller-type fiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. BULL on March 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As a writer i've used Dr Lyle as a resource several times. I highly recommend him and all of his books. I this one in particular because I have a question in it that resulted in a short story sale.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Albert Noyer on March 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This third book by D.P. Lyle. M.D. continues the format of his other two volumes and begins with the caveat, "This book is to provide writers of fiction with answers to basic and complex questions on medical and forensic issues. It is not to be used for diagnosis or for real-life behavior." That said, the Table of Contents lists 283 pages of questions concerning causes and results of death; an Index aphabetizes the subjects from "abortive herbs" to "zombie killers." For ease in looking up a particular question, the pages are divided into five categories: Tramatic Injuries...;Poisons, Toxins,drugs....;The Crime Scene and Lab....;The Coroner, Body and Autopsy....;Odds and Ends -- Mostly Odds.
Two definitely odd questions in that category include, "Could my character hide inside a corpse?" and " Do Zombie Killers leave behind forensic evidence?" Oh well....
Authors would agree with one of the book jacket's blurbs, "Indispensable... Don't even think of writing a medical mystery without the wise counsel of Dr. D.P. Lyle." Unlike Lyle's first book, "Murder and Mayhem," this one allows an author to list his/her name and books -- nice publicity!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Deborah McGrane on December 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Forensics and fiction is a unique, fact-filled book that is both enjoyable and informative. The book consists of questions submitted to the author about various aspects of murder: for instance, how long will forensic evidence last on a corpse that is under water, how long can someone survive after an automobile accident in a desert, can any drug cause amnesia, and so on and so forth. Dr. Lyle's answers are informative, yet completely entertaining at the same time. This book is a wonderful reference book for crime and mystery writers, but I think the subject matter is so interesting, and the questions so varied, that almost anyone would find it an enjoyable read. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dorothyanne Brown on June 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Fantastic resource for crime writers, or, it should be said, the criminal element. All sorts of easy to understand and fun explanations of how to kill off characters, how to conceal bodies, about decay and forensics of all sorts. Written in a chatty question and answer format, I can't recommend this book highly enough, whether you kill people in fiction or you just want to talk about it at family dinner parties.
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By Alan Petersen on February 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book. As a fiction thriller writer, I'm always trying to find ways to make my scenes as realistic as possible. This book will help achieve that. It's straight forward, authors asked questions and the author, who is a medical doctor, answered them thoroughly how those scenarios would play out in real life.

It was also fun to read some of the whacky scenes these authors were cooking up!

I truly believe this book is a must have for crime/thriller writers. I already ordered this author's follow up book to this one and his Forensic Dummies guide. Great stuff.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
DP Lyle writes a number of forensic books and a blog aimed at writers getting the forensics correct in their stories. As such, he receives letters and emails from writers with specific questions about their own particular needs, which he answers with amazing grace. This book is a collection ofg some of those questions and their answers and, for entertainment value alone, is extremely valuable to any writer. For mystery, thriller and crime writers who might use this information in their next work, the answers contained in this book are fabulous.
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