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Behind the Yellow Tape: On the Road with Some of America's Hardest Working Crime Scene Investigators Paperback – January 6, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
The latest nonfiction look at the crime scene investigators who've inspired a TV drama mill comes from authors (Bodies We've Buried) and former trainers at the National Forensic Academy. Profiling eight units, Hollcox and Welch's tales cover a range of crimes and investigators, from gun-slinging Texas Rangers-"empowered like no other law enforcement agency in the country"-to the NYPD, a 37,000-officer force served by a 50-person crime scene unit (their favorite forensics-centric show? Blood spatter expert-as-serial killer drama Dexter). Besides profiling the squads, Hallcox and Welch join them in the field, retracing a drug-crazed mountain man's criminal trail, examining the unique conditions of each scene (in Minnesota, "the deeper the snow gets, the more likely that prints... will cave in on themselves") and delivering the requisite gross-outs (like an "eighty- to one-hundred-pound mass of maggots" in a human corpse). Along with equipment notations and make-shift techniques employed by budget-strapped units, a glossary fills readers in on technical esoterica like the Combined DNA Index System and how to "string" a bloodstain. With as much suspense as any hour-long TV mystery, this should appeal to fans of CSI, its imitators, and the old-fashioned true-crime books that paved their way.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Jarrett Hallcox is the director of the National Forensic Science Institute (NFSI). He has been featured in national media coverage of the National Forensic Academy, including Popular Science, Court TV, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Originally from Michigan, he resides in Knoxville with his family.
Amy Welch is the Forensic Training Coordinator for National Forensic Science Institute. She has assisted in a variety of media stories on the National Forensic Academy, including on Court TV.
Patricia Cornwell is considered one of the world's bestselling crime writers. Her intrepid medical examiner Kay Scarpetta first appeared on the scene in 1990 with Postmortem—the only novel to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity awards and the French Prix du Roman d'Aventure in a single year—and Cruel and Unusual, which won Britain's prestigious Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of 1993. Dr. Kay Scarpetta herself won the 1999 Sherlock Award for the best detective created by an American author. Ms. Cornwell's work is translated into 36 languages across more than 120 countries.
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Top customer reviews
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You can request the police reports to these cases through a public info request and learn a heckuva lot more from those than from this poorly-written book.
The authors tended to promote the CSI school in Knoxville, Tennessee by pointing out how their graduates (who worked the true crimes detailed in this book) used what they learned to solve the crime.
There were some black and white pictures of the people, places, crime scenes (no exposed bodies shown), and evidence. Some of the crime scene descriptions were gory. There was a fair amount of bad language and some crude humor.