Forensics by Val McDermid

23214337Val McDermid is one of the finest crime writers we have, whose novels have captivated millions of readers worldwide with their riveting narratives of characters who solve complex crimes and confront unimaginable evil. In the course of researching her bestselling novels McDermid has become familiar with every branch of forensics, and now she uncovers the history of this science, real-world murders and the people who must solve them.

The dead talk—to the right listener. They can tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died, and, of course, who killed them. Forensic scientists can unlock the mysteries of the past and help serve justice using the messages left by a corpse, a crime scene, or the faintest of human traces. Forensics draws on interviews with some of these top-level professionals, ground-breaking research, and McDermid’s own original interviews and firsthand experience on scene with top forensic scientists. – Goodreads

I read this book over summer and completely forgot to write a review. My bad! It was the kind of book that I read in between other books or if I didn’t feel like writing fiction, so it took me forever to read.

This book was a fantastic overview of the various forensic practices and cases that forensic investigators (or crime scene investigators, as we call them in the US) handle in their careers.

It read like a history book as it went backward and forward through time, analyzing and examining various methods and ways that investigators use to analyze a crime scene. Blood spatter, fingerprint analysis, DNA, pathology, toxicology—the list goes on and on. The tiniest of clues can be left behind at a crime scene, and these folks are the masterminds behind finding them and piecing them together.

If you watch CSI, this book will disappoint you. It’s the cold hard truth—it doesn’t take forty minutes to process DNA, sperm, or fingerprints. In reality, it takes much, much longer. There aren’t fancy computer programs or national mass databases to magically run information through as the shows would have you believe.

I would definitely recommend this book to those who perhaps write crime novels or are interested in the field of forensics. Overall, a fascinating read. I give it a 4/5 on Goodreads.


Thank you to NetGalley for graciously granting me a copy of this to review.


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