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Hidden Evidence

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About the Author

David Owen, a graduate in engineering, moved from the aerospace industry into scientific writing and journalism. His works include publications on military deception and air accident investigations plus radio and television documentaries on electronic intelligence and computer crime.

Thomas T. Noguchi, M.D. was Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner for the County of Los Angeles, where he was involved in the investigations of the deaths of Marilyn Monroe, Robert F. Kennedy, Sharon Tate and Janis Joplin. He is Professor Emeritus of Forensic Pathology at the University of Southern California.

Kathy Reichs is author of the best-selling murder mysteries "D j Dead" and Death du Jour. She is forensic anthropologist for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina, and for the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaries et de M decine l gale, Qu bec. She is also on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences


Journalist Owen follows the development of forensics from ancient China to today's sophisticatedDand controversialDDNA testing. Although famous cases are profiled, including those of Richard Ramirez, O.J. Simpson, and Jeffrey MacDonald, much of the book deals with lesser-known crimes and how they were solved using fiber analysis, fingerprints, ballistics, chromatography, dental records, and handwriting analysis. The text also details techniques in analyzing bloodstains, trace elements, handwriting, poisons, and accelerants. The writing is lively but succinct, complete without being morbid. The illustrations and photos complement the text and go a long way in explaining sophisticated techniques. Readers should be aware that this volume also includes some crime-scene photos, and a few show the victims. The photo of Nicole Brown Simpson lying in a pool of blood is a fitting ending to a book that demonstrates the potentialDand limitationsDof forensic science. Highly recommended for public libraries.DChristine Moesch, Buffalo & Erie Cty. P.L., NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

This is fascinating reading for a range of readers from forensic scientists to professional and amateur sleuths, but the graphics are not for the squeamish.--Vanessa Bush"Booklist" (09/01/2000)
Deaths by drowning, asphyxiation, burning, poison, gunshots, blunt instruments and stabbing are treated in fascinating, if sometimes gruesome, detail.--Robert Armstrong"Minneapolis Star Tribune" (09/03/2000)
The book is a treat for the eyes and the mind. Reading the book doesn't feel like you're learning, it feels like you're watching the Discovery Channel. Your students will thank you for this treat.-- (09/01/2008)
More than 420 photos (many in color) enhance the text, retired L.A. coroner Thomas Noguchi and mystery writer Kathy Reichs vouch for the book in two short introductions.-- (07/17/2000)
The writing is lively but succinct, complete without being morbid. The illustrations and photos complement the text and go a long way in explaining sophisticated techniques ... Highly recommended for public libraries.-- (10/01/2000)
This work is the perfect nonfiction booktalking book -- attractive layout, intriguing subject, and truly gruesome pictures. This book is not for the faint of heart, but most teens will be fascinated by its combination of scientific fact and voyeurism.-- (02/01/2001)
Every page is peppered with photos, mostly in color, coupled with synopses of case histories that are illustrative of the various forensic sciences ... This is a monumental work.-- (02/01/2001)
A thought-provoking look at the role of forensic science in criminal investigations.--Forecast (08/01/2000)
Morbidly compelling ... an engaging, if sometimes creepy, read.-- (09/03/2000)

Once it took a thief to catch a thief; these days it more often takes forensic scientistsÄthe experts who scrutinize fibers and fabrics, tire tracks and shoe prints, cell scrapings and bloodstains. Journalist and engineer Owen's first book shows how these scientists work and what they discover. Forensic geologists trace pebbles and soil; engineers examine aircraft panels and wreckage to find the cause of a crash. Forensic pathologists investigate corpses for their time and manner of death; chemists test hair and blood for DNA. Owen organizes his book by type of evidence, which sometimes corresponds to manner of death: drowning, hanging, poison, guns, and the identification of bodies each get chapters. Each case shows how the scientists work. Some concern famous victims (Czar Nicholas II) or notorious criminals (Josef Mengele); some date from the 19th century, while others show off advanced technology. Fingerprints are the oldest way to prove a person's presence at a crime scene. Another early tool, the comparison microscope, presented two magnified images side by side, making it easy to check if, for example, two bullets came from the same gun. Forensic scientists don't just catch criminals, we learn; they also save lives by preventing accidents. When a U.S.S. Iowa turret blew up in 1989, killing 47 sailors, the navy labeled the disaster sabotage; explosives experts discovered the real cause, a flaw in the guns' loading procedures, thus preventing repeats of the tragedy. More than 420 photos (many in color) enhance the text, and retired L.A. coroner Thomas Noguchi and mystery writer Kathy Reichs vouch for the book in two short introductions. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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