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lab-book.jpg (23649 bytes)Documentaries centering around detective work and the science of criminal investigation are popular these days but how in-depth can they get in 30 to 60 minutes? CRIME LAB: A Guide for Nonscientists takes you behind the scenes, describing each step of the analysis of evidence gathered at crime scenes, explaining in easy-to-understand concepts exactly what’s happening along the way. Complex instruments such as the gas chromatograph and techniques such as DNA amplification are thoughtfully described with 130 illustrations including 100 in color.

DNA, drugs, firearms, O.J.—Take an illustrated tour through the inner workings of a crime lab following crucial evidence gathered at a brutal homicide. Each step of the forensic analysis is explained in easily understood terms by an experienced forensic scientist.

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John Houde, B.S., D.A.B.C., is a board certified, twenty-year veteran criminalist and the author of over twenty articles on the subject of forensic science. His articles have appeared in such publications as The California Narcotic Officer and the Journal of Forensic Sciences. He is in his eighth year as publisher of the CACNews, the official journal of the California Association of Criminalists, representing over 550 criminalists worldwide. John has spent much of his career educating juries, investigators and attorneys in various topics of forensic science. His specialty areas include the analysis of narcotics, trace and fire debris evidence. 

©1999    206 pages, 8.5 x 11 in., Hardcover,  $24.95 US,  ISBN: 0-965-82862-X


1-800-507-BOOK is also an excellent place to shop for this book.

(Also available through traditional wholesalers including Ingram and Baker&Taylor)


Foreword 9

Preface 11

Introduction 13

1 Process 16
The approach taken by criminalists at the scene. How evidence is collected, 
what is important, who has what job and how they all interact.

2 Blood Will Tell 32
Interpreting blood spatter patterns, sketching the 
scene and reconstructing events.

3 Scenes of Crime 42
Jigsaw fits and other matches. Packaging and cataloging of evidence. 
Chain of custody issues.

4 Perishable Evidence 54
Serology and sexual assault evidence. Rape kit processing.

5 Clues in the Dust 68
Trace evidence collection. Looking for clues in the
clothing of suspects and victims.

6 Tools of the Trade 76
How the scientific instruments work. Gas chromatography/mass 
spectrometry. How the infrared and ultraviolet spectra are put to use. 
How some evidence in the O.J. trial was unfortunately presented.

7 Trace Evidence 92
The examination and testing of microscopic particles of hair, paint and glass.
The shroud of Turin. How the polarizing light microscope works.

8 Blood Will Tell and Tell 108
How ABO blood grouping is being replaced by DNA testing.

9 Life’s Little Instruction Book 120
How the two major methods of DNA testing (RFLP and 
PCR) are accomplished.

10 Chemical Vice 134
How powders, tablets, plants and body fluids are examined 
and tested for the presence of controlled substances.

11 Impressions 156
How firearms are examined and bullets matched. 
How toolmarks are compared.

12 Credibility 172
What it's like to testify as an expert. What the role of the 
criminalist is and what is the future of the profession. 
Certification and accreditation issues.

For Further Study 200

Index 201

Picture Credits 206

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John Houde

Calico Press, LLC
P.O. Box 6248
Ventura, CA 93006

805.642.1977 voice
805.642.1926 FAX

© 2000 Calico Press, LLC   All Rights Reserved

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