As are many people, I am a fan of Law & Order and enjoy CSI. I also love to watch various non-fiction crime documentaries on Discovery channel and the like. The whole concept of crime scene investigation intrigued me. When I picked up this book, I realized I did not have the slightest clue how much work actually goes into an investigation.
Crime Scene Investigation is not a how to manual on how to conduct your own investigation. However, this book does give an excellent overview of how a crime scene investigation is done from beginning to end.
The book is divided into eight chapters, each chapter covering a distinct portion of the investigation. The chapters cover the crime scene, the inquiry team, the forensic team, the autopsy, weapons of the killer, psychology of crime, the arrest, and the trial. Each chapter goes into amazing detail on what occurs during that portion of the investigation. For example, in the first chapter on the crime scene, the book describes what happens once a dead body is found, who is called to investigate, what roles each person plays in the investigation, how facts such as the location of where the crime took place is established, and basic techniques used by investigators to gather information and evidence.
The book contains a number of excellent color photographs. The photographs are respectful, but some are gruesome enough where you probably do not want to be reading this book around little children. There are a number of short case studies (called case files in the book) that describe an actual case that utilizes the information the reader is currently reading about. Also in each chapter is one or two short one page biography describing a typical workday for a person involved in a crime investigation. The subject of interest in these short biographies range from criminal defense lawyer, forensic photographers, a crime reporter, criminal profiler, and people of various scientific disciplines that play a role in the investigation, including some areas I had never heard of.
Overall, the book was a fascinating wealth of information. At times the book read felt like it got bogged down in technical aspects that many people probably would not find interesting. If you are interested what goes on behind the scenes at a crime, then this is definitely worth reading.