Fundamentals of Forensic Science

By Adrian A. Barnie

***** Fundamentals of Forensic Science. By Max M. Houck and Jay A. Siegel; published by Academic Press, (Web); 688 pages; $79.95. A textbook for college-level students majoring in criminal justice. It provides an extremely comprehensive overview of complex investigative processes.

The book begins with the definition and history of forensic science, and each of the book’s 23 chapters features a list of key terms on which students should focus, a list of up-to-date reference materials for further reading, and a list of useful Web sites. Each chapter also includes several helpful review questions.

The authors, Max Houck and Jay Siegel, are highly qualified authorities on forensic science with both outstanding academic credentials and practical expertise. Houck worked with the FBI’s Trace Evidence Unit and is director of the forensic science initiative at West Virginia University, and Siegel has been teaching forensic science for more than 30 years. Both are recipients of prestigious awards for their work.

The book covers several topics not normally visited by other texts on the subject. They include pathology, anthropology, odontology, and entomology. These new topics are discussed at length in the section of the book on biological science. The forensic anthropology chapter is most interesting, explaining the use of skeletal remains to determine both a subject’s identity and age.

The authors explore new developments in DNA analysis, photography, Breathalyzer technologies, and other issues. They use informative graphics and good photographs to aid their explanations.

Fundamentals of Forensic Science is an excellent textbook that would be an equally useful reference for security managers and investigators in both the private and public sectors.

Adrian A. Barnie, CPP, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), CAMS (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist), is with the Anti-Money Laundering Unit of KeyBank’s Financial Intelligence Unit in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a member of ASIS International.



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