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The Science of Crime Scenes - 2nd Edition - ISBN: 9780128498781, 9780128498774

The Science of Crime Scenes

2nd Edition

Authors: Max Houck Frank Crispino Terry McAdam
eBook ISBN: 9780128498774
Hardcover ISBN: 9780128498781
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 7th July 2017
Page Count: 460
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The Science of Crime Scenes, Second Edition offers a science-based approach to crime scenes, emphasizing that understanding is more important than simply knowing. Without sacrificing technical details, the book adds significantly to the philosophy and theory of crime scene science. This new edition addresses the science behind the scenes and demonstrates the latest methods and technologies with updated figures and images. It covers the philosophy of the crime scene, the personnel involved at a scene (including the media), the detection of criminal traces and their reconstruction, and special crime scenes, such as mass disasters and terroristic events.

Written by an international trio of authors with decades of crime scene experience, this book is the next generation of crime scene textbooks. This volume will serve both as a textbook for forensic programs, and as an excellent reference for forensic practitioners and crime scene technicians with science backgrounds.

Key Features

  • Includes in-depth coverage of disasters and mass murder, terror crime scenes and CBRN (Chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear) – topics not covered in any other text
  • Includes an instructor site with lecture slides, images and links to resources for teaching and training


Forensic program students, forensic practitioners and crime scene technicians with science backgrounds, and those interested in the science of crime scenes (sibling forensic science programs, such as anthropology and digital evidence)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1.0: The “Forensic Mindset”
Chapter 1.1: From Scene to Laboratory to Court
Chapter 2.0: What Is a Crime Scene?
Chapter 2.1: Crime Scene Intelligence: Connecting People, Places, and Things

Chapter 3.0: Personnel
Chapter 3.1: First Responder on the Scene
Chapter 3.2: The Investigator in Charge
Chapter 3.3: The Forensic Team: Officers, Scientists, and Specialists
Chapter 3.4: Nonforensic Personnel: Superiors, Officials, and the Media
Chapter 4.0: General Crime Scene Procedure
Chapter 4.1: “Freezing” the Scene and the Three R’s (Recognize, Recover, and Record)
Chapter 4.2: The Chain of Custody
Chapter 4.3: Recording the Scene: Sketching, Photography, and Video

Chapter 5.0: Searching for Evidence: Recovery
Chapter 5.1: Detecting
Chapter 5.2: Collection
Chapter 5.3: Preserving
Chapter 5.4: Submitting Evidence to the Laboratory
Chapter 6.0: Evidence Types and Enhancement
Chapter 6.1: Chemical Evidence
Chapter 6.2: Biological Evidence
Chapter 6.3: Impression Evidence
Chapter 6.4: Other Types of Evidence
Chapter 7.0: Crime Scene Reconstruction
Chapter 7.1: An Archaeological Approach Of Artifacts and Evidence
Chapter 7.2: Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
Chapter 7.3: Photogrammetry and 3D Reconstruction

Chapter 8.0: Special Crime Scenes
Chapter 8.1: Disaster and Mass Fatalities
Chapter 8.2: Terrorist Crime Scenes
Chapter 8.3: CBRN Crime Scenes
Chapter 8.4: Underwater and Underground Crime Scenes


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2017
7th July 2017
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:
Hardcover ISBN:

About the Authors

Max Houck

Max Houck

Dr. Max M. Houck is an international forensic expert with over 25 years of experience. Houck has experience in the private sector, academia, local government, and worked at the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory Division. He has worked as a forensic anthropologist, a trace evidence analyst, a researcher, and has managed millions of dollars in grants and awards. Most recently, he was the inaugural Director of the Department of Forensic Sciences in Washington, D.C., overseeing 150 employees and managing the forensic science laboratory, the public health laboratory, and crime scene sciences for the nation’s capital. Houck has worked on a number of mass casualty scenes, including the Branch Davidian Investigation and the September 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon. Widely published, Houck has dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles and is the author and editor of numerous books. He is co-author of the best-selling Fundamentals of Forensic Science, Science of Crime Scenes, and Success with Expert Testimony, among others. He is the editor of the Advanced Forensic Science series of books. Houck is also founding co-editor of Forensic Science Policy and Management (the official journal of ASCLD), the only journal that addresses the management, policy, and administration of forensic science. Houck has served on numerous committees, including for the National Academies of Science, NIST, Interpol, The Royal Society, the Director of the FBI, and the White House. He is a popular public speaker and has given presentations at NASA, the Max Planck Institute, an Oxford Roundtable, as well as keynote talks at numerous international conferences. Houck has taught at several universities, including West Virginia University and University of Tampa. His research topics include management, leadership, and policy implications for forensic organizations. Houck has a Bachelors and Masters degree in anthropology from Michigan State University. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Chemistry Summa Cum Laude from Curtin University in Perth, Australia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Affiliations and Expertise

Vice President, Forensic and Intelligence Services, LLC, Virginia, USA

Frank Crispino

MPhil and PhD from the University of Lausanne, Frank Crispino is a former Cadet of the French Air Force Academy and a retired Colonel of the French Gendarmerie, qualified from the French War College (the Gendarmerie is a French police with a military status). During his law enforcement career, he served as: - Head of two Gendarmerie regional criminal investigations departments in charge of investigating serious, organized international crimes and preventing terrorist incidents; - Deputy chief of the anti-terrorism office at the General Directorate of the French Gendarmerie in Paris. - Head of the forensic anthropology department (1993-1997) and the fingerprint department (1997-1999) at the Institut de Recherche Criminelle de la Gendarmerie Nationale (IRCGN – Forensic Lab of the Gendarmerie). - Forensic adviser of the Brigadier General, head of the forensic assets of the Gendarmerie, in charge of proposing new strategies to develop forensic intelligence. From February 1999 to July 2002 he provided forensic capacities to the Palestinian Authority granted by the European Union within the Oslo Agreements, and became Scientific and Forensic Adviser of the European Union Special Adviser Office (EUSAO) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on counter-terrorism. He left the Middle East after the destruction of the Palestinian forensic assets in 2002. In the summer of 2012, prof. Frank Crispino joined the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières, Canada, to launch the first forensic academic programme in this French Canadian Province, aiming at educating forensic scientists dedicated to security traces investigation and analysis. He is the author of about 50 papers in various forensic and security journal.

Affiliations and Expertise

Chemistry-Biology Department, University of Quebec in Trois-Rivieres, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada

Terry McAdam

Mr. McAdam has 40 years of experience in the field of forensic investigations. He has served with distinction both the Washington State Patrol (30 years) and The Northern Ireland Forensic Science Service (10 years). He is currently employed as the Laboratory Director of the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory in Seattle, Washington. He is also a proud graduate of the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry in 1979. He has developed subject matter expertise and decades of total experience in the following areas of trace evidence: • Glass analysis (23 years) • Paint analysis (23 years) • Small particle identification (23 years) • Fibers (14 years) • Explosives (3 years) • Hair (17 years) • Clothing damage interpretation (20 years) • Scanning Electron Microanalysis (17 years) • Shoe impressions (14 years) • Tire impressions (14 years) Furthermore, during the course of his career, Terry McAdam has personally processed over 330 violent felony crime scenes, to include homicides and rapes (175), arsons and bombings (60), hit and run accidents (45), and firearms assaults (50). Terry McAdam has also played an integral role in the investigations of both the Robert Lee Yates (Spokane and Tacoma serial murder) and the Gary Leon Ridgeway (Green River serial murder) cases. He has testified in various felony cases in superior and federal courts throughout the State of Washington on 175 occasions involving trace evidence and crime scene processing. In addition to his academic credentials and work experience, Terry McAdam has successfully completed nearly 900 hours of additional education and training in forensic science and crime scene technology during his tenure with the Washington State Patrol.

Affiliations and Expertise

Laboratory Manager, Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory, Seattle, Washington, USA


"This is a valuable resource text for anyone training crime scene investigators or in being one. It is wonderfully comprehensive in its treatment of the discipline from basic critical logic and management through the intimidating complexities of today’s crime scene processing. [...] It would be suggested reading for all laboratory forensic scientists who should want to know what the bits and pieces they are analyzing in the laboratory really mean in the context of crime scene investigation and crime reconstruction." --CSEye

"…crime scene investigators will learn that returning to this book after each crime scene will lead to steady improvement of their skills from initial contact with a crime through testimony in court. The Science of Crime Scene is the first successful crime scene investigation manual for the information age." --Karl Williams, Chief Medical Examiners, Office of the Allegheny County Medical Examiner, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
"The second edition of The Science of Crime Scenes is not only excellent text for forensic scientists and crime scene investigators, but also a great reference book for the detective, prosecutor, and defense attorney.  As the end user of the forensic sciences, I must understand what is possible (and not) as well as the mindset that is behind the work. This book provides that and more, and will be a well highlighted occupant of my bookshelf." – James Trainum (Criminal Case Consultant, Homicide Detective (Retired)

Ratings and Reviews