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: 12th 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


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© Academic Press 2018
Academic Press
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About the Author

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

Dr Frank Crispino served for 25 years in the French Gendarmerie, one of the two State Police forces of France under military status. He retired with the rank of Colonel in 2012. A graduate from the French Air Force and Gendarmerie Academies, he joined l’Institut de recherche criminelle de la gendarmerie nationale (IRCGN), the Gendarmerie Forensic Institute, in 1993 to create the forensic anthropology department, as the core of the French Disaster Victim Identification Unit. Dr. Crispino is a graduate from the French War College (2003-2004), has a Ph.D. in forensic science from Lausanne University, School of Criminal Sciences (2006). He commanded two Criminal Investigation Departments at regional levels (serious/organized crimes and terrorism) in central and southwestern France (Bourges from 2002 to 2003 and Bordeaux from 2007 to 2011) and served as Deputy Head of the Antiterrorist Bureau at the General Headquarters of the French Gendarmerie in Paris (2003-2007), where he joined the G8 counter-terrorist group and other relevant EU bodies. He concluded his military career as representative of the Division General in charge of the Forensic and Intelligence Hub of the French Gendarmerie (2011-2012) to launch a new forensic academic curriculum in the Bachelor in Chemistry at l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR). Professor Crispino is author or co-author of two books, 8 book chapters, more than 40 peer-reviewed articles. He is the director of the Laboratoire de recherche en criminalistique ( – Forensic Research Group – at the UQTR, regular researcher at the International Centre for Comparative Criminology (

Affiliations and Expertise

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

Terry McAdam

Terry McAdam is the Director of the Washington State Patrol Seattle Crime Laboratory. He has been a practicing forensic scientist for 39 years. He began his career with the State Crime Laboratory in Northern Ireland where he worked for 10 years in the testing of blood alcohols, breath alcohol, toxicology, fire debris, explosives, and trace evidence,. In the United States he has worked in many other disciplines in forensic science including, drug analysis, bloodstain pattern interpretation, and crime scene reconstruction. He has attended over 300 crimes scenes, and was a major participant in the crime scenes and the trace evidence analysis associated with the Green River homicides. He has assessed many crime laboratories throughout the world and in 2014 he was the recipient from the American Society of Crime Lab Directors, of the inaugural Longhetti/Keaton Assessor Excellence Award.

Affiliations and Expertise

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


"…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