on 23 July 1998
This 1995 book is a standard puff piece for the FBI lab, spending 380 pages without one negative word about anything at the lab -- all testing is rigorously and honestly done, and the defense is always informed of exculpatory evidence. Fisher's starry-eyed view of the FBI lab has been disproven by recent revelations in the press and in books such as John Kelly's _Tainting Evidence_.
This book does provide an interesting and readable account of the different techniques used by the FBI to analyze evidence, including many accounts of how those techniques solved real cases. On the plus side, the book is very well-organized, with each chapter covering a separate area of the lab -- chemistry, explosives, fingerprint, document, etc. The book includes a helpful index.
On the negative side, there is not one drawing or picture in the whole book. These would have been very helpful in visualizing the instruments, techniques and results Fisher describes.
on 2 March 1999
David Fisher should try to give his readers credit for their intelligence. Instead, he tells his readers how to feel and draws conclusions for them that he obviously thought we couldn't make on our own. How many thousands of times do I need to be told how wonderful the FBI is?
Fisher obviously couldn't come up with an idea of his own. 75% of the book is quotes. The information he collected for this book is based solely on interviews. He should've done research then supplemented his research with the interviews, but I guess that would've required too much work.
By the way, the information is OUTDATED. When this book was written, the FBI still had no clue who the Unabomber was.
Don't waste your money!
on 28 July 1996
An interesting, well written look into the Sci-Crime Labof FBI's Quantico. Fisher spent about 18 months visitingthe different divisions of the lab...fingerprints (seen inEgyptian hieroglyphics), glass, DNA, handwriting (did you know current inks each have a different chemical added soit can be determined exactly what type ink was used; thereforeisolating a posssible source) in bullets and firearms.It is a book that will make you look differently at thecurrent terrorist activities that are part of today's, Thelessons the author learned are backed up with examples ofhow they were used to solve cases. Fascinating read. By:E. Whitney