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Crime Scene Investigator by Paul Millen
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Crime Scene Investigator

by Paul Millen

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This could easily have been a fascinating book – the subject matter is an area in which I have a strong interest and I enjoy autobiographical writing – yet I turned the final page feeling disappointed and somewhat underwhelmed.

Firstly, it is as though the author couldn't decide whether he was composing a book-length narrative or a collection of essays; the result is something caught between the two, creating a fragmentary and slightly repetative feel to the whole. This would be excusable were it not for the book's greatest failing (and the real meat of my frustration): the editing.

I sometimes refer in my book reviews to the narcoleptic editor, by which I mean an editor who appears to doze off for a few pages at a time, but this is far worse than that; the editor of my edition (London : Robinson, 2008) seems to have given up a page or two following the table of contents. A few examples: "How long had the lime had been there?" (p. 195); "[...] and in particularly the discharge of a firearm" (p. 202); "I worked closely with the Pat Crossan" (p. 221). I could go on. Add to this a liberal scattering of unnecessary commas and the result is a frustrated reader being tripped up every other page or so. True, the irony of such a sloppy text bearing the name of a magnifying-glass-weilding investigator is amusing, but the joke soon wears thin.

We then come to the epilogue – a place where one may expect to find a nice little summary and tying-off of any loose ends. Instead the author decides to introduce, in the final two paragraphs no less, his belief in God – the divine investigator. I am thankful that he managed to refrain from such theological digressions during the body of the text, which I am sure must have required self-restraint, but to bring it up in the final two paragraphs is just silly. It serves no purpose at all in relation to the preceding 276 pages and throws the reader off balance right at the end.

Perhaps I am being a little harsh. After all this is not a terrible book and I do not wish to denigrate the author's effort; it offers a rare insight into an intriguing profession. But its rarity is its only real source of value; the quality, alas, is poor, both editorially and structurally. Unfortunately, I think the author has been let down by his publisher.
  PickledOnion42 | Nov 16, 2012 |
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To those who seek the truth and to those whose job it is to find it
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There is no such thing as the perfect crime.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 184529663X, Paperback)

"Crime Scene Investigtor" offers a unique insight into the work and thinking of a major expert in the captivating field of forensic science. Semi-autobiographical, it charts the development of one individual and the science of crime scene investigation, with real life stories, the horror and the humour, human endeavour at its very best and worst. It tells the stories of real cases and real people. The book is punctuated by chapters explaining the thought processes and practise behind the science during its recent development.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:40 -0400)

Semi-autobiographical, this book charts the development of one individual and the science of crime scene investiation, with real life stories.

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