The informational portions of this book are simplistic and likely won’t add much to any knowledge of forensics you might have already picked up from watching entirely too much TV in the police procedural genre. However, the case studies are fascinating and represent an interesting variety of locations and eras (not just modern, American crimes like you might expect). The book’s layout is good and manages to achieve a varied, magazine-style page format without requiring the reader to jump around from one disjointed text box to another.
[Why I read it: came across it while browsing in the library.]
This has about the same depth, complexity and uniqueness as the plot of an average episode of any old crime TV show. The story unfolds in a way that leaves the reader as clueless throughout as the main character seems to be and the ending feels rushed, with no real payoff. The most interesting part of the book was multiple appearances of the unusual word “outwith,” which is Scottish for “outside” or “beyond.”
[Why I read it: I enjoyed the first season of Rebus (a TV show based on Rankin’s literary character) but the show did a complete cast reboot for the second season and I didn’t like the new actors (or the new writers and director, for that matter) at all. While reading reviews, looking for some commiseration, I was surprised that several people liked the new series because they felt it was truer to the books’ portrayal of the character. Realising I was one of those annoying people who have an opinion on the movie but have never even read the book, I hastened to remedy the situation and was punished for my sins with the first novel, which so failed to inspire me to read any more books in the series that I can’t even imagine how it inspired a TV show.]