BLOOD EVIDENCE: How DNA Is Revolutionizing the Way We Solve Crimes

Henry C. Lee, Author, Frank Tirnady, Author, Frank Tirnady, Joint Author . Perseus $26 (418p) ISBN 978-0-7382-0602-8

Lee first entered the national spotlight as a defense expert in the O.J. Simpson murder case, when his memorable phrase, "Something's wrong," cast doubt on crucial crime scene blood samples. Based on Lee's extensive experience as director of the Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory, this is a highly detailed yet accessible look at how forensic DNA analysis has evolved in the U.S. to its current state of being "routinely used" in criminal and civil cases. Like Lee's earlier Famous Crimes Revisited, which used seven sensational murder cases to evaluate crime scene reconstruction techniques, the book analyzes a range of high-profile assault cases to show how DNA fingerprinting has both helped establish guilt as well as free the wrongly imprisoned. The authors expertly explain for the average reader technical DNA-typing techniques such as PCR technology, RFLP and STR analysis and EDTA samples. They also explore the successful use of DNA analysis in famous nonviolent cases, such as a Mick Jagger paternity suit and the effort to establish the death of notorious Nazi war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele. A large final section on DNA evidence in the Simpson case overlaps with Lee's previous book, Cracking Cases: The Science of Solving Crimes, once again criticizing the Los Angeles Police Department for its possible contamination and its definite mishandling of crucial blood evidence. Although the authors downplay Lee's role in the Simpson case, this volume is an excellent introduction to the science and use of DNA analysis. (Mar.)

Forecast:Ongoing interest in the Simpson case, as well as the reliance on DNA evidence cited in former Illinois governor George Ryan's recent commutation of statewide death penalties, should help raise awareness of this book for the public.

Reviewed on: 03/10/2003
Release date: 01/01/2003
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