Essential Forensic Biology, 2nd Edition
by Alan Gunn
Published by Wiley-Blackwell 2009
This book is a must go for anyone, who, either wishes to pursue a career in a
Biological Forensic discipline or simply has a general interest and would like
to develop a general understanding. Written in such a way as this is, Alan Gunn
provides you with a comprehensive tour across a variety of different areas
of Biology (Humans, Animals, Plants, and Fungi etc.) which is easily readable to
Scientists, specialists and even laymen.
The chapters with which Gunn orders this book gives the reader an easy way to navigate to particular areas or sec-tions
with ease, and also to flick between whilst reading. As previously stated, each particular chapter and sub cate-gory
it is written in a style which both gives the reader concise and detailed technical information without over com-plicating
scientific terminology for non-scientists, and also not too basic for scientists. Alongside the overviews of
these topics, Gunn also includes notable examples of how particular fields have been used in real cases throughout
its history (i.e. First conviction using DNA profiling, acid bath murderer).
Being a Police Sergeant, as well as a Forensic professional (and a Forensic Science graduate), I feel this book would
also lend itself to people working for the Police (i.e. Police officers/Civilian investigators), and other related profes-sionals,
as the information and topics covered in this book offer a useful insight which would not normally be cov-ered
in general training (i.e. Paramedics/Solicitors may look at the ‘discovery and recovery of a dead body’ chapter,
and learn about what is present and how this can be interpreted). Again, the text is easily readable so that anyone
can read through this book and not get overwhelmed by the technical detail.
I would also suggest that this book would be a beneficial asset to any Forensic Science graduate - past, present or
future – as this can be used as an excellent resource for background reading in addition to lectures, and also as a
further tool for understanding topics which aren’t necessarily covered as part of a particular syllabus.
All in all, this is a fantastic book covering what is naturally a complex and detailed field which can take years of study-ing
and research to fully comprehend. The way in which this book is collated, described and explained gives any po-tential
reader the ability to understand and appreciate the topics, despite their knowledge level.
For the specialist, this is an easy publication to scan and be able to refresh their memories on a specific area, but for
the non-specialist, this is a book that can be read at leisure, without fear of becoming too deep or complicated.
Reviewed by Greg Satchell ACSFS