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Non-Fiction Monday: Bones: Dead People Do Tell Tales by Sara L. Latta

True Forensic Crime Stories series. 104 p. Enslow Publishers, Inc., October, 2011.

Budding forensic scientists will find a lot to like in this new series, which combines fascinating retellings of true crimes with detailed descriptions of the work and science of forensic anthropology. The field is covered in seven short, readable chapters from an introduction, through ways in which forensic anthropologists have helped solved high-profile cases, including cold cases, and ends with a chapter on what one needs to do to make forensics a career.

There are plenty of full-color photographs to pore over. Most are well captioned. There aren't many text-boxes here. The extra information tended to be full-pages, set off by the speckled background and red font color. I found these intrusive to the text.

A few other niggling details distracted me from totally enjoying this volume. First, one photo, which was supposed to illustrate how training in archaeology helps forensic scientists, seems oddly posed. I'm supposed to believe that this perfectly coifed and earring-wearing young lady in spotless bluejeans and sweater, wearing bright, white gloves is in the middle of a dig? Secondly, I could have done without the random splotches of blood and other bodily fluids, fingerprints and bullet holes "splattered" throughout. They were all so obviously fake and distracting. Thirdly, while the photos were well-captioned, one was not. It was on a speckled page called, "That Face Looks Familiar." After reading the page several times, I still can't figure out the photo.

Still, the series will be enjoyed by science minded students and fans of crime stories. If your library doesn't already have up-to-date forensics books, consider adding this series.

The chapter on careers ends with three pages containing addresses, phone numbers and web-sites of schools that offer training. Chapter notes are well-sourced and a glossary rounds out the volume.

Non-fiction Monday is hosted this week by Geo-Librarian.