Resources For Writers Who Like To Kill
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN: November 25, 2018
I really like killing people, but I have an aversion to orange and prison. Thus, I keep my murderous sprees between the pages of my books.
Since I have a degree in forensic chemistry, I tend to enjoy forensic journals probably more than the average person, or anyone, really should. I also realize many may not enjoy reading about the differences between a bat and metal rod when used to smash a person's head. Or how fast a body will decay in varying temperatures and exposures. I find those types of things easy Sunday reading.
But for those writers who just want questions answered in order to finish their books, I have compiled a list of the forensic science websites. You should be able to get almost any forensic question answered by either one or several of the sites below. This is just a handful. There are so many more out there. But these are my favorites.
This is by far one of my favorite sites. It has blog posts that tell you rate of decay of a body, or the four manners of death (this pertains to the four categories of death a pathologist will look for). This site breaks down forensic processes into very easy to understand terms. If you use forensics in your story, this is a must use resource.
If you need to know how to poison someone, hopefully just for you book, this is the place to learn that. A Forensic Toxicologist with more than fifteen years experience is responsible for this site. This person highlights the most dangerous and deadliest chemicals known to man. He knows what he’s talking about. He’s also gathered quite the line up of Forensic websites that you can use as resources as well. You need to have this page bookmarked.
This site has an article on just about everything. From detecting blood under painted surfaces to crime scene procedures, and everything else under the sun in regards to forensics. If you have a forensic question this site will more than likely have the answer.
Dr. Mike Bowers is behind this site. A practicing dentist and a licensed attorney, he is an expert on the use of dental evidence used in forensics. If you have a law question about the use of forensics or how the courts view certain forensic procedures pertaining to bite marks or other dental evidence, this little gem of a website will have tons of information for you. It keeps things easy to understand and gives you a glimpse into our court systems and their views on the latest uses of forensic science in trials.
This site is endless. If you have a question about firearms, forensic anthropology, or police procedure (not to mention any other forensic question you ever wanted to know) you can find it on this website. I have come here looking for a particular question and hours later I finally went back to my work. This is a must use resource for any crime fiction writer.
Have questions about bones, then this is the one place you should check first. Kristina Killgrove explains the ways bones can be used to solve crimes. And she has a wicked sense of humor, something I always appreciate.
Okay, this is my favorite of all my sites I use. Not only does it have questions to most things I need answers to, it has some of the coolest articles I’ve ever read, from unsolved murder cases to creepy body excavations. Dolly Stolze is behind this genius blog. I use it for her section on Forensic Anthropology. If you have ever asked yourself, does that sound believable, can I really kill someone like that? Go read a few articles on this site. You will find there is a hell of a lot that you can make believable.
If you need information on evidence collection, processing and preservation, you only need to start here. The information contained here is fantastic. If you want your detectives using the latest technology in evidence collection, or maybe you just wonder how to collect and preserve something, this is where you need to start.
Funded by U.S. Department of Justice. Geared toward students but usable by all. This site covers a wide variety of CSI topics. I understand that not everyone can read a technical paper on blood spatter and understand it with no problem. For the average writer, it would be like reading Chinese. This is the best place to learn about forensics in a simplified way. You get a great understanding of the procedure and it is explained in such a way that you can then relay that information to your readers. It is the one site I use regularly. I still can’t believe the government is behind this.
Primarily a distributor of criminal investigation and forensic science products, upon first glance you may question why I listed this site. But I did so because they have an awesome blog that highlights cutting-edge technology and news in the industry. I have found some very useful technology that I use in my books. It’s a great resource.
There you have it. My early Christmas gift to you. A few of my favorite forensic websites. As genius as I am, I still have to get answers to questions or figure out certain scenarios. Like what happens to the tissue around the head when a person is hung upside down for an extended amount of time before death occurs. Or how hard is it to dismember a body and what tool works best. Oh and let’s not forget, if you want to poison your neighbor and not get caught….umm well, you get the idea.
My best advice to you, is make your story believable. If your reader says, “I don’t believe that could happen,” you just lost your reader. Learning the science can help keep that from happening. Whatever you do, get the science right. Don’t make that shit up, or you'll look like a dork.