Friday, June 17, 2011

What We're Reading - The Killer of Little Shepherds.

The Killer of Little Shepherds, by Douglas Starr, is a most enjoyable read--one of the best books books that I've read this year so far.

While the stereotypical TV high-tech crime lab of polished chrome and glass may be be missing, the familiar dogged determination of scientists and police to use science while sifting through the many clues available at a crime scene provides a familiar framework. Alternating chapters delve into the personalities of the two main adversaries--serial murderer Joseph Vacher, wending his way through the French countryside and leaving a swath of brutal murders in his wake; and Dr. Alexandre Lacassagne, France's most renowned criminal scientist, gathering clues and overcoming greats odds while he slowly encircles and ensnares Vacher. Evocative of period and place [France in the late 1800s] and remarkable in revealing the origins of forensic science--primitive laboratories, brutal and vile working conditions, societal customs and ignorance, and the revolutionizing growth and application of psychology, police evidence-gathering techniques and scientific investigative methods--the writer ensures that the reader will be enlightened, educated and most of all, entertained!

The Killer of Little Shepherds is a fascinating crime drama that will appeal to the fans of "true crime" books, CSI-style TV shows, or of Kathy Reichs/Patricia Cornwell forensic-based mystery novels.

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