Monthly Archives: December 2013

Crime and Science Radio January Schedule

CSR 300x250-72dpi



Jan Burke and I have a couple of excellent Crime and Science Radio shows scheduled for January. Each show goes live at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. Join us if you get a chance.

1-4-13: Dr. Katherine Ramsland Interview: The Devil’s Dozen: What Makes the Bad Guys Tick?

Join DP Lyle and Dr. Katherine Ramsland for a discussion of bad guys, who they are, what they do, and why they do what they do. Several cases from her excellent book THE DEVIL’S DOZEN will be discussed.

1-18-14: The Body Tells the Tale: DP Lyle and Jan Burke Interview Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson

Join DP Lyle and Jan Burke as they explore the world of death, corpses, and decay with Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. Dr. Bass is the founder of the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility, the so called Body Farm. Jon Jefferson is a journalist, writer, and documentary film maker. Together they write fiction as Jefferson Bass. This will be a lively, or is it deadly, interview.

Details and Links:

And if you haven’t tuned in before, check out the archived shows:


Leave a comment

Posted by on December 29, 2013 in Crime and Science Radio


Book Review: The Kill Switch by James Rollins and Grant Blackwood

Kill Switch



The Kill Switch by James Rollins and Grant Blackwood

400 pages

Harper Collins

April 8, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-0-06-213525-4

Does some ancient microbiological material hide deep in the Earth? One that, if recovered, could foster marvelous advances in science and medicine? Or in the wrong hands lead to mankind’s ultimate destruction? This is the premise behind The Kill Switch, the latest thriller from James Rollins (and co-author Grant Blackwood). Typical of Rollins’ work, the story jumps across the globe from Russia, to Istanbul, to Africa, to the US, and offers a diverse cast of well-developed characters and a tightly woven plot that grabs the reader and doesn’t let go.

US Army Ranger Tucker Wayne, along with his constant canine companion Kane, a military trained Belgian Malinois, is charged with infiltrating Russia’s most secret and well-guarded institutions and extracting Dr. Abram Bukolov, who just might know where to find the elusive LUCA—the progenitor substance that holds so much promise—-and danger.

Extracting Bukolov proves to be no easy task. Tucker and Kane, with the help of Russian billionaire industrialist Bogdan Fedoseev, Bukolov’s former student Stanimir Utkin, and Anya, Bukolov’s assistant and daughter, must avoid Russian military and GRU spy network, beautiful and ruthless Swedish sniper Felice Nilsson, and Russian General Artur Kharzin, who has evil plans for LUCA. Plans that echo the worst Cold War nightmares.

After safely escorting Bukolov from Russian territory, a convoluted and harrowing adventure in its own right, Tucker’s problems are just beginning. The intrepid group immediately heads to South Africa, the presumed location of LUCA. But where is it? Based on his study of Doctor Paulos de Klerk’s journal, which survived the bloody and prolonged Boer War, Bukolov believes the Earth’s only living source of LUCA is deep in the jungle enclosed a long-lost cave. With such detailed information, could finding the LUCA remnants be that difficult? And what of General Kharzin and the ruthless Felice? Can Tucker beat them to the prize?

The convergence of these forces raises tension, the pace quickens, and the twists and turns become unnerving as Tucker is dragged deeply into an inhospitable terrain, Kharzin and Felice in pursuit.

This is a classic Rollins tale that draws on a broad range of science, warfare, pursuit and escape, and plot twists on very page. Rollins’ fans will love it, and new readers will immediately join the Rollins bandwagon. Highly recommended.

Original review for the NY Journal of Books

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 26, 2013 in Book Review, Writing


Stupid Criminals: Don’t Swallow Your Booty

Joseph Ramos appears to be a three-time loser. Reckless driving, in a stolen car, and, oh yeah, having a stomach full of stolen merchandise. As part of his booking process at the Pinellas, FL jail, he had to pass through a newly-installed, contraband-detection device—-a RAD PRO SecurPass Whole Body X-ray. Deputies noticed “a dark mass near the suspect’s stomach area.” Busted.


The necklaces can be seen resting in the stomach. The clear areas above them are gas in the stomach from his swallowing air along with the necklaces.

The necklaces can be seen resting in the stomach. The clear areas above them are gas in the stomach from his swallowing air along with the necklaces.


Book Review: The Tenth Circle by Jon Land

10th Circle



The Tenth Circle by Jon Land

Open Road Media

December 2013

ISBN-13: 9781480414709

536 pages

Blaine McCracken, former Green Beret and now an off-the-grid CIA agent, along with his cohort Johnny Wareagle, have just completed an harrowing mission deep inside Iran and have returned to the US for some much needed R&R. But in Jon Land’s fiction world that’s never the case. Instead McCracken must unravel a sinister threat to the President from the formidable Reverend Jeremiah Rule and his shadowy gang. In a story that reaches back to the 16th century Lost Roanoke Colony and forward to a world turned sideways by a seemingly unstoppable force, McCracken must not only prove his own innocence but also unravel a secret cabal, stop a weapon that will open the Tenth Circle of Hell, and save the presidency and indeed the world as we know it.

Classic Land, classic McCracken, this fast-paced story will pull you forward at break-neck speed.


Posted by on December 20, 2013 in Book Review, Writing


Undetectable 3D Printed Gun

3D Printed Gun



Airport security uses low level x-rays and metal detection. But will it detect a plastic gun? Like one that can be printed using the 3D printing technology?


3D Printer

3D Printer



Such a gun was predicted many years ago in Frederick Forsyth’s classic The Day of the Jackal. The original 1973 movie version anyway. The Jackal not only had that cool rifle disguised as crutches, but also a double-barreled handgun that was plastic and fired plastic bullets, if I remember correctly. Been a while since I saw the movie.


day of jackal


Money is the Root: Investigating Financial Crimes – Jan Burke Interviews Andrea Jacobsen of the Alaska State Troopers

CSR 300x250-72dpi

Andrea Jacobsen is an investigator with the Financial Crimes Unit of the Alaska Bureau of Investigations, part of the Alaska State Troopers. Learn how financial crimes and violent crimes are often interlinked, about the damage done through financial crimes, and some of the fraudsters methods. Learn how they are caught, and what you can do to protect yourself from them.



Protect yourself and others from fraud:

Department of Justice site with videos on financial crime:

FinCEN (U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network):

Financial Crimes and Scams:

FBI Financial Crimes Stats:

FTC Credit Card Fraud Advice:

ABC News Story: Massive Credit Card Fraud Steals $200M:

FBI: Common Fraud Scams:

FBI Internet Fraud Scams:

Charity Fraud:

FTC Consumer Advice on Charity Scams:

Interesting Financial Crime Cases:

Washington Post on Embezzlement from non-profits:

Ephonia Green Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement of $5.1 million from Association of American Medical Colleges:

Former Town Treasurer of Brimfield, Massachusetts arraigned on charges of embezzling over $80,000:

Former Seattle ATF supervisor indicted in embezzlement case:

The former president of a Daly City charity pleaded no contest to felony embezzlement for reportedly taking approximately $68,000 and gambling it away betting on horse races:


Writing Warriors: Pilot Program with the USO

DP Lyle, Kathleen Antrim, and T. Jefferson Parker

DP Lyle, Kathleen Antrim, and T. Jefferson Parker


Great day last Friday. Kathleen Antrim, T. Jefferson Parker, and I presented the inaugural, day-long Writing Warriors workshop for military personnel and their families at the Surface Warfare Medical Institute in San Diego, CA. What a classy group of men and women. And very eager and inquisitive. They have so many relevant stories and experiences, I hope we succeeded in giving them some of the tools needed to tell their tales.

More Writing Warriors classes to come. Can’t wait.




Posted by on December 9, 2013 in Writing


Book Review: A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay

Tap On WIndow



A TAP ON THE WINDOW by Linwood Barclay


August 6, 2013

ISBN-10: 0451414187

ISBN-13: 978-0451414182

512 Pages

If you are a fan of Linwood Barclay, and you should be, A Tap on the Window will reinforce that feeling. If you aren’t yet one of his devoted followers, this book will drag you into those ranks. It’s good. Very good.

Cal Weaver is a broken man. Years earlier, he lost his police officer status for various misbehaviors and now he is reeling from the recent death of his son, Scott. A hallucinogenic-drug-induced, one-way-flight from a tall building. His marriage to wife Donna, whose brother is Griffon’s police chief, is fractured along with his psyche as he attempts to right his ship and focus on his work as a private investigator.

His cases are mostly boring, someone stealing meat from a local butcher for example, and his obsession with digging into the cause of Scott’s apparent suicide leads him to some fairly sordid and threatening arm-twisting of kids who knew and attended school with Scott. I mean locking one of them in the truck of a car for Christ sakes. His life seems out of control, confused, disoriented, and in many ways purposeless. But everything changed one stormy evening with “a tap on the window.”

While waiting at a stop light, a rain-soaked teenage girl raps on the passenger window and asks for a ride home. She’s Claire Sanders, the mayor’s daughter and a friend of Scott’s. He couldn’t leave her in the rain could he? But when she asks to detour by a local bar to meet a friend, everything changes. She goes, in, Cal waits. And waits. Finally he searches the bar but she is nowhere to be found. Then, he finds her sitting in his car. Back on the road, he quickly realizes the girl sitting next to him is not Claire. Sure she looks a lot like her, but it’s not her. After he calls her on it, the girl jumps from the car and disappears into the stormy night. Only to later turn up murdered.

From this beginning a story unfolds. One of small town politics, graft, corruption, infidelity, abuse of power, and family secrets that run deep and wide. The story is convoluted and brisk, keeping the reader guessing until the end. An excellent story, very well written.



Leave a comment

Posted by on December 5, 2013 in Book Review, Writing


Bloodstain Camera Finds Blood Quickly and Efficiently

Detecting blood at a crime scene is often essential for determining if a crime did indeed occur and how the act unfolded—crime scene reconstruction. At the scene, a meticulous search for blood can be tedious, time-consuming, and eat up many man-hours.


Techs search for bloodstains

Techs search for bloodstains


Shed blood is not always obvious. The stains are not always patent (visible) but rather latent (invisible). The standard in such situations has been to employ Luminol, which can find even very small latent bloodstains. But Luminol takes time and requires darkness—not always obtainable, particularly in outdoor, daytime crime scenes.


Luminol helps expose latent bloody shoeprints

Luminol helps expose latent bloody shoeprints


A new technology developed by Dr. Meez Islam and colleagues at Teeside University promises to not only be able to detect latent blood spatters quickly but also age the blood very accurately. With month-old stains the device, which uses hyperspectral imaging, can narrow its deposition down to a day and with fresh blood down to an hour. This should greatly help with Time of Death determination—-or at least the time when the blood was shed.


Fresh blood spatter

Fresh blood spatter


Blood exits the body bright red but with time and oxidation becomes rusty brown and does so along a predictable timeline. Accurate determination of the bloodstain’s color with hyperspectral imaging reveals its approximate age.

Very cool. And potentially very useful.

%d bloggers like this: