Close-Up: Forensic Photography (The Crime Scene Club 5)

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9781422202517: Close-Up: Forensic Photography (The Crime Scene Club 5)
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When the members of the Crime Scene Club visit Los Angeles, they become involved in an investigation into what appears to be the accidental death of a surfer. Wire finds that his vacation trip has turned in to a life-and-death mystery involving local mobsters, gangstas and even movie stars.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 6–10—Looking for excitement, five students join the new Crime Scene Club at their high school. Different forensic tools and techniques are presented in each title as the students solve crimes and mysteries that, in one case, has stumped their local Flagstaff, AZ police department for decades. The teens bring unique skills to each crime, including Wire, who can hack into Web sites with ease. They all become involved in situations that stretch believability as they elude death by escaping from blocked caves, stop bullets with a scrap piece of metal held in a bra, jump from cars as they plunge over cliffs, and wrestle drug-crazed bears while suffering from hypothermia. In spite of the police chief's threats to end the club, the members continue their activities under the direction of Detective Dorothy Kwan, who is rarely around when things get intense. Bruises, broken bones, and hospital stays are routine. Occasional computer-generated illustrations add little. Each fictional story concludes with a "Forensic Notes" chapter that includes a brief glossary for each chapter along with background information on procedures, specialized equipment, legal issues, and crime-scene strategies. These titles try to do too much by also addressing many of the social and health problems that teens face. The computer-game-style action and current interest in the topic will help this series find an audience but the heavy-handed writing and awkward dialogue may lose it.—Carol S. Surges, McKinley Elementary School, Wauwatosa, WI
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From Booklist:

The books in the Crime Scene Club: Fact and Fiction series weave their mysteries around various forms of forensics. Here, forensic photography comes into focus as several teen club members and their advisor, Detective Kwan, head to California, where they find themselves involved in a murder that, logically enough given the locale, involves surfing. When a body washes up on the beach, computer-geek Wire helps two surfers preserve the crime scene and takes photographs of the body. But why aren’t the police interested in the case? Could the mafia be involved? And what about that has-been movie star, the wife of the murdered man? Although the writing is clunky in places and the details sometimes unbelievable (Detective Kwan isn’t as much a chaperone as an enabler), the overall mystery is strong. The back matter, entitled “Forensic Notes,” more closely examines the techniques used in the story and defines vocabulary. Graphic-novel-like art, though nothing special, does the job. Grades 7-10. --Ilene Cooper

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