Book Review: Written In Blood by Mike Silverman


Written In Blood by Mike Silverman

Bantam Press (hardback), 2013

336 Pages 


As one of the UK’s leading forensic scientists, Mike Silverman has helped to identify and convict dozens of murderers, rapists, armed robbers, burglars and muggers, thanks to the evidence they – or their victims – unwittingly left behind at the scenes of their crimes.

Mike Silverman started his career in the days when fingerprints were still kept on card files and DNA profiling was just a pipe dream, so Written in Blood is more than just a casebook – it is also a definitive history of the development of forensic science over the course of the past thirty-five years.

From collecting blood samples at gangland executions to investigating forensic science failings, including in the murders of Rachel Nickell and Damilola Taylor, Mike Silverman’s unique career provides a fascinating insight into the ways forensic science is used to help solve real-life crimes.

Packed with genuine crime scene photographs and original sketches, Written in Blood is the ultimate insider’s account of the fascinating world of forensic science. 


HE WAS LYING on his side, one arm draped casually across his stomach, the elbow of the other sticking out at an angle, as if he were about to use the hand to prop up his chin. Had it not been for the vast gash that had, to all intents and purposes, separated his head from the rest of his body, and the copious amounts of blood that covered the walls, the floor and almost every inch of his clothing, you might have thought he was simply taking a nap.


I loved Written in Blood. It’s very rare that I read non-fiction. Written in Blood was a fascinating read. I loved reading about the development of forensic science including the gradual use of DNA in cases. One of the best bits about Written in Blood was Silverman’s explanations of how forensic science was used in some high profile cases including the murder of Jill Dando, the Guilford six and the murder of school-boy Damilola Taylor. When Mike started his career forensic science and crime scene investigation was a world away from what it is just now. I really enjoyed reading about his different jobs and the way the world of forensic science changed. I also enjoyed the last few chapters of Written in Blood which dealt with the failures of the Forensic Science Service (FSS) in some high profile cases and the eventual downfall of the company. Written in Blood is well worth a read. I’m a huge fan of CSI and similar shows but I doubt I’ll see them in quite the same way again.   




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