The lovely Jennifer Dornbush has written one of the few manuals for writing that I tore through in a matter of hours. “Forensic Speak” is a painstaking guide for screenwriters, and authors of all kinds who want to write a crime or detective novel, but don’t know all of the terminology that comes with the profession. Writing a novel or screenplay without knowing the terminology not only immediately removes all believability from your story, but is distracting to the viewer or reader who may know more than you do, in the end. I assumed “Forensic Speak” would be three hundred pages of endless terms and definitions, but Ms. Dornbush structures the book to where anyone seeking a reference for a particular terminology can find what they’re looking for.
And just to prevent inaccuracies, the book goes in to painstaking detail as to what the term is, what it means, how it applies to law or crime, and how it can be used. With pictures from some of the greatest crime movies and television shows of all time, “Forensic Speak” allows for a massive index of terms, and colloquialisms that will serve any writer well. There’s the chapter “Chewing the Fat with CSI” which is a chapter based around terms for evidences, biological clues, and types of procedures for conducting a crime scene. There’s “Coroner Chat,” a chapter based around different medical terminology for things like cuts, and scrapes to Algor Mortis. There’s even a handy written time line that chronicles the process of decomposition in a human body that will help anyone looking to make a claim for a dead body in a book but doesn’t know how deteriorated they’d be at a certain time of their death.
To boot, there’s “Toxicology Tete a Tete” about the various terms of drugs, poisons, the world of the druggie, etc., “Fingerprint Talk,” and “DNA Lingo,” a very detailed chapter about the various uses of DNA, how to access DNA, the types of DNA testing, and anything else you can imagine. As an added treat, author Dornbush challenges the reader by supplying them with writing exercises at the end of select chapters to test how they’d detail certain scenes involving the teachings in the texts. Surely one of the most unique and entertaining reference guides for any writer, “Forensic Speak” is for the crime fan looking to write their own crime drama but isn’t quite sure where to start. This book may spark some ideas and provide a genuine essence of accuracy to sell any story home. I highly suggest this for crime novelists who are afraid to do the foor work for the terminology. It’s all here!