Author: Joseph L. Giacalone,
Genre: True crime/literary
The following review was contributed by: Paul Lappen & CLICK TO VIEW Paul Lappen's Reviews
Many books have been written attempting to explain law
and police procedure for crime writers; few are
written by real cops. This book, written by an 11-year
veteran of the NYPD, looks at real police procedures
in the Big Apple.
It gives the street addresses, coverage areas and
major landmarks for all the precincts in the five
boroughs. It describes the various units and other
personnel within a precinct, like the Integrity
Control Officer, the Anti-Crime Unit, the Borough Task
Force, the Emergency Services Unit, the Squad
Commander, the Hate Crimes Task Force, and the
Organized Crime Control Bureau, among many others.
There is now no reason for a writer to put a precinct
in the wrong part of the city, or to have a crime
investigated by the wrong part of the precinct.
The author then explores what really happens at the
scene of a homicide. Rigor mortis is part of
practically every murder novel, but is usually done
incorrectly. It does not turn a body permanently
rigid; after about a day and a half, the body returns
to totally flaccid. A reliable way for the medical
examiner to determine the time of death is to check
the contents of the stomach during the autopsy.
The first patrol officer on the scene will often make
or break the case. He or she will establish the crime
scene without contaminating it, and detain witnesses
and suspects. Everything starts with a clear and
accurate description, whether it's of a lost child or
a murder suspect.
Other chapters look at police lineups, what the
Miranda Warning is all about, courtroom testimony
(including how to survive cross-examination), the
various types of serial killers, and sex crimes and
child abuse cases. There is also a handy glossary of
actual police lingo and a list of police acronyms.
This is a very complete book. For writers of crime
novels, especially NYPD novels, this book belongs on
your reference shelf. For everyone else, read this
book and see for yourself just how well, or how badly,
TV does the police business. Highly recommended.