Best Forensic Fiction Books Of All Times

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Forensic Fiction - Recommended Reading List

I love CSI style books! If you're like me and enjoy reading books by Kathy Reichs or Patricia Cornwell, then you will want to read more in this very popular genre. Here you will find some of the best forensic fiction books that the literature has to offer right now. I love this genre and I love forensic problem solvers who find clues to the identity of serial killers and criminals, and help bring them to justice.

I think my first foray into forensic fiction was through the books of Patricia Cornwell. She has a whole series featuring Kay Scarpetta, who uses recent forensic technology in her investigation. Ever since reading this series, I got hooked, so soon after I started hunting for other books in the same genre.

I found many written by some very popular and some quite obscure authors, so based on what I have read so far, I have added below the best of the best. Of course the list is biased, you might have other preferences, which I invite you to share with me and the rest of the readers in the Guestbook section at the bottom of this article.

I will keep updating this list with anything new that comes my way and is worth mentioning.

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What Exactly Is Forensic Science In Fiction?

Crime Scene Investigation That Helps Catch Criminals

crime scene investigator First I’d like to clarify what exactly is forensic fiction. It is a genre of books with a common theme involving the “art” of helping solve crimes using various scientific methods of investigating crime scenes. In these books usually there is a main character who is surrounded by and working with a team of forensic specialists.

For the most part novels with this major theme are rather graphic and explicit, and let’s just say, not for the faint of heart. There are many gory descriptions of the crime scenes, of the mutilated bodies, blood spatters and whatnot. These books will strongly appeal to any mystery and thriller novels who are not squeamish and who don’t have a problem with reading all the gory and creepy details unfolding within the book.

Forensic fiction has really become popular with the increase of TV series and shows like Dexter, Bones, CSI, Cold Case, Criminal Minds, Silent Witness, and many others.

There are several subgenres within forensic investitation and knowing about each of these specialties helped me find even more great books to read related to this topic.

Here is a short list that I put together at some point regarding everything related to forensic science captured in various novels. There are books about

* forensic anthropologists
* forensic artists/photographers
* medical examiners/pathologists
* general CSI – crime scene investigators
* forensic entomologists
* various forensic technicians
* criminalists
and the list goes on

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A Quick Look At The Real Forensic Science In A Nutshell

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Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta Series

Postmortem The Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell was my first introduction many years ago to forensic science and how it can actually help catch dangerous criminals and serial killers. The books simply hooked me on to this genre and never let me go.

If you’ve never read any of the Kay Scarpetta series, i highly recommend you start with the very first one called Postmortem.

Kay Scarpetta is a chief medical officer who is on the trail of a serial killer strangling people in Richmond, Virginia. Using the latest forensic research tools at her disposal she puts her case together bit by bit, trail by trail, until the killer is finally caught.

Beware, there are plenty of gory details that might be best NOT read when one is having lunch (yeah I like to read a book when I’m home alone and eating my lunch, but even I don’t read these kinds of books during that time).

An awesome read, that will grip you and never let you go until the last page.

The Kathy Reichs Tempe Brennan Series

Bones Of The Lost The Kathy Reichs books make another great forensic mystery series involving forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. In her books Kathy Reichs gives plenty of details about the forensic CSI and if you like reading about it, you will enjoy the series.

The series has been picked up as a TV show called Bones, and while the characters are pretty much the same, the story lines are very different. So if you have watched Bones and thinking of picking up the forensic fiction books, it will be like reading something entirely different, there is hardly any duplication or overlapping between the two.

There are currently 15 books in the series, with a 16th to come out later this year. I can’t wait! You can check out and preorder the last book at Amazon right now.

Kathy Reichs Books In Order
If you want to try the Kathy Reichs books, here is my full page on every single book (including her Virals series) in order of publication. I strongly feel that these books should be read in order, so I have put them in the right chronological and publication order on the page.

Memorable Scenes From Bones - The TV Series

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The Dexter Series

Now this series is one of my favorites ever - both as books and as the TV series with the same name involving the blood splatter expert Dexter Morgan, who incidentally is also a serial killer with a very strong moral code - he only kills those that deserve it.

I love, love, love this series, I can't get enough of it.

Dexter Books In Order
If you want to give Dexter the books a try, I have put them here in the proper order of publication and reading. Start with the first one, else it will be a bit difficult to understand the plot and the character (and his Harry’s Code) otherwise.

Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles Series

Here is another very popular series that I enjoyed reading by Tess Gerritsen. In fact I love all her books, even though not everything is forensic fiction.

The Rizzolli & Isles series has also become a TV show that is quite well liked all over the world. You might have watched it, but not known that it is based on a series of books. I've first read the novels and then started to watch the books, and honestly, I found myself enjoying both. I do like the books a bit more, though.

Here are some of my favorite books in this forensic fiction series, which at the moment includes 10 books.

Tess Gerritsen Books In Order
Here are all the Tess Gerritsen books reviewed and listed in the order of publication so it’s easier to start with the Rizzoli & Isles series in the right order. It does matter in which order you read them to get the most of the entire forensic fiction series.

Check Out These Rather Funny Moments In The Rizzoli & Isles TV Series

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The Body Farm Series by Jefferson Bass

Here is another quite addictive series (if I may refer so to a rather creepy subject). The books written by Jefferson Bass are a class of their own. The name Jefferson Bass comes from two people who have put their minds and knowledge together to create this awesome series: author Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass, renowned forensic anthropologist.

There are currently 7 books in The Body Farm series, and I can't say which book I liked best, I loved each and one of them, so I'll go with the very first one below.

More Popular Forensic Fiction Novels And Series Worth Checking Out

While the books and series above are my most favorites ever, there are many other notable forensic fiction novels that are worth reading - you never know, they might end up being your favorites instead

Diane Fallon Forensic Investigation By Beverly Connor

If you need some more food in the form of more forensic fiction for your brain, here is another great series worth checking out. It consists of 9 books which will keep you occupied for a little while. Diane Fallon is a forensic anthropologist (ex-Human Rights investigator) who takes a job of museum director in Georgia, trying to leave the past behind.

The series is very engaging, fast pacing and riveting. The more I think about it, the more I realize how much I liked reading this series.

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Do You Like The Forensic Fiction Genre?

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Can You Recommend Any Other Forensic Fiction That I Can Add To My Wishlist?

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  • aleximusprime Jan 13, 2014 @ 5:59 am
    I've read the first 3 Dexter books and absolutely loved them, so I'll be sure to check out some of the other authors you've recommended. Great lens!
  • dawnraeb Jan 05, 2014 @ 3:33 pm
    I love Cornwell. Haven't heard of some of the others. Have read a couple of Gerritsen. It's good to have more to add to my "to read" list!
  • penny-richens Jan 02, 2014 @ 2:40 pm
    While not my usual pick, your lens does make me want to check a few out. Anything that is not a mindless, over produced, romance novel is worth a try. Thanks for the tips.
  • mojo_007 Jan 01, 2014 @ 7:44 pm
    I love the Dexter series, with the exception of the last one. Thanx for writing this I'll have to check out these Body Farm books. They look interesting.
  • sierradawn Dec 28, 2013 @ 12:20 am
    I love forensic fiction and Dexter is my all time favorite! I really enjoyed your lens!
  • leahjsongs Dec 17, 2013 @ 11:24 am
    There's a really fun author named Tim Downs who writes about a character I think you'd like called Dr. Nick Polchak, a forensic entomologist for the FBI (AKA "The Bug Man"). He does what Dr. Jack Hodgins does in Kathy Reichs' "Bones" series. Polchak has wit and Downs keeps the story moving.
  • rauspitz Dec 12, 2013 @ 8:43 pm
    It isn't my genre but this is a terrifc lens. Congratulations on getting LotD and the Purple Heart!
  • Graceonline Dec 12, 2013 @ 6:33 pm
    Although I am not a great fan of murder mysteries or forensic fiction, I have read a few of these authors and found the science fascinating. Cornwell's non-fiction look at Jack the Ripper is particularly fascinating. Congratulations on being awarded Lens of the Day. Such an honor, and looking at all the work you put into this page, extremely well deserved.
  • OhMe Dec 12, 2013 @ 4:04 pm
    I love to read Patricia Cornwell's books. I will have to check out some of the others, too. Congratulations on well deserved LOTD
  • susan-zutautas Dec 12, 2013 @ 4:00 pm
    I've always enjoyed all the TV shows you've talked about above. I'll have to check out some of the books you've mention. Congrats on your lens being chosen as LOTD!
  • nancycarol Dec 12, 2013 @ 3:55 pm
    You have some of the same tastes I have; I love Patricia Cornwell and Tess Gerritson. You might also want to investigate J.D.Robb's books of this nature (the name is a pseudonym for Nora Roberts, who writes other types of books.) Congratulations on your LOTD, well deserved!
  • marciag Dec 13, 2013 @ 1:21 am
    Thanks Nancy, I have all J.D. Robb's books, have read most of them as well. I love that futuristic cop thriller genre.
  • Susan52 Dec 12, 2013 @ 2:56 pm
    Great topic! Love your list. I'll have to try some of these. Congratulations on a very well-deserved Lens of the Day!
  • BarbaraCasey Dec 12, 2013 @ 1:17 pm
    You might want to try the Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffery Deaver. The Eve Duncan forensic thrillers by Iris Johansen are pretty interesting, too. They're about a forensic sculptor.
  • marciag Dec 12, 2013 @ 1:18 pm
    I have read both series, they are great :)
  • tmadeira Dec 12, 2013 @ 11:41 am
    Thanks for the suggestions and reviews! I really enjoy a good mystery/thriller book that sweeps me away but I've never tried the Forensic Fiction genre.
  • Li-Li-ThePinkBookworm Dec 12, 2013 @ 11:15 am
    Interesting selection. I prefer the tv versions of forensic mysteries, as reading them can be a bit boring, but some of these books may be worth trying. Thank you for the suggestions!

    Li Li
  • Merrci Dec 12, 2013 @ 8:51 am
    Fun list. There are a couple I haven't tried too, so I will check them out. Thanks for sharing and congrats on LotD.
  • csbsews Dec 12, 2013 @ 8:42 am
    One of the first forensic fiction authors was Aaron Elkins, featuring forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver, aka "The Skeleton Detective". These books are a fun read,and the characters and stories are entertaining. These books paved the way for all the more detailed and graphic forensic fiction that followed.
  • NausetViews Dec 12, 2013 @ 8:35 am
    This is one of my favorite genres. Fell in love with Patricia Cornwell books years ago and then branched out to some of the other authors you mentioned. I watch Bones, but I still haven't read one of Reich's books. It's on my to-do list. Great article!
  • RoadMonkey Dec 12, 2013 @ 8:25 am
    I love the Patricia Cornwall, Kay Scarpetta series. So I will take a look at the other books you have recommended, once I allow myself to get back into reading fiction again (it's all technical non-fiction at the moment).
  • AilynK Dec 12, 2013 @ 8:12 am
    I don't know any, but congrats on LOTD and I should hopefully start reading one of these cool sereis
  • Dec 12, 2013 @ 7:46 am
    Great lens. I didn't know Rizzolli and Isles was based on books, I guess I know what my christmas reading list will consist of :)
  • StephenJParkin Dec 12, 2013 @ 7:27 am
    I like the science behind it but find the details a bit more than my stomach can handle. I guess my imagination relates too much to the poor victims! Well done on a great lens and the LOTD though.
  • pkmcr Dec 12, 2013 @ 5:36 am
    Not my sort of books but incredibly good page. Well done on LOTD!
  • kinworm Dec 12, 2013 @ 1:38 am
    It's a bit too creepy for me though my husband likes it. Congratulations on your LOTD!
  • martn Lawson Sep 01, 2013 @ 5:50 am
    please do not forget Dr Thorndyke
  • dellgirl May 08, 2013 @ 11:36 pm
    I I like reading any mystery including forensic novels. I enjoyed visiting here. Nice work, thank you for sharing.