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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2001
There is a lot of good information in this book, but there were several lacks that made it less useful than I would have liked. Number one, it's not that useful if you're writing period fiction. I understand if this was beyond the scope of the author's undertaking, but some historical information would've helped me a lot.
Worse yet, especially as the book goes on, sometimes it begins to seem conventional, or to describe common scenarios, where fiction is concerned with the uncommon. For example, at one point it says "It takes an impressive hit to break the flat part of the shoulder blade." Like what? A blow with a club from a particularly strong person? A gunshot? I don't know. Worse yet, I was considering a scenario in which a character suffered a hip fracture in a fall. If the book had a section about falls (it doesn't), my questions would probably be answered, but as it is, information on hip fractures is really only given for fractures in the elderly---the common scenario. Plus, most of the information on battery/domestic violence is probably already known to anyone who has taken an introductory psychology course in college.
Especially in the last chapters (domestic violence, torture, etc)., the book is pretty thick with "flavor text" that doesn't do a whole lot to impart the technical information I bought the book for. I would prefer the author had zapped all the Hemingway quotes if it would have let me have a section on falls and other massive impacts, or even just known what, if anything, could break the shoulder blade or hip of a young, healthy person.
This book has helped me at times. The chapters on head, chest, and abdominal injuries, and the one on temperature injuries are particularly good. I only wish it had been more dense with information and considered more of the unusual viewpoints common in fiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2000
Like most of the "Howdunit" series, this is a useful volume that every aspiring mystery writer should own. It's full of helpful, often detailed descriptions of various types of wounds and injuries, how they're treated, and, if they're not immediately fatal, whether they could lead to death or long-term disability. The chapter on torso injuries was especially good: it's not intuitively obvious to a non-medical person (like me) what the consequences of a particular type of wound or blow would be, and this made it much clearer. I liked the author's use of quotations from mystery and adventure writers to illustrate his points. And, although the tone is fairly dry, I found this volume easier going than others in the series, mostly because he used comparisons effectively and included easy-to-understand graphics.
Some quibbles:
1. The book is very uneven. Some chapters are detailed and comprehensive, while I found others sketchy: for example, the description of types of gunshot wounds was a good general overview, but it didn't give enough specific information to answer the question I had. A chapter-by-chapter list of references, or suggestions for further reading, would have been useful too.
2. The author occasionally veers off into "Here's a nifty idea for your mystery novel." Some of them ARE indeed nifty ideas, but I'd never use them, because I'm sure the first person to read this book already has! I think the book would have been more useful to more writers if he'd just stuck to providing the facts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2002
Amazing -- a book about traumatic injuries that neglects any discussion of shock. I've had to borrow my partner's anatomy & physiology text for that part. There's some good basic info here, but I'll need to look elsewhere (& you will too) for detailed information on the kinds of wounds a character might sustain in sword fights or the treatments your characters might receive before the advent of modern Western medical techniques. Better news if your story takes place in the contemporary urban industrial world, with a modern emergency room or trauma center. But when it comes down to it, for most situations, this book isn't going to replace every good writer's necessary tool: research, research, research.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 1997
This book gives a good overview on how an author's character can be wounded, and the expected treatment (often simplified) and course of recovery.
If an author is looking for guidance on realistic hospital practice, dialog, medications, equipment, or lingo, the author better look elsewhere -- these items are either simplified or missing.
Equally missing is any mention of the role of non-MD caregivers in hospital care, in particular nurses. The reader of this book would come away with the impression that the only function of nurses in hospitals is to hand surgical instruments to the surgeon in the O.R. -- especially sad since this is supposed to be a guide to OTHER AUTHORS for them write realistic fiction. For example, when Doctor Page is discussing how suspected belly wounds are monitored during their hospital stay, he says, "The trauma surgeon will return to the bedside over and over to reevaluate the patient until he is certain no injury exists." Not hardly! In real life, it's the nurses who provide the hour-by-hour patient care and monitoring.
The prospective author who is interested in a realistic view of what goes on in an emergency room and other hospital settings would do well to read any book by Echo Heron, RN, including the factual Intensive Care, or Condition Critical, or Mercy (the latter is a medical novel).
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on October 3, 2000
Along with 'Scene of the Crime' and 'Cause of Death' (see my reviews), 'Body Trauma' is a book that every crime writer should have on his/her bookshop. The book details numerous injuries in details, the effects and the medical procedures and so on. Do not worry too much about the nursing/doctor procedures as mentioned by another reviewer - the book is worth every dollar, and remember that you are writing fiction, so not everything has to be 'exactly' like in real life (if your doctor cares more than your nurse, than be it). This book helped me to SELL my first crime novel (JB Books), so it works. Get it!
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on February 27, 1999
...........which is why I love this book. I just recieved it as a gift and have only put it down to give a high rating on here. I am EXTREMELY thankful that all of the information is about injuries. Any talk about nursing and caregiving and any other detail practices which occur in the whole environment of 'treatment' is wonderfully not touched on. This is a book that is EXACTLY what its title , intro, and jacket claim it to be. These qualities are such rare things its completely refreshing to have them in my hands.
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on July 6, 2000
Finally, a book that lives up to its own write up! This book is incredibly detailed. A must have for any serious fiction writer.
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on October 3, 2015
It is super and meeting all of my needs. Great book and the best thing.
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on September 11, 2014
worth buying
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on July 12, 2015
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