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Bugs and bones and mysteries – oh my

August 15, 2013 by Reader's Connection

I hadn’t heard of forensic entomology, but Susanne has taken care of that.

Forensics = the study of legal evidence

Entymology = the study of insects

Put them together = an very interesting occupation

Of course, there is a professional organization for that – as a matter of fact, The North American Forensic Entomology Association held their annual meeting last month in Dayton, Ohio.

This is a topic that a good writer could run with. Author Tim Downs  has done just that in his mystery series about “The Bug Man”, aka Dr. Nick Polchak, a forensic entomologist who becomes caught up in the most bizarre of crimes.

Fascinating stuff, but perhaps not for the squeamish. Find these titles in the library’s mystery section:

Nick of Time (2011)

Nick of Time

Forensic entomologist Nick Polchak lives in a world of maggots and blow flies and decomposing bodies. No wonder he’s still single. But Nick has finally found a woman as strange as he is-dog trainer Alena Savard, a woman who is odd, reclusive, and can seemingly talk to animals. Nick and Alena are scheduled to be married on Saturday-but there’s one small problem. Nick has disappeared.Caught up in a murder case involving an old friend, Nick finds himself on a manhunt that’s drawing him farther and farther from the church where Alena is waiting. But will he make it back in time? Could Nick’s single-minded focus cause him to forget his own wedding?


Ends of the Earth (2009)

Ends of the Earth

When forensic entomologist Nick Polchak is called to the scene of a murder on a small organic farm in North Carolina he is astonished to find that the victim’s estranged wife is an old friend, a woman he once worked with–a woman he once had feelings for. When she asks Nick to investigate her husband’s drug-related murder, Nick seeks the assistance of Alena Savard, the reclusive dog trainer known to the people of northern Virginia as the Witch of Endor.

Ends of the Earth is also available as a downloadable e-book


Less Than Dead (2008)

Less Than Dead

All roads lead to the White House for John Henry Braden, the charismatic senator from Virginia aristocracy whose beautiful wife Victoria is the talk of Washington. But when bodies turn up on Braden’s property, the senator’s spin doctors, led by his future first lady, must act quickly to quell a conspiracy before it blemishes their presidential campaign. Enter entomologist Nick Polchak, the quirky bug expert enlisted to determine if the senator’s bone yard is a forgotten cemetery or a crime scene.

Less than Dead is also available as a downloadable e-book


First the Dead (2007)

First the Dead

When Hurricane Katrina strikes New Orleans, forensic entomologist Nick Polchak signs up to help with the recovery effort. He is known as the Bug Man for his knowledge of insects and what they can reveal about the dead. The government’s mandate is clear – rescue the living first, recover the dead later.
But something is very wrong in the toxic soup-bowl of post-Katrina New Orleans. It’s a tale only the dead can tell. But no one besides the Bug Man is listening.

First the Dead is also available as a downloadable e-book


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