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Who Dunnit? Summer Reads For Online Criminal Justice Degree Students


Looking for a good mystery or crime novel? Here are few suggestions from some Saint Leo criminal justice faculty.

criminal justiceBefore you know it, summer and vacation season will be over.

And so will your excuse to enjoy some well-deserved downtime by the pool or at the beach with an interesting read.

While you don’t have to be an online criminal justice degree student to enjoy a good mystery or crime novel, here are some ideas from a few of Saint Leo’s criminal justice faculty.

Jalika Rivera Waugh, Assistant Professor

“Both the Alex Cross Series by James Patterson and the Kay Scarpetta Series by Patricia Cornwell novels are my favorites because the authors have an uncanny ability to realistically portray the fields of study (Patterson: law enforcement and forensic psychology; Cornwell: forensic pathologist).

They are also great reads with chapters that are quick enough you just keep reading and forget where the time goes. Cornwell’s texts are great for information about forensic pathology as Cornwell, herself, went to the Body Farm (at the University of Tennessee) for research. Also, Patterson has worked with many of the Washington, D.C. area law enforcement agencies to understand forensic psychology.”

solarpons.1Ken Minton, Online Adjunct Faculty

“My favorite crime novels are about anything by Agatha Christie (especially Miss Marple stories) or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes books.

There was an excellent pistache series about a detective called Solar Pons, written initially by August Derleth and later by Basil Cooper. These are almost as good as Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes books.

An excellent non-fiction criminology based book, which I'm currently reading, is by Michael Capuzzo (2010) about the crime-fighting Vidocq Society, The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases.”

David Persky, Department Chair, Undergraduate Criminal Justice

Ivory Tower Copy“I particularly enjoyed “Ivory Tower Cop” that was written by George Kirkham and Leonard Territo in 2009. It is based on a true story and the authors did a good job of researching cultural aspects for the book.  Plus, Dr. Territo is a member of our faculty.

Of course, the classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” is always a great read.”

Rick Singer, Online Adjunct Faculty

“I’d like to suggest the work of one of my coworkers at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). James O. Born is an author of crime novels and an actual working special agent with the FDLE. He has written several crime novels that can be found on his web-site:”

Brandon Ball, Online Adjunct Faculty

describe the image"I read technical writings and real-life crime. I enjoy reading John Douglas, particularly Mindhunter” and “Journey into Darkness. Both are novels that outline the work of the FBI Profiling unit and delve into the psychology behind why criminals do what they do and what motivates them. It is fascinating work and worthy of reading from a true practitioner of the criminal justice system.”

Dawna Komorosky, Online Adjunct Faculty

“The last book on crime I read was "The Murder of the Century" by Paul Collins. I enjoyed this book, because there was a little mystery mixed in with journalistic history. The book highlights a gruesome crime that occurred in Long Island in 1897, at the same time is intertwines how the media giants of the time fight to get the best front page story.

Debbie Mims, Professor

“As a retired police officer and current Reserve Officer with Dade City Police Department and criminal justice professor, I find the James Patterson (Alex Cross) novels to be particularly intriguing. They seem to be very well researched and provide knowledge of investigative techniques that are true to life.”michaelconnelly.2

Jack Jordan, Online Adjunct Faculty

“’The Poet” by Michael Connley is a great book. It’s about a serial killer who is killing police officers, and no one has caught on about the fact it is happening except a newspaper reporter. Excellent writing, you won't put it down once you start reading it.”


What do you like to read when you're taking a break from textbooks?

Image Credit: Chris.chabot

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