When I first started writing thriller I’d completed a forensics course, I had endless information available via the internet, but what I badly needed to save endless frustrating hours researching was a concise go-to reference book covering all things police procedural. I came across THE CRIME WRITER’S CASEBOOK by ex-Metropolitan Police Detective Stuart Gibbon and crime historian, Stephen Wade, which was absolutely the straightforward A-Z guide it claimed to be. Their second book BEING A DETECTIVE carried that through to the actual mechanics of … being a detective. Again, an understandable A-Z guide that’s as essential to anyone writing crime as a laptop. I now have in my armoury two further reference books by the authors which are also pure gold to a crime/thriller writer. A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO ARREST AND DETENTION gives you exactly what it says on the cover: a comprehensive (yet short) guide to arrest and detention. I actually smiled with a mixture of amusement and relief when I read the intro to Part 1: Arrest. You have your perpetrator arrested – and then what do you do with him? More importantly, what do the police do with him? It really isn’t like the ‘soap operas’. Do we know who does the arresting? Whether you’re writing historical or contemporary crime, this section covers everything from habeas corpus, for example, to human rights – concisely. Part 2: Detention is pretty self-explanatory, but … do you know how long your character might be detained? What happens to them while they are? What oversteps the parameters of intimate body searches? I rest my case.
A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO BURGLARY AND ROBBERY is equally invaluable. Do you know the difference between burglary and robbery, what actually constitutes burglary and robbery, violent robbery? Referencing case studies, this book will provide you with all the information you need – I have to use the word ‘concisely’ again here. The books really are indispensable reference tools for crime/thriller writers. They’re also enjoyable to read. I can’t recommend them highly enough.