As with all straightforward guides Stephen Wade and Stuart Gibbon’s Catching a Killer is an incredibly inspiring and informative reference book. While reading, my mind was pinging with ideas of murder scenarios where, say, diminished responsibility might be claimed – all fictional I hasten to add. This essential reference tool for not only crime writers but all thriller writers who need to include a police procedural element, modern or historical, is packed with insider information on how the police, as a team, attempt to secure a conviction. If your detective is going to catch a killer, you have to know how and who he might work with. Similarly, if your killer is going to try to get away with murder, you have to know how that might be possible given the thoroughness of the investigative procedure. If he’s caught, what might he be charged with? Beginning with the ABC principle, Assume Nothing, Believe Nobody, Check Everything, Catching a Killer looks at the many strands of a murder investigation: who people are and what they do, through to forensics experts. What evidence and samples would be collected? Which forensic or other expert might samples be sent to and why? What are they looking for? All of these questions are answered concisely. What brings this reference book to life, making it gripping reading, are the examples and case studies, which highlight how imperative it is that police procedural is followed and how important the roles of the people involved in an investigation are. For historical crime/thriller writers, looking at how killers might be caught before ‘The Forensics Revolution’ is equally gripping, some of it mind-boggling.

The reference guide at the back lists literally everything you might need to know, including things I’ve already contacted the author about in the past. Thanks for highlighting the subtle difference in the caution given on and after arrest, Stuart. And the difference between intimate and non-intimate samples.

In short, Catching a Killer is easily digestible, gripping and essential reference reading for all crime and thriller writers.


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