Another one of those frustrating days today – as I feature yet another book that I would have really loved to read. Lonely Hearts by Gwyn GB was published by Chalky Dog Publishing on 15th July, and I do hope I’ll be able to catch up with DI Claire Falle later in the series. This really looks rather good…
Brings a whole new meaning to killing with kindness.
Meet Rachel. She loves animals and works at a dating agency bringing lonely people together – only somebody is watching her every move and she’s scared…
Neil didn’t see who killed him – but his murder brings DI Claire Falle on the case. What she uncovers leads her to discover that a serial killer is preying on the clients of the dating agency where Rachel works.
Can Claire work out the connection between all the deaths before Rachel becomes the next victim? And what is it in Rachel’s past that haunts her?
As DI Claire Falle investigates the lives of the dating agency staff and clients, she is pulled into a tangled web of loneliness and deceit which will have devastating consequences for someone.
I’m delighted to welcome author Gwyn GB to Being Anne, with an excellent guest post on her top five research books for crime writers.
Unless you’ve been a serving police officer or are very good friends with one, writing crime stories does require a lot of research. This might include going out with your friendly local force for some real-life hands on experience, but it will definitely also require reading.
What you read will depend on where you’ve set your novel, what time/age it’s set in and what kind of crime it is. My book is set in modern times so the following resources are aimed at current policing:
1/ Without a doubt one of the most useful books for me when I wrote Lonely Hearts, isn’t actually a book, but an online manual, the Murder Investigation Manual 2006. It is produced by the Association of Chief Police Officers, was very useful for getting the procedures right. It also helps with the language you use and the right way to deal with a murder scene and then the investigation. It even contains information about coroners’ requests and inter-jurisdictional homicide investigations. You can’t get much better than a manual which is for serving officers. A google search will find this for you – for free.
2/ Another online book which is similar to the Murder manual, is Guidance on Major Incident Room Standardised Administrative Procedures (MIRSAP) 2005, again produced on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers. I found this very useful for getting a full understanding on who should be in my investigation team, their skills and responsibilities. This manual will also tell you how property and evidence should be handled and logged. Knowing details like these will give you a wealth of plotlines to use in your stories.
3/ Forensics is critically important in any criminal investigation. One book I’ve used is a Howdunit, Forensics A guide for writers by D.P. Lyle, M.D. This is an American book and so some elements and terminologies will be different to the UK, but it’s also very useful in explaining the various procedures of investigating forensically from fingerprints to autopsies. Do be careful though as technology means there are advancements all the time in this area, so make sure you’re up to date.
4/ Another useful area to consider is not just the physical investigation, but the psychological element. One book I’ve got is Investigative Psychology, Offender Profiling and the Analysis of Criminal Action by David Canter and Donna Youngs. Adding this kind of element to a novel gives it another dimension and it’s interesting to see how offenders tick.
5/ One of our most successful crime writers at the moment is Val McDermid. She has not only written countless crime novels, but she’s also produced a book, Forensics, The Anatomy of Crime. It’s a fascinating history of forensics told through real-life crime stories and provides a wealth of inspiration for any would-be crime novelist.
Finally, one of the best ways to really get under the skin of those who investigate crime and their victims, is to read the many witness accounts and blogs by people who have experienced it. You will find plenty of these online. Good old Google will provide you with countless other resources, just be sure to check they are in date and from reputable sources.
Thank you Gwyn – that’s a summary I’m sure many aspiring crime writers who read my blog will find really useful.
With thanks to Gwyn and tour organiser Brook Cottage Books, I’m delighted to be able to offer the chance to win a signed paperback copy of Lonely Hearts (open internationally). Here’s the rafflecopter for entry:
About Gwyn GB
Gwyn GB is a writer living in Jersey, Channel Islands. A native of the UK she moved to the island with her Jersey-born husband, geriatric dog, two boys and goldfish. Gwyn is a former national and international newsreader for BBC TV and ITN in London and Jersey. She’s also freelanced for national newspapers and magazines in the UK, once had her own magazine publishing business and has a PR diploma. She is currently working in the digital industry while writing in her spare time. Gwyn is also the author of Islands.