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Reference Books to Write a Thriller
November 12, 2011 4:24 PM   Subscribe

I am wanting to write a novel involving detective work and criminal profiling. (Yes, it may turn out horrid.) I am looking for some reference books that might help me be a little bit more informed. So far, I have gotten Criminal Profiling by Brent Turvey, and Body Trauma by David Page. Anybody have some recommendations?
posted by snap_dragon to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Check out books by Roy Hazelwood and John Douglas. They were FBI profiling pioneers.
posted by cestmoi15 at 4:36 PM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Profilers dont catch people. They are the equivalent of academics in criminal investigations. It looks sexy, but its all stats, interviews in prison, and being useless in front of media.

John douglas is a windbag...if u actually want a text that legitimate researchers use get this.

Written be an academic, nurse, and a former police chief. Its dry, but useful if you want to know more about sex-based crime.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:46 PM on November 12, 2011


Gladwell's piece on profiling was a good read and made me pretty skeptical of the whole phenomenon.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:53 PM on November 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


John Douglas totally. Yes, also Roy Hazelwood (who is mentioned in many of Douglas's books)

hal_c_on . . . that book you suggested is written by John Douglas, Burgess and Ressler.
posted by Sassyfras at 5:01 PM on November 12, 2011


I recently sold a copy of this book for a friend who's no longer a deputy coroner.
posted by jon1270 at 5:02 PM on November 12, 2011


Practical Homicide Investigation is a really great textbook that can teach you pretty much everything you need to know about murder investigations. I will warn that the book is graphic, and does contain photos of actual crime scenes (including bodies), so use caution if you are sensitive to such things. The other texts in the CRC Practical Aspects series all seem to have a good reputation, although the only other one I've used is Practical Aspects of Rape Investigation, which was excellent.

Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives is an interesting book that deals with a lot of profiling stuff.

Techniques Of Crime Scene Investigation is an interesting general intro to crime scene investigation, and is quite detailed in places. The last edition I used was the 6th, so the new editions may have changed, but I found it a useful resource, if a bit outdated and quite dull.

I'm assuming you're writing about homicides, but if not, I can also recommend Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender as an interesting look into the psychology of sexual offenders, and has some profiling stuff that may interest you. It's quite old (published in 1979), but it's a good read.
posted by Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo at 5:04 PM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Profilers may or may not catch people...directly. They may have a high failure rate and hinder investigation. They are usually quite arrogant. But the key thing here is fiction. Look at the character Frank Black, for example....
I love that Gladwell link. I had read that a long time ago posted here and forgot about it. (And yes, I agree Douglas is a windbag but I always liked Robert Ressler.) On top of that, I will even add that serial killer fiction is so 1990s but I am doing it as a lark. Everyone needs a hobby.
posted by snap_dragon at 5:26 PM on November 12, 2011


hal_c_on . . . that book you suggested is written by John Douglas, Burgess and Ressler.

i know. Its a pretty awesome book...and its because of ressler and burgess...probably.

Im sure douglas is a smart guy, im just put off by his outlandish books with such cliched names...and they are ALWAYS at the airport book stores. Mind hunter, Journey into darkness, obsession. Oh please, just go straight to showtime or usa network with that stuff.

But yeah...what kind of crime is committed, because i might be able to help you out if its arson, stick up men, or some types of murder.

Better than that...here is a very good general book which may help you out.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:50 PM on November 12, 2011


I found Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets a great read for getting a "life of the homicide detective" flavor. It's a bit dated just considering how much computers are used now, but still worth reading.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 6:54 PM on November 12, 2011


Rage of the Random Actor by Dan Korem is pretty interesting.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:11 PM on November 12, 2011


nthing reading the actual trade books the detectives read.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:44 AM on November 13, 2011


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