Reseach for Suspense Writers

Terri Reed
Currently finishing up with my fourteenth book–HER LAST CHANCE
Book 6 of the Without A Trace Continuity series by Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense.

Mood: Frazzled

I love to do research. I do most of it via the internet but occasionally someone will recommend a book and I find that having the book in hand helps tremendously. So I want to share with you some books that I have recently discovered, borrowed or bought and have been using like crazy. I learned about some these books from a crimescene writers loop that I’m on and some from other writer friends.

The first is titled, Police Procedure and Investigation: A guide for writers, by Lee Lofland. This is a terrific, easy to grasp and usable book that brings a realness to the suspense aspect of a story. This book covers not only the procedural aspects of a crime but gives insight in to ways to bring the dry details of a suspense thread to life, from the crime, the investigation to the trial. I highly recommend this book.

The second book I’ve recently aquired and am now starting to read through is not for the faint at heart. The title, Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactic, Procedures and Forensic Techniques: Fourth Edition by Vernon Geberth, is a no nonsense guide that is used by law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Though not written for writers, this book is easy to follow with detailed analayze for a processing a crime. But a word of caution, there are gruesome pictures and accounts of crimes that made my stomach roll. I thought I was pretty desensitized by TV and movies, but not so.

Another book that I’ve used for a book that I recently wrote was WITSEC:Inside the Witness Protection Program by Pete Earley and Gerald Shur (the Founder of WITSEC). This book gave a glimpse into the life of the witness which for my purposes was exactly what I need. The book provided the procedural aspects of the US Marshals service that gave my book realism.Of course you can do all the research in the world and have the details spot on, but if the characters aren’t believable, then nothing else matters.


Reseach for Suspense Writers — 5 Comments

  1. Hi, Terri!

    Congratulations on almost finishing your latest book!

    Since some suspense usually finds its way into my stories, your recommendations on books is very helpful. And I appreciate the warning about the one on homicide investigation. I don’t get really detailed and probably would not handle that one well.

    The one on the Witness Protection program sounds intriguing. Hmm. I’m sure I could work that into some of my stories!

  2. Thanks Genene. Funny to hear that suspense works its way into your stories. I think suspense is so much fun to write.

    Minnette, these books will come in handy with your cop hero. So local meaning, Portland?

  3. Hi Terri. I’m glad you’ve found my book on police procedure helpful. Please don’t hesitate to write me at if you need questions answered.

    Also, you guys may want to take a peek at my blog, The Graveyard Shift. I post some pretty cool cop stuff on there each day. (then click on the link at the top of the page to visit the blog).

    Thanks again.

    Lee Lofland

  4. 14th book? Rock on!

    My sweetie gets a lot of crime books from the library (hmm, I’ll start worrying if he ever buys a big bag of lime) and even though I don’t write suspense, I think it’s good info for a writer to know the depths to which humans can go. So for your inspiration side, what sources do you use?

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