4 final crime-writing resources

This week I provided a few vital links for anyone writing crime, with resources that will help your cop sound like he’s ready for retirement rather than fresh out of the academy—and you’ll be able to throw in some of those fun codes we hear them use (on TV at least) that make them sound so official.

Now perhaps your MC is on the forensics side of things (a la Kay Scarpetta), and will see more dead bodies than live ones. A visit to Bodies and Bones is in order. This site outlines the process of collecting forensic evidence. With photographs. Eww. I mean, cool!

By all means, check out Zeno’s Forensic Site. Zeno has a collection of links on topics such as Forensic Sciences, Forensic Medicine, and Forensic Psychiatry/Psychology. You’ll find links to sites on ballistics, footwear analysis, even “Ignitable Liquids Reference Collection Database.” Very cool stuff. You may find yourself getting lost in researching something completely unrelated to your novel. This place is fun. (Okay, okay, that was waaaay geeky. I can’t deny my true nature!)

A few print books that can prove valuable resources: The Killer Book of True Crime, by Tom Philbin & Michael Philbin, and Bodies of Evidence: The fascinating world of forensic science and how it helped solve more than 100 true crimes, by Brian Innes. Another publication in the Howdunit series may also be worth purchasing: Forensics: A Guide for Writers, by D.P. Lyle, M.D. Good to have on the shelf, just in case. And makes you look all official and stuff.

There are a couple of very particular links I’d like to offer. These may help a few of you who happen to need this information. If not, you may want to bookmark the link in case you find yourself saying, If only I had that link!

Do you actually get to sentence your villain? What’s realistic? If you’re story’s based in New York, you can check out Online New York Criminal Sentence Assistant. Unfortunately, I didn’t find a similar site for any other state. (I happen to be writing a story based in NYC.)

Finally, if you have an organized crime element—or perhaps your story revolves around it—you’ll want to stop by MSU Libraries: Criminal Justice Resources: Organized Crime. You’ll find a slew of information and links on the mafia and even international gangs. Definitely bookmark this one!

That’s it—for now! I hope some of these links will help your writing research go more smoothly and more quickly, and perhaps produce better information than if you’d had to start from scratch.

If you have any other links you use in your research for a similar type of novel, I’d love it if you posted in the comments.

flickr credit: Eddy Westveer

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