Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

A defense attorney & PI who also happen to be writers

Two Nonfiction Books About the Real World of Private Eyes

Posted by Writing PIs on December 10, 2012

Shaun Kaufman and Colleen Collins

Here at Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes, one of us, Shaun, is also a criminal defense attorney, the other, Colleen, a multi-published writer.  After teaching classes to writers at various conferences about developing realistic private eyes in fiction, we co-authored a nonfiction book geared to writers, and later Colleen wrote a second nonfiction book packed with articles she’s written on the art of private investigations.  Below are details about both books.

How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life SleuthsHow to Write a Dick cover
Available on Amazon for $4.99 at

This nonfiction research book for writers, co-authored with attorney and former investigator Shaun Kaufman, provides facts and guidance for novelists, scriptwriters and others who are crafting mystery, legal thriller or suspense stories. This book also appeals to readers who are simply curious about the techniques and tools of real-life private eyes. Topics include a history of private investigators; descriptions of various specialized fields and how to gain experience in them, from insurance investigations to white-collar crime investigations to pet detection; how private investigators conduct surveillances on foot and in vehicles; the basics of homicide investigations and how private investigators might be involved; a gumshoe glossary and much more.

“If you want authenticity in creating a fictional private investigator for your stories, then this is a must-have reference book. Its authors, Colleen and Shaun, are living, breathing PIs with years of actual experience in the PI game.” ~ R.T. Lawton, 25 years on the street as a federal special agent and author of 4 series in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

“Forget Google and Bing. When you need to research PI work, go to the experts, Colleen Collins and Shaun Kaufman: they live it, they teach it, they write it. How to Write a Dick is the best work of its kind I’ve ever come across because it covers the whole spectrum in an entertaining style that will appeal to layman and lawmen alike. This will be the industry standard for years to come.”
—Reed Farrel Coleman, three-time Shamus Award winner for Best PI Novel of the Year and author of Hurt Machine

How Do Private Eyes Do That?HOW DO PRIVATE EYES DO THAT cover
Available on Amazon for $2.99 at

This nonfiction book is useful for writers conducting research for mystery, thriller and suspense novels, as well as for readers interested in learning about real private detectives. The book provides dozens of articles on the art of private investigations, including case examples and a listing of recommended writers’ and professional private investigators’ sites. Topics include how to locate missing persons, how to find cell phone numbers, tips for catching cheating spouses, where to access free online research sites, techniques for conducting successful witness interviews, tips for investigating white-collar crime and more.

“A must have for any writer serious about crafting authentic private eyes. Collins knows her stuff.” ~ Lori Wilde, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

“Real-life private investigator Colleen Collins spills the beans.”
~The Thrilling Detective

Have a great week, Writing PIs

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