Posts Tagged ‘PI genre’
Posted by Writing PIs on November 6, 2011
Today we’re answering writers’ questions about private forensic labs.
Writer’s Question: Where can one find these forensic labs?
Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes: Personally, we network with other private investigators, lawyers, addiction treatment personnel, even coroners about good DEA-approved private forensic toxicology labs. We searched to see if there’s a list of these labs online and found the following:http://home.lightspeed.net/~abarbour/labs.htm
Writer’s Question: Are ALL of them available to civilians?
Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes:In the link above, the specification to be on the list requires that the lab routinely performs tests for private as well as public agencies.
Writer’s Question: How expensive is it?
Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes:In our personal experience (working with civilian client-cases that require chemical analytics), the cost has been about $250 per sample for drug testing. Urine testing is between $20-$150. Hair sample testing in the $120 range. If you’re needing more specific info for a story, contact a local lab and ask their prices (our experience has been that lab personnel are very accessible and can clearly explain testing methods).
Writer’s Question: What if a civilian suspected a poisoning was occurring and wanted to find out?
Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes:Funny you should ask. We actually had a private lab chemist chat with us about a case she recently had that came into her office…a mother suspected her daughter was poisoning her (chemicals into a substance…we forget exactly what this substance was, but we think the daughter was putting something into her mother’s nightly glass of wine). The chemist at the lab told us the mother was right — they had found toxic chemicals in the sample the mother had brought into the lab.
Writer’s Question: What is the process? What paperwork would the PI/civilian have to complete? Does the lab call/mail results? How long (if they aren’t very busy)?
Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes: All that’s necessary is chain of custody material: that the sample was seized and handled carefully by the PI, and that the same is sealed and sent in a bag to the lab. In our experience, the lab has faxed us a simple form where we document what we want tested, and how we’re paying (like any other business, they want the money upfront). Regarding how the lab sends results, we receive it by fax & email (we’ve also found we can call at any time to check on their research, and they’re very accommodating to take our calls, answer our questions, explain their turnaround time for results, etc). If they aren’t busy, we typically get results in 72 hours, sometimes a bit longer.
Writer’s Question: What evidence, if any, would the lab be required to report to law enforcement officials?
Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes:They don’t have a requirement to report to law enforcement.
Writer’s Question: Is there a time limit/conditions beyond which results would be unattainable or inconclusive?
Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes:Samples don’t lose markers for chemicals unless they are kept under poor conditions (moisture or heat such as light).
Have a great weekend, Writing PIs
Posted in Q&As, Writing About PIs, Writing Mysteries, Writing PIs | Tagged: articles, blog, detective fiction, fiction writing, mystery writers, PI genre, private forensic labs, private investigator | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Writing PIs on October 9, 2011
Writing a sleuth character? Want to know how to locate a cell phone number? Curious how a private investigator might investigate a homicide or crime scene?
How Do Private Eyes Do That? is a compilation of articles about private investigations written by Colleen Collins, a professional private investigator (and one of the Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes blog authors). Its topics are geared to readers interested in the world of PIs, including fiction writers, researchers, investigators and those simply curious about the profession.
A supplement to the book is a chapter from How to Write a Dick: A Guide to Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths, co-authored by Colleen Collins. This chapter describes numerous specializations in the field of private investigations, including legal investigations, infidelity investigations, pet detection, insurance investigations, personal injury investigations, executive protection and more.
“If you’re looking for the lowdown on private investigations, this is it. Packed with details and insights. A must-have for anybody writing private-eye fiction and for anybody who’s curious about what being a private-eye is really like.”
- Bill Crider, author of the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series and many other novels in multiple genres
“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
How Do Private Eyes Do That? on Kindle: Click here
How Do Private Eyes Do That? on Nook: Click here
Posted in Nonfiction book: HOW DO PRIVATE EYES DO THAT?, Writing About PIs | Tagged: articles, blog, Colleen Collins, detective fiction, How Do Private Eyes Do That?, Kindle nonfiction book, mystery writers, nonfiction book on private investigations, Nook nonfiction book, PI genre, private investigations, private investigator | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Writing PIs on September 1, 2011
You know us as the Writing PIs. In this week’s Westword, Denver’s weekly independent newspaper, we’re also “these married Denver detectives” in the paper’s cover story:
That cover is pretty cool (see above). They made it look like a beat-up dime novel with a tough, noir-ish private eye in a fedora and trenchcoat, holding a gun. The top right “page” corner is folded over, like you’re keeping your place in the paperback story. The reporter, Melanie Asmar, met with us between three and four times for interviews…toward the end she told us of her vision for the story (layering a writer’s PI story, based on one of our cases with us as the story’s protagonists, with interviews with us). She did a fantastic job.
To read about our cases, how we became PIs, and more than you probably ever wanted to know about a couple of married Denver detectives, click on the below link:
Westword: The Plot Thickens
Have a great week, Writing PIs AKA Denver’s Nick and Nora
Posted in Westword: The Plot Thickens | Tagged: articles, blog, books, Denver detectives, Denver legal investigators, Denver private investigators, detective fiction, fiction writing, Highlands Investigations & Legal Services, Inc., mysteries, mystery writers, PI genre, Westword: The Plot Thickens, writing PIs | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Writing PIs on August 25, 2011
A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths
Today we’re guests at mystery writer Pat Stoltey’s blog, where we offer a few tips and techniques for interviewing witnesses. Because so many readers of Pat’s blog are mystery writers, we slanted the blog toward writers writing fiction, but there’s handy info there for investigators and others.
We’re also giving away a free Kindle version of How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths to one of today’s visitors at Pat’s blog. We’ll pick a name at random from one of the comments/questions posted today at her blog — winner’s name will be announced later this evening.
To read the blog, click on below link:
Pat Stoltey’s blog: Tips and Techniques for Interviewing Witnesses
Have a great day, Writing PIs
Posted in PI Topics, Tips and Techniques for Interviewing Witnesses | Tagged: How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths, mystery writers, nonfiction books for writers, Patricia Stoltey blog, PI genre, PIs interviewing witnesses, private investigator, virtual blog tour for HOW TO WRITE A DICK | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Writing PIs on August 13, 2011
Here at Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes we enjoy blogging about private investigations, many of our topics geared to writers writing sleuths/private investigators. We also walk the talk as we co-own a legal investigations firm. If in the near future one of us returns to also practicing law, we still plan for both of us to conduct investigative work, too.
How to Write a Dick
As our motto says, we also happen to be writers. A few months ago, we finally published an ebook that’s been in the works for years: How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths. This was truly, as they say, a labor of love. We’ve enjoyed answering writers’ questions over the years, presenting workshops at writers’ conferences, writing articles about investigations and crafting plausible PI scenarios…and all that and more went into How to Write a Dick.
Currently available on Kindle and Nook.
How Do Private Eyes Do That?
As we’ve compiled dozens of articles here at Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes, we imagined it’d be kinda cool to put “the best of Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes” into a book, too. But we’re not going to call it “The Best of…” because maybe some of those “best” ones are still to be written. After we pondered what the title should be, we decided something straight-forward and to the point was best…something like How Do Private Eyes Do That?
How Do Private Eyes Do That? Articles on the Art of Private Investigations, available October 2011 on Kindle.
How to Be a Lawyer’s Dick
We have a third book we’re working on, geared to legal investigations which is our field of expertise. What do legal investigators do? We specialize in cases involving the courts and we’re typically employed by law firms or lawyers. We frequently assist in preparing criminal defenses, locating witnesses, gathering and reviewing evidence, collecting information on the parties to the litigation, taking photographs, testifying in court and assembling evidence and reports for trials.
When it came to a title, How to Be a Legal Investigator
was too boring, Legal Investigations 101
was too obvious. Then we decided to follow-up our first Dick book with a second one: How to Be a Lawyer’s Dick
. Definitely eye-catching.
How to Be a Lawyer’s Dick: Legal Investigations 101 will be available spring 2012 on Kindle and Nook.
Have a great weekend, Writing PIs
Posted in Writing PIs | Tagged: articles, blog, detective fiction, fiction writing, How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths, Legal Investigations, nonfiction books for writers, PI genre, private investigator, writing PIs | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Writing PIs on July 20, 2011
Below are a few blogs over the last few days where PIs talk about mistakes they’ve encountered in private eye and crime fiction.
Steven Kerry Brown (former FBI, current PI), author of Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating talked about “Mistakes Crime Fiction Writers Make” at Jungle Red Writers: Click here to read
Today the Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes PIs talk about “Avoiding Mistakes in Private Eye Fiction” at Poe’s Deadly Daughters where we talk about mistakes we’ve encountered in recent private eye books and suggest fixes: Click here to read
Have a great week, Writing PIs
Posted in Writing About PIs | Tagged: Colleen Collins, crime fiction, detective fiction, How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths, PI genre, private eye novels, private investigator, Shaun Kaufman, Steven Kerry Brown, writers | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Writing PIs on June 28, 2011
- Available in July 2011
(Excerpt from our upcoming book How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths, available July 2011 on Kindle and Nook)
Writer’s Question: What makes fraud different from an average garden-variety argument over a broken-down business deal?
Answer: We look for signs of one person (or several persons) who hide important information or who abuses his/her position in a business relationship. An example of this would be an accountant who knowingly misrepresents the financial condition of a company. Another example is a business manager who willingly hides lawsuits against his/her company from a potential purchaser.
Writer’s Question: Can someone be guilty of fraud in a divorce proceeding?
Answer: Yes. When one partner hides income or assets, or even hides the fact of remarriage (when that remarried partner is still receiving maintenance from the former spouse), you find fraudulent misrepresentations that can be the subject of a separate civil lawsuit for fraud. Keep in mind that any divorce proceeding is the dissolution of a marriage partnership that mimics a business partnership. In both instances, you can have misrepresentation and reliance on those misrepresentations.
Writer’s Question: As investigators, what do you look for when you are asked to find fraud?
Answer: Like most investigations, a fraud investigation begins in public records, where we look to uncover business acquisitions and acquisitions of personal property that show an unusual amount of income that the partner investigated is otherwise unable to access. For example, if a business owner who is selling a corporation that’s in financial trouble, has recently purchased a new car, a new house, and a boat — information we’ve dug up through property, vehicle and boat ownership records — we know that he/she is likely to have emptied corporate assets to make these purchases in his/her name. What did the owner think h/she was accomplishing by purchasing these personal property items? Hiding money. Why didn’t h/she think they’d be caught? Well, sad to say this, but often people just do dumb things, probably because they’ve gotten away with such acts in the past, too. The flip side is people often don’t think someone else, such as a law firm/investigator, is going to dig for this information.
Have a great week, Writing PIs
Posted in Investigating Fraud | Tagged: articles, blog, detective fiction, fiction writing, fraud investigations, How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths, mystery writers, PI genre, private detective, private investigator, writing PIs | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Writing PIs on June 25, 2011
This article now available in How Do Private Eyes Do That? available on Kindle and Nook.
Posted in Organized Crime and Health Care Fraud, PI Topics | Tagged: article, blog, fraud investigations, health-care fraud, How Do Private Eyes Do That?, How to Write a Dick, mystery writers, organized crime, PI genre, private detective, private investigator, white-collar crime investigations, writing PIs | Comments Off
Posted by Writing PIs on June 1, 2011
- How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths
“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 to Write a Dick is a gift to crime fiction authors everywhere, a comprehensive and no-nonsense compendium of information, analysis and thought-provoking writing prompts that will help you create your own 21st century shamus with confidence and class. An absolute must for the library of any PI writer!” - Kelli Stanley, critically acclaimed author of City of Dragons and the Miranda Corbie series
“What every wanna-be sleuth needs: a revolver, a bottle of scotch, a trusty sidekick, and this book.” - Mario Acevedo, author of Werewolf Smackdown
“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.
Available on Kindle and Nook July 2011
Posted in Writing About PIs | Tagged: answering writers questions about sleuths, detective fiction, fiction writing, How to Write a Dick, mystery writers, non-fiction book for writers, PI genre, private detective, private investigator, writing PIs | Comments Off
Posted by Writing PIs on May 3, 2011
Article is now available in How Do Private Eyes Do That?
Posted in Writing About PIs, Writing Mysteries | Tagged: articles, blog, detective fiction, infidelity investigations, Lew Archer, mystery writers, PI genre, PIs at crime scenes, private detective, private investigator, Ross Macdonald, signs of infidelity, writing PIs | Leave a Comment »