Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

A blog for PIs and writers/readers of the PI genre

  • Writing a Sleuth?

    A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths

    "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."

    Available on Kindle

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Posts Tagged ‘How to Write a Dick’

A Couple of Non-Fiction Books for the Sleuth-Writer in Your Life

Posted by Writing PIs on December 16, 2011

Maybe you know someone writing a story featuring a private eye, or someone who’s a PI-genre fan, or someone who’s intrigued about the world of private investigators. Hey, maybe that person is you. Below are two books by Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes’s private investigators about the real world of private investigations. Below that are a few links to some recent articles about private investigations for your reading pleasure.

How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths

Geared mostly to writers writing sleuths, with plenty of info for those wanting to read more about the real-life world of whodunits. Topics include a history of private investigators, a sampling of private investigative specializations (from legal investigations to pet detectives to investigating white-collar crime), the ins and outs of a private investigator’s business (from licensing to marketing), homicide investigations, a DNA Primer and a “Gumshoe Glossary.”

“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

“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

To order How to Write a Dick

How to Write a Dick is an eBook, but you don’t need an ereader. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble provide free apps that are easy to download onto your laptop, desktop, other device.  Want to give as a gift? All you need is the person’s email address.

How to Write a Dick on Kindle

How Do Private Eyes Do That?

Geared to the armchair sleuth, with plenty of info for writers, investigators, and others interested in the techniques and tools of today’s private investigators. Dozens of articles about private investigations on such topics as how to catch a cheater, techniques for finding people, how to locate a cell phone number, tips for locating a family trust, email security tips, how to unblock incoming blocked phone numbers, intellectual property investigations, the art of interviewing witnesses, listening devices, sleuth gadgets…we’re running out of breath, here…online research tips, how to search for people on YouTube, case examples, a listing (plus links) of several dozen private investigator blogs and PI-genre writers…and a whole lot 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

To order How Do Private Eyes Do That?

Same as above — you don’t need an ereader to download this book. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble make it easy (and free) to download an app onto your PC/Mac/other device to read this book. If you want to send it as a gift, all you need is the person’s email address.

How Do Private Eyes Do That? on Kindle


Posted in Nonfiction book: HOW DO PRIVATE EYES DO THAT?, PI Topics, Sleuth Gifts, Writing About PIs | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Couple of Non-Fiction Books for the Sleuth-Writer in Your Life

Excerpt from How to Write a Dick: Catching the Cheater

Posted by Writing PIs on July 12, 2011

How to Write a Dick: A Guide to Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths, available on Kindle

Infidelity Investigations: Catching the Cheater

When we accept an infidelity case, we request:

  • Information about the suspected cheater’s habits, work schedule, days off and so forth.
  • Photographs of the suspected cheater (and the suspected girlfriend/boyfriend, if available)
  • Addresses and phone numbers (for the suspected cheater’s home, businesses, other places of note as well as the addresses/phone numbers for suspected girlfriend/boyfriend, if known)
  • Any known routes suspected cheater takes on way to work, home, to exercise gym and so forth
  • Vehicle descriptions, license plate numbers for suspected cheater (and suspected girlfriend/boyfriend)
  • Contact information for client, preferred times to call, private numbers person can be reached at, preferred means of contact (work email, cell phone).
  • Any other pertinent information.

As with any other case, we then devise an investigative strategy.  Sometimes the client will call and inform us if the suspected cheater has changed his/her work schedule, is taking off for a surprise appointment or other event.  We can’t always comply with last-minute schedule changes (which we’ve made clear to the client up front) but if time permits, we do.

Part of our contract is that we’ll provide reports on either a biweekly or monthly basis.  However, we’ll work with the client on a different report scheme as long as it’s appropriate, workable and legal.  For example, we’ve had clients who like to call periodically and discuss the case.  We don’t mind discussing the current progress on a case as long as the client remains professional and courteous.  Sometimes a client might request an email update the morning after an evening surveillance, and we’re happy to comply.

The most difficult thing we’re ever had to do was tell a client that we had garnered photographic evidence that her husband was being unfaithful.  It had been a lengthy investigation (several months) and the husband (who had a background in military investigations) had covered his tracks exceptionally well, so well we believed her suspicions were unfounded.  We had scheduled one last surveillance, which she asked us to continue doing, and after that we mutually agreed to terminate the investigations.

It was during that very last surveillance that we saw, and photographed, his infidelity.  The wife’s suspicions of his infidelity had been right on — he was involved with her best friend.  We finished the surveillance, did a wrap-up meeting where we discussed how to present the evidence to the client, then we made the call.  The client immediately wanted to know if her husband and her girlfriend were still at the location where they’d been photographed. We explained the husband and girlfriend had already left the scene, but we had photographic evidence that we would forward in a report.

We’ve since talked to this client and learned that after being confronted with the evidence, he admitted to the affair, and they are now in marriage counseling.  This was a happy ending.  More often, a client’s next call to us is requesting a recommendation for a good divorce lawyer.

PI Wise:  Except in only a few cases, a PI shouldn’t contact a client while the investigation is in process.  Especially in a cheating spouse case, a PI never tells a client, in real time, where her/his spouse is in flagrante delicto.  Remember the woman who ran over her philandering husband three times in the Texas parking lot?  That’s because the PI she’d hired to follow her husband called from the hotel where he was rendezvousing with his mistress and reported the infidelity in real time.  Wifey, enraged, drove over and…let’s just say if the PI hadn’t made that call, wifey might not now be spending years behind bars.

Posted in Excerpt from How to Write a Dick: Catching the Cheater, How to Write a Dick excerpts | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Excerpt from How to Write a Dick: Catching the Cheater

Health Care Fraud and Organized Crime

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Health Care Fraud and Organized Crime

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