The Complete Crime Reference Book
By Martin Roth
by Andi Ward
©2003, Andi Ward
the title is fairly descriptive, and it is a very good crime reference for
writers, I found this book far from "complete" in the dictionary
definition of the word. No book containing less than 300 pages could possibly
hold everything a writer would need to know on a crime-related subject.
book breaks down the different aspects of crime very well, dealing with
different types of criminals separately, though very succinctly. The aspects of
law enforcement are spelled out in great detail, from the local levels (there
are charts details the hierarchy of the LAPD, the NYPD and the Cincinnati PD as
examples) to the FBI and the military. What is legally needed for an arrest and
a conviction (surprisingly, not the same things) is covered. This is also one of
the few books I have seen that contains what happens after the trial is
finished, including sentencing, paroles and jail time. Prisons are also covered,
as well as the different roles of the various courts and court officials.
Roth has included a plethora of glossaries and lists, including police codes, 'slanguage'
for different groups, and definitions of crimes. There are lists of different
types of guns, crimes (broken down by base names, i.e.: Robbery, etc.),
narcotics, etc. Most of these lists, however, have no descriptions attached to
them, so while the writer may know that Mexico's magic mushrooms is an illegal
narcotic, he still has no explanation of its affects, if it's a national or
state offense, etc.
found The Writer's Complete Crime
Reference Book to be an excellent jumping-off reference work. By reading
through it I gained ideas of what I wanted to look for in other research.
However, as a "complete reference," I found it to be highly lacking in
the details needed for my work. For instance, though it was one of the few books
I've found which covered the topic of arson, the entire section was only three
pages long and two of those pages were lists of the different types of
incendiaries and of motives for arson. There was no information of how the
actual investigation into solving the arson is handled, which was what I needed.
something of a dedicated researcher (I actually think it's fun, not work), I
think this book is a definite keeper since it can point me in directions I need
to go. It's rather a "card catalog" reference book rather than
something I would use to draw actual information for writing. As it is difficult
for me to find such card catalog, I hold this book very high in my estimation
and recommend it to people who do serious research for writing Mystery or
Suspense. However, for those people who wish to have a single book or two as
their sole references on a subject, I cannot recommend this book for that
Writer's Complete Crime Reference Book
by Martin Roth
Writer's Digest Books