Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Review: 'Police Procedural' by Russell Bintliff

Police Procedural: A Writer's Guide to the Police and How They Work by Russell Bintliff, 1993, Writer's Digest Books, $16.99, softbound, 261 pages. Category/Genre: writing reference. Cover: attracts the eye. Where we got it: bought it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble. 

Part of Writer's Digest's 'The Howdunit Series,' this book explores police from the day they join the force to the day they serve in court as a detective witness. First off, Bintliff gives an overview of the police force, which reveals information about patrol operations, training, certification, and police perspectives, plus information on the station house. There's even a layout of an average police department -- although it has, inexplicably, a dead-end hallway and a room with no label.

Bintliff provides the structure of a police detective division and outlines how these divisions work; he also explains how detectives find solutions to common problems. He looks at burglary, robbery, larceny, assault, homicide, arson, and vice. There's a chapter on arrest and procedure, and one on interviews and interrogations, which includes the use of lie detectors. Courtroom procedures round out the book.

A great book whether you want to write from the point of view of the police or merely have them feature in your novel. 

If you like this one, try: How to Solve a Murder by Michael Kurland, Private Eyes: A Writer's Guide to Private Investigators by Hal Blythe, and Just the Facts, Ma'am by Greg Fallis.    

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