Image via WikipediaMaking Crime Pay, the Writers’ Guide to Criminal Law, Evidence, and Procedure
By Andrea Campbell
Available at Amazon new for $27.50 used from $0.14
I admit that I bought my copy, used on Amazon, for ten cents. I more than got my ten cents worth. I read this book because it was listed as a resource book on the “Sisters in Crime” website. I have had a course in law, and almost all of my clients were under my care by court order, so I already had a fair acquaintance with the legal system. I would have appreciated having this book back then, for quick reference and better understanding of the process.
This book is divided into three parts:
Part 1 - Criminal law is explained. What is the difference between a federal crime and a misdemeanor? Crimes are defined as well as defenses, justifications and excuses.
Part 2 - Criminal procedure - this includes the rights of the accused, search, seizure and arrests.
Part 3 - A Walk Though the Criminal Justice System - this covers arrest procedures, charging, and booking. There is a chapter on juvenile justice and how that differs from the adult system.
Sprinkled throughout are historic points - which could be a boon to a historic novelist. Also, there are “Writers’ Tips.” These tips help the writer to pick out an interesting twist that could develop the plot line in a new way. There are “FYI” inserts that are like a heads-up to bring an aspect forward that a writer needs to take into consideration when writing a scene. Campbell includes photos of various documents used in the criminal process such as a search warrant. There is an index, which helps to make looking up a detail easier.
Not a great read for entertinment value. The writing is clear and makes the concepts understandable with straight forward language. I mostly pulled it from my purse to read while waiting for various appointments. Little nibbles were satisfying.
An overall read will give a writer a base from which to launch a plot line. Having this book on the shelf to check on a vocabulary word or resolve a processing question is a handy resource.
I hope this was helpful. If you have anything to add - or if you know a great book that I should look at - please feel free to leave a comment below.