Consultant for writers on crime, police, & court procedures.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


       Writers often use the terms “interview” and “interrogation” interchangeably.  The differences are significant, however.
     The interview is strictly to obtain information. It’s the standard Q-and-A session between an officer and a witness or a victim.  It might be conducted in a home, on the street, in a detective’s office, or in an interview room. Sometimes it is recorded but often the officer simply takes notes.
     The interrogation is conducted to elicit a confession from a suspect.  Usually it occurs in an interrogation room at the police station or a similar room at the jail.  It is an “adversarial” conversation with the goal of obtaining a confession.  Psychological pressure and “strategic deception” are used by interrogators to move the suspect to confess.
     A small police station may not have an interrogation room.  A detective might question suspects in his or her office, although this is not the ideal arrangement. Too many distractions, too many items the suspect can pick up and use as a weapon.
     Interrogations should be recorded, preferably audio and video. A common tactic of defense attorneys is to attempt to suppress any confession.  A recording shows the suspect was not under duress when he confessed.
     Most officers don’t wear their weapons into an interrogation room. The firearm is secured in another location, perhaps in a gun locker designed for that purpose or locked in a file cabinet.


Check out my interview on the Sleuths & Suspects blog and learn more about my work to help writers writecrimeright.

Monday, September 2, 2013


How do you prepare to write about your characters?  How much research is enough? Authors who do their homework can give their characters the authenticity readers want. Heidi Glick, author of Dog Tags, wrote recently about her steps to research the main character in her current work in progress. is one of her sources for information.

You can read Heidi's excellent tips here: