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

Sunday, April 6, 2014


One way to learn to write crime drama realistically is read novels by those who have been there.  Everyone has heard of Joseph Wambaugh, the former Los Angeles PD officer known as the "Grand Master of Police Novels."  Wambaugh has sold millions of fiction and non-fiction books featuring police work.

For those who are turned off by Wambaugh's rather gritty, often profane novels, here's some of my favorite cops-turned-novelists who provide a Christian world view while staying true to realistic police procedure and investigative techniques. 

A former Long Beach, California, police officer of twenty-two years, Janice Cantore worked a variety of assignments, including patrol, administration, juvenile investigations, and training. A few years ago, she moved to southern Oregon, where Janice writes suspense novels designed to keep readers engrossed and inspired.  I loved her Pacific Coast Justice series.

F.P. Lione is actually two people —  the husband-wife team of Frank and Pam Lione. They are both Italian-American and the offspring of New York PD detectives. Frank Lione is a veteran of the NYPD, and Pam a former medical sonographer who now stays home with their two sons. They divide their time between New York City and Broadheadville, Pennsylvania, in the Poconos.

Mark Mynheir is the author of the Ray Quinn mysteries. Mynheir served 25 years as a Florida officer, including stints as a detective, SWAT team member, and undercover narcotics agent. 

While I titled this post "It Takes One to Know One," that's not completely true. Many writers, through extensive research and consultations with real cops, have written masterpieces that portray police officers realistically.  When I read J. Mark Bertrand's Back on Murder, I was convinced the writer was a veteran officer.  I knew he had to be an experienced Houston detective. Not so. Bertrand has never worn a badge but his Roland March series is among the most realistic detective stories I have ever read.

Some day I hope to complete my own novel and join this fine group of former officers who traded in their pistols for pens.  For now, I carry both.