Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wednesday Book Review

This is more a PREview than a REview since I just acquired this book at the library today. However, I want to pass on the information as a good resource for writers, so I'll "cheat" a bit and give you a peek at the table of contents.

Malicious Intent by Sean Mactire, subtitled a writer's guide to how murderers, robbers, rapists, and other criminals think, is part of The Howdunit Series made available by Writer's Digest. 

After an introduction entitled "The Face of Evil", the book is divided into fifteen chapters.
  • The History and Hallmarks of Violent Crimes
  • Understanding Human Behavior
  • Profiling the Criminal
  • Crime Fact, Crime Fiction
  • Serial Murder
  • Cult-Related Murder
  • Sexual Predators
  • Child Molesters and Child Murderers
  • Victims
  • The Career Criminal
  • Wise Guys and Hitmen
  • Drug Abusers
  • Terrorists
  • Women Who Kill
  • Psychology in the Courtroom
All of this seems pretty "dark", but it's a fact of life---and of fiction. While some literary license is always permissible, I like to be sure of my information before incorporating it--even lightly--into a story. I didn't go looking for this book, but it jumped out at me while I was browsing the books on writing.

Right now, as I work on The Showboat Affair, I'm interested in the last chapter, "Psychology in the Courtroom".

This 228-page volume contains a bibliography and an index for easy reference.

Other books in the series include:
  • Police Procedural: A Writer's Guide to the Police and How They Work
  • Private Eyes: A Writer's Guide to Private Investigators
  • Deadly Doses: A Writer's Guide to Poisons
  • Scene of the Crime: A Writer's Guide to Crime-Scene Investigation
  • Armed and Dangerous: A Writer's Guide to Weapons
  • Modus Operandi: A Writer's Guide to How Criminals Work 
When I was a little girl, my goal in life was to be a "lady detective". Somehow, I think I've missed my calling. . .but I can still write about it!


nlindabrit said...

This sounds a most interesting book. It is a factor that often troubles me about my own work. I find it a struggle writing truly villainous people. Hopefully, part of the reason for this is that I myself look for the good in people. I occasionally find that while I am developing a character and a plot, they become less villainous, or find some measure of redemption that causes me to alter the story. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it can dilute the strength of the story sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Leave it to you to find a reference book on "whodunits". Research has it rewards doesn't it? This sounds like a great one, need to start that list soon! :)

K9friend said...

The perfect recipes for murder. Geez, hope those books don't get into the "wrong" hands!

Skhye said...

I love this series. I've used it time and time again. :)