Books, Crooks and Counselors: How to Write Accurately about Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure, written by Leslie Budewitz , is an excellent legal resource for mystery writers. She is a mystery writer in her own right as well as an attorney at law who decided to put together a handbook that would help authors write accurately about legal procedure whether writing fiction or non-fiction.
No matter how knowledgeable a writer is or how many novels they have written, they still donít always know how the law really works. When it comes to the facts, the way lawyers and judges think, the correct dialogue they would use, or the procedure they would follow during a courtroom scene, they often could use help in making sure their stories are accurate.
In fact, mystery novelists are not the only writers who could use this reference book. It is a superb resource for those who write television and movie scripts and screenplays, suspense thrillers, or stage plays.
Throughout the book Budewitz answers questions about more than 160 topics asked by actual authors who want to make sure their stories are complete in every detail. With increasingly discerning readers, as well as editors who will reject a novel because of the smallest error, mystery writers want to make sure their books are credible.
Books, Crooks and Counselors is written in such an interesting way that even non-writers who love a good mystery story would enjoy many of her answers and examples. It covers the judicial system, pre-trial, evidence, witnesses, burden of proof, and appeals. And that is only the beginning.
Budewitz also covers legal issues in criminal investigations, crime and punishment, and answers questions regarding the death penalty and civil matters. Terms and phrases are explained; wills, probate, and adoptions are covered.
Thinking like a lawyer and thinking like a judge are two sections that would be especially useful for authors writing about courtroom drama. The last couple of sections of this book cover legal ethics and guidelines to following when authors are doing their own research. She finishes up with a comprehensive compilation of online and written resources and an in-depth index.
Easy to read and understand, Books, Crooks and Counselors should be prominently placed on the reference shelf of anyone who wants to make sure their stories are appreciated and accepted by their audience for their accuracy.
A special thank you goes to Quill Driver Books for providing a complimentary copy of this book for our review. If you would like your own copy, it is available at Amazon.com.