A Mystery-Writing Lawyer Answers Writers’ Questions.
Books, Crooks, and Counselors is a comprehensive guide to law written by a writer and lawyer to help writers create more realistic characters and storylines. It addresses a wide range of legal issues that can arise in fiction, including criminal and civil law, criminal investigation and procedure, how trials are conducted, civil and criminal penalties, legal terminology, adoption, probate, and malpractice, and the daily work lives of lawyers, judges, and their staff. Books, Crooks, and Counselors helps writers understand some of the differences in state and federal law, and avoid the mistakes that annoy readers.
Agatha-nominated for Best Non-Fiction!
Written by a practicing lawyer with more than 25 years’ experience who is also a published mystery writer, Books, Crooks, and Counselors is a book writers will want to keep close at hand.
- After my character was convicted and sent to prison, someone else confessed. Now what?
- What is probable cause to search or arrest?
- Can a character buy a life insurance policy on someone else, without that person's knowledge?
- When can a missing person be declared dead--and what if he comes back to life?
- What public records can my character find legally? What's online?
- What courthouse and courtroom security measures should a writer be aware of?
New Reviews for BOOKS, CROOKS AND COUNSELORS:
"VERDICT: Budewitz's material is straightforward and user-friendly. Her
content will help shave off hours of research time and enable writers to
focus more energy on craft, plot, and character development. Highly
recommended for aspiring writers of crime fiction."
-- Library Journal, starred review [see more]
"Worth keeping close at hand if you're writing fiction--or even non-fiction--that touches on the law."
--Freelance Writer's Report [see more]
Advance praise for BOOKS, CROOKS AND COUNSELORS:
Need to know what laws your antagonist is trampling? Need a handle on how the legal system responds to his criminal activities? Need to grasp the rhythm of the courtroom? In BOOKS, CROOKS AND COUNSELORS, Leslie Budewitz takes you into the legal world with the sure hand and knowledge of an insider. If you write crime fiction, you need this book.
— D. P. Lyle, MD, Edgar-nominated and Macavity-winning author of Forensics For Dummies, Murder and Mayhem, and Forensics and Fiction
BOOKS, CROOKS AND COUNSELORS is terrific. It answers all kinds of questions that I had, and, more important, all kinds of questions that I didn't even know I had. It's one of those books that is going to make me look smarter. I'd want it even if it weren't well-written, which it is. I've had the same fourteen reference books that stay right on my desk all the time, regardless of what particular book I'm working on. From now on there will be fifteen.
— Aaron Elkins, Edgar-winning and Agatha-nominated creator of forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver, the Skeleton Detective, and other mysteries and thrillers
BOOKS, CROOKS AND COUNSELORS is a must-have resource for writers of any genre that relies on a clear understanding of the judicial system. From common terms and phrases to legal issues in criminal investigations and punishment, it's all there in a clear and concise format and easily accessible language. This book sits right next to the dictionary on my bookshelves.
— Brenda Novak, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of White Heat, Body Heat, and Killer Heat
Leslie Budewitz’s new book BOOKS, CROOKS AND COUNSELORS is destined to become the Bible of legal research for writers. A copy of it on your desk would be like having your very own legal Dream Team at your beck and call.
— Lee Lofland, The Graveyard Shift blog, founder of The Writers’ Policy Academy, and author of Police Procedure and Investigation, Writers Digest (2007)
A lawyer who can explain our confusing legal system so even another lawyer can understand it? And who knows what writers need to know before they even ask? Priceless.
I have a law degree and 25 years' experience teaching law, and I'm in awe of Leslie's ability to explain the law without losing the reader in the tangled morass. This book gives plenty of information but not too much. You'll want this close at hand as you write.
– Cathy Pickens, President, Sisters in Crime, and author of the Southern Fried Mysteries series
Leslie Budewitz’s meticulous research and plain-English explanations of legal and procedural matters make this a welcome reference for any fiction author whose stories involve the law. Mystery writers will find it indispensable, not only as a source of accurate information but also as inspiration for new and different plot developments.
–Sandra Parshall, award-winning author of the Rachel Goddard mysteries
"The perfect resource for any writer's desk! Leslie Budewitz has a keen sense of just what a writer needs to know about all things legal. BOOKS, CROOKS AND COUNSELORS is superb!"
– Carla Neggers, New York Times Bestselling romantic suspense author
If you’re not a lawyer and you’re writing crime fiction--you need Leslie Budewitz’s BOOKS, CROOKS and COUNSELORS. It’s got everything a writer needs to write about the law--and do it accurately. I’ll be consulting it with every new book I write.
--Lorna Barrett, NY Times Bestselling Author of SENTENCED TO DEATH and the rest of the Booktown Mysteries.
If you only have one book in your reference library, it should be this one. Well written and comprehensive with terrific examples. Warning -- it may lead to a twist in your plot.
– Krista Davis, Agatha-nominated author of the Domestic Diva mysteries
“A mystery writer’s bible.”
– Laura Childs, New York Times bestselling author
At last! A book that cuts through the confusion for writers who want to get their legal and law-related facts right. Written by a writer for writers. This is the best book that’s come along for fiction writers to understand, use and manipulate the law system—on paper, of course.
– Mary Buckham, award-winning romantic suspense author; co-author of Break Into Fiction™: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells; and co-founder, WriterUniv.com