View Full Version : Detective Question

Norma Jean
05-13-2008, 06:31 PM
What is the role of a detective?

How does a homicide detective go about tracking and capturing a killer on the run who continously kills? What methods and tactics does he use? How does he do it? Especially if the detective doesn't know where the killer is hiding out at.

aka eraser
05-13-2008, 09:29 PM
Norma Jean - something tells me you got some reading to do! Tapping a keyboard is only part of a writer's job. A goodly portion is research.

You'll have a much better idea of the answers to your questions after reading a hundred or two murder mysteries/police procedurals. Give your library card a workout and good luck.

05-13-2008, 10:06 PM
Norma jean, you've asked an incredibly broad question, but I can give you a few starting points that are sometimes used:

1) Witnesses/surveillance video
2)Physical evidence at the scene, e.g. fingerprints, dna, tire prints, tool marks
3) if there are multiple murders, figuring out what the victims have in common or what ties them to the killer
4) if the detective knows who the perp is, he/she might be found through known associates, family, job skills, hobbies, tracking credit cards/financials

But I will echo aka eraser and state that you should hie thee to your library. Check out some "true crime" books and see how real crimes were solved. Check out "anecdote" books written by police officers and detectives. Check out the many "how to write mysteries" books that are out there.

Good luck.

05-13-2008, 10:35 PM
Here are two great resources that should get you started:


05-13-2008, 10:55 PM
After you have a little background in this, I'd call your local police department and explain your situation, offering to take a nice detective out for coffee (or lunch) if they'd agree to answer some general questions. Don't act like a know-it-all. Let them do the talking. Act interested in their work and they'll probably talk with you.

Take 'no' for an answer if they don't want to answer certain questions. Make a relationship, then if you have any spicific questions down the line, have this person as a contact. When the book is published, put them down for a 'thank you'.

05-13-2008, 11:18 PM
I would suggest the "Howdunit" series. They're geared specificially for writers and break down the different aspects of crime (police procedurals, amateur detectives, private investigators, poisons - I really freaked out the cashier when I bought this one!, etc.)

The Grift
05-14-2008, 07:36 PM
If "on the run" means across state lines, feds are getting involved.

05-14-2008, 09:35 PM
If you want in field info, maybe there is a detective out there whom you could shadow for a couple hours. First hand research or read the In Death series by J.D. Robb aka Nora Roberts.

Jeffery E Doherty
05-15-2008, 04:01 AM
If it's a serial killer, the FBI would want to get involved. Profiling and such. From my experience a lot of the times the detectives spend most of their time doing interview of witnesses, suspects and trying to sift through all the documentation.

JED (Assie cop 21 years)