Books, Crooks and Counselors



Winner of the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction!

ISBN-13: 978-1610350198
Quill Driver Books: 2011

Available at:
Barnes & Noble
Quill Driver or phone (800) 345-4447

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.

Written by a practicing lawyer with more than 25 years’ experience who is also an award-winning mystery writer, BOOKS, CROOKS, AND COUNSELORS is a book writers will want to keep close at hand.

Using examples from actual cases, as well as fiction, movies and television, BOOKS, CROOKS, AND COUNSELORS answers real writers’ questions on more than 160 topics, such as:

  • 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?
Praise 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 reviewWorth keeping close at hand if you’re writing fiction–or even non-fiction–that touches on the law.” —Freelance Writer’s ReportNeed 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 FictionBOOKS, 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 romantic suspense author

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)

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

BOOK LINKS: A database of links to sites mentioned in Books, Crooks & Counselors.
RESOURCES: A list of resources including links to the US Copyright office and writers groups

research servicesI love working directly with writers! I can answer questions, research issues, or review all or part of a manuscript or screenplay to help you use legal issues in the most compelling, yet credible, way. Depending on your needs, I can write a memo you can rely on as you complete your drafts and move toward publication or production, or discuss the project with you by phone. Either way, you’ll learn what you’ve done right, and where you’ve gone astray–and come away with realistic ways to incorporate the law into your plot, setting, and characterization.During an initial no-fee consult, we will discuss your story and needs, and decide how I can best help you. I will estimate the time needed before starting the project.Rates: $65/hour

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