I write novels, which means I invent stories. But to make the novels as authentic as I can, I do a lot of research. Some research means going on location — to China Lake, Oklahoma City, San Francisco, and London. Some means talking to professionals — cops, forensic psychiatrists, Air National Guard pararescuemen, physicists, process servers, and rally drivers. Much involves reading articles online.
And a whole lot involves reading books. I’ve just glanced at my office bookshelf. Here’s a partial list of books I’ve used for reference over the course of the novels I’ve written.
Mindhunter: Inside the FBI Elite Serial Crime Unit, John Douglas & Mark Olshaker
The Anatomy of Motive, John Douglas & Mark Olshaker
Helter Skelter, Vincent Bugliosi
Air Warriors: The Inside Story of the Making of a Navy Pilot, Douglas C. Waller
Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence, John Hockenberry
Holy Bible, King James Version
The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene
Santa Barbara Gold, Tom Tuttle
Blood and Sand, Frank Gardner
The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger
Pararescue, Michael Hirsch
None Braver: U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen in the War on Terrorism, Michael Hirsch
Psychoanalytic Diagnosis, Nancy McWilliams, Ph.D.
On the Ridge Between Life and Death, David Roberts
Eiger Dreams, Jon Krakauer
Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer
How to Disappear, Frank M. Ahearn & Eileen C. Horan
How to Be Invisible, J.J. Luna
Forensics for Dummies, D.P. Lyle, M.D.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell
Each of these books has enriched my novels. Some of them have saved me from sounding like an idiot on the page. All of them have made me more knowledgeable. I owe my thanks to the authors of all of them.
What a great job I have.