From helping fight Crime, To helping write crime

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When it comes to authenticity in a novel, it’s all down to research, research, research and at times some expert advice.  Not everyone knows where to look, so today former DCI Stuart Gibbon, is talking to lifeofcri.me about his transition from writing factual police reports into helping write fictional police procedurals.

FROM HELPING FIGHT CRIME TO HELPING WRITE CRIME

GIB1My name is Stuart Gibbon and I’m a former police DCI turned Writing Consultant.

My story began in the early 1980’s when I travelled from my native north-east of England down to London at the ripe old age of 16 to join the Metropolitan Police as a cadet. A couple of years later I passed out (fortunately not literally) from the police training college at Hendon as a fully-fledged Police Constable. For the next 18 years I worked in uniform and CID on the streets of north-west London.

In 2000 I transferred to the East Midlands where my police career continued with promotion through the ranks to Detective Chief Inspector (DCI). As a large part of my police career was spent as a Detective I was able to gather lots of experience in crime investigation and detection. As a Senior Detective I was in charge of Murder and other serious crime cases.

On retiring from the police service in 2012 I still wanted to help people and had always maintained an interest in reading books. I decided to set up GIB Consultancy to offer advice to writers to ensure that their work is not only procedurally accurate but also authentic. I contacted the Crime Writers’ Association and circulated my details where possible. Since then I have been working with a number of writers across a diverse range of topics from standard police procedure, missing persons and Coroner practices to forensic evidence, kidnapping and Murder investigation.

My first written acknowledgement arrived courtesy of Tammy Cohen as a result of my advice for her novel Dying For Christmas published in 2014. I have recently advised C.L. Taylor on her massive hit The Missing and I’m currently working with her on her fourth psychological thriller which is due out next year. Although the majority of requests for advice are from crime writers, I have helped writers of other genres who may wish to include something police-related in their story.

In addition to the advisory service I also talk with Writing Groups and at festivals/conferences on the subject of ‘Murder Investigation’ and the challenges facing a Senior Detective in charge of such cases. The talk/workshop is designed to give writers ideas for their work and to ensure that any procedures are realistic.

My new ‘career’ is every bit as challenging and rewarding as my previous one. It’s great to be able to play a part in helping to produce something which is going to be enjoyed by so many people.

I have a website at http://www.gibconsultancy.co.uk and would welcome any writers who would like any advice or just the odd question or two answering to contact me as I am sure I would be able to help.

The GIB Consultancy

Stuart Gibbon
GIB Consultancy

The Missing and The Dead – Stuart MacBride

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imageOne mistake can cost you everything.

When you catch a twisted killer there should be a reward, right? What Acting Detective Inspector Logan McRae gets instead is a ‘development opportunity’ out in the depths of rural Aberdeenshire. Welcome to divisional policing – catching drug dealers, shop lifters, vandals and the odd escaped animal.

Then a little girls body washes up just outside the sleepy town of Banff, kicking off a massive manhunt. The Major Investigation Team is up from Aberdeen, wanting answers, and they don’t care who they trample over to get them.

Logan’s got enough on his plate keeping B division together, but DCI Steel wants him back on her team. As his old colleagues stomp around the countryside burning bridges, Logan gets dragged deeper and deeper into the investigation.

One thing’s clear: there are dangerous predators lurking in the wilds of Aberdeenshire, and not everyone’s going to get out alive.

His best yet….

In keeping with the changes to Scottish policing over the last few years, MacBride has given protagonist McRae a ‘development opportunity’ in the back of beyond, and it’s one of his most brilliant moves yet. It has opened up the way for a great new cast of characters, good and bad alike, to meet and discover,  like Klingon and Gerbil,  Deano, Nicholson and my person favourite, Constable ‘Tufty’ Quirrell.  (particularly as I’m old enough to remember the ‘Tufty’ club… ahem… onwards)

At the same time we haven’t lost the books best character (aside from protagonist McRae obvs), the brilliant DCI Roberta Steel. In The Missing And The Dead, she is as grizzly, cantankerous and as non politically correct as ever, while she does what she does best, helping McRae every which way she can, even if it never seems so at the time.

The backdrop of the normality of everyday policing that features throughout the books is also a real breath of fresh air when it comes to police procedurals, against the starkness of the crimes being investigated, it almost comes as ‘light relief’ and yet never takes away its seriousness, or the important part it plays in the plot.

Speaking of the plotting, as always it is sublime, as intricately woven as ever, with not a wasted anecdote amongst those told.  Everything fits together perfectly.  This is one series that does nothing but improve, nine McRae novels in and MacBride has gone from strength to strength with The Missing and The Dead being quite simply his best yet.