No matter what you need to know to make your mystery or thriller realistic and accurate, you can probably find the answer on the Internet. Knowing where to look is half the battle. If you understand how to use your search engine effectively, you’ll save yourself many trips to the library, and you won’t have to ask your policeman neighbor down the street to read one more chapter of your manuscript (thereby tempting him to arrest you for stalking).
Government agency websites, police forums, experts who have websites or blogs, online classes from private investigators—all of this information is a keystroke away. These are the best sites and link lists I’ve found so far.
Center for Disease Control
Emergency Preparedness and Response
Federal Bureau of Investigation
U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration
Law Enforcement Forums and Blogs
6 Ways Law Enforcement Uses Social Media to Fight Crime
by Lon S. Cohen at Mashable: The Social Media Guide
"1. Police Blotter Blogs
2. The Digital “Wanted Poster”
3. Anonymous E-Tipsters
4. Social Media Stakeout
5. Thwarting Thugs in the Social Space
6. Tracking and Informing with Twitter"
Lee Lofland’s blog, Graveyard Shift
"Lee Lofland is a veteran police investigator who began his law-enforcement career working as an officer in Virginia's prison system. He later became a sheriff's deputy, a patrol officer, and finally, he achieved the highly-prized gold shield of detective."
“Ask a Cop” and “Forum Posts” at Real Police
Spartan Cops: Aiming to Help Cops
“Writing on the Beat” by Denis Faye at Writers Guild of America, West
Crime Writers and Writer Organizations
American Crime Writers’ League Writer’s Links
Sisters in Crime blog
Article links on Writing Mysteries at Writing-World.com
Experts and Other Resources
American Association of Poison Control Centers
Links at Research, Publications & Resources
Florida State University, College of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Gun Directory: The Complete Gun Review and Reference Guide
Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes, a blog and online classes for writers from a couple of private investigators. Highly recommended blog. Classes are reasonably priced.
D. P. Lyle, M.D. Articles
The Writer’s Forensics Blog (author, D. P. Lyle, M.D.)
You’ll be able to find more links on your own, links more specific to your own story. Remember to narrow your search as much as possible. If you have any favorites I haven't mentioned, we'd love to have you leave a comment and share the link.
Patricia Stoltey is a mystery author, blogger, and critique group facilitator. Active in promoting Colorado authors, she also helps local unpublished writers learn the critical skills of manuscript revision and self-editing. For information about Patricia’s Sylvia and Willie mystery series, visit her website and her blog. You can also find her on Facebook (Patricia Stoltey) and Twitter (@PStoltey).