Saturday, July 26, 2008

Confusing Fiction with Fact Again

My husband would say "shut up and enjoy the book."

But I keep getting distracted when the book I'm currently reading makes some agregious error that 20 seconds on Google could have corrected.

Maybe I should send this author a copy of "Idiot's Guide to Private Investigating." Or send him to Lee Lofland's book/ site. Because obviously, this author needs to go back and learn a few basic things about the private eye business.

Couple cases in point:
--Private investigators are issued a license by a state licensing board. The local police cannot "pull a licnse" (*twitch*) of a private investigator any more than they could revoke the license of a real estate agent. They could recommend to the board the the license be revoked, but a police officer (even a homicide detective) CANNOT do so.

-- Carrying a weapon in a purse is a stupid and dangerous thing to do. Being jostled in a purse has the possibility of jarring the safety. Further more, it would get fuzz and gunk in a gun, making it more likely to jam. Get a holster, honey. Take your gun seriously.

-- The DMV can't give out records to anyone who calls. And while I can almost buy the "friend who works there," that friend is facing possibly charges if they do. I would imagine most DMV workers wouldn't risk their job that way. Especially for information that any investigator would know how to access (in fact, most people can access the same information if they know how to look.) See next point.

-- Rather than use credit header or other database information that every private investigator knows how to use, this private eye has to call her buddies at the police station. (*twitch*) Beyond that, the police aren't supposed to give out random names and addresses either. But, it's her friend. Gah. This woman couldn't do her job if she didn't have so many friends willing to break the law for her.

How little research did this guy do? I know most people won't notice because most people don't have a clue how real private investigation works. I won't pretend I *know* that much, either, but I've certainly done alot of reading. Including looking up the laws for my state on private investigators-- in actual legalese on the state website.

I guess I'm just supposed to take it all as a fun fictional ride. And for the most part, it's been like eating Pixie Stix. Tasty, but little substance. And nothing remotely real.

I tried so hard not to be disappointed. But when she called her police buddy instead of looking up the information in a database, that was the last straw.

I'll finish the book, but this was just so disappointing. I may try another of this author's books, in hopes that the story is good enough to keep me going. This current book would be a rare 3 star book, but the CLEAR lack of ANY research beyong TV brings it fast to a 2 star book. Sigh.

The character is good though. She's all right. She just got trapped in the hands of an author who didn't do any research. Too bad really.


Travis Erwin said...

I've been ticked off by that sort of thing myself and I really try to avoid it in my writing.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

I think research is so important. I recently went to a book event at a local community center and met an author. He had a great view and gave a great presentation so I bought the book. but on page three he had a glaring error, citing a regulation of the City of New York incorrectly. Since I have lived in New York for my entire life and worked for the City for more than twenty five years, I set the book down. I hope I can pick it up again, because I think the guy tells a compelling story, but it has already been weakened for me.