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Missing Persons: A Writer's Guide to Finding the Lost, the Abducted and the Escaped

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A guide for writers of fiction, on techniques used to trace missing persons, intended to help the writers make their plots more accurate and believable. In the HOWDUNIT series.


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A guide for writers of fiction, on techniques used to trace missing persons, intended to help the writers make their plots more accurate and believable. In the HOWDUNIT series.

30 review for Missing Persons: A Writer's Guide to Finding the Lost, the Abducted and the Escaped

  1. 5 out of 5

    A.J. Downey

    Felt the author was spending far too much time making herself look clever than she was actually providing any worthwhile information. Felt if you got rid of all of that, the book would only be one-third of the length it is now. Anything I gleaned out of this book that could and would be any kind of useful to me wasn't especially useful overall unless the story I was working on and reading this for research material for was set in the 90's. I suppose it's not her fault that much of the informatio Felt the author was spending far too much time making herself look clever than she was actually providing any worthwhile information. Felt if you got rid of all of that, the book would only be one-third of the length it is now. Anything I gleaned out of this book that could and would be any kind of useful to me wasn't especially useful overall unless the story I was working on and reading this for research material for was set in the 90's. I suppose it's not her fault that much of the information is outdated, but I would love to find a book similar to this that takes into account the technological advances that have been made.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    This gives you a good idea both of what a private detective's work is like, and of how they go about tracing missing people. It probably won't come as a surprise that it is not as glamorous or dangerous or exciting as it looks on TV and the movies. Much of the work involves looking through records and cross-checking information. Sometimes the PI makes an occasional phone call to get some info (often under a false pretext), and sometimes they even ring a doorbell or two to confront someone's long This gives you a good idea both of what a private detective's work is like, and of how they go about tracing missing people. It probably won't come as a surprise that it is not as glamorous or dangerous or exciting as it looks on TV and the movies. Much of the work involves looking through records and cross-checking information. Sometimes the PI makes an occasional phone call to get some info (often under a false pretext), and sometimes they even ring a doorbell or two to confront someone's long-lost lover or relative. Many of their clients (and the people they are seeking) have serious problems. Most people-tracing cases, says Faron, involve a lonely soul remembering a long lost lover, perhaps someone who dumped them, and wanting to see what they are doing and if there is still a spark. The book was written in 1997 and could use an update. There is virtually no mention of the internet here, and I would wager that a lot of the searching PIs do today involves perusing various online databases. There is nothing about this work that seems particularly oriented toward writers - this would be a good title for anyone curious about the subject, but who would be most likely to be curious other than someone who aspires to be the next Raymond Chandler? For instance, there is no reference here to any famous missing person case, either actual or fictional. It might have been interesting to see her thoughts on some of those. But give Faron credit for apparently telling it like it is, and also for fleshing out her book with some interesting stuff that is indirectly related to the subject. The section titled "Profile of the Scoundrel" is a good one, and features information on con games, hustles, deadbeat clients and the like. The entire book is peppered with interesting anecdotes drawn from Faron's career, all told in her world-weary, wisecracking voice. And she is a good storyteller (even if there could have been a little more detail in some of her yarns) - she sticks to the facts, and includes a lot of seen-it-all wit. Overall, this is a good member of the Writers Digest Howdunit Series - I hope to read more of them. It certainly does illustrate that there is a world of difference between a well-crafted missing person mystery and the actual work of an investigator trying to trace someone.

  3. 4 out of 5

    R.Z.

    A how-to book on tracking missing persons is a needed reference for crime writers, but in my opinion this one doesn't measure up. The author Fay Faron is so busy wisecracking about her own experiences as a private investigator that the substance for writers of how to write about missing persons cases is minimal. What is excellent about the book is the outline of subjects covered which seems full. Too bad that the author isn't serious about actually helping writers. It seems that writers' needs a A how-to book on tracking missing persons is a needed reference for crime writers, but in my opinion this one doesn't measure up. The author Fay Faron is so busy wisecracking about her own experiences as a private investigator that the substance for writers of how to write about missing persons cases is minimal. What is excellent about the book is the outline of subjects covered which seems full. Too bad that the author isn't serious about actually helping writers. It seems that writers' needs are subordinated to the author's need to be clever.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Morven

    The version I have was published in 1997. I'm sure a lot of things have changed since then, but I still found it interesting. If you're writing a story or novel that has a private investigator, this might be a good resource. The version I have was published in 1997. I'm sure a lot of things have changed since then, but I still found it interesting. If you're writing a story or novel that has a private investigator, this might be a good resource.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Cornwall

    Though this book dates from the 1990s, most of the information still seems to be relevant. Wish there was a new edition.

  6. 5 out of 5

    T.M. Carper

    Wasn't as helpful as I thought it would be. Wasn't as helpful as I thought it would be.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    This is a must read for all aspiring authors who want to know some aspects for writing about missing people. (Unfortunately, I don't have some books, since they're out of print...) This is a must read for all aspiring authors who want to know some aspects for writing about missing people. (Unfortunately, I don't have some books, since they're out of print...)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth Shaw

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

  10. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

  11. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Fearing

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jens

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

  15. 4 out of 5

    Arthur Gibson

  16. 5 out of 5

    DJ

  17. 5 out of 5

    Janet

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bill

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dee

  20. 4 out of 5

    Abby

  21. 4 out of 5

    Diana

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Clements

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Buchanan

  24. 4 out of 5

    L.A. Adolf

  25. 4 out of 5

    D.M. Kilgore

  26. 5 out of 5

    Maeghan

  27. 5 out of 5

    Catten

  28. 5 out of 5

    C.S. Daley

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark Mirabello

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marcus Day

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