An Interrogation Tip

This will be a brief post because I’m attending the ThrillerFest conference this weekend. I just wanted to share a tidbit I got from one of the FBI agents who spoke to the thriller writers assembled at the Grand Hyatt this morning. An agent who works out of the FBI’s New York City field office said he was investigating someone he suspected of stealing an extremely valuable vintage baseball card, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The agent went to the suspect’s house without any warning and the first thing the agent said was, “You know why I’m here?” The suspect looked stricken and said, “It’s about the children, right?” It turned out he was a child molester in addition to being a baseball-card thief.

The agent said he uses that opening line all the time, “You know why I’m here?” Contrary to popular belief, most criminals aren’t devious masterminds. Tormented and corrupted by their sins, most of them secretly want to talk about what they did, and will do so if you give them an opening.

10 thoughts on “An Interrogation Tip

  1. I’ll have to remember if I ever have occasion to interrogate someone. Criminals do tend to give themselves away when you give them a chance.

  2. “You know why I’m here?”

    “It’s because of my first draft, isn’t it?”

    “You’re writer?”


    “Put your hands behind your back. You have the right to remain silent….”

    • Anything you jot will be used against you…
      You have a right to an agent.
      If you cannot afford an agenent, well, you’re on your own…

  3. What I want to know is what the FBI agent asked after the guy said, “It’s about the children…” Since it would have taken him by surprise, I assume he found some way of saying, “Yeah, tell me about the children,” or something.

    • Yeah, that’s what I want to know. What did the agent ask AFTER that opener. He got the can of worms open. I’m wondering how he drew them out.

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