Fiction Research Links

Jordan Dane

I came across some great resource links over the years and thought I would share some with my TKZ family. I’ll group them in no particular order.


This first link is to a site in Australia, but when I couldn’t find a similar one for the U.S., this serves the purpose. It gives writers a good visual as a reminder of what an Intensive Care Unit in a hospital looks like and the terminology: What’s in an ICU?

The Encyclopedia of Death and Dying – Wonder what’s in there? Plenty of weird topics alphabetized.

BioMed Search – Medical Resources – This has tons of medical resources on all sorts of illnesses, procedures, case reports, treatments for illnesses, surgical procedures, etc.

EMedicine: Medscape – Want to see what blunt force trauma does to the head and skull? This site is not for the squeamish. Various medical specialties are listed with slide show pictures. There’s also extensive resources on surgical procedures, pediatrics and general disease conditions.


This link has many resources, especially when you look under Forensic Resources Tab: American Academy of Forensic Sciences AAFS

Computer Forensics at SANS – Digital Forensics

Top 50 Forensic Science Blogs


This link has resources for writers to research crime scene cases and chat in forums to ask questions and get advice from detectives. Writers can research old cases and they even have an online store for fun purchases. Crime Scene

Crime Scene Investigator Network – This link gives writers plenty of resources on crime scene procedures and evidence gathering, with photos, forum to ask questions, videos, and case files.

Crimes & Clues: The Art & Science of Criminal Investigation – Ever wonder what a CSI job demands and the pay? This site has that and more. Profiling articles from top FBI agents, interrogation techniques and cases, courtroom testimony, various studies on forensic science, death investigation with pathology and entomology.


Police One – A solid resources for all things police: uniforms, gear, police cars, radios, body armor, body cams, police procedure, etc.

Botanical: Modern Herbal – A solid research source for herbs and poisons

Poison Plant Database

Firearms Tutorial – This is a resource for firearms with basic terminology, Lab procedures, examination of gun shot residue (GSR), and a study of ballistics, among other things. But since we have a resident expert in John Gilstrap, I would encourage anyone to start with John’s posts on guns here at TKZ – links below:

The Truth About Silencers


Choose Your Weapon


Internet Resources for Writers – Tons of resources on all topics for writers from networking resources, craft, research and business links.

The Internet Writing Journal: Research Resources for Mystery and Crime Writers – Lots of links on crime research, police procedure, forensics, government sites, and types of crimes.


Building Fictional Characters – Lots of helpful links to resources on the topic of crafting characters with recommended instructional books. But I would be remiss if I didn’t also include our own TKZ resources on author craft through James Scott Bell (his list of books on writing are HERE) and Larry Brooks. Larry’s craft resources are listed HERE.

I hope you’ll find these links new and interesting.


What writers’ resource links have you found useful? Any topic from business/promotion to craft and research.


34 thoughts on “Fiction Research Links

  1. Thank you so much for these links. Up to now, I haven’t been writing anything that really required me to research in this direction so these will come in handy. I’ve got an idea for my first modern-day setting story & want to be up to date.

    Question: I’m in the beginning stages of planning a novel set around 1917. One of the questions that has come up in my mind is how formal and procedural were they about the crime scene (i.e. about not disturbing anything at the scene, who has access, etc). Obviously, the tech stuff wasn’t in place back then, but it’s an interesting time period because it wasn’t the rough and ready of the 1800’s, yet in early stages of modernization. Have you come across historical crime scene stuff & where would you recommend I start? I would assume I also need to find a resource for historical case law too.

    I’m also going to research local papers of the time. That might give some process clues to crimes of the day.

    • Historical links could be their own extensive post. When I recently finished a time travel period project, I found nonfiction authors with a specialty on the time period & location I needed. I wanted context & a true flavor for the period.

      On the topic of police procedure for a time period, you might try querying the “Pinkertons,” one of the famous early police detectives in the 1800s & turn of the century. Maybe there are nonfiction books on their early techniques & history.

      Linked to the Pinkertons is a British TV show (set in the British Victorian period at the turn of the century) where an American former Pinkerton detective & medical examiner is working with the British police to solve crimes. It had several seasons on British TV before Netflix or Amazon Prime took over priduction. RIPPER STREET. It’s excellent. There are early forensics this Pinkerton man exhibits and invents on the spot. He performs autopsies too. I thoroughly enjoyed the early police procedure episodes.

      Thanks, BK.

  2. Thank you for the resources, Jordan.

    But where’s the one that says, “My name is Friday”?

  3. Most probably know about these, but I’ll mention them just in case. I found them useful as general introductions:

    Loftland. Police Procedure & Investigation
    Sobieck. The Writer’s Guide to Weapons
    Brown. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating. The Amazon page that brings this book up brings up a few move intros to private investigating.

    These two by an experienced S.F. cop are good reads. Particularly literate–probably has to do with the author’s family background:
    Adam Plantinga. Police Craft: What Cops Know About Crime, Community and Violence
    Plantinga. 400 Things Cops Know: Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman

    • Thanks so much for a reminder of these book resources, Eric. I love having a physical library on hand when I’m writing. Below is another mainstay in my library. I always find new things when I reread it. Doug Lyle is also a successful author.

      FORENSICS FOR DUMMIES by Dr Doug (D P) Lyle.

  4. Wow, Jordan, what a gift! I’ll be lost in this treasure chest of information for days. Bookmarked and saved.

    Thanks, my friend!

    • Each site is a gold mine, Debbie. You can get lost in any of them. Authors are such a curious lot. Research is its own reward.

  5. I’m not a crime writer, but I’m intrigued by many of these sites. Especially since I tend to do physical harm to my characters, and my healers use herbs and poisons.

    One thing, the biomed link leads back to the killzone post about writing short instead of your resource.

    • Oops. I replaced that link. I love that site. Thanks for letting me know.

      Yes, all genres can benefit from these links. I changed the post title after your input. Thank you.

  6. I wanted to add that my wife has been through the Poisonous Plant database many times. She’s concerned that her goats might eat something poisonous. 🙂

    • There are tons to be aware of in my backyard for my dogs. Scary. Lots of applications for that resource link. Thanks, Phil.

  7. There are also local resources. I am an IT administrator. I have provided an author with technical solutions to their character’s technical woes. Get to know your community.

    Ditto your public library. Librarians know everything, or know who to ask. You might also want to get to know the people at the local genealogy group. They will tell you in a hot second that most of your city used bath houses, so that tub has to go in that time period.

    • Great suggestions, Alan. I have a general rule on research. I like to have 3 levels of confirmation on my important story elements – internet general info, book resources & technical experts in the field.

      Some of my favorite research came from interfacing with my local citizens police academy (almost all cities & towns have these) & doing ride alongs with on-duty police. I scored my first technical adviser from the citizens police, the instructor for the course. (Quite the character.)

      I also went on a tour of a new state of the art crime lab in my local town, toured the CIA, FBI’s training facility at Quantico and the National post office in DC.

      Libraries are ALWAYS top of the list. Thank you.

  8. Great resources, Jordan. I’d like to offer another: I’ve received quick and spot-on answers to questions about firearms, space travel, and particle physics. Certain details can make a story shine, and sometimes you just want to know how things work so you can write about them confidently.

    • I’ll second that. I refer to your site often.

      In my first comment (May 2, 2019 at 3:06 am), I added both your Murder Blog and your Crime Writers Resource page, but that comments apparently got caught up in the queue. It’s still “awaiting moderation.” (grin)

  9. Wow, what treasures you’ve shared, Jordan. I shudder to think of the hours I’ve spent trying to find info on poisons and other crime-related concerns–I’m going to bookmark these resources and spare myself a bit of future wasted time. Plus, it seems less likely that utilizing these sites will attract the attention of real crime-stoppers than some of flailing research attempts I’ve done in the past. Maybe you’ve saved more than one writer from a visit by the FBI.

    • Hahaha! Good point, Rick. I passed an FBI background check, so the time I queried “how to make a pipe bomb” must’ve not been on their radar.

      It’s hilarious to brainstorm with other authors on how to murder someone without getting caught. We are WEIRD people. I pity our spouses.

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