I’d like to welcome John Foxjohn to Homicide and Mayhem. Thanks, John, for posting to my blog.  John is a Texan and an acclaimed writer of mysteries, a teacher, and a former homicide detective who also gives numerous classes, both online and otherwise.  His books include:  Tattered Justice, Color of Murder, Cold Tears, Code of Deceit, Journey of the Spirit, and a short story, Traces of Death, which appears in the anthology Dead and Breakfast.

 John writes:

Someone asked me recently what was the hardest thing I encounter when I teach different aspects of police procedures, forensics, and homicide investigations?

I didn’t have to think hard about the answer, and it is actually in two parts. First, I have to battle against misconceptions created by movies and TV shows. I think most writers realize that these venues aren’t the best form of research, but on the other hand, they seldom have anywhere else to get the information.

Besides that, sometimes on rare occasions some aspects of TV and movies are actually real—how do they tell the difference?

Of course there are those writers who don’t realize that TV is there for their entertainment and not to teach them aspects of law enforcements.

One point I always try to get across to writers is I tell them what is real or not—what they put in their manuscript is up to them. It doesn’t matter to me one way or the other, or effect me in anyway if they have something wrong in the manuscript.

I get questions all the time about what cops and detectives are really like. How do they dress? How do they live? What do they do in their off time? Do they study laws all the time or workout excessively?

I wished I had kept track of the number of times over the years that I have told someone or a group that cops are people. They are no different than anyone else. They dress the same, live the same, and have all kinds of different interests outside of the job.

They eat, love, sleep, have bodily functions just like everyone else. The only difference is they have a badge. I used to say a badge and a gun but nowadays everyone has a gun so the badge is the difference.

I also understand that they have the power to give tickets and arrest, but the point is, they are just like anyone else—first and foremost, under that uniform is a real live person.


John Foxjohn