The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating by Steven Kerry Brown

As you may have guessed, I’m in my reading mode again. I seriously can’t read and write at the same time. I have a couple more fiction books I’d like to read, then I’m on to a non-fiction.

I don’t usually write reviews for non-fiction books, but I might with this one. It was written by Steven Kerry Brown, a Private Investigator I met at Sleuthfest. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating.

3rd edition Click here to buy.

3rd edition Click here to buy.

He began his career as a special agent for the FBI. During his eleven years with the F.B.I., he was assigned to a multitude of cases, ranging from bank robberies and theft of Government property, to foreign counterintelligence and foreign and domestic terrorism. He learned a great deal about homicides and worked on three Indian Reservations. I’m particularly interested in his work on Indian Reservations as it pertains to my next novel.

For the last twenty-eight years, he has successfully managed his own private investigator firm. His cases are fascinating and as varied as you could imagine. That’s one of the things that makes the P.I. role so very interesting to me. During his P.I. years, his clients have called on his expertise for everything from pre-employment background checks to sophisticated white-collar crime thefts, from murders designed as suicides to the return of parentally abducted children from foreign lands.

For one corporate client, Brown located (skip traced) 2,000 people each month. He has followed and photographed wayward husbands and wives in the Pacific Northwest, by boat in the Bahamas, and on the beaches of the Virgin Islands.

I’d be inclined to make him Richard Noggin’s mentor, if he’d allow me the honor.

He’s very keen on mistakes people make in writing the P.I. character.

He has published non-fiction articles in Gambling Times and has been mentioned professionally in newspapers across the nation and in national magazines such as Businessweek.  His appearances include local and national television, including Hard Copy and A Current Affair. He appeared with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes. He lectures regularly around the country.

He’s also authoring a series of P.I. novels set in St Augustine, FL. He’s very helpful to fellow writers. I’m taking notes. He keeps his book revised and updated. After finishing this book, I’d love to pick his brain in an interview.

As he says it, “Today’s complete idiot is tomorrow’s expert.”

17 thoughts on “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating by Steven Kerry Brown

  1. Off-topic from this post, but this email came to my inbox today, and I have no idea why. Anyhow, it made me think of you. In case you’re interested:

    Excited to announce our movie “Love Different” has been selected for the #StandWithOrlando Red Carpet Premiere on July 2, 8:30p at Gaylord Palms Orlando for AMTC’s night of comedy, love and restoration to serve the community of Orlando.

    Playing the lead in this hilarious comedy taught me a lot about racial hatred and relational tension. The movie’s scenes serve as a vehicle to better understand each other and how to love different.

    Here is their press release!
    They asked me to reach out to journalists and bloggers to get the word out.

    We are inviting anyone in Orlando who needs healing and hope from the recent tragedy.
    Many of the actors (including me) are flying in to serve the community. Admission is free. You just have to RSVP to

    Thank you so much
    Jenn Gotzon

    There was a picture that came with it, but I guess that wouldn’t let me copy and paste.

  2. It sounds like an awesome book. I’m going to have to look this one up.
    Interesting that your next book is set on an Indian Reservation. I love novels with that setting and have read a good deal of nonfiction about Native Americans. Can’t wait for that one, too. Get busy writing 🙂

  3. Sue, I was at Sleuthfest too! And I bought the same book! I’ve only used it as a reference so far but now I’m going to start reading it back to back after your post. I see there are things I missed that I need to know 🙂 So thanks!

    • I’m really using this more like a reference book. I would like to sit down and read through the whole thing. I think it would do me good to know what is and is not legal for P.I.s. That’s sort of the nice thing about having a P.I. as a main character…there are times when they can skirt the law and make things a bit more interesting than someone in law enforcement.

  4. Great review. I love reading books by people I meet at conferences and book festivals. 🙂 This sounds like it needs to be on my tbr list.

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