As most of you know, my favorite genre is mystery/suspense. When Linda, from GCP/The Hatchette Book Club emailed me about today’s book, I wanted to know more and share with you also. So without further ado, Mr. Chris Culver!! Welcome to our group!
Chris Culver is the New York Times bestselling author of the Ash Rashid series of mysteries. After graduate school, Chris taught courses in ethics and comparative religion at a small liberal arts university in southern Arkansas. Between classes, he wrote The Abbey, which spent sixteen weeks on the New York Times ebook bestseller list. He, his wife, and their Labrador retriever currently live near St. Louis, Missouri, where Chris is working on his next novel.
Connect with Chris at these sites:
Hi Chris. Thank you for visiting CMash Reads!
I don’t know if you guys are like me, but if you are, you probably watch an unhealthy amount of television. The news, documentaries, home and garden shows – you name it, and I probably watch it. More than anything else, though, I like watching crime shows. Some are better than others, obviously, but most are exciting and, at the very least, entertaining. Most of them have fairly good characters, they have a sense of mystery, and even a hint of sudden violence that could erupt at any moment.
Since I write crime fiction for a living, I do a lot of research about crime and law enforcement. I talk to a lot of real-life detectives, forensic scientists, attorneys, journalists, and even a judge on occasion. Maybe because of this background, I’m always a little perplexed when television detectives bring a suspect back to their station for an interrogation. If you’ve ever seen a Law & Order rerun, you know what I’m talking about. Two gruff detectives – one of whom will likely have a snappy sense of humor and the other will have unspoken “issues” – lead a smarmy suspect into a small room constructed of cinderblocks and held together by fifty layers of institutional-green paint. Our hero detectives will sit that suspect down at a steel table and start talking. It seems like a reasonable thing to do. But can you spot the problem with that scenario?
If you said, “The detectives can’t see the suspect’s legs” you’re right.
One thing I’ve learned while researching my books is that your feet and legs don’t lie. It sounds strange, but think back to the last time you had an uncomfortable conversation – maybe it was with your boss or a subordinate or even a stranger. If you were sitting down, what were you doing? Were you massaging your thighs? Tapping your foot? Pointing your feet toward the exit? All of those indicate nervousness. If you were a police officer and a suspect started doing any of those things in an interrogation, I bet you’d want to see them. They might indicate merely that your suspect is nervous about talking to the police [who wouldn’t be?], but it also might indicate that he’s lying and is afraid you’ll notice. It’s another piece of information a good investigator could use in an interrogation.
Or suppose your suspect shifted his balance backward while crossing his legs. If so, that might indicate that he felt very comfortable and very much in control of the situation.
But wait, what if your suspect crossed his legs and turned his hips away from you? That’s a blocking behavior, which might indicate hostility or that he’s no longer interested in the conversation. If you were a police officer, that behavior would tell you that your current line of questioning won’t get anywhere and that you should try a new tact.
Suppose, though, that your suspect crossed his legs, turned his hips so he could face you and leaned forward. If your suspect does that, you know you’re doing something right because he’s indicating comfort and openness to the conversation.
A good liar – or a good criminal – can probably control the messages he’s conveying with his face and his hands pretty well. It’s a little tougher with the legs. People don’t always think about what their legs do during a conversation. A good observer – a good detective – notices these things and uses them where appropriate. So the next time you see the police interrogating a suspect on your favorite crime show, think about all the information they’re missing by having that table in the interrogation room.
Or maybe you shouldn’t do that at all. Maybe a TV show is just a TV show.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Ash Rashid is a former homicide detective who can’t stand the thought of handling another death investigation. In another year, he’ll be out of the department completely. That’s the plan, at least, until his niece’s body is found in the guest home of one of his city’s most wealthy citizens. The coroner calls it an overdose, but the case doesn’t add up. Against orders, Ash launches an investigation to find his niece’s murderer, but the longer he searches, the more entangled he becomes in a case that hits increasingly close to home. If he doesn’t solve it fast, his niece won’t be the only family member he has to bury.
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (May 7, 2013)
THANKS TO LINDA AT GCP/THE HATCHETTE BOOK GROUP,
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