Who Says Cops Can’t Write Fiction?

Who says Cops can't write fiction

I saw a few comments floating around the internet yesterday about the writing skills of police officers. Those words prompted today’s blog post. Without going into detail I’ll simply provide the following.

There are hundreds of published books, both fiction and nonfiction, written by hundreds of police officers. So, contrary to to what you may have read yesterday, cops are not big dummies who can barely read and write. In fact, here are a few authors you may have heard of, and most of them are still working the streets as police officers.

Robin Burcell

Burcell is an award winning mystery author who spent over two decades working as a police officer. She served as a hostage negotiator, a detective, and as an FBI-trained forensic artist.

Jim Born

James O. Born has been a deputy U.S. Marshall, an agent with the DEA, and currently serves as a Special Agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). He’s also a very successful author who shares an editor with W.E.B. Griffith and Tom Clancy.

Mike Black

As an active-duty sergeant, Michael Black has seen some real action. He’s been a SWAT commander, a patrol supervisor, and a member of a raid team. He’s into weightlifting and the martial arts. He’s the classic tough-guy cop. And, he graduated from Columbia College, Chicago in 2000 with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Fiction Writing. He previously earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Northern Illinois University.

Joseph Waumbaugh

Cops can’t write fiction? Yeah, right. Joseph Wambaugh is a former MWA Grandmaster!

Will Beall

Still serving the LAPD, Beall finds time between arrests to pen books. He’s also written a few episodes of a mildly popular TV show called Castle…

Rick McMahan

ATF Special Agent Rick McMahan is an award winning author whose work has been featured in books such as Death Do Us Part, edited by Harlan Coben.

John J. Lamb

A former homicide investigator and hostage negotiator, John J. Lamb is a successful mystery writer who just happens to be married to a fingerprint expert.

It would take days to list all the cop-authors and I just don’t have that kind of time. But please feel free to peruse the Police Writers website to have a look at a rather long list of authors who’d probably disagree with the statement that cops can’t write fiction.


11 replies
  1. Julie Robinson
    Julie Robinson says:

    How interesting. Thanks. I shall be referring back to that site.
    But i count your site as Number 1 for info and other interesting tidbits.
    And your analyses of Castle 🙂

  2. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    Yes, Lee, you left yourself off that list. I’m going to have to check out some of those books. Ijust finished a couple of Robin Burcell’s previous books and her latest, The Bone Collector. Yep, she’s helped me as a writer but now I’m a fan as a reader.

    Thanks for helping me with my “To Oder List.”

  3. Julie Dolcemaschio
    Julie Dolcemaschio says:

    And then there are those who have not only NOT been cops, but never married one, never dated one, and don’t know any personally. I admire them as well. As crime fiction authors go, cop or no cop, Wambaugh is my hero, hands down.

  4. Pauline Alldred
    Pauline Alldred says:

    I enjoy Wambaugh and watch the Castle series. Cops have a unique knowledge of criminals. Other writers might sweat to come up with convincing motives but cops have seen and heard why people commit evil acts. Can’t substitute anything for that kidn of experience.

  5. Sue Curran
    Sue Curran says:

    My husband and I are big fans of Wambaugh, and I’ll have to investigate Beall since I love the Castle series. My readers always discover in the end the cops I write are intelligent, well-read individuals even if first impressions don’t illustrate this.

  6. Pat Brown
    Pat Brown says:

    Lots of cops write very good books, and Joyce is right, you left yourself off that list.

    I do especially love Wambaugh and Beall — I wish he’d write the sequel to L.A. Rex he promised. That was one fine book.

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