Hello folks, Tim Dutton here. I have had the pleasure of being able to form an alliance with the very talented Sallyann Phillips. Our first project is book one in the Wolf Moon investigations series, yes I said series. This series will focus on different investigative cases. Because of this Sallyann has asked me to do some blog posts describing different Investigative tips and techniques, and I am more than happy to oblige. I hope you enjoy them and learn something useful while you’re at it.
This first post, I will explain how you can apply current knowledge to work different cases that would appear completely different on the surface. So am I qualified to be explaining these to you? Well, I will let you decide that, but I did make a pretty decent living by being a private investigator for over twenty years before becoming a full time writer, so I hope I picked up a thing or two along the way.
My specialties were fugitive recovery (bounty hunting) and personal protection (body guarding). Over the years, I acquired quite a bit of training, knowledge and experience on these two investigative specialties and become comfortable performing them. There did come a time when clients started asking me to perform different types of cases. When I first started offering these cases I was very nervous and unsure of how to go about them. Lucky for me I knew an old cranky ex-ranger, ex-sheriff, with a heart of gold, who just happened to take pity on a lost soul. (hope he doesn’t know I said he had a heart of gold. Would get an ass kickin’ for that.) I will simply call this man Virgil for reasons me and Sallyann know. So Virgil taught me the difference between specifics and concepts.
A specific is a unique or special fact or attribute about anything.
A concept is just a general idea of something, usually derived from a specific instance.
So, how does that help us? To simplify, which Virgil also taught me, every case will be different or specific to its own details. If we think in these terms we will over complicate them and make them hard to work. Our capacity for knowledge is limited, we cannot possibly learn how to investigate every single case completely different or specifically. However every single case can also be broken down into concepts. Simple ideas that have similar attributes. So with this in mind it basically means we can focus and learn how to do one or two types of cases very good. We can then apply this knowledge and skill to work any other type of case we may come across.
Try to give you a short example here. (Let you in on a little secret, Sallyann will laugh when she sees the part about me trying to keep it short. She knows when I talk about something that interests me, I can be a bit long winded, but I will try.) As a bounty hunter the first place I check after starting the case, is the last known address. Lots of knowledge on the skip can be uncovered here. Now let’s say we wanted to work a hit and run accident case. Where do we start? Well last known address is a specific place, so let’s think of it as a concept. Yep, you may have already guessed, the scene of the accident. The last place both subjects of the investigation were seen or known to have been is the place you will start. Now, with a bounty hunter case the skip, or the subject of investigation is known, his whereabouts is not. In a hit and run accident case, the subject of the investigation is unknown and his whereabouts is also unknown. Every case no matter what type will involve taking known information and using it to find unknown information. By going to the last place they were known to be, you can interview people in the area, get tag numbers of cars there at same time and same day, and look for any clues laying around. Did a piece of the hit and run car fall off? Where is nearest body shop? Does skip have any phone numbers of friends or family wrote down somewhere in house. Matchbooks from bars, hotels? Business cards. Any eye witnesses to hit and run, to give description of car, driver? Any witnesses to skip moving out, name on moving truck, description of anyone helping? Want a good witness find a little old lady sitting on her front porch, she won’t miss anything.
I could go on and on, but if I do that it will be way beyond short. I think you get the idea. Just think outside the box and use concepts to find specifics. This can be applied to anything in your life. If something seems complicated, break it down to smaller concepts and tackle each part separately until you get it done as a whole. Writing an entire novel seems like a daunting specific, but you can break it down to chapters, then scenes, then paragraphs, then sentences, then words. Every story begins with a single word and every story is just a concept of an idea, waiting to be turned into a specific story.
I look forward to sharing bits and pieces of my experience with you, I hope you do as well.
Thank you for reading,
Tim Dutton 🐺