Find an Expert

This page features experts in any field that could appear in a thriller or mystery novel.  Please use this page to ask questions of our members about whatever subject you are researching, and please let us know if you have a special skill set that can benefit other thriller writers.  I present here an open invitation to thriller-worthy experts.  These areas include, but are certainly not limited to:
  • Law enforcement
  • The intelligence community
  • Legal experts
  • Medical experts
  • Experts on any religion
  • Experts on any ethnic culture
  • Experts on any secret society
  • Illicit drug experts (from any perspective, anonymity acceptable)
  • Historians specializing in any area
  • Citizens/residents of any city/state/country that makes a good setting 
If you are an expert and would like to be featured on this page, please leave a comment in the comment box including your contact info.  Members can ask other members questions directly, and I will do my best to incorporate new areas of expertise as we move along.  Below, please find the experts already available:

Archeologist
Cory Cuthbertson is a paleolithic archeologist, paleoantropologist and linguist.  Please visit her here. Read an interview with Cory here.

I asked Cory:

Have you ever seen or experienced anything in your work that would make good material for a thriller novel?

Cory's answer:
When you're digging you're often in a really remote location, with a group of strangers who all really quickly become great friends, often from all different parts of the world.  Sometimes you're camping and it can be a bit spooky - or you're in a tiny village where you don't speak the language.  Or you're exploring a cave or deep in a forest where you can get lost.  So it's all really unfamiliar settings to people, which could be great for a thrilling plot!

Army Veterinarian

Elliott Garber is an active duty Army Officer and veterinarian.  Please visit him here. Read an interview with Elliott here.

I asked Elliott:

How can and do your experiences as a vet play into your writing?  What have you observed that makes good material for a mystery or thriller?

Elliott's answer:
My job as a veterinarian often puts me right in the middle of real-life thriller situations. Imagine pulling the shiny round from a high-powered rifle out of a dead rhino's lung, and learning from the heavily armed law enforcement officers accompanying you in the South African bush that it probably came from a Thai mafia crime ring that they've been tracking for years. Picture yourself stuck in a taxi in Cairo as crowds of angry protesters close in on you from all directions, or conducting field research at a marsh in Lebanon when a group of armed men appear out of the reeds.
Forensic Coroner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Homocide Detective, and British SAS-Trained Emergency Response Team Sniper

Yes, Garry Rodgers is all of those things. Please visit him here. Read an interview with Garry here.

I asked Garry:

Homicide detective AND forensic coroner? I had envisioned those as two completely separate professions. Are they? Please tell our readers about your work.

Garry's answer:
The two disciplines have a common denominator – death investigation. But homicide cops and forensic coroners have two distinct differences in the outcome of death investigations. Coroners find fact – the Who, What, When, Where, Why & By What Means the person died by examining the forensic evidence and then make recommendations to prevent it from reoccurring. Homicide cops simply find fault – they prove who did it and put them in jail for life. I’ve done both. My forensic experience in death investigation as a homicide cop was a natural fit to being appointed as a coroner.


Pilot
Rob Akers is a a Captain for a major airline and former Air Force C-130 Pilot.  Please visit him here.  

I asked Rob:

What happens when the engine of a 757 fails?

Rob's answer: 
No big deal, it is actually known as a compressor stall. The engine in simple terms is backfiring, popping and making a lot of banging noise. If the pilot will slowly pull back the throttle until the stall stops and wait a few seconds then they can can push the power back up. There is a checklist for that. It will not cause a crash or anything other than scare the passengers.
Scientist
I (Kristen Elise, Murder Lab Mistress) am a professional drug discovery biologist.  My background ranges from infectious diseases through immunology, and I have spent many years in a major pharmaceutical company discovering cancer drugs.  I am an expert in the pharmaceutical industry and I have a history in biological weapons defense.  These experiences play prominent roles in my own novels.  For more information, please visit my author webpage (biography here).  If you are writing a science thriller, or any other book that incorporates these subjects, I'm happy to answer your questions here.
Below is an example: 

FAQ: What is a superheavy isotope?                                                                 

Answer: 
A superheavy isotope is a man-made element generated by a powerful, transient interaction between naturally occurring elements. Currently, six superheavy isotopes have been discovered and incorporated into the periodic table. Because these elements are generated in fractions of a second and then quickly decay into other molecules, it is very difficult to prove that they ever existed at all.
A semi-lay description of the six isotopes currently in existence can be found here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101026161251.htm 
An observant reader might notice that The Vesuvius Isotope, set a few years in the future, mentions a lengthier periodic table than the one currently in existence. This is because the book is set just a few years in the future (2023).  In the novel, the biotechnology company co-owned by our protagonist Katrina Stone and her husband has generated and patented twelve additional superheavy isotopes. In a quest to solve her husband's murder, Katrina is searching for the thirteenth.

Trial lawyer

Gus Pelagatti is a practicing trial lawyer with over 47 years of experience trying civil and criminal cases, including homicide. Please visit him here.

Gus is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, limited to attorneys who have been recognized as achieving a standard of excellence as a trial expert.

Gus is the author of The Wicked Wives, a thriller based on the true story of the 1938 Philadelphia murder scandals in which seventeen wives were arrested for murdering their husbands.  He spent years researching the true story of these murders, interviewing judges, lawyers, police and neighbors involved in the trials.

Gus was born and raised within blocks of the main conspirator’s tailor shop and the homes of many of the wives convicted of murdering their husbands.


6 comments:

  1. Because my background is so jumbled, I may be of use in several areas.

    I was a regular and reserve Air Force officer for 22 years, including four years at the White House (1986-90). Like 90% of Air Force members, I was *not* a pilot. I spent my last six years in uniform as an Air Force intelligence analyst and intel shop supervisor. I may be able to help with questions about the military and about intelligence analysis and reporting.

    I also worked for several years as a computer game artist and lead artist for two different studios. I trained as a set designer and built sets for the stage, some student films and a commercial.

    I rode horses off and on for many years (English, hunter/jumper) and played polo for a couple years before I ripped up my back.

    I'm now a PADI Rescue and EAN diver with 130 dives in my logbook from all over the place.

    If you want to reach me, go to http://www.wombatgroup.com/about and send a message through the form at the bottom of the page. Or, DM me through Twitter (@lcharnes). Or, go to my Facebook author page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lance-Charnes-Author/262358197219799 and leave a post.

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    Replies
    1. Um, PADI and EAN? Please help those of us who work indoors.

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    2. Sorry. PADI is one of the three major SCUBA certification agencies (NAUI and SSI are the other two).

      EAN is Enriched Air Nitrox (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrox), which is an air mix with more oxygen in it to allow more bottom time or depth with less risk of decompression sickness.

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  2. I would love to connect with other authors and help them get the facts straight as they write about:

    - the military (I'm an active duty Army officer)

    - veterinary medicine (I'm a vet)

    - public health and infectious disease (I also have my MPH and have done a lot of research all over the world)

    You can find me at my website: http://www.elliottgarber.com, on twitter: https://www.twitter.com/ElliottGarber, or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ElliottGarber.

    Good luck writing!

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  3. Hello Experts!
    I am addressing my question to both Elliot Garber and Garry Rodgers. I am a newbie and I am writing a murder mystery. The victim is injected with 10 ml of gin directly into the the lungs with an insulin needle. Here are my questions:
    1) Is the needle of an insulin syringe long enough to inject into the lungs?
    2) Would fluid of any kind in the lungs kill someone?
    3) If the fluid was gin, how would the body metabolize it?
    4) Is this the least bit plausible?
    I do appreciate and look forward to your feedback!
    Jessica Hatfield

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    Replies
    1. Jessica, I'm posting Elliott's answer this morning as a blog post. Check it out!
      Kris

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