Friday, October 9, 2015

Book Review: The Writer's Guide to Weapons

If you write crime or military fiction, then you generally need to know a thing or two about weapons, even if you're writing cozies. But if you're not one who has an interest in guns or knives, you may be making mistakes in how you write about them.

That's when having a good resource, written in understandable language, comes in handy. While there are plenty of gun and knife guides out there, they're written for aficionados, not for writers. But then there's The Writer's Guide to Weapons by Benjamin Sobieck.

As a mystery/science fiction writer, I mess with guns, and lately, knives in my stories on a weekly basis. And while I have friends I rely on for asking questions, it gets tiring going back to them time and again, especially when I have something basic I need to know. So picking up a copy of The Writer's Guide to Weapons seemed like a good idea.

I wasn't disappointed.

Mr. Sobieck is a lifetime enthusiast of guns and knives, and has written for many publications that I'm familiar with, such as Gun Digest and Modern Shooter, so he has instant credibility. He knows his stuff, and it comes out clearly in this guide.

This is the kind of book where one may be tempted--as I was--to pick it up and have it handy to flip through when you need an answer. But once I decided it wasn't just reference material, that I was actually going to read it, I was glad I did. With quick one-liners, and the occasional "right way" and "wrong way" scenarios featuring his own PI character Maynard Soloman, this was an informational and entertaining guide to the nuts and bolts behind weapons.

What I particularly appreciated was how everything is broken down into their own sections, so you learn about Firearms in one section, which is broken down into the various types of guns, and another on knives, and then you learn about those (I had no clue there were so many types of knives out there! But now I have a good idea about the type of knife my detective keeps concealed on her person.) Each section has a bit about legalities, which, even though this was  written in 2015, he strongly encourages you to learn about your locality and keep on top of changes to the law. In the back of the book, there's a section with a guide to specific weapons, which is oh-so-handy if you just need to get an idea of what a character might be carrying, pictures included!

The Writer's Guide to Weapons has a list price from Writer's Digest of $19.99, but you can get it on Amazon for $14.99 for a paperback (my choice!) or for Kindle for $9.99. If you write anything--ever--set in the last couple hundred years where weapons might be present, this is definitely a guide you need on your shelf.
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