Mystery Monday – The Mystery of Inspiration?

It’s Mystery Monday once again, I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. We celebrated my wife’s birthday and, well, let’s just say I’m glad we don’t have neighbors that are too close for comfort. The music was loud and the  ridiculousness was plentiful!

As mystery and thriller writers, one of the things we have to do, unless we are a serial killer or homicide investigator, or a medical examiner that started as a homicide investigator who investigated the very murders he was committing, is look elsewhere for inspiration. Because even if you are said serial killing cop, you still need to look outside your own life to fill up the pages of a 300+ page novel. But, donde esta por la informacion?

Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, websites abound with information about the criminals living among us. One of the best that I’ve come across, which just so happens to be my local paper, and sometime employer, is the Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Crime Time Blog. Their tagline is “Keeping track of law and disorder in North Texas and beyond.” Many of the stories from this blog are part of the “you can’t make this stuff up” mileau. In fact, here’s a sampling of some headlines:

East Texas 83-year-old carries her husband’s torch, cocaine

I mean, seriously, some of these are Elmore Leonard-esque characters that even the masterful Mr. Leonard would shake his head at saying, “Now that’s too quirky even for me.”
Take a look for yourself, I’m sure the stories will help inspire you. One thing you’ve gotta check out is their “To Catch a Killer” serial novel, which also contains an excellent multimedia portion, that chronicles a homicide investigation step by step. If you’re looking for a primer on how investigations work, this one is pretty darn good.  


Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Check out his novels at


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