I am a consumer of all things crime-related (I’m assuming you are as well if you’re reading this), and I especially love FBI related things. Shows like Mindhunter, Criminal Minds, or Waco, and podcasts like FBI Retired Case File Review, and Real Crime Profile, you name it, I’m enjoying it. When the opportunity to read and review a book by Jerri Williams, retired FBI agent, crime novelist, and podcaster arose, I could not resist!
FBI Myths and Misconceptions: A Manual for Armchair Detectives is your guide to crime TV and movies, debunking popular film stereotypes without being preachy or negative. Chapter by chapter, different concepts are examined, debunked (or supported), and explained. I found the explanations of why the media uses certain clichés in some cases to be quite helpful in understanding, rather than just pointing out what is wrong over and over again, the author explains in a very comprehensive way. Jerri Williams is a crime fiction writer, in addition to being an FBI agent gives such a unique perspective. It really lends well to the awareness that sometimes you cannot afford to have ten complex FBI agent characters to get to know, you just need to combine them into one or two people to keep the story moving. I found this aspect of the book to be such a great balance.
One issue I often have with FBI related books is the way they are written. So many are brick-like books that are dense and difficult to get through. However, this book flowed so well in my opinion. It had a mixed-media type of feel with a number of references to interviews she has done on her podcast, FBI Retired Case File Review with other FBI agents, she gives real-life examples that relate to the concepts in each chapter and I very much enjoyed getting to hear what other agent think of various TV and movies (this includes multiple agents who worked popular cases that were made into film). Overall this book felt like a smooth, quick read and we all love that!
The last thing I will mention is the piece at the end of each chapter where Williams rates various TV and movies with her own rating system related to shoe-throwing (that made me laugh every time, I’ll have you know). Everything from Mindhunter to CSI and this is the thing that I really loved about this book. I am someone who loves lists, data, ratings, and such so a comprehensive guide to all the FBI related film I could watch was a dream come true for me.
This book overall was a beautiful balance between fun and informative, and it was a welcome break from some of the dark crime related things that we read (and the state of the world in general right now, let’s be honest). I absolutely recommend picking this up if you are someone who reads or watches crime film or fiction on any level!
A big thanks to the author for providing this copy to us for a review!