If you’re a suspense writer looking to do some hands-on research, a traveling gun show can be the perfect field trip. Seven dollars bought my admission ticket to a recent gun show held in Richmond, Virginia at the Showplace located on Mechanicsville Turnpike. The event featured over 100 vendors.
My plan wasn’t to buy but to find tidbits for my latest novel. And I wasn’t disappointed! I not only examined guns perfect for my detective heroes Zack Kier in I’M WATCHING YOU and Jacob Warwick in DEAD RINGER, but I held a stun gun used by the serial killers in both novels. I was able to get question after question answered as I wandered, imagining what to put in my characters hands and trying to remember the firearms faced by some of fiction’s best-known protagonists—Kay Scarpetta, Kinsey Millhone. Stephanie Plum, Tess Monahan, Spenser, Alex Delaware…
Some items were factory new. Others looked old enough to have survived the Civil War. (Hmm…a vendetta? A story passed from generation to generation? A symbol of a long lost legacy…endless possibilities.) For fun I bought a MRE (Ready-to-Eat Meal). I chose the Pork Rib meal. It cost five bucks, was easy to prep and tasted okay.
And did I mention the books! There were tons of non-fiction books that covered everything from surveillance to first aid to survival techniques. I even spotted a couple of Nora Roberts books!