*****Introduction to Private Investigation: Essential Knowledge and Procedures for the Private Investigator, Second Edition. By Joseph A. Travers; published by Charles C. Thomas; available from ASIS International, Item #1642, 703/519-6200 (phone), www.asisonline.org (Web); 290 pages; $42 (ASIS members), $47 (nonmembers).
California private investigator Joseph A. Travers has written a primer on the basics of private investigation for those hoping to enter this often-lucrative profession. He draws on years of hands-on experiences both as a private detective and as a law enforcement officer, giving him a well-rounded perspective on challenges that face the neophyte sleuth, such as surveillance techniques, undercover work, physical evidence, narcotics identification, case preparation, and courtroom testimony.
Most of the chapters provide good practical information. Where the book falls short is when topics such as licensing requirements and workers’ compensation investigations are covered; there, the focus is on California law. State laws in these particular areas vary widely, so these chapters may be of less use to investigators practicing or intending to practice elsewhere.
New to this second edition is a chapter intriguingly titled “Bioethics, Investigation, and the Occult” coauthored by Joshua Michael Travers. Some readers might consider the content to be controversial. The authors address the phenomenon of the occult (a word whose definition seems to constantly change over the years) from a strictly Christian worldview. Investigators of different faiths or worldviews may want to apply different models than the authors do when it comes to examining purported occult matters. For example, Form A, “Signs of a Demonized Person,” an intake questionnaire by S.W.A.T. (the Spiritual Warfare Assault Team), is a six-page checklist used to determine whether a person is possibly under demonic influence. It is provided to the reader for comparison to a checklist for “a person with a medical diagnosis.” The content within this chapter certainly remains open to peer challenge and debate.
Nevertheless, overall, this book fits the bill as a good guide for aspiring private investigators. Appendices A and B give several decent examples of case preparation and also provide business statement forms for newcomers to the profession.
Reviewer: Rich Petraitis, CPP, is a private detective in the State of Illinois. He is a member of ASIS International.