When writing detective novels it is very easy to fall into clichés. Such stories often use an element of violence and many of these involve the use of guns by the protagonist. In my latest novel, “The Lost Girls”, the lead detective is a crack shot but hates using fire arms. While working as a policeman in a past life he went to great lengths to avoid them. He never carries a gun except at the end of the book when he is forced to do so by the villains.
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This scenario is helped by the fact that the police in the UK are routinely rarely armed. When arms are needed during the arrest of known dangerous criminals fire arms are usually carried by specialist teams. It is also important to note that handguns are illegal in the UK and are difficult to come by by the average member of the criminal fraternity.
The first detective story I published, “Victim of Compromise”, was a police procedural novel set in southern England. Again the lead detective does not carry a gun, but other police officers do so. I expect if I was writing in the USA my characters will be carrying hand guns and I would be tempted to use these in the plot which will add to the excitement of the narrative. The advantage of having my central characters unarmed adds to their vulnerability and makes them sympathetic to the reader.
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