Private Investigator Books


This section provides lists and reviews on various private investigator books. The books are primarily for private investigators but are also recommended for anyone who works in or with the investigation industry.

This includes law enforcement detectives, police officers, security professionals, forensic specialists, and those who work in related professions.

Both novice and experienced detectives can use textbooks to learn new investigative techniques and disciplines. Books can be an alternative to expensive and lengthy private eye training courses or university degree programs.

Most of the Private Investigator Books listed in this bookstore are available through multiple online retailers. However, usually has the lowest price and the most straightforward ordering process. You’ll find most books for under $30, which often includes free shipping.

Even fictional novels can offer insight, ideas, and inspiration that can be applied to real-world situations. We also have a collection of detective novels in the mystery and crime fiction genre from such writers as John Grisham, James Patterson, and Tom Clancy.

Featured Private Investigator Books

The Private Investigator’s Licensing Handbook

The Private Investigator’s Licensing Handbook: How to Get a Private Investigator License in any State

Learn how to Get a Private Investigator License in any State – If you’re interested in becoming a private investigator, this book will help you learn about the services provided by private investigators and the typical work environment, career outlook, and salary range.

Also, it includes an overview of the basic licensing requirements for each state and where to find more information. Includes sections on training and education, PI associations, and more.

The Investigator’s Little Black Book 3

The Investigator's Little Black Book 3

The third installment of the Investigator’s Little Black Book provides an extensive collection of resources for private investigators.  The book provides a massive list of information on a variety of topics, and most sections have either a phone number or internet address if you need more information on the topic.

This edition has helpful information on electronic eavesdropping, caliber comparisons, a guide to concealed weapons, and over 30 more topics essential to the private investigator. The book is designed to be the type of reference guide you pick up when you need it, rather than reading it from cover to cover.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating, Third Edition

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Private Investigating, Third Edition: Discover How the Pros Uncover the Facts and Get to the Truth

Discover How the Pros Uncover the Facts and Get to the Truth – The gumshoe’s go-to private investigation book.  This is the book on private investigation, whether you want to establish yourself as a professional or use some of the tools of a P.I. for your business. You’ll get the low-down on pre-employment research, tenant screening, adoption searches, safeguarding yourself from the investigation, and much more.

  • Completely revised with all-new chapters on skip tracing and due diligence searches.
  • Skills and techniques for average citizens, as well as professionals
  • Includes the most valuable and little-known databases

The Process of Investigation: Concepts and Strategies for Investigators in the Private Sector

The Process of Investigation: Concepts and Strategies for Investigators in the Private Sector

The Process of Investigation: Concepts and Strategies for Investigators in the Private Sector provides a comprehensive review of the investigation process. The book covers essential topics such as investigative strategy, surveillance, interviewing, collecting evidence, etc. It is filled with helpful examples and real-world case studies. If you need to learn the fundamentals, this book is a great place to start, especially if you’re new to the industry. In fact, the content of this book is used as the basis for many state-level licensing exams.

eBook: Police Officer Communications

Want to take this information with you?

Our new eBook: Police Officer Communications includes an overview of the history and usage of Police 10 Codes. In addition, it includes the full list of Police Ten Codes, Scanner Codes, Military and Phonetic Alphabets and much more. Use it as a handy reference whenever you need to refer back to it.

Buy the eBook (in PDF format) now for just 99 cents.

eBook: Practical Advice for Dealing with a Stalker

Practical Advice for Dealing with a Stalker

If you’d like to take this information with you, all of the information is available in a helpful downloadable PDF eBook. Learn important steps like involving friends and family, filing a police report, gathering evidence, and personal protection strategies.

Use it as a reference guide as you work with family, friends, law enforcement, and legal professionals to keep yourself safe at all times.

Practical Advice for Dealing With a Stalker is available for immediate download for just 99 cents.

Private Investigator Book Categories

Following is a summary of the private investigator books in this section. Select a category to see a list of recommended books related to the topic.

Accident Reconstruction – Learn how to investigate an automobile accident, gather evidence from the scene, and analyze the data to understand the cause of the accident.

Adoption Searches – Includes helpful information on searching for adoptive parents, adoptees, and siblings. Learn about resources for reuniting families and more.

Arson and Fire Investigations – Learn how to determine the cause of a fire, analyze crime scene evidence and track down arsonists.

Background Check Books – Learn how the pros conduct background checks, employment checks, and criminal history record searches.

Bodyguard Books – Learn about the art and science of bodyguarding and personal protection.

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Books – Get the facts on the history of the CIA and read real-life stories from real spies.

Chase Darkness With Me – An insightful actual crime book by a journalist who decided to start solving crimes.

Collection Agency – Information on collection agencies. This information can be helpful to skip tracers who need to track down debtors, collect judgments and retrieve financial assets.

Computer Forensics – Learn how to investigate computer crime and fraud using the latest forensic techniques, ethical hacking tips, and analysis software.

Crime Scene Investigation – Learn how to gather and preserve evidence, analyze and process crime scene data, generate valid theories, and solve crimes using the latest CSI techniques.

Criminal Investigation Techniques – The process of determining the cause of various crimes and determining who is responsible. An excellent collection for private eyes and police officers.

Evidence Collection and Preservation – The art and the science of collecting evidence from crime scenes and preserving it so it can be presented in court.

Executive Protection – Learn to offer personal protection services to your clients.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – A collection of books describing the FBI’s history, structure, and organization. Also, learn how to pursue a career in the bureau.

Financial Investigation Books – Reference guides that explain how to track down hidden assets, understand financial instruments, and identify fraudulent activity.

Fingerprinting – Read about how to lift prints from a crime scene using the latest tools, technology, and techniques. Suitable for private eyes and CSI experts.

For Dummies Book Series – A variety of books and reference manuals that break down complex processes and topics into easily understood text.

Forensic Investigation Books – Mainly involves CSI techniques, evidence collection, fingerprints, data analysis, and more. Includes a section on forensic accounting. Also, it has a list of reference books to help you learn if someone is embezzling or committing financial fraud.

Genealogy Research and Reference – How to conduct genealogical research and build family trees for yourself or your client.

Government Conspiracies – Investigations into some of the most well-known crimes in U.S. history.

How to Disappear – How to completely disappear and cover your tracks to prevent others from finding you.

Interviewing Witnesses and Experts – How to ask the correct answers, take statements, and gather the information you need to support your case.

James Patterson Detective Novels – Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, and the Women’s Murder Club series.

Legal Reference Books – Includes various books and reference manuals to help private investigators understand the law.

Lock Picking – Understand the science behind picking a lock, including the tools and techniques used by the pros.

Loss Prevention – How to help businesses prevent theft, stealing, and embezzlement

Maps and Geography – How to read maps and understand geography.

Missing Persons – How to conduct an adequate search for a missing individual.

Online Searching Tools – An overview of tools, websites, and software for finding people and information online.

Personal Security and Personal Protection

Police Officer Books – A collection of books that explain life as a police officer. Learn how to get law enforcement training and education, and how to pursue a career as a cop.

Process Servers and Process Service – Learn how professional process servers serve subpoenas and summons to command people to appear in court.

Public Records – Find public records, databases, and information related to your case.

Security Guard – Manuals and guides for the security profession.

Sex Offender Search – Learn how to find predators in your neighborhood.

Surveillance Books – Learn the latest techniques in covert surveillance and counter-surveillance. Includes information on electronic surveillance equipment and spy gear used by private investigators.

Tom Clancy – Tom Clancy is an American novelist who is well-known for writing spy, espionage, and military science novels. This article provides a list of the best Tom Clancy books.

True Crime Podcasts – Check out our selection of the most popular true-crime podcasts. Listen to stories about mysterious murders, serial killers, the criminal justice system, abductions, and more.

Zip Code Search – Learn how to look up zip codes.

Spy and Espionage Books

Spying is not just something that happens in the movies. Spying, also known as espionage, is quite common in the corporate world. And it is an ongoing threat within government organizations, the military, and the internet. Spies use many of the same techniques used by private detectives, and both can learn important techniques from one another.

The following books provide helpful information on spies, espionage, and spying. Read about real-world spies and learn new ideas, techniques, and information. Then, add those ideas to your investigative toolbox.

  • The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA. This book will help you learn about the art of disguise and its role in conducting effective espionage missions. Read about the real-life techniques used by agents in the Central Intelligence Agency.
  • Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs: The Unknown Story of the Men and Women of World War II’s OSS – Read true stories about active secret operatives during the second world war. Spooks from both sides of the war used secrets, lies, deception, special equipment, and more to steal other nations’ secrets.
  • The Spy’s Guide: Office Espionage – This helpful guide provides information on applying spy techniques to the corporate world. It includes in-depth information on tapping phones, sending anonymous email messages, utilizing physical disguises, and more. This book is helpful for detectives and loss protection specialists who work in a corporate environment.
  • SPYING: The Secret History of Spying. This guide provides information on the history of spying and the intriguing world of espionage. It includes personal interviews with legendary spies, historical letters, photographs, and descriptions of spy equipment and gadgets used in the field. An exciting read for anyone who loves the history of the craft.
  • Spying with Maps: Surveillance Technologies and the Future of Privacy – This book explains how maps can offer insight into the movements and activities of people, government, military and terrorist organizations. It discusses the increased use of geographic data, satellite imagery, and Global Positioning System (GPS) location tracking in fields such as law enforcement and military intelligence.

Self Defense Books

Self-defense is technically defined as a personal countermeasure that involves defending oneself. Also, it involves protecting one’s property or the well-being of another from physical harm. The right to self-defense as a legal justification for using force in times of danger is available in many jurisdictions.

To be acquitted of any physical harm-related crime (such as assault and battery and homicide) using the self-defense justification, one must prove legal provocation, meaning that one must prove that they were in a position where not using self-defense would most likely have led to death, serious injuries or property damage.

Techniques can be learned by taking classes taught by qualified instructors. Instructors often specialize in martial arts such as Judo, Aikido, Taekwondo, or Karate. Many self-protection techniques originated from ancient martial arts.

Those who wish to learn how to keep themselves and their families safe may take classes geared explicitly toward self-defense or take an entire martial arts class and learn the art more thoroughly. Private investigators often find themselves in dangerous situations.

Knowing how to handle yourself can come in handy when the cheating husband you’ve been following suddenly realizes you’re tailing him. Or when the witness you’re interviewing suddenly becomes a suspect.

Taking actual courses in person is the best way to improve your skills, but books may help you learn new techniques and get new ideas. The following books provide helpful information on the subject of Self Defense.  All private investigation books are offered in association with

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including Michael created more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at


  1. When I was listening to the police scanner the other day I heard a police officer say to another “in god we trust”, and the way they said it wasn’t sounding as if it was a protection thing, it sounded more like some sort of code. If you can please let me know that would be great and if not that’s okay too and I appreciate your time and God bless

    • The state of Colorado doesn’t recommend any specific books. Take a look at our Colorado Licensing page first at Then, visit the Colorado Office of Private Investigator Licensure website and review these documents: Private Investigator Practices Act, Private Investigator Rules and Regulations and Mandatory Licensure FAQs.

      Also, visit the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado website and click on the Training tab. You’ll find their link on our Colorado licensing page as well.


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