Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Psych's Guide to Crime Fighting for the Totally Unqualified by "Shawn Spencer"

Psych’s Guide to Crimefighting for the Totally Unqualified
by “Shawn Spencer” with “Burton Guster” [791.457 PsyYs] 

After watching the Psych reunion TV-movie in December 2017, I’ve lately enjoyed watching a bunch of episodes (on both cable TV and DVD) of this charming and eccentric comedy/drama, which ran from 2006 to 2014. Re-watching episodes reminded me of this book, one of the strangest and quirkiest TV tie-in books I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been collected tie-in books since the early 1970s!

Credited as being written by the series’ main characters, “psychic detective” Shawn Spencer and his sidekick/parter, pharmaceutical rep Burton “Gus” Guster, this book is a totally nuts, stream-of-consciousness wander through the kinds of information you might need if you wanted to become a private detective, only told by someone who has absolutely no true skills in that subject. In the series, Shawn pretended to be a psychic detective, so that he could use his uncanny gift of a photographic memory and the ability to almost instantaneously interpret the connections between random facts and evidence, to solve crimes and be the “big shot”. That, and make use of the training his retired cop father drilled into him throughout his misspent youth.

In this book, “Shawn” runs roughshod over traditional detective guidebooks, bouncing from one unconnected topic to another like a pinball machine with ADHD. On one page, he may be offering tips on how to read a crime scene, then he jumps to fantasizing about appropriate cars for P.I.s (like Magnum’s Ferrari and the helicopter from Airwolf), then he’ll offer a pop quiz on how to be a sidekick, a family tree of cop friend Lassiter’s favorite guns, and a stick-figure guide to how to tail someone (drawn on cocktail napkins). He’ll also throw in random pie charts, tables and statistical graphics, that have no real bearing on what he’s just been talking about.

Those who appreciated the off-kilter humor of the Psych TV series, with Shawn’s frequent non-sequiturs and divergences into things unrelated to the cases he and Gus worked on, will appreciate this book, filled as it is with seemingly unrelated pop culture references, and tons of photos from the series.

However, those looking for a legitimate book about how to be a private investigator, should drop this book and run screaming into the hills.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try all eight seasons of the television series Psych. There were also several Psych tie-in novels, which you can see on our TV Tie-Ins booklist.]

[ publisher's official Psych’s Guide to Crime Fighting… web site ] | [ official Psych TV series web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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