C.A.R.E. – An Investigative Way of Life

Expert Interviewing system to gain control, cooperation and detect deception
By Charles E. Williams, HDI Investigations

image of book cover

Reviewed by Grace Elting Castle, Editor PI Magazine


When an interviewer does something in an interview, there should be a clear corresponding expectation and reason for doing it.”


That quote from the 43rd page of Charles E. Williams’ 325 pages is the core underlying concept of the C.A.R.E. (Control, Assessment, Reciprocity, Exit) system. Everything one learns in this hefty tome comes back to that one sentence, as it should, to meet his goal of teaching the importance of developing solid interviewing skills.

At first glance, this book may be overwhelming. You might think, as I did, “How could that much be written about the simple word interviewing?” But any practicing investigator in any part of the legal system, has experienced those moments of panic as he or she is about to knock on a door, or enter a room, wondering how that interview will evolve. Williams promises to teach you how to conquer that fear, that uncertainty, with his C.A.R.E. system.

He created the C.A.R.E. interviewing system from knowledge developed and utilized during two decades as an FBI Special Agent with assignments ranging from both World Trade Center bombings to “Top Fugitives” and an additional eight years as a PI specializing in murder cases. Throughout the book “research” and “prepare” are among the most important skills detailed.

If you’re serious about your investigative work, you will want this book. Even if you can’t imagine what you could possibly learn about interviewing skills that you don’t already know—you will learn. You will have some “Ah hah” moments and probably some “Oh no!” ones, too as former tough interviews come to mind. Just when you think you’ve learned it all, you come to Page 274 to begin absorbing Williams’ five case studies.

This would be an excellent textbook for a group study, but just as useful for personal study. It is not an “easy read” because the subject is tough—and so very important. There are no forms, tests, or website lists—just page after page of useful information.

A good book review usually contains both pros and cons. It is a rare book for which I struggle to find at least one con. This is a rare book!