October 2020

The Modern Detective

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Tyler Maroney, a former journalist and co-founder of the private investigation firm QRI, loves his job. And in his debut book, The Modern Detective: How Corporate Intelligence Is Reshaping the World, he explains why he thinks the work of corporate investigators is not only fascinating and fulfilling but also vitally important to the public.

Today’s private investigators aren’t just the stereotypical lone gumshoes we see in books and movies—although classic methods like surveillance and creative deception are still crucial. Modern-day corporate investigators’ work for “large companies, government agencies, A-list movie stars, professional athletes, non-profits, sovereign countries,” et al., is often performed by large firms that either employ or contract out people with a broad range of skills, from FBI agents to tech whizzes and former librarians.

In 10 quirkily titled chapters (“Bare Feet”; “A Cigar, a Cookie, and a Canoe”), Maroney introduces just such people and recounts memorable assignments he and his colleagues have undertaken, including recovering stolen money and exposing political corruption. The characters Maroney describes are plentiful and varied. There’s the former cop and confidential informant who recanted his paid-for-by-police testimony to help a wrongly convicted man regain his freedom, a wealthy couple on the lam with their beloved dogs, and a BBC reporter who falsified a portion of his TV expose about the garment manufacturer Primark.

Maroney’s thoroughness renders The Modern Detective a textbook of sorts, with blow-by-blow descriptions of each job, extensive details about investigators’ favored tools, specifics about licensing exams and more. It’s also a helpful resource for those concerned about their personal or professional security. Learning what information investigators look for and the methods they use to obtain it is sure to be instructive for anyone who wants to increase their privacy, protect their assets . . . or perhaps make a clean getaway.

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