Nigel Cooper, 50, spent months researching for his crime thriller The Sound of Crying learning how to shoot long-range, observing post mortems, and even spending time in a police cell. The story follows Cambridgeshire couple John and Helen Kramer, who discover their four-year-old twins, Edward and Jamie, have been kidnapped and murdered. A failed court case soon sees the murderer a priest go free, but Helen is set on avenging the death of her children and decides to take matters into her own hands. I think most authors do research, but I really do believe I pushed the envelope and would probably go further than most people would, Nigel told The Hunts Post. I wanted to fire the gun so I could describe it as a character and how she felt the kickback in the shoulder, the crack in your ear and everything else, so I wanted to know that but I really wanted to try and get into the head too. The author, who has been writing full-time for six years, learned how to shoot with an ex-sniper after getting in touch with a company called Accuracy International. He even realised hes not a bad shot himself. He said: I was a natural; I was really good at it. Im a total pacifist, I hate guns or war and think its unnecessary. I hit a target the size of a mango half a mile away on the first shot and the next four were the same again. During his time there he also met Craig Harrison a former corporal of horse and a trained sniper. And he discovered that everything has to be taken into account before shooting, from how the wind is blowing at points along the bullets route to the Earths rotation. Parkside Police Station, in Cambridge, also helped with Nigels research, agreeing to lock him away in a cell for five minutes. He said: If I hadnt gone and done that I wouldnt have known theres a stink of smelly feet and cheap microwave meals and the combination of these two things is rank. Unless youve gone along, youd never know, so I can write that in and put it across. In fact, so detailed is Nigels research that he has even mapped out where characters go in the county, with places like St Neots and Cambridge featuring in the book. I think its good to put in street names because people that are local will know it, he said. I say the car jittered past Loves Farm and along the A428 towards Cambridge and I mention theres no CCTV cameras there so he [the priest] wouldnt have been spotted because Ive done the route myself as if it was me being the kidnapper. Ive walked through the woods and spotted the place. The Sound of Crying is available on Amazon, for £8.99, and on Kindle devices for £3.48. For more, visit www.nigelcooperauthor.com.