Angus MacGyver, the laid-back, uber-resourceful secret agent who used the practical application of scientific knowledge and inventive use of everyday items to solve extreme problems (from disarming a missile with a paper clip to turning a hose, metal pipe and gasoline into a flame thrower) became a cult hero among the DIY, solve-it-yourself crowd. All you have to say is MacGyver to conjure up pictures of Swiss army knives, creative geniuses, and problem-solving under fire.
If you have a character like this (and you aren’t like this), the Evil Genius series of books will guide you. Here are several I use for my current computer hacker recurring character who has no money but needs to get the job done:
Everything you need to build and customize both wired and wireless phone gadgets on a budget. It includes telephone amplifier, phone voice scrambler, conferencer, ringing phone light flasher, telephone tattletale, the Frustrator, radio phone patch
101 Spy Gadgets for the Evil Genius by Brad Graham and Kathy McGowan
An arsenal of spy tools you can build yourself for $30 or less–even if you’re a beginner! Not only that, even total beginners to electronics can construct these mind-boggling snooping tools. Includes bionic stereo spy ears, automatic call recorder, telephone line tap, how to disguise your voice, miotion sensing camera trigger and more.
Bionics for the Evil Genius by Newton Braga
25 inexpensive bionic experiments that demonstrate how life forms can be enhanced, combined, manipulated, and measured with electronic and mechanical components. Includes stroboscopic lamp, panic generator, magnetic field generator, insect repellant,a bionic ear and more
I’ve never read any of these in the mystery-thriller genre I frequent so prepare to think creatively!