It seems to me, the actual answers to *this* particular question have already been given.
In no uncertain terms and in half a dozen different ways -- more! -- people have said, quite clearly: software does not write books. Software answers to writing book are panacea. What writes books? Pressing asses into chairs. Software can't help much with that.
Agree 100%. Writing software can help with organisation, but these programs do no more or less than what can be done with any office suite of programs. Ass on seat, brain updated and engaged, its the best way. Nobody said writng novels was easy and I have yet to find software that actually makes it easy. At the end of the day you need to slog it out day in day out and get those words and thoughts on the page. And guess what, once you have 100,000 words or so and written 'The End' you have to redraft and reedit and then the hard work begins. If you do find some genuinely useful software that helps with this process pass the word on to the brothers and sisters out here in 'going completely lala land.
She wasn't asking for our opinions on how well software helps or hinders a person to write books. She was asking for recommendations of software. So I supplied some links to different software she could check out, rather than trying to cram my personal philosophy down her throat.
You are right though, I didn't give an "actual answer" since I didn't give any kind of information about which software I liked or didn't like and why. I use Microsoft Works because it came with my computer and is less buggy and bloated than Word. For me, the organizational and character development features that some software has doesn't help me because I don't like to write a lot of notes. Some people really like those features, however.
"What writes books? Pressing asses into chairs."--No, I believe it is writing words one after another.
I am going to bow out from this thread as my comments though tongue in cheek do have a serious point to them. It is much the same point supported by many of the comments linked from various replies. Many authors are looking toward software and 'How to' guides as some form of mystical shortcut. Some can act as a helping tool or provide support when there is no network of peers, but often they are used with the wrong intention. I have a friend who writes because he wants to become rich and famous, I say to him "good luck, pal".
I guess what I am saying is not to become reliant on software or books written by people who have never had a bestseller apart from a 'How to write a 'book/software'. Learn your style, learn your voice, learn your craft. And yes, put your ass on that seat unless you prefer crouching over a table while writing.
It's an awfully broad question, though 'The Human Brain' is always the ultimate crimewriting tool.
Truthfully, there's no such animal. You can try different ways to organize your work (Scrivener's okay for keeping research materials within easy reach), but it does come down to a human putting words to paper (or computer screen, or whatever). So...find what works for you and dive in!
Neglected so far in the discussion is hooking Human Brain up to a network. While there are compatibility issues with various releases, some downright malfunctions, the occasional virus, the collective Human Brain can often be a great resource/tool for keeping crime fiction fresh and on target. There are also specialist Human Brain programs. These are, more often than not, easily accessible for data mining--usually through a landline, although some also offer a more interactive interface. The databases they hold, or have further access to, can really build up Human Brain's framework and expand its potential applications.