Mentioning but not analyzing this cultural evolution, Doherty, aided by author Broadmeadow (Silenced Justice), focuses closely on the colorful characters he encountered over his storied career. Some of these, such as Raymond Patriarca Sr., will be familiar to anyone with an interest in New England’s Mafia families. Doherty expertly depicts the psychology of men steeped in organized crime from their childhood, demonstrating insight and sympathy. The pages are populated with men of inner duality, brutal killers who donated monthly to their churches and cried during their mothers’ funerals, who flagrantly broke the law but respected the troopers who enforced it.
The authors briefly mention big events such as the Rhode Island credit union crisis but don’t discuss them in depth. Without this context, the anecdotes don’t offer much for readers of history. Doherty is a delightful storyteller, but his tales sometimes wander and feel repetitive, and his personal experiences can’t carry 400 pages alone. This memoir is a beach read for true crime fans, less intense than a thriller but with plenty of humor and character to keep the reader entertained.
Takeaway: These loosely organized reminiscences of a Rhode Island state trooper who took on the mob will entertain New England Mafia history buffs.
Great for fans of Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill’s Whitey, Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier’s Crimetown podcast.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: B-
"Brendan Doherty & Joe Broadmeadow's new book " It's Just the Way It Was: Inside the War on the New England Mob and other stories" is a gripping, in-depth, insider point of view from the lawman who saw it all. The Federal Hill politics of the street law & order, decided with the barrel of a gun, will never be told better... "
Ralphie Cifaretto from