In the sharp, hardboiled prose you would expect from a detective novelist, Smith recounts his first encounters with criminals, while working security; his first law enforcement work; and the “great pride, joy, sorrow, and heartbreak” of his two decades in the field. Smith shares vivid details (the cheap perfume his partner sprayed into his mask before entering a crime scene), hard-earned insights, and stories of courage and terror, told with crisp, raw dialogue, a feeling for the drama of potentially violent confrontations, and an undercurrent of despair, despite many heartfelt tributes to cops he trusted and the mentor whose murder he had to look into.
The cop’s eye perspective stays focused on individual crimes rather than broader contemplation of crime and policing. Many stories here–like the one about the mountain man, the pack of dogs, and Smith’s choice to go in without backup–are doozies. Smith is frank about what urban police work actually looks like: “Okay, we’re not supposed to profile,” he concedes when telling the story of pulling over a car filled with what he guessed to be gang-affiliated parolees. The memoir reels through murder after murder–including the one time he believed it when a suspect said “But I didn’t do anything!”–offering a clarifying portrait of the mind and experience of a detective.
Takeaway: David Leonard’s Real Cop, Corey Pegues’s Once a Cop.
Great for fans of: A Los Angeles homicide detective tells all in this vivid, sharply written memoir.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: N/A
Danny R. Smith has told his story with open and raw emotion that few would be willing to share openly and with such brutal honesty. His story leaves the reader with a better understanding of the hardships that a career as a Law Enforcement Officer takes on one’s life, and hopefully leaves society with a better appreciation of those who chose to protect us.
I have read all of Danny Smith's previous works of fiction and I was humbled and in awe when he wrote this memoir. A true story of a lifetime given to serve and protect. A reality check for many. And a reminder that our civilization survives because of the sacrifices of the few. Read this and take a look behind the curtain and taste the reality of life 'out there' where most of us never would choose to venture. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Thank you, Danny - for your dedication to duty and for sharing your experiences with us.
What an emotionally powerful read. Mr. Smith takes the reader into the depths and heights of the world of law enforcement. No current, ex, or family of law enforcement can read this memoir and be untouched by it. It too accurately reveals the world they inhabit to be discounted and the word pictures Mr. Smith draws are too powerful to be ignored. The reader is inexorably drawn into the fray with the inhabitants of his world. The good, the bad, the ugly, the desperate, the sublime, and the down-right quixotic are all shown here in living color. It is a book you aren't likely to forget anytime soon.