3 out of 4 stars
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Twisted But True by Darren Burch is a compilation of the life and true cases that Retired Sergeant Darren Burch undertook in his 30-year journey in the police force. It is a collection of 35 stories creatively titled to entice lovers of dark humor and crime shows. These are some of the cases that he handled in his time as a patrol officer, sex crimes detective and night detective in homicide. The author provides a glimpse into his journey as a single dad serving in the police force to then being married. Life grants him an opportunity to see carnage and death early. When as a teenager, he and his friends stop to rescue the victims of a fatal accident. An encounter that might have left others running in the opposite direction to avoid such situations. Darren Burch makes a different decision. He enrolls in the U. S Army and eventually law enforcement.
In the first chapters, the author helps us understand the man behind the badge. In the “CIA Child Care”, he is forced to make the hard choice between a coveted opportunity and ensuring the care of his two-year-old son. He eventually gets an opportunity back home in Phoenix, Arizona. But don’t let the small town tag fool you. This book has a range of cases, from the dark and gory to the laugh out loud. The author speaks of his relationships with his family and fellow officers. We read about the interactions he has with the victims and violators in the various cases.
The author brings to life not just his work in law enforcement, but his personal struggles as well e.g dealing with the loss of his brother. There are few light moments when he mentions his relationships with his fellow officers, partners, and senior officers. The chapter titles are unique and funny and the additional twist at the end makes each story interesting. Each story provides the reader this rare occasion to truly behold what police officers go through day in and day out.
As a person who loves and has been watching crime dramas for a long time, this book was an easy pick. Even as I read through it, it basically felt like I was watching an episode of Law and Order. The author stories introduce you to both aspects of his life, that is the professional and personal. While most crime dramas focus on the crime and solving it. I really enjoyed reading about both sides. Each story was unique. The author shifts from the funny to the gruesome with ease. Some stories were a combination of both. As was in the case of “Liquid Person Bursting at the Seams” and “Dog’s Best Feast” where I was both revolted and laughing as I imagined the scenario the author lay before me.
What I liked about the book is I could grab the realness of each situation. It felt less like I was reading a book, and more like I was sitting with the author as he narrated these cases. The embarrassment he felt when he locked himself out of his squad car to the horror of discovering the half eaten face of the dog owner in “Dog’s Best Feast” were authentic. I found the interrogations he conducts of would be criminals gave me insight into criminal psychology. The book is well written and seamless. While each case stood alone, the author’s life created the flow the book needed. Before this book, I had never fully grasped the magnitude of what most policemen and women have to handle. The one thing that was brought to light was the number of deaths the author was tasked to deal with on a weekly basis. It’s at this point that I began to understand the emotional weight that these officers carry. I was able to gain new respect for anyone who chooses such a career.
The book overall was a delight to read. My biggest issue or the largest flaw I noted was in editing. There were errors in punctuation and alignment of paragraphs. There were blank pages between chapters. The page formatting at times made it difficult to navigate between chapters. Despite all of these issues, the book's content is what won the day. I would rate the book 3 out of 4 stars due to the editing errors I mentioned. If it was possible I would have rated it at 3.5 stars. This was a great book and a rare treat. Even fans of crime stories will attest to the fact that most crime stories are rarely funny. I would recommend this book to readers who are intrigued by the criminal element and are fans of crime shows. Anyone who doesn't shy away from a little bit of dark humor and gore. Due to the nature of the content, I would only recommend it to persons over the age of 18.
Twisted But True
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