3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
The boys in blue have been getting a bad rap these last few years, so it was with both interest and trepidation that I grabbed a copy of Darren Burch's book, Twisted But True. In his book, the former lawman tells many tales from his days on the force in Phoenix, AZ. Covering incidents from his new officer days to his times in supervisory positions, the stories run the gamut from creepy to hilarious to scary to gross to unbelievable, and I'm very glad that I got a glimpse into the life.
Before delving into the twisted tales, retired Sergeant Burch goes way back in time to tell about the events that influenced him to go into this particular line of work. I admit that I was a little irritated at first, as I wanted to get right into the “twisted” tales, but I soon found myself hypnotized and crying over the things he talks about in this section. These stories also broaden the lens on the man that the author is and give much-needed background information on him. I soon found myself appreciating him and thinking that we need more cops like him.
Then, we got into the nitty-gritty. As mentioned above, the tales that Mr. Burch tells cover a wide range, thanks to his time working in a variety of capacities in patrol, sex crimes, and homicide. There were over 30 tales, so I cannot cover them all, but I will say that – morbid person that I am – my favorite anecdotes were the ones that took place during his sex crime days, notably “That Sucks, Mr. Hoover” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” I won't go into details on those two in case anyone reading this is faint-of-heart. I also liked the yarns that were gross, such as “Liquid Person Bursting at the Seams” and “Bad Hair Day”, both of which discussed the condition of a person's body after rotting for a few days. But my favorite stories by far were “Chasing Mad Cow” and “The Woman Who Screams At Cars”. The former is a tale about the author, new on the force, chasing after a cow who appeared to be mad. At one point, he even tried to use his wrestling experience to wrangle the cow. I admit it. I nearly peed myself reading that one, it was so funny. The latter story was about just that, a woman who was screaming at cars. It wasn't that simple, but I'll leave it up to any interested readers to find out what happened.
I absolutely adored this book and wished I could read more of Mr. Burch's tales. He has a great writing style, very casual yet descriptive. Though he didn't go into too many details, I could still picture everything as if I was watching a movie. One of the things I liked most was how the author would add a brief “Twist” at the end of each yarn wherein he would add an interesting postscript to each tale. In fact, sometimes these twists were funnier than the tales they followed.
I also appreciated the author's mention of different people he worked with, as well as his family. I could feel the love he felt for everyone, and this served to make me appreciate how he put himself in danger many times to protect others. I especially teared-up when he mentioned his son, DJ; as a parent, it made my heart warm to read about another parent's deep love for his child. Some of the people he mentioned also died on the job, which made me tear-up in a different kind of way. Insofar as the suspects and victims included in his stories, the author had the propensity of giving them an appropriate nickname, such as “Mr. Stocky”, “Batboy”, and “Ms. Liar-Liar”. This way of “protecting the innocent/guilty” was very creative and had me smiling throughout the book.
As great as Twisted But True is, I have to make mention of the editing. In the Acknowledgements, the author thanks someone, saying, “Your edits turned the manuscript into the novel I always dreamed it could be!” I appreciate that he was concerned enough to have someone assist in editing, but I recommend he have another pair of eyes look at this book, as I found many errors. They were mostly missteps in punctuation, with the occasional missed or extra word, and while they weren't enough to take away from my enjoyment, I still have to point them out. "As I continued to apply pressure, I saw that his facial coloring go grey” was one sentence with an extra word in it. "Not for a single second did I think it unfair that after chasing a cow over hill and dale, that it was a cowboy showing up at the last minute to save the day; and a lot of drivers on the freeway" was another sentence that had me scratching my head due to its lack of editing. I also wasn't too keen on its formatting. Each "page" of the .pdf was split into two pages, so it looked like an open book. The problem was that whether reading it on my laptop or on my Android phone, I had to maneuver the page around as I went from the left "page" to the right "page". Depending on how magnified I had my screen, I'd also have to maneuver when going from top to bottom, equaling two to three scrolls per page. However, since this may not be a problem in the printed edition, I won't take off for it.
All told, I think Twisted But True was an excellent book that pulled every emotion known to man (and woman) out of me. I'm sad to have to give it 3 out of 4 stars due to the aforementioned grammatical errors, but I highly recommend it to any adult who's interested in pursuing a job in law enforcement. I also think readers interested in crime stories who'd like to “go along for the ride” would enjoy the book. On the other hand, this is not a book for those with weak stomachs or delicate sensibilities, as there is a lot of graphic content in it.
Twisted But True
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like MsTri's review? Post a comment saying so!