4 out of 4 stars
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Michael Kuzilny is a practicing lawyer, author, and the television host of Tough Times Never Last. Having also previously served ten years as an officer in Australia's Victoria Police Academy, the author shares his experiences and passion for helping others in his latest book, Split Second: The Dark Secrets of a Cop Turned Criminal Defence Lawyer.
The author dates his interest in the law back to his boyhood in Germany where he observed the unjust treatment of a family attempting to cross at the west side of the Berlin Wall. His family moved to Australia when he was a teenager, and though bullied because of his German accent, the author credits learning to overcome adversity as his motivation for seeking change. As an adult, he has spent his career both enforcing the law and defending those who need his help; witnessing firsthand how split-second decisions and hasty choices can result in long-lasting pain and regret. The author shares the corruption he faced as a young police officer, the lines he crossed and still regrets, and ultimately his decision to pursue justice by serving as an attorney and the experiences that followed. He believes his police background helped him become a better lawyer where he is now positioned to make the most difference.
This well-written read includes 20 chapters and is divided into two sections. Part 1, "Thin Blue Line," is the largest portion of the book, and as the title suggests, focuses on the author's time serving as a police officer and the crimes he worked. Early on, he is transparent about his struggles. "It was a constant mental balancing act between my idealistic view and the reality of working in the police; I regret my attitude back at this point in time." The stories flow smoothly, and there is a natural progression to Part 2, "Pinstripe Suits," which follows the author's experiences as an attorney.
What I liked most about this book was the author's flair for storytelling. Based on his engaging first-person narrative, it's not surprising that he is also a television host. Whether describing the social scene of Australia in the late 1980s, depicting violent crimes, or sharing confessions of wrestling with his conscience, the author held my attention. I also appreciated his candor and transparency as he shared raw emotions related to some of the terrible circumstances he witnessed.
The thing I liked least about the book was the amount of profanity it contained. Admittedly, some of it was the author's portrayal of conversations with others and the language they used. However, there were as many instances where the author casually used offensive language including a word that is particularly derogatory toward women.
The book appears to be professionally edited as I noted only a few errors. Overall, the skillful storytelling and engaging content outweigh the profanity issues. Therefore, I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. Because it portrays both the perspectives of law enforcement and the criminal justice system, I recommend it to readers who enjoy crime stories comparable to Law and Order. It will also appeal to those who reside in or are interested in Australia. Readers who are sensitive to crime-related violence may prefer to pass on this one.
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