A Cop's Life: True Stories from the Heart Behind the Badge

Randy Sutton, Author, Cassie Wells, Editor . St. Martin's $23.95 (204p) ISBN 978-0-312-33896-1

Veteran Las Vegas police sergeant Sutton, who edited the acclaimed True Blue, brilliantly evokes the tormented inner life of the average cop with 20 short but powerful autobiographical sketches. With a novelist's skill, Sutton makes fresh situations that could, in lesser hands, come across as hoary clichés. The broken lives Sutton encounters—the suicides, gangbangers, the mentally ill, the burnt-out officers tempted to eat their guns and the innocents in the wrong place at the wrong time—come vividly to life. The memorable figures include a boy who attempts to protect the grandmother who cares for him from violent punks, and a young girl whose trust in the cynical Sutton helps him gain perspective on his job. The author doesn't minimize the temptation to respond with force that is often the officer's instinctive response to mindless cruelty, and unflinchingly portrays the stresses that plague him when his best efforts to protect or save lives fell short— stresses that led him to consider ending his life. Some may find the closing section, a fictional Christmas parable, slightly sappy, but that doesn't diminish Sutton's achievement in enabling the reader to pound the pavement in his shoes. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/16/2005
Release date: 07/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4299-0933-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 261 pages - 978-0-312-94001-0
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-250-03873-9
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