Joe Kenda recounts his career as a Colorado Springs homicide detective.
He proffers a brief look at his childhood and early life on the police force, but the bulk of the memoir concerns his time in the homicide department. An outstanding detective, he solved ninety-two percent of his cases before retiring. Or, in his words:
So, you can say I did a good job 92 percent of the time, or you could say I was the idiot who couldn’t figure out 8 percent of his cases.
Kenda proffers several memorable anecdotes. Most chill, such as his lone encounter with a true psychopath. But some elicited chuckles, such as when a friendly rabbi subbed for a Catholic priest to comfort a grieving family.
The rabbi wore a yarmulke skullcap but delivered a full round on the rosary in perfect Catholic. He stepped up and had the entire family on their knees praying in front of a Madonna statue in the living room.
On the ride home, I told my Jewish friend how impressed I was with his priest impersonation.
The rabbi replied: “I keep up with the competition.”
After retiring, Kenda finds a second career hosting the true-crime series Homicide Hunter. He regulates this television career to an epilogue, but it, along with his years dealing with the media, helped him hone his storytelling craft.
He proves a terrific narrator. His deadpan cadence matches the straightforward tone. He projects gravitas while affording room for self deprecation and paternal pride, such as when his teenage daughter discovered a Japanese exchange student’s family was exploiting the student by signing for her packages at the post office and pocketing the enclosed money.
After getting the details from his daughter, Kenda visits the postmaster:
I explained that I was following up on a complaint and that he’d talked to a Japanese girl and her friend the day before.
“Oh yeah,” said the postmaster, “that little white girl took over the place. When they told her that I was too busy to talk to her, she said, ‘I didn’t ask you if he was busy, I told you I wanted to see him, now!’ Who was that kid?”
I explained that she was a chip off my own block.
Full disclosure: I’ve never seen an episode of Homicide Hunter. I took a chance on the book after hearing Kenda on a podcast. I’m glad I did.
- 13 Sep, 202236%
- 16 Sep, 202271%
- 17 Sep, 2022Finished