Friday, November 5, 2010

Shadow of the Arch - Review


The story you are about to see (read) is true.  Only the names have been changed to protect the idiots.  I mean innocents.  Not many people my age can forget hearing Jack Webb’s deadpan iconic voice utter those words in the persona of his Sgt. Joe Friday character each week at the start of every new episode of Dragnet, or his equally deadpan drone “Just the facts, Ma’am.”
I was carried back to those days of the small, circular black and white screen of my youth while reading former Saint Louis Detective Ken Dye’s book, Shadow of the Arch, ISBN 978-0-9821654-0-9, ©2008 by Ken Dye and Peppertree Press.
I’m not saying Ken’s characters, modeled after himself and his former partner, are really anything like the almost lifeless, no-nonsense Friday and Gannon.  To the contrary, all they really have in common is that they were cops, the stories in Dye’s book, like those on Webb’s show, are real, and also like Gannon and Friday, Sloan and Falimoso, the names Dye gives himself and his partner, live to get the bad guys.  I mean, really live to get the bad guys.
And as for the stories, forget Mickey Spillane.  Forget Alex Cross.  Forget Lucas Davenport.  These guys are the real deal and not figments of a creative fiction writer.  They lived it, and danger aside, loved doing it!
Ken has a flair for making mundane cop work interesting and even a little fun.  If I were 30 years younger, I think reading Shadow of the Arch would make me want to be a cop.  His stories are alive with the real insider’s perspective on how the job of keeping the bad guys off the streets really gets done, and Dye doesn’t take himself too seriously in the telling.  In fact, sometimes he’s even a little irreverent.
If there is a problem with the book, I found it in only two areas.  First, numerous editing errors.  Second, while I love a good running gag – I mean really love a good running gag, and Ken has two of them, there was one too many.  “God Bless You Lad” in all its iterations never got old.  The bit about Nate and the smoke from his “cheap cherry flavored pipe tobacco leaving the office smelling like a heard of buffalo had just run through it and left calling cards behind,” got old after about the third time, and especially where it appears in consecutive paragraphs.
Other than that, I have no complaints, and would love to read more of the adventures of St. Louis’s favorite Narcs.
Shadow of the Arch, by Tampa writer Ken Dye gets 4 of 5 stars from this writer, and can be found at the Author’s web page and Amazon.com.
And, as Falimoso would say, “God bless you, Lad.”
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