[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]
I never watched the show, so I won’t be able to compare for now (I may watch some episodes later if I can find some episodes that aren’t available for US only or through shady websites); actually, I hadn’t even known about Joe Kenda before requesting this book. The book itself, when I read its blurb, looked interesting, and I was in the mood for crime-related non fiction, so here I am now.
Interesting it was, indeed. I learnt quite a few things about police procedures, all the more because I don’t live in the USA, and basically all I know is what I’ve seen in TV series (no worries, I was kind of already suspecting that TV =/= truth ;)). Not that it surprised me, but it’s always good to see that, well, one was right in wondering ‘do these things really happen like that?’
What also really happens like that is crime itself, and sadly, what Kenda described in the book didn’t surprise me either (I don’t have a very good opinion of man as a species). Again, I can’t compare with the series, and I don’t know if what he writes about here is something watchers already know, or grittier/less gritty than what has been aired. It did seem gruesome enough to me. I’m not easily disgusted to the point of physically having to stop reading, but I can envision this being a turnoff, at least at times, as a reminder that people can do horrible things, including to their kids, innocent bystanders, for the stupidest reasons, for something as trivial as 20 quid, etc.
I wasn’t entirely convinced by the tone/style. Not sure how Joe Kenda fares in the show, but here there were some turns of phrase, some vocabulary, that I felt was... not sure how to explain it, too demeaning or for shock value? I would probably have such words about criminals myself, so it’s nothing like ‘oh noes, swearing is bad’, and more like ‘the stronger the vocabulary/opinion, the lesser the impact’? Yes, I think that’s it: the grit and dark side can very well stand on their own, and they would have more impact if presented in a more ‘neutral’ tone. It may just be me, though.
(On the other hand, of course, you can tell that the author feels very strongly about this, and it's completely understandable!)
Apart from this, I definitely found this book interesting, both for the police work it presented, and for the other aspect of Kenda’s life (his family, how they too had to cope with his career, how the horrors he’s seen affected his whole home, etc.).