Special Agent McPheters spent 30 years (1968 to 1998) with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) serving primarily in Florida, California, Oregon, and Utah. He was involved directly or peripherally with a number of high-profile incidents over that time and was instrumental in implementing various techniques that are now regular FBI procedures. He was also an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, serving as a bishop (a minister or pastor in charge) of four congregations.
On the surface, this book is the first-person account of a career law-enforcement officer balancing two lives: one apprehending criminals, and the other embracing souls. In reality, it is much more of the former, with only brief (yet insightful) glimpses of the latter. Even so, he is not at all shy about discussing his faith, especially in the instances he felt that his relationship with his God helped him in his work.
The writing style varies throughout the text from simple descriptions of events to more thoughtful accounts of some of his cases. He would certainly have benefitted from a more fastidious editor; spelling and grammar errors are evident in about a third of the chapters. At least one person was identified incorrectly by name, but since I am unfamiliar with nearly everyone else, I do not know of any other instances. I am also curious about why the cover photograph is not an image of the author.
This is a very easy and appealing read. My own father was a career law-enforcement officer as well, during the same time period. I saw him struggle every day with being forced to deal with the dregs of society and then try to be a reasonable husband, father, and religious teacher. Even though that struggle is not as clear in this book as I was hoping, I was very pleased to see that McPheters did not appear to succumb to cynicism or defeatist tendencies later in his career. It is good, indirect evidence that a person’s faith really can make a huge difference over the course of a life spent in public service.
Rated: Mild. The author is clearly working to keep this clean, and only 5 mild terms are present in the entire text. There is also one portion with an indirect description of pedophilia.