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Robert Rangel

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The author is a native of Los Angeles. He had his own business at eighteen. Seeking adventure, and a strong desire to help his fellowman, he sold his business at twenty-five and joined the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Thirteen years later, after numerous on duty injuries, (mostly bullets), he medically retired as a detective. He then traveled the world protecting princes and princesses originating from three different countries. The royals stopped traveling and Robert found himself in a new career outside of banks with the sole purpose of stopping armed bank robberies. He is currently a civilian investigator for a major police department conducting pre-hire peace officer background investigations. Womanless after several marriages he still resides in Los Angeles but loves the forest. He figures if you buy just one book he can move there.

THE RED DOT CLUB Cover
BOOK REVIEW

THE RED DOT CLUB

BY Robert Rangel • POSTED ON May 1, 2018

A former Los Angeles peace officer presents a collection of first-person accounts involving the use of lethal force.

Retired LA County sheriff’s deputy Rangel (The Red Dot Club, 2014, etc.) takes another trip into the trenches of law enforcement, focusing on officer-involved shootings. Like his previous book, this sequel combines Rangel’s reminiscences with those of other police officers who, in many cases, faced death at the end of a gun, and some suffered horrific gunshot injuries. “We have a conscience and a reverence for life,” Rangel writes, but he also notes that “We understand to win in a life and death struggle we have to be more violent than those assaulting us.” The no-holds-barred testimonies of the author’s fellow cops evocatively detail what an officer feels and experiences, moment by moment, while in the line of fire; “How else can you understand the horror unless I take you there all the way?” Rangel explains. One officer describes a bullet striking a suspect in the skull, “like his head was smoking a cigarette”; another remembers the sensations of being shot: “you take a match and drag it across the striker on the side of the box….It was a thousand mile an hour fast red-hot zip tearing through me.” Certain common themes emerge—how time slows to a crawl, even though most gunfights last only a few seconds, and the incandescent rage that officers feel after being wounded: “I was in disbelief and offended that he actually wanted to kill me,” remembers one, while another says, “My mind screamed, ‘HOW DARE YOU TRY AND TAKE ME AWAY FROM MY FAMILY!!!’ ” Some readers may find the book’s oral history format somewhat repetitive, but Rangel does succeed in portraying officers’ emotions in unimaginably stressful circumstances. “Society almost expects the cop to be schizophrenic,” says a former El Segundo, California, officer. “You are supposed to be a robot and not a robot. It is the job that takes the most varied sets of skills there is.”

A book that vividly captures the experiences of cops as they make life-or-death decisions.

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9903173-7-1

Page count: 338pp

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

THE RED DOT CLUB Cover
TRUE CRIME

THE RED DOT CLUB

BY Robert Rangel • POSTED ON July 25, 2014

In his nonfiction debut, Rangel, a Los Angeles-area police veteran, shines light on the many factors that go into a cop’s use of deadly force.

What’s it like to have to shoot someone to defend oneself or others? The author combines his own firsthand experience with testimonies of other colleagues who found themselves embroiled in gun battles. While on duty in an unmarked car in the early 1990s, Rangel became the victim of an attempted carjacking as gang members opened fire on him and his partner. A shootout followed and Rangel was shot; he was later taken to the hospital in the same ambulance as his assailant. The incident made the author interested to hear about similar experiences from fellow members of the titular “Red Dot Club” of wounded officers. He relates the tale of Frank, a cop who had an off-duty encounter with some gangsters who shot him and his infant son in retaliation for a prior drug arrest Frank had made. In another story, Stacy Lim, a clean-cut Asian-American cop, had a gun battle with a young man after arriving in her own driveway; she managed to kill the shooter before passing out from her injuries. Another story tells of a robbery-in-progress in which perpetrators used assault rifles and hand grenades; eight deputies and highway patrolmen were wounded. Rangel’s voice is engaging and his discussion of physiological responses to life-threatening situations is fascinating. However, these stories of deadly police force often involve armed suspects who were practically baying for cops’ blood, so the author’s general claims of widespread media distortion and misplaced sympathy for victims of police violence seem less than convincing. For example, he supposes that if the media reported on his own shootout, the perpetrator would have been presented as just “a 12 year-old-boy on a bicycle,” which seems simplistic and disingenuous—especially in an era of dashboard cams and iPhone footage.

A vivid, gripping account of police fight or flight that highlights genuine heroism but fails to effectively address murkier issues.

Pub Date: July 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0990317357

Page count: 254pp

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Awards, Press & Interests

Hometown

Los Angeles

Favorite author

Gary Jennings

Favorite book

Aztec

Day job

Investigator City of Los Angeles

Favorite line from a book

Feared by all, hated by some, loved by others.

Favorite word

Obstreperous

Unexpected skill or talent

Interrogations

Passion in life

Fishing

ADDITIONAL WORKS AVAILABLE

The Organ Grinder's Monkey

The true account of working for the richest family on earth. The Royal Family of Brunei.
Published: May 28, 2013
ISBN: 987-1-4836-2680-2