A retired U.S. Customs agent recounts an eventful career and the lessons that he drew from it.
Debut author Caron was born in 1965, a fraternal twin and one of seven siblings raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts. In this memoir, he says that his police officer father, Edmond, was a strict disciplinarian who instilled a relentless work ethic and a sense of moral responsibility. As a child, Caron suffered from hearing and speech impairments that undermined his academic performance, and his parents decided that, instead of a standard high school, he would be better off attending a vocational school, concentrating on culinary arts. However, the author was determined to follow in his father’s footsteps and enter law enforcement—a commitment that only intensified after Edmond died of a heart attack in 1981. After Caron’s graduation from a local community college, he worked as a summer officer in Massachusetts and decided that he wasn’t ideally suited for police work. Instead, he attended Northeastern University to study criminal justice in preparation for becoming a special agent, and in 1989, he became a U.S. Customs agent, assigned to Newark, New Jersey. The author vividly describes an illustrious career that culminated in his becoming the representative at the U.S. National Central Bureau of Interpol in Washington, D.C. He also openly discusses his personal travails, including the sudden death of his twin brother, his struggles with PTSD after a colleague was shot, and the toll that his career took on his family life before he retired in 2014. Caron worked in many different capacities as a customs agent—he assisted the Secret Service on protective details, helped the CIA conduct an internal investigation, and investigated drug smuggling operations—and his adventures make for a rousing read. The author’s writing is clear but occasionally awkward and overly earnest. For example, when pondering the obligations of his job, he thinks to himself: “I may actually be required to take a life based on the totality of the circumstances!” However, Caron’s remembrances are often thrilling, and the advice he imparts is largely sound, if shopworn.
An often engaging chronicle of a dramatic career.