Turner (Let Me Finish This Beer and We’ll Go Catch Somebody, 2011) writes of his earthy upbringing in the American West and his long career in law enforcement.
The author offers a homey ride-along of his eventful life focusing on his time in law enforcement alongside an ensemble of buddies and baddies. Turner is an unpretentious, natural storyteller but plays most of his political opinions and policy outlooks close to the Kevlar vest. He was born in 1935 in Amarillo, Texas, a place where a toxic local zinc-smelting works was the only career option for most “good ole boys” and often led to an early grave. After his parents divorced, Turner passed from one colorful relative to another, and many members of his rough-and-tumble clan seemed to have had shady side enterprises (mostly moonshine-related)—an ironic fact, considering Turner’s later career. After enlisting in the Navy just after the Korean War, young Turner tried one factory job after another until he found a slot in 1958 with the Border Patrol, which posted him at various times in Arizona, California and at the U.S.-Canadian border. Turner (called “Tuni” by many non-English speakers) lists the many malcontents and miscreants that he encountered on both sides of the law, and he sometimes counts himself among the latter; the colorful title refers to a commendation that Turner received for nabbing an undocumented Mexican on a day he otherwise spent napping at his post. Overall, however, readers will get a sense of Turner as a hardworking, fair-minded country cop. For example, in 1968, Turner collared a polite junkie named Lowell, who was entering Mexico to get his heroin fixes; since Lowell was a rare recreational user who wasn’t involved in smuggling, Turner left him alone thereafter. Turner’s tales of fighting international drug traffic dominate the latter part of the narrative, although readers seeking French Connection–style excitement will have to look elsewhere—the times that the author fired his gun during his career principally involved target-shooting contests.
A solid, engaging memoir of an Arizona kid whose gumption carried him to crime fighting’s front lines.