An engaging peek into an astonishingly difficult profession.




An autobiography that focuses on a New York City police officer’s service over more than two decades. 

Debut author Pesce was born in 1942 in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, and he spent parts of his childhood in Brighton Beach and Coney Island. His father served in World War II, and his mother later abandoned the family when the author was only 10; Pesce wouldn’t see her again for 35 years. After attending New York Community College, where he met his future wife, and serving a stint in the U.S. Army Reserve, he entered the police academy in 1966. The author worked in a narcotics division, a street-crime unit, a unit devoted to crimes against senior citizens, and a special task force assembled to investigate police corruption. He also eventually worked in every borough of the city except the Bronx. He was promoted to sergeant in 1973 and made lieutenant in 1985, four years before his retirement. Pesce then obtained a private investigator’s license and eventually opened his own private security business. Along the way, he married and had three children, but the focus of this tale is on his experience as a cop during a few of the city’s most crime-ridden decades, before officers had walkie-talkies or cellphones, SWAT-team backup, or access to counseling services; regarding the latter, the author sometimes refers to the therapeutic comfort that he received from “Dr. Jack Daniels.” Pesce’s writing is informal and anecdotal, and the memoir offers many harrowing tales of police work that include shootings, dead bodies, corruption, and attempted suicides. The author intelligently depicts the venomous disdain that members of the general public had for cops during those turbulent years, and the insularity among cops that grew in response to it: “The so called ‘Blue Wall of Silence’ was a natural emanation to protect this subculture.” This book offers a concise history of the New York City Police Department and a vivid portrait of the city in general, but the author also occasionally discusses some personal challenges—including his struggle to have a relationship with his mother—with admirable candor.

An engaging peek into an astonishingly difficult profession. 

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5431-1395-2

Page Count: 282

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.


The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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