I opened Repeat Offender, read the first scene, and questioned why I thought I could ever read this.
Bradley Nickell, a Las Vegas police detective in the Repeat Offender Program, stumbled into the biggest case of his life when he began investigating career criminal Daimon Monroe. An investigation which began with Brad stuck in a small room listening to endless hours of inmate phone calls escalated to a search warrant, millions of dollars of stolen art and collectables – and a scheme to murder the detective, the prosecutor, and the judge who threatened to keep Daimon behind bars for life. It sounds like a great police procedural, with one catch: It isn’t fiction.
I knew most of these facts up-front before picking up the book. And having gotten to know Brad over social media, I was excited to read his new release. But when the opening scene involved Brad fingering a shotgun as a car followed him home from work, I powered off my Kindle and stared straight ahead blankly. My own dad is a sheriff’s detective. Or my surrogate dad, rather. My father was already dead. And Brad wasn’t just some author; I’d gotten to know him personally.
This was not going to be an easy read.
Fortunately, not every moment was as intense as that opening scene. As a crime writer, I was fascinated to look over the shoulder of a detective and watch every step that lead to the arrest of the suspect and his trials and convictions. I was also fascinated to get to know Daimon Monroe in-depth, and the mind of someone who would so casually flaunt society’s rules.
I rooted for heroes like Tammy, Daimon’s ex-girlfriend and the mother of his children, who dug in her heels and turned her life completely around, whatever the danger might be.
I felt for his daughter, torn between the unbreakable bond between a father and daughter, and the reality of what Daimon did to her.
If a cop is going to last long in his job, he has to perfect the art of shutting down his emotions. If a writer is going to last long in his job, he has to perfect the art of being deeply in tune with his own emotions and those of everyone around him. Brad did an amazing job of bringing feeling into the story. I think he could have gone even deeper, but I applaud his accomplishment in an arena that most cops learn to avoid.
I know Brad had some wonderful, experienced writers help him on his debut book, but I confess, I didn’t agree with the overall structure of the story. I felt like the first scene was, in fact, the climax, and ought to have been deeper into the book. Things also took a one-eighty when the story switched from investigation to trial. At this point, the tension of Daimon’s attempted murders-for-hire was gone, and we entered a detailed recounting of his trials for numerous offenses. Dividing the book into “Part I” and “Part II” would have made the transition easier.
Despite that, I read every last word, cover-to-cover. No detail was overlooked in the retelling of this true crime, and I walked away with deep respect for the law enforcement officers who doggedly stick to the trail. Despite the repercussions – which became alarmingly personal to Brad – he stuck to his duty to ensure that no more lives and livelihoods would be upended by one man’s mania.
About the Author
In 1992, Bradley joined the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and was promoted to detective in 1999. For the past sixteen years, Bradley has been assigned to the Repeat Offender Program, specializing in identifying, catching, and helping convict career criminals who prey on the citizens of Southern Nevada. Repeat Offender is his debut true-crime thriller.
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