Friday Review: The Detective in the Dooryard: Reflections of a Maine Cop by Timothy A. Cotton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lt. Cotton is a thirty year veteran of the Bangor Maine Police Department. He is also the one in charge of their Facebook (or Book of Faces, as he calls it) page. That’s where I first found him and his writing. Well, at first it was the (marginally famous) Bangor PD stuff and the Duck of Justice, who is the mascot of the department in many ways. And then I found he has his own FB page, as well as a podcast (called appropriately Cotton Blend). Now, he has a collection of his writing in book form. These are short pieces, some only a page or two and most based on his real life both as a cop and as a lifelong Mainer. There is a section of mostly amusing vignettes called Got Warrants? that are things that BPD officers were really called out to deal with. Names and some details are changed or omitted, of course to protect the innocent- and guilty. And there is a section of fiction that is, again, based on real-life happenings.

Cotton writes in a very homey, conversational style. It’s easy to read and you imagine hearing a familiar, friendly voice just shooting the breeze out in the dooryard. This isn’t literary genius or perfect styled writing. This is a fellow born and raised in the upper regions of the Northeast, with all of the country trappings you expect. But it’s not forced nor does it seem as if he’s putting on a “face” for the stories. It all sounds genuine and down-to-earth, much like everyone who has met Cotton says he is in person. That real person shines through in every story, whether he’s talking about a day on the job or shoveling snow at his cabin in the woods. It’s just a joy to read.

As stated above, all of the pieces are short, so it’s an easy one to just pick up and read a quick bite or two. But I think you’ll find yourself wanting to go on to “just one more.” In these times of “new normal” and division and too much anger, a book like this, with its positive, funny, touching, and very human feel, is a delight.

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Need some new Summer reads? Check out my books and stories here. I have Fantasy, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, novels, novelettes, and a novella out there. All are available wherever e-books are sold. Or get an idea of the sorts of things I write with these stories that are free to read here on the site.