In 1968, 1 percent of the New York City Police Department was female. When Kathy Burke joined the NYPD's ranks in June of that year she was one of only ten women in a class of 950 recruits. But the determined Burke had no doubt that she was born to be a cop, and in her twenty-three-year career she rose to be the most highly decorated female detective in the NYPD's history. Detective is her story. By turns caustic, funny, and matter-of-fact, Burke describes what it was like for a young woman to be surrounded by often hostile male officers and the uphill battle she fought to prove herself and earn their respect. But earn it she did. From her beginnings as an undercover cop making drug buys on New York's most dangerous streets to posing as Mrs. Patz to capture extortionists in the Etan Patz case to investigating the Mafia, Burke worked in some of the NYPD's most elite units on its most high-profile cases, eventually rising to the rank of detective first grade, the very highest in the detective bureau. Burke vividly portrays every aspect of a cop's experience, taking readers from the discos where she flirted with drug dealers to the halls of Congress, where she testified about drugs and corruption with a paper bag over her head (to protect her undercover persona), to a deserted street in Queens where a tragic shooting would forever change her career and her life. Burke is brutally honest in her criticism of NYPD leadership and corruption within the department, in her accounts of the physical and emotional toll taken by the job that she loved, and in her descriptions of the sacrifices -- sometimes even the greatest sacrifice of all -- that cops must make. Detective is a revelatory and inspirational story of life lived without apology, of stubborn courage, and of a woman who triumphed over doubts, recrimination, and personal tragedy to truly become "one of New York's Finest."
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Kathy Burke, who received New York City's highest commendation for heroism, the Medal of Honor, retired from the NYPD in 1991. Today she is actively involved with the Police Self-Support Group, counseling cops who have suffered emotional or physical trauma on or off the job.
Neal Hirschfeld was a prize-winning reporter and editor for the Daily News. He has also written for O, The Oprah Magazine; Reader's Digest; The New York Times; and other publications.
In her fast-paced "as-told-to" autobiography, former NYPD detective Burke offers an insider's view of the life of a female undercover drug cop working in a field in which women were rarely treated as equals. Burke applied to become an officer in 1968 and soon found her niche working under cover. Adopting the persona of the "jive-talking" Marie Martin, Burke realized that, despite her by-the-books morality, she was adept at blending in with dealers and crooks. Beginning like an action film—Burke in an alley with a gun to her head—the book recounts stories of undercover drug buys and tough-talking police station politics. The narrative works its way up to Burke's involvement in a controversial 1986 shooting that left her irreparably injured and her partner dead outside a Queens diner. After three bungled trials, the U.S. Court of Appeals threw out the murder and attempted murder charges, leaving the mobsters Burke accused of pulling the trigger with short sentences for lesser crimes. While readers may be frustrated by lackluster prose and a lack of answers to questions about the trial, Burke's book, which is packed with action and suspense, tells an inspiring story of a woman who beat the odds more than once. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Sept.)
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Book Description Scribner, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110743283937
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