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"I Will Find You," by Lt. Joe Kenda, Book Review

Updated on February 28, 2020
PegCole17 profile image

Peggy Cole is a published author who enjoys writing short stories, book reviews and articles about simpler times.

The Homicide Hunter is an American crime documentary television series on the Investigation Discovery Channel.
The Homicide Hunter is an American crime documentary television series on the Investigation Discovery Channel.

Solving killer cases is what Joe Kenda did for over twenty years with an impressive success rate when it came to finding the perpetrator(s) and bringing them to justice. He first came to notoriety in the television series, Homicide Hunter, where his look-alike, Carl Marino, plays the younger version of Joe Kenda as they reenact case histories.

The former lieutenant, known for his "dead-pan zingers," has also written a novel about his life of fighting crime. What makes this a page-turner, beyond the voyeurism aspect of his tales, is the way he states the obvious with glib insight into the dark humor of a police officer.

Creative Commons, Wikimedia Commons
Creative Commons, Wikimedia Commons | Source

Lt. Kenda speaks about the trio of motives for murder being money, sex, and revenge or sometimes a combination of these. He mentions a Bible verse that many people seem to get wrong reminding readers that it isn't money that's the root of all evil, but the love of money which factors into the downfall of relationships between family members, romantic involvements or random acts of violence between strangers.

He shares that, "Crazy comes in so many option packages." And crazy is clearly a motive in some of the cases he's solved.

Due to the increased cost of ammunition there will no longer be warning shots."

— Joe Kenda

He talks about guns in a frank and open manner, about their history, their evolution and their necessity in crime prevention. Kenda says, “Law enforcement leaders learned their lesson after the 1965 Watts riots, when police officers quickly discovered that the people shooting at them had more firepower than the police." When someone is shooting an automatic rifle in your direction, you can’t easily respond wielding only a baton without serious consequences.

AK-47 Assault Weapon
AK-47 Assault Weapon | Source

We became a country by armed revolution. Guns are a part of American culture."

— Lt. Kenda

In I Will Find You, Kenda shares additional detail about cases that are considered too disturbing or too graphic for television. As an active police officer, he could expect to receive a phone call any hour of the day or night knowing that his presence would be required at crime scenes so gruesome it's hard for an average person to imagine.

He talks about what it's like to be ripped away from family events, anniversary dinners, date nights, football games, vacations, time with his children, even from events like filling the gas tank of his vehicle for investigations that couldn't wait. When the report of another homicide came in, he was at the top of the list of who to call. Being a homicide detective doesn't fit into a standard eight-to-five mold.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons | Source

Blue Light Special

During one of the cases he handled as a uniformed officer, he describes a street brawl involving multiple participants. This call put him directly in the path of an armed perpetrator hiding behind a female being used as a human shield. Without waiting for backup Officer Kenda, who was a Sergeant at the time, charged blindly into the mob attempting to break up the disturbance.

When he fell to the pavement and was rendered unconscious, he was fortunate that someone in a nearby business called 911 to report that an officer had been shot. Joe describes the scene with his standard dose of dry wit saying, "Nothing orders up a blue-light special more than the report of an officer down."

Alternate Weapons

Someone was throwing hubcaps hurling them like a spinning metal weapon.
Someone was throwing hubcaps hurling them like a spinning metal weapon. | Source

Profile of a Murderer

"The vast majority of murderers are male, except when they aren't," he says stating that he believes that most killers feel justified in murdering their victim. He speaks about the most vulnerable of victims - prostitutes - that "jump into cars with strangers like it's their job."

His description of one particularly evil killer was chilling. The suspect's outward appearance was perfectly normal with a wife and kids and a regular job. After six and a half hours of interrogation the suspect finally dropped the good guy facade and displayed the darkness of his soul.

"Well, all right, then, welcome to the party, Mr. Hyde." It's the reason why so many fans love Joe Kenda and his wit regarding criminals and their activities.

He goes on to mention that what he really wanted to do to this "deranged man-beast" across the interview room table. It's a good feeling to know that cops feel anger at the heinous deeds of criminals. His moral outrage at the deeds of this particular guy restores one's faith in humanity, justice and the American way.

Forgiveness and Understanding

When it comes to murderers, who would guess that they have "a desire to be forgiven and understood?" This, the detective tells us leads many of them to confess their crimes, trying to justify their actions or rationalize their circumstances about how they were provoked.

Joe Kenda developed his own interrogation technique unique to him which appears to have worked in many cases. He allowed the detectives that reported to him to also develop their own preferred methods, each with their own manner of questioning to get through to the criminal and get the facts. He admits to early mistakes he made that blew his chances for gaining a confession and says he's not one to play "good cop, bad cop." He believes that being a good listener is key to confession.

"If you're going to be a liar, you should at least have the decency to be good at it."

— Lt. Joe Kenda

Lt. Kenda also talks about his family, his heritage, his parents, his children. One funny story he shares describes what happened when he tried to teach his children to stay away from the guns he had in his home. He describes how children will tend to find whatever you hide. His brilliant idea was to frighten them against using guns by demonstrating their destructive nature and their blasting noise. Somehow, this tactic backfired on him.

Fortunately, the event turned into a weekend adventure where the whole family could share time together and became a routine outing for the Kenda family. Each of them became proficient in the proper use and handling of guns. The family that shoots together . . .

One story Joe shares is told by his daughter, who, as an adult is an expert marks person serving in a military role. At a grocery store one night, she came to the aid of a fellow shopper against a lewd, obnoxious brute. Her protective nature and fortitude shows her true heritage as Joe's offspring.

I Will Find You, Solving Killer Cases from my Life Fighting Crime is a fascinating book that describes the life of a public servant charged with investigating the onslaught of crime and senseless violence. The enduring hours, the gruesome nature of the work involved and the interruptive nature of the hours he put into his job makes me appreciate a job with standard business hours.

It's impressive that Joe Kenda and his wife survived the ordeal after all the broken dates, interrupted celebrations, bloody clothes, sleepless nights and heartbreaking drama and remain a happily married couple. The book is fascinating and provides grounds for appreciation of our police force and their jobs.

Book Signing

Lt. Joe Kenda autographing his book on board the Ruby Princess, Oct. 2018.
Lt. Joe Kenda autographing his book on board the Ruby Princess, Oct. 2018. | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Peg Cole


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    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Glad to find another ID show enthusiast, Patricia. I love Detective Kenda and his dry wit and humor in the face of the traumatic and ghastly scenes he has faced.

      Hoping you are well. I continue to hold you and your grandson in my prayers.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      2 years ago from North Central Florida

      I will have to check this out...I watch his show on ID every time it is on. That whole world fascinates me. Thanks for sharing this with us. Angels are on the way to you this evening. ps

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hello Pamela, I like to read a variety of books, too. Thanks so much for coming by to take a look at this review of Lt. Joe Kenda's book. He has quite a following in the mystery lovers genre on TV and in print. I've heard he's writing another book.

      It's good to see you today.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Peg, I don't watch many crime series on TV, but I read all kinds of books. I would be interested in what this man has to tell us. You did a suburb job in describing his life, tough times and successes.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Thanks, Lawrence. Hope you find a copy and enjoy it.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      This book sounds fascinating.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hi Maria, Thanks so much for checking this review out. You know I love a good murder mystery! Hope you are healing and doing much better. Talk to you real soon. Love.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hello Flourish, Glad to know you like the true crime stuff. I do too. In fact, so much that we are planning to go on our first cruise, a celebrity cruise, featuring Lt. Joe Kenda and Carl Marino, the guy that plays him in the TV show. I'm so excited about it.There's your chance to meet him and have a long chat. Let me know if you want details or check out KendaCruise dot com!

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Wonderful to see your creative juices inspired by this book - excellent review, dear Peg.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      2 years ago from USA

      This sounds exactly like a book I’d love to read just because it’s so realistic and no nonsense. I’d love to chat with that guy and listen to his war stories for hours.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Good Morning, William. Glad to know you're a murder mystery fan. Reading Joe Kenda's stories tells a fascinating tale about us as human beings. Thanks so much for stopping in.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Sounds like an interesting book, Peg, and right down my alley. I'll have to check it closer. Thanks for introducing it to us. I always liked Joe.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hello Ms. Dora, Thank you for that great response. Hope you enjoy reading these true stories and personal accounts of the detective.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Good job, Peg. You make me want to read the book. It would be great to read true, personal accounts of a read detective.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hello Brian, I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. The author has an interesting way of telling a tale that keeps the reader interested.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hi Jackie, I'm really interested in most of the crime TV shows despite their subject matter and graphic details. I like it when the bad guy gets caught. Joe Kenda has what it takes to filter through the crimes and find the culprit.

      Like you, I go through spells of the type of things I read. Thanks so much for coming by and for the great comment.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Linda Crampton, I can understand this sort of reading is difficult to take and not easily forgotten. There are things I can't read or watch that make me uncomfortable, too. I'm grateful that you stopped by to leave such an insightful comment and kind remarks. Thank you.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      2 years ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      I've added that book to my to get and read list. I don't have a TV, so I haven't seen the TV show. I'll watch an episode when I get the chance.

    • moonlake profile image


      2 years ago from America

      Love Joe Kenda and can’t stay off ID channel. I have to get this book after your review. We were in California not far from Watts riots that was what made us decide we didn’t want to live there. We moved from California by 1966.

      Enjoyed your book review.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a great book review, Peg. I don't think that I could read the book because of its nature, but I certainly enjoyed reading about Lt. Joe Kendra and his writing in your article.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hi Mary, In the book the author describes the unforgettable scenes of chaos and mayhem that are forever etched into his memories. He suffers from nightmares inspired by what he's had to experience and investigate. I agree, they deserve much appreciation and gratitude. Thanks for the insightful comment.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      2 years ago from the beautiful south

      I used to be hooked on true crime so bad in my younger days but have moved away from it in recent years. I still will have one smack me in the face now and then though and have to read it. This sounds like one of those.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hi Peggy, Yes, some parts of the book are rather graphic. It's not for the feint of heart. Murder is definitely not a pretty crime.

      I was also amazed at the sacrifices that people in law enforcement have to make to keep us safe. They aren't paid nearly enough.

      Thanks so much for coming by and for the kind remarks.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      My husband and I were talking about the lives of detectives last night and how risky it is. Also, seeing those murders and meeting the murderers must have its effect on them. They do deserve much of our appreciation and I'm glad someone wrote this book.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I am always amazed at the sacrifices our police do in order to help the majority of law abiding citizens. The review of this book by you certainly explains some of those sacrifices as to their daily lives. The book sounds graphic but good.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hi Mike, I'm glad you stopped by, too! Yep, you're right. I'm gathering the aura of those in the know to continue on my sequel to The Pub. I've been distracted for a while and need to get back into the swing of things. It's great to see you here and thanks for being so quick to come by and for the excellent comment.

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Peg - So glad to have stopped by to read this review. You must be getting ready to start your next mystery and are gathering material and atmosphere. This review is excellent, you did indeed do the book justice.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Frank, Delighted to see you here on this book review. I love me some Joe Kenda. Fortunately, so does my hubby. We are avid fans and the book is a real page turner. Thanks for the cool comment. Justice. Got to love that.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      2 years ago from Shelton

      Pegcole this book review was thorough, it gave us a look into the author's mind, and you made it intriguing, you gave it justice...:)


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