Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Fifth Reflection, #3 in Ellen Kirschman's Dot Meyerhof Series

You know, oftentimes authors will write novels that reflect their careers. We certainly know MANY lawyers who write books about...wait for it...lawyers and the law.  And a lot of these books make you feel like you are in the courtroom at the prosecutor's/defense lawyer's table with them.  But there is something about Ellen Kirschman's background that makes police psychologist Dot Meyerhof seem even more real than your average fictional character.  Ellen, of course, was a police psychologist for 30 years.  She is, in fact, still very active in that community.  But when I read her novels, I definitely feel like I am learning something. And that I'm actually inside the head of a real police psychologist. It's a pretty cool feeling.

I'll let you go to Amazon or Goodreads to get the plot for #3 in the series.  I want to focus on a few of the facts I learned.  And I'm only going to mention 3 of them because I don't want to take away from your reading of the book.  Here they are:

1.  Regarding online child pornography (sorry that this is such a bummer) - "Every month, 60,000 new images are added to these websites."  That brought out an audible "Wow" from me.
2.  (bummer #2) "Most child abductions are parental abductions. Children have more to fear from warring parents than strangers hiding in the bushes."  Did you know that?
3.  I won't quote the passage because it's too long.  But it is fascinating to learn about the role of make-up in a coroner's exam.

I could go on and on.  Really.  This felt like a tutorial, but in a very good way.  I really loved learning about the behind-the-scenes stuff.  I'm know I also got info in #1 & #2.  But it's greatly magnified in #3.

Okay, I have to move along.  But it's hard to do.  I very badly want to give you more insights into the inner workings of police departments. But I want to make sure you read the book!  So here are a couple of other observations I made from reading The Fifth Reflection:

1.  There is quite a bit of subtle humor.  And everybody knows how subtle I am.  (Yeah, right).  But the book is funny.
2.  The writing is very good.  Take a look at this description of an interview by the police:  "There's no apparent logic to Manny's interviewing technique.  His questions come fast and furious, spinning and swirling  from past to present, from California to Norway.  I feel like I'm watching Jackson Pollack create a painting."  Pretty visual, right?
3.  Child pornography and child kidnapping are not fun to read about. But Ellen makes it palatable.  Between the police procedures and the police officers' personal lives, the reader gets a good feel for how hard the job is.  And, not surprisingly, the toll it takes on the families.

This is a good story and a good series.  If you haven't read any of the Dot Meyerhof books, what are you waiting for?  I can't think of a better way to learn about the police and police procedure, directly from an expert.


  1. I'll keep it in mind. I know a good author can make the most distasteful subject palatable so I'll trust your take on this one.

  2. Sadly, I did know #2. Our niece and her ex-husband had a very ugly divorce and he took off with the kids and it took them a while to find them. This sounds gut wrenching but in a good way, if that makes sense.

    1. I get it. But, man, is that rough. How are they all doing now? Is there at least some kind of normalcy in place?