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The Making of a Detective

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Harvey Rachlin’s second foray into police life, The Making of a Detective, is so rich with insider information, you’ll hope criminals aren’t taking notes. As he monitors David Carbone’s first four years as a homicide detective in one of New York City’s deadliest precincts — the 75th, in Brooklyn — Rachlin documents the policeman’s involvement in several grisly cases, accompanying him on stakeouts and explaining how evidence such as blood-trail direction, wound shape, and skin discoloration help point to the killers. Rachlin is a better observer than writer. As the squad’s starry-eyed admirer, he finds all its tough-guy banter equally riveting (one detective calls the morgue’s stench ”OD Toilette”), and he’s quick to dismiss the occasional deceptions that detectives use to extract confessions from suspects. Still, for those die-hard ”true crime” fans who are not already sated with endless shows like America’s Most Wanted and Cops, this comprehensive probe into the minutiae of clever cop tricks is a comparably vicarious thrill. B