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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
I like memoirs that highlight the contributions of (so called) “ordinary Americans.” Patrolling the Heart of the West: True Tales of a Nevada State Trooper by Steve Raabe is one of those contributions. Told in an engaging style and often punctuated with humor, these vignettes give you a glimpse into the challenges faced by the highway patrol. Some of it is downright funny, like when an inebriated man from California thought that’s where he still was. Some of it is tragic, like the loss of lives in accidents that could have been avoided. Some of it is unforgettable, like escorting, losing, and finding Vice President Gore, all in one day; or helping to dig up the remains of one of the victims of Claude Dallas. Some days you go home, knowing you almost didn’t, like when a drug cartel member shoots himself in the head instead of you.
Steve Raabe is a fifth generation Nevadan who entered the highway patrol in 1980 and retired as a lieutenant in 2001. From his many years of experience, he offers these stories as both entertainment and education. “It is my hope,” Raabe writes, “that these stories will help people understand the duties, dangers, and experiences of state troopers patrolling the remote highways of the western United States. Some of my tales are funny, others are sad; some describe people who experienced an unbelievable amount of luck, and others who had no luck at all.” While he doesn’t hold back on criticism where it’s merited, his accounts reflect the importance of a reasonable attitude and good humor. Whether you have an interest in law enforcement, are a fan of all things Nevadan, or just want to enjoy a good book that you won’t want to put down once you start reading it, you’ll find Patrolling the Heart of the West to be a memorable read. Highly recommended.