I recently reviewed a great book by a high school mentor of mine over on my web site ThePortlander.com Below is a reprint of my review of Blood Secrets: Chronicles of a Crime Scene Reconstructionist:
A few weeks ago ThePortlander introduced you to a new book by West Linn resident Rod Englert. Since then, I had the pleasure of reading the non-fiction work and can report that Mr. Englert has made Portland proud. This is one great read, and I hope for more.
Chief Deputy (Ret.) Rod Englert is a 44 year veteran of law enforcement, most recently of the Multnomah County Sheriffs Office. After graduating from the Los Angeles Police Academy and spending a number of years with the Downey, CA police department, Englert moved his family and career to Portland, OR where he joined Multnomah County as a deputy. Over the next few decades, his life and career would take the path of a master detective, crime scene expert and the father of modern blood spatter analysis.
His book, Blood Secrets, is not only about blood spatter analysis and crime scenes, it is about the extraordinary life of Mr. Englert. It is this style of storytelling that keeps the reader engaged and interested in every turn of the 268 page hardcover. Along with his co-author Kathy Passero, Englert walks readers through what drew him to law enforcement as a kid, the mistake he made as a rookie cop that led him to blood spatter analysis and the celebrity cases that he has been involved in.
As someone that has known Rod for more than 15 years, I was aware that he was involved in modern America’s best known crime case, the O.J. Simpson trial, but I had no idea that he was also involved in the celebrity cases of Robert Blake, Bob Crane, Ennis Cosby and Selena Quintanilla-Perez. This portion of the book presents details that you have never heard from the media.
It isn’t just the celebrity cases that really make this book. It wasn’t even the details of the other fascinating cases that Englert has worked on. It was the little things like the tale of being arrested as a kid that ultimately lead to his career in law enforcement, and the story of a Portland area high school student that helped solved a key puzzle in a celebrity trial and cementing her interest in detective work. Those personal details take Blood Secrets from being a technical true crime text book and elevate it up to a popular memoir about an interesting life and career.
There is one slow section of the book while the author describes the details and intricacies of blood spatter evidence. Unless you are in law enforcement or have a deep interest in crime scene analysis, you may struggle in these pages. This detail, however, is necessary and I applaud Englert for including it. Not only does this knowledge help the reader understand the details of crimes Englert describes in later chapters, it shows would-be CSI’s that detective work isn’t always high tech and can sometimes be as simple as it is complex.
I strongly recommend this book to many different types of readers. It is an obvious pick for anyone in law enforcement or those that enjoy true crime. It is also a great selection for those of us that love to read about the interesting lives of others, learning more about how they got to where they are today. Finally, if you live in the Portland area, pick up this book and support a local author!
Rod Englert will be reading from and signing his book Blood Secrets: Chronicles of a Crime Scene Reconstructionist on Thursday, May 27th, 7pm at the Beaverton Powell’s.