Book Review: ‘Killer Triggers’ by Joe Kenda

Joe Kenda: Killer Triggers Book Review

For those not familiar with Lt. Joe Kenda; Kenda is the retired Colorado Springs Police Detective that previously hosted the Discovery Channel series Homicide Hunter, which lasted for 9 seasons and is currently found streaming on Hulu. Currently, he hosts an exclusive Discovery ID show called American Detective in which he recaps other Detectives’ cases. In short, Kenda is one of the most successful detectives in history solving 356 homicide cases (92% solving rate) over his 23-year career. It’s safe to say he has seen a lot and has a lot to say on the topic of murder.

In Killer Triggers, Kenda recounts several murder cases he worked on and approaches it not from the stance of just solving a murder but in discovering the cause (trigger) of the murder. It’s an interesting approach and in general, Kenda comes up with the theory that all murder comes down to three things: sex, drugs, or money. This really isn’t giving away anything. He has said this for years on his television series. He also goes into how the triggers are the things that bother you. Even once you solve a murder of you never understand what happened to make it start to begin with it will nag at you forever.

Kenda’s writing style is very conversational. The book makes you feel like you’re hanging out with a retired detective and he’s recounting his war stories for you. Of course, this is exactly what is happening but it’s charming the way it comes out. He finds a way to make the stories feel real (which they are) and they both fascinate you and bother you in their way that they get under your skin. Detective Kenda not only paints a picture of the crimes but gives you a much better picture of how police work truly impacts your life. It’s not a job where you leave things at work. It took a toll on his family relationships as well as the mental health of not only him (which he still feels to this day) but his family as well. You get a picture of a man who sacrificed so much of his life for the pursuit of solving crimes.

The book itself is a good read. It reads quickly and gives you just enough to want to keep going. It really draws you into the story. You may recognize some cases from Homicide Hunter but presented in a different way that keeps it feeling fresh. I do have just a word of caution: while not trying to intentionally sensationalize things, Kenda isn’t shy about details that may leave little to the imagination. If you are squeamish or get upset by these things you may want to pass. If you are a fan of true crime, this is a definite read for you!

Killer Triggers is available now from Blackstone Publishing.


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  1. What a great review and I will definitely put this one on my TBR list. I know who Kenda is and have seen him on television talking about cases he has worked on. It is a hard subject but a reality of life. I am intrigued now. Thanks for reviewing this!