“Death as a Living,” a bestselling book by Dayton Detective Doyle Burked

CNO 2.0 Venue and Details

The venue for tonight’s CNO 2.0 meeting was Heavier than Air Brewing Company. Thank you, Nick Tarkany, the owner and CNO member and his team for the great beer, food and space!

Mike Creech won the 50/50 drawing. As always, the other half of the 50/50 is donated to the Optimist International Foundation.

There were 60 people at the meeting (28 guests, 31 members and 1 speaker).

Greg Fay, chair of CNO 2.0, let guests know that he is so happy there are so many guests at tonight’s meeting. Guests are always welcome. He said that CNO’s three fundraisers bring in over $200,000 per year.

Doyle Burke, Dayton, Ohio Police Department Cold Case Unit

Greg Fay introduced Doyle Burke, a bestselling author and a retired Dayton Homicide Detective that currently works cold murder cases. His book is titled, “Death as a Living: Investigating Murder in the American Heartland.”

Before getting started, Doyle Burke said, “I love speaking at meetings like tonight’s meeting.” He also said, “I am kind of retired and I have retired hundreds of times!”

Doyle Burke’s Background

Doyle Burke joined the Dayton Police Department in 1978 and worked there for twenty-nine years. After having two kids. he realized that working until midnight and being in court early most days he needed a new roll in the department. He put in for detective and they put him on the burglary squad where he worked for one and half years. He took an opening in robbery stakeout which he liked even more than the burglary squad. Robbery stakeout involved going undercover as a pizza delivery guy and surprising would-be robbers with an arrest.

Doyle said, “I have worked with some of the greatest officers you can imagine.” He thought the stakeout guys were top notch. Then he was on the scene for his first homicide. Fellow officers told him to wait until he sees the homicide detectives’ work. At the scene three homicide detective showed up. They immediate took charge of the room. You must be confident and be able to take authoritative charge or you can’t be a homicide detective.

He wanted to be a homicide detective badly and when an opening occurred, he took it. He had a rough time because his fellow homicide detectives started having health issues and he took more on than he was ready for.

He was a homicide detective for twenty-two years, which is a record that will never be broken as nobody lasts that long.

When there is a murder case everyone wants to help you. Doyle said, “I never solved anything on my own. It is a big team effort. You do need that authoritative presence.”

Doyle continued, “It is an interesting job. I could have retired at twenty-five years, but I stayed for twenty-nine years.”

Cold Murder Cases

Just before one of Doyle’s retirements, he was visited by Gary White who asked him and another detective to work Dayton’s cold murder cases. Doyle told us, “I was 5 days away from doing nothing!” They were told they could pick two more guys to join their team. They were asked what else they needed, and Doyle said, “We need an office, cars, guns and badges.” On the team was a fantastic IT guy who set up all kinds of social media accounts to get people to give information that has led to a lot of solved cold murder cases.

Doyle has previously worked on many of the cold cases they are working on. They know from the original investigations who did the crimes but proving it is difficult.

A few cases are solvable now because of better DNA detection machines. There are DNA detection machines now that in some cases are too powerful, so they use less capable methods and machines. For example, a shirt put into the machine will come up with the DNA of people involved in the murder and the victim, but it will also come up with the DNA of the store clerk that sold it and the people involved making the shirt.

Death as a Living, by Doyle Burke

Doyle Burke wrote a bestselling book, “Death as a Living: Investigating Murder in the American Heartland.”

About the book from Inkshares.com:

Burke is one of Ohio’s preeminent homicide detectives, teaching classes around the state. In this book, he shares his tricks of the trade: how detectives solve cases, what they look for, the importance of forensic science, or the irreplaceable value of instinct. He shares the inside stories of his most important cases, some of which brought national attention.

What follows is more about writing the book and the process to publish it. If you want to learn more about the book itself, use this link.

Doyle’s wife told him he needs to write a book. He listened to her and on a plane to Vegas he came up with 45 chapters. He cut the number of chapters way down and It took him six months to write the book. His wife read it and said it was maybe “OK.” He then started refining the book and also knew, like every other writer, he needed editing.

He found an editor that said it will cost about $5000.00 to edit the book based on the word count. Doyle’s initial reaction was that he was no longer going to publish a book, but the editor said before they agree to this that Doyle should send him four chapters to make sure it was worth moving forward. The editor loved it and said he would not charge up front and would accept 25% if there are sales. It took a year for the two of them to clean the book up.

After the editor and Doyle were done cleaning up the book, they checked major online retailers, and their deals were terrible. There are four major traditional publishers and they had zero interest in the book. There are thousands of low-end publishers that don’t know what they are doing. They were looking for a middle ground. They found Inkshres.com. Inkshares.com will publish your book if you can sell 750 pre-orders for $20 each in 90 days. If you don’t reach 750, they refund everyone’s money. Doyle’s book achieved the goal and Inkshares.com had the book professionally edited. Doyle said that this next level of editing required him rereading his book so many times that he told us, “It was a nightmare. I was in the 7th level of hell.”

Doyle does attend some book shows, but if they are far away, he uses Zoom since it is not worth traveling to California, for example, to sell five books.

The artwork on the book cover was a huge deal with Inkshares.com. Doyle really wanted a badge on the cover like the other 6 or 7 other Dayton Police Officer authors had. Inkshares.com told, “You don’t want the badge, it doesn’t work and how well is it working for the other authors?” The cover has grown on him now and he is happy with the book cover.

The book came out on December 21, 2021. After Newsweek magazine came out with their “Our 21 Favorite Books of 2021” and included Doyle’s book, sales went through the roof.

Newsweek had this description of the book, “A homicide detective draws on more than 30 years in an Ohio police department to share experiences that are awe-inspiring, heartrending and even funny. Entertaining and thought-provoking, Burke blends vignettes from his time on the beat with deeply considered ideas on policing.”

Doyle was asked at tonight’s meeting if he has enough material to write another book. Doyle said, “Yep, but I’m not going to!”

Thank You Doyle Burke

Thank you, Doyle Burke, for speaking at tonight’s CNO 2.0 meeting and telling us your story and what it was like to write and publish a best-selling book.

About CNO 2.0

CNO 2.0 is a club within a club of the Centerville Noon Optimist Club. CNO (and CNO 2.0) is a world class service organization. Being a member of either club allows their members all the same opportunities to participate in fundraising and club activities. CNO 2.0 was created about 5 years ago and is very much a part of the 54-year-old Centerville Noon Optimist Club. CNO has given away over $2 million during its history. CNO is a group of like-minded members that are passionate about helping youth and having fun in the process.

The speaker at each 2.0 meeting is someone with a local business success story.

Annual Fundraisers

  • Christmas Tree Lot
  • Avenue of Flags
  • Golf Outing

Major Activities for the youth in our community

  • Build-a-Bear at Children’s Hospital, 3 times a year
  • Fishing Derby in June
  • Kid’s Day in the Park in August
  • Easter Egg Hunt
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