Book Review: Skeletons In My Closet

Skeletons In My Closet | A Book Review by Cindy DeJager

Authors Dave Sweet and Sarah Graham

Non Fiction
Publisher: Mischievous Books, Calgary, Alberta, Canada          

Author Dave Sweet is an active Calgary Homicide Detective. Author Sarah Graham writes action-adventure romantic fiction and is a Traditional Knowledge Facilitator for Indigenous communities and oil companies. Together they teamed up to write a book that would be a culmination of police experience, and lessons learned, so that we might understand what tragedy and unfortunate circumstances others go through. Dave tells us: “This book is not about blood, guts or gore…This book is introspective, the stories sincere, and the lessons practical.”

Dave introduces us to what a life of service actually means, and I have never heard a more beautiful and appropriate explanation of the term.


Every day, by our actions and words, we affect the quality of life for others, and for ourselves.

book cover of Skeletons in my Closet

The stories in connection with these quotes are eye-opening and inspiring and I am sure that I won’t forget them any time soon. Rather, I have bookmarked the pages that meant the most to me or that I want to reaffirm in my life.

As I read the book I was surprised and impressed with the number of life lessons that are offered, and most of all the simplicity of them. It left me in awe; and I continued to tag and highlight passages that struck a chord with me. Some of the lessons I have heard many times, but Dave took those layers deeper.

Another lesson I had to bookmark was in Chapter 2: Owning Your Own Path.

Funerals and memorials spotlight that concept of the dash—the unassuming character etched between the birth and death dates on the headstone or printed on a memorial card – and how important the little line is because it marks the actual life lived.

Now, that was deep. I have never looked at my life quite that way – and how profound an idea of living my ‘dash’.

Each chapter takes the reader deeper into our core values and beliefs, and expands upon them. There were definite ah ha moments where Dave would introduce a thought that I wonder how many of us realize we have control over. In Chapter 5: Mental Maturity, Dave tells us that in life we can experience situations that can be tough to process, and how easy it is to put garbage into the human brain, and how hard it is to remove it. And thus, the lesson here is:

“Only Look When You Need To, Avoid Peeking When It is Not Prudent to Do So.”

How many times have you looked at, or watched something that you can never forget and wish you had not witnessed?

Dave shares his own greatest universal lesson in Chapter 4: White Picket Fences.

“Staying out of dark places keeps us safe.”

“Knowing that not everyone lives behind a white picket fence has helped me make better decisions throughout my career. Remembering that some places are darker than we can ever imagine keeps me on what I consider the right path…”

In an easy stride Dave guides us through using our instinct, defining success, changing paradigms, staying adaptable, facts and truth, and creating ripples with our actions. This is no ordinary book and Skeletons is not what I was expecting – it is better. I respect the integrity and sincerity of Detective Dave Sweet. He was able to shed a sliver of light into the darkness that he has seen and experienced without overwhelming our senses with too much of the ‘Technicolor’. In wanting to do this review I was worried about what images I might not be able to rid from my mind, but I am relieved to say there is only one – and that one was a personal incident that I unfortunately was closer to. Even that one, Dave kept the description short.

Dave’s goal was to write a book that one day his children would be able to read and turn to as they grow older; he has succeeded in doing that.

In conclusion, Dave’s final lesson in the book rings true and I found it a fitting ending: “Experience Takes Time. Let It.”

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Opal Writers magazine cover September 2018

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