Author: Thomas G. Martin
Publisher: Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017. 180p.
Reviewers: Megan Travers and Brandon Dulisse | January 2018

In Seeing Life Through Private Eyes: Secrets from America’s Top Investigator to Living Safer, Smarter, and Saner, Thomas Martin offers an intriguing and well-informed perspective of safe-living through the chronicling of his wide range of experiences, as both a former federal agent and long-time private investigator. As suggested by the title, the purpose of this book is in offering advice for living a safer, smarter, and saner life in a society often plagued by the fear of being victimized through financial scams, violent crime, and even scorned lovers. Martin accomplishes this by providing the reader with a wealth of information and advice, often told through personal accounts of cases he has worked.

Undeniably, the greatest strength of Seeing Life Through Private Eyes is the way in which Martin calls upon both his own personal history as an investigator and that of other experts in order to provide the reader with a complete picture of the topics discussed. In each chapter, he features input from one or more additional experts in a related field, namely lawyers, detectives of specialized units, and other private investigators. By adding the opinions and advice of individuals with various experiences and skills, the author exposes what lies hidden within the “veiled curtain” of many scams, crimes, and personal disputes. These perspectives are not only entertaining and easy to follow, but provide useful and factual resources to understanding the causes underlying each topic.

In an attempt to provide readers with a comprehensive overview of relevant topics, Martin divides his book into eleven chapters with several overarching themes: romantic endeavors, financial conduct, missing persons and tracking, personal wellbeing, and property protection. Within each of these sections, Martin details relevant cases he has worked, while providing valuable lessons for the reader so that a practical application can be made to the reader’s life.

Overall, Martin’s Seeing Life Through Private Eyes is a wonderful book for anyone (in particular, law enforcement professionals and civilians), who is interested in obtaining an expert’s advice on how to minimize risks and dangers in their life. The combination of humor, interesting stories, and personal anecdotes provides readers with an easy read that also establishes many real-life tips and tricks for staying safe and at peace. As this book is largely anecdotal, however, it is not a straightforward “how-to” guidebook that could be used as a sole source reference. Despite this minor drawback, Seeing Life Through Private Eyes is an interesting book that is well-worth the read, providing valuable advice and information that is relevant to living safely in our society.

Megan Travers, student, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Brandon Dulisse Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

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