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Shards: A Young Vice Cop Investigates Her Darkest Case of Meth Addiction-Her Own

Shards: A Young Vice Cop Investigates Her Darkest Case of Meth Addiction-Her Own

3.7 7
by Allison Moore, Nancy Woodruff (With)

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The shocking true story of Allison Moore, a cop in Hawaii who became addicted to meth, deceived her entire police department, and endured prison, prostitution, and torture—until finally seeking redemption.

I had told myself when I did that line that I would only try it once. . . . But when I started to come down, I couldn’t face being plunged into the


The shocking true story of Allison Moore, a cop in Hawaii who became addicted to meth, deceived her entire police department, and endured prison, prostitution, and torture—until finally seeking redemption.

I had told myself when I did that line that I would only try it once. . . . But when I started to come down, I couldn’t face being plunged into the icy cold water of my real life. I couldn’t bear to have those feelings return. I did another line, bigger than the first. It made me feel calm, confident, excited about my future. Meth was the answer to all my problems.

As a beautiful, ambitious, and fearless young woman, Allison Moore had everything going for her: She had been the star student of her recruit class and was quickly promoted to vice cop at the Maui Police Department, while earning the respect of her colleagues and a stellar reputation. But when a doomed love affair with another cop led Allison to seek a desperate escape, her life took a sudden and violent plunge.

Using her position of authority and skills of manipulation, Allison hid her addiction from her lover and her department for as long as possible. She fabricated an elaborate story that she had ovarian cancer and needed to seek treatment on the mainland, while actually traveling to get a steady supply of meth from a brutal Seattle drug dealer. When her intensifying dependence on meth put her at the mercy of the ruthless dealer, he made her a prisoner in his house, subjecting her to unthinkable physical and sexual abuse, and monitoring her every move through a web of hidden cameras.

Astounding, gripping, and told firsthand in a deeply sympathetic voice, Shards spares no detail of Allison’s horrific experiences and the tangle of addiction and betrayal that cost her the career she loved, the colleagues who adored her, and the island that was once her paradise.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Becoming a cop in the Maui (Hawaii) Police Department seemed to satisfy Moore's personality as an "adrenaline junkie" until the accessibility of drugs and an affair with a married colleague lured her into shattering abuse. At 23, adrift in seeking a career, athletic and determined, she found that training for the police force suited her, and once she became a rookie investigative cop, on the islands of Maui and Lanai, she grew obsessive, workaholic, and painstaking about trying to be fair and professional as a white, blond woman in a poor, heavily Filipino area that was riddled by drug use. A double teenaged suicide on Moore's watch devastated her, bringing up her own despair during her teenaged years in Albuquerque: her architect father had left the family for another woman when she was 14, and at 15 the author had tried to commit suicide after having an abortion. As an adult, and against her better instincts, Moore succumbed to the sexual comforts of a "broke" cop (that is, lazy and not fastidious), Keawe, who was married with three children; after another abortion the emotional pain began to gnaw at her. Once she was promoted to Vice and had the methamphetamine, aka ice, fall into her hand, she thought she had at last found "the answer to all problems." Accelerating use, debilitating health at the mercy of abusive dealers, burning up money, and unfurling a tangle of lies were the sad result. Moore's ability to dress herself down so nakedly is a brave feat and formidable to grasp. (Feb.)
Wendy Lawless
"Shards is a straight-up, gut-wrenching account of one woman’s fierce battle with her demons. Honest and moving, it is a testament to ultimately choosing to save your own life and proof that anything is survivable."
Kathy Burke
"Compelling from the first page."
Kirkus Reviews
An honest, introspective account of a vice cop's methamphetamine addiction. Written with the assistance of writing instructor and novelist Woodruff (My Wife's Affair, 2010, etc.), Moore's harrowing account begins at the lowest point of the author's life. Plunged into the depths of her addiction, the despair and fear are palpable as she chronicles her frantic attempt to commit suicide. "I'm living in hell and I can't even die," she writes. Moore then spins the narrative back in time to fill in her story before her addiction and near death. Before her first snort, the author was an innocent blonde island transplant, having moved from New Mexico to Hawaii. A waitress looking to finally put down roots, she applied to the Maui Police Department on a whim and was shocked when she was accepted. Once she became part of the department, Moore's hard work and dedication set her apart, and she began working on drug cases on her own in a feverishly idealistic dream to rid the islands of the scourge of meth. Then a series of emotional drains left her feeling like she couldn't cope, and the circumstances of her job left her with a small amount of meth in her hands. The spiral that comes next may be predictable, but it feels fresh in Moore's telling, and the outcome is no less terrifying. "The meth gave me a false sense of reality," she writes, "masking the truth and keeping me alive until it almost killed me." Somehow, knowing that the author survived to tell her story doesn't offer any comfort or allay fear for her well-being. This effect can only be attributed to the strong writing, with Woodruff helping to bring the story to life. An addition to the world of addiction literature worth reading, full of grim reality that thankfully never crosses the line into gratuitous territory.

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt


  • He wants to take a shower so I make it ready for him, turning the stiff chrome handle until the water is perfect.

    Everything, everything has to be perfect for him. If he doesn’t like the temperature of the water. If I add too much cream to his coffee. If I don’t weigh exactly 116 pounds.

    The consequences are never the same. I would love to know that when I fuck up I will just get the shit kicked out of me, but every time is different. Sometimes it’s just a beating. Sometimes I have to face the wall while he whips me with a rubber hose. Other times, my head in the toilet until I can’t breathe. Or this: brushing my teeth with Mechanics hand cleaner while he grabs my throat so I can’t swallow.

    This time I am careful not to fuck up. I only need a few minutes. Just enough time to go downstairs for the gun. Most of the weapons have been hidden away except for the revolver he keeps in the shop for protection. He never sells from the house, but sometimes he’ll negotiate there.

    He has a name, but I can’t speak or even spell it. I’ll call him my dealer.

    While he’s in the shower, my job is to get his clothes ready, make his coffee, load a bowl with dope, bring everything into the bathroom, and stay there until he is ready to get out.

    But not today. Not today.

    My plan is to kill him, then kill myself. I’ll get him coming out of the shower.

    I walk down the stairs and go into the shop. I don’t know if it’s morning or night and I don’t even care. I’m on tweaker time. I’ve been up for days.

    The revolver is exactly where I know it is, in the back of a drawer in his worktable, in a FedEx envelope addressed to his friend Joe. A Ruger .38 with a black handle and wood inlay, disassembled.

    Putting together a revolver isn’t difficult, but only if I remain calm. I move into work mode. In recruit school we had this saying: slow is smooth and smooth is fast. If you’re trying to rush putting a mag in your firearm you’ll fumble it up. If you take your time it goes faster in the end.

    I insert the cylinder, then the trigger guard, steady, thinking clearly. I’m not shaking. Except for my hands, I’m completely still, focusing so hard on listening. I can still hear the shower going, the water running through the pipes down to the basement.

    I’ve thought about leaving a note for my family, for Keawe, but I have been too scared the dealer would find it or see me writing it. For me there are no hiding places in this house, no secrets from him. I figure I can write to the people I love after I kill him, before I kill myself. I have thought a lot about what I want to write, but all I can really say is that I love them, and that I’m sorry. I’m not going to try to explain anything. There is no explanation for what I have done and what has been done to me. Just Sorry and I love you, that’s all.

    Will they ever see the note? Who will even find us—the dealer’s friend Joe or one of his drug groupies? Will they bother to call the cops?

    How will they even know who I am?

    I push these thoughts away. I need to stay focused. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. I insert the hammer and the hammer pin, then the spring. I have a little trouble with the spring, but it doesn’t faze me. The handle, the wood inlays, then the pin that you push in to hold it all together. Once I put the inlays in I grab the last piece, a screw that holds the inlays and the handle together.

    The shower stops. I should be there with his clothes, his coffee, the bowl of dope. In a minute he’ll come looking for me, but it’s okay. I’ll get him coming down the stairs.

    I cannot change my mind now, and I don’t want to. In my heart I know I will die in this house. I want to die. I want to take him with me, but if there’s only one bullet, I’ll use it on myself.

    I have to finish turning the screw—I have no tools, so it’s going slow. I want to load the gun first. I look up from what I’m doing, shaking the envelope.

    I can’t find the bullets.

    There are no bullets.

    He’s the master of hidden compartments—meth in the hollowed-out leg of his kitchen table, coke in the recessed lighting. If there are bullets, they could be anywhere, and I don’t have enough time.

    My body collapses. I tell myself, You have to move, because when he gets out of the shower he’s going to come looking for you.

    I look wildly around the shop for tools I can kill him with, but he’s taken everything dangerous from the house, even the kitchen knives. He knows I want to die. I have told him so over and over again.

    Even if I do manage to kill him now, how will I find a way to die?

    My hands no longer steady, I start to disassemble the gun, to put the parts back in the envelope and into the drawer before he gets to the shop. But he’ll know anyway. There are cameras hidden all over the house, in every corner of every room, in the recessed lighting, the air vents, the electrical sockets. If he watches the footage he’ll know what I was trying to do.

    Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. I’m rushing now, I’m fucking it up. I need a hit.

    His footsteps on the stairs—I hear them.

    He’s coming down now, to find me.

    I’m living in hell and I can’t even die.

  • Meet the Author

    Allison Moore is a former narcotics officer with the Maui Police Department. A native of New Mexico, she served a one-year sentence in the Federal Correction Center in Oahu for drug-related felonies. She is currently attempting to make amends to all those she has hurt and find her way back to life.

    Nancy Woodruff received her MFA from Columbia University, and she has taught writing at Columbia, Purchase College, Richmond, the American International University in London, and New York University. She is the author of two novels, My Wife’s Affair and Someone Else’s Child. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband, sons, and daughter.

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    Shards: A Young Vice Cop Investigates Her Darkest Case of Meth Addiction-Her Own 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Fantastic book which doesn't sugar coat the terrible world of addiction. Highly recommend it!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book proves a brutally honest look at a life that went wrong.   Once drugs were involved, a chain reaction of bad decisions follow.  Allison shows astonishing strength to have pulled herself out and to continue fight for the life she deserves.  After reading this book, I find myself looking at people in a different way.  How many are struggling and good use a caring conversation or a hand to guide them?
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This was not an easy book to read but it made me understand how and why such disastrous choices are made by intelligent and rational persons. The pressures on Ms Moore both real and perceived combined to have her make the decision that almost destroyed her life. Fortunately for her, she with the help of her family, had the perseverance and wherewithal to reverse the situation. I am sure she has a long road ahead of her but I greatly admire her fortitude and honesty.
    Wildflowers More than 1 year ago
    Shards: A Young Vice Cop Investigates Her Darkest Case of Meth Addiction - Her Own by Allison Moore with Nancy Woodruff is a poignant, heartbreaking and tragic memoir. The searing intensity of her desperation makes me fighting for a deep breath of fresh air. I can only empathize with her struggle, fear and hopelessness but at times, there is this gnawing ache in my stomach to just lunge at her and stop her from continuing. While the narration is quite strong and engrossing, the language is uncouth and appears a bit uncivilized. May be, that goes with the nature of the book. The foul language and the situations described in the book would make it unsuitable for many people. But if you are willing to bear that and hear her out, it makes for an absorbing read.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    A large pitch black brute stood in the clearing. His deep yellow eyes were silent as they gazed through the trees.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    For me, this was so much more than a gripping read.  Alison's life is described with honesty and insight, and that is why I could sympathize so easily as she made choices that I feel I would never make.  As another reviewer said, after reading this book I look at people in a different way.  Specifically I am far less judgmental of addicts.  I can now comprehend how middle class teenagers and adults, and also police officers and medical personnel (who like Alison, have access to drugs), could make this terrible choice.  I am so glad I read this book. 
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago