Pocket Notebook – Mike Thomas

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Pocket Notebook is written by a serving policeman and describes the life of Jacob Smith, a tactical firearms officer, who begins to loose control of his life. He abuses steroids, has relationship problems and can no longer cope with his demanding job.

It doesn’t sound like my sort of book at all and I have to admit that I would never have picked it up. It arrived unsolicited from the publisher and I was quite prepared to leave it on the shelf unread. One day I decided to sort out my book shelf and started to read the first page of this book – I couldn’t put it down!

It gives a fascinating insight into the life of a police officer. I loved learning about the detail of their job – the little things that they do in order to get through the day. Of course we will never really know how much of it is true, but I suspect that most of the events described in this book have happened to some extent. I assume that many in the police force will be upset by the release of this book – they won’t want the controversial behaviour to become public knowledge, but I was reassured by what I read. They have an incredibly difficult job and if “black dogging”* makes their life easier then I’m all for it!

The plot of this book isn’t that earth shattering, but that just reflects the mundane life of the average police officer:

I’m neither surprised nor exhilarated by anything I’ve done or any call I’ve been to in the last week. Just constantly shocked by the pettiness of it all, how the people I’m supposedly serving are so inept as to be virtually  incapable of looking after themselves. I’m society’s garbage man, just here to take out the trash, to spoonfeed these spastic sink-estate dwellers, the trolls and inbreds in their shellsuits with their state-funded cinema-sized surround-sound tellies, these women – these girls – who think spewing out babies by different and now absent fathers qualifies as an occupation.

The characters are well drawn and there are some really emotional scenes in there. I’m not sure how interesting this book will be to people in other countries as it is very British, but perhaps those from overseas will enjoy reading about dysfunctional people living in the UK!

Recommended to anyone who’d like to find out what police officers really get up to!

*Black dogging is when a police officer ‘sees’ a black dog crossing the road and so brakes sharply, throwing anyone in the back of the police van against the wall. It is pure coincidence that dogs tend to cross the road when the detainees in the back of the van are being disorderly and abusive.

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  1. Verity says:

    This sounds intriguing – I like books which give me insights into different career paths that I don’t know anything about!

    1. Jackie says:

      Verity, I have a lot more empathy for the police after reading this book. They have a tough job.

  2. I have found there to be a lot of similarities between police and nurses. They have very high stress jobs, and a lot of authority and yet a lot of restrictions on their authority, creating even more stress. In our country police get very nice pensions if they stay on 25 years, and I think they deserve it. Nurses do not, but they deserve it too!

    1. Jackie says:

      rhapsodyinbooks, I agree – these people work really hard under stressful and dangerous situations. They should be appreciated by society more than they are at the moment.

  3. Annabel says:

    I’d been a bit put off by the derivative cover, but it sounds totally intriguing. It’s going on the wishlist. I agree, police, nurses, firemen, paramedics all deserve our respect for the hard jobs they do.

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, The cover doesn’t appeal to me either, but those first few pages have such an impact that you soon forget the silly cover!

  4. Jessica says:

    Im not saying anything but that paragraph was certainly accurate !unfortunately Ive also seen also of relationship breakdowns.

    For another good book on the subject is ‘wasting police time’ by David Copperfield. It was based on a blog so the situations and people are real.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jessica, Thank you for commenting on my blog for the first time! I love the truth in that paragraph. I wouldn’t use the same words, but it does sum up a lot of the problems with this country. Thanks for the book recommendation – I’ll keep an eye out for it.

  5. Hmmm sounds interesting but then again sort of sounds a bit mediocre too. One that I might pick up in a library or book shop (I dont go in to those as very much any more sadly haha) and read a few pages to get the measure of if its for me or not.

    1. Jackie says:

      Simon, No, not mediocre. I guarantee you’d be hooked by the first few pages. I dare you to try!

  6. Stujallen says:

    i really enjoyed this he maybe heir to burgess ,he made jake seem very real in places and captured the zeitgeist

    1. Jackie says:

      Stujallen, I haven’t read any Burgess – perhaps I’ll give him a try one day!

  7. Kathleen says:

    My dad was a police officer for 7 years. I wonder if he might enjoy something like this or be amazed at the secrets about his former profession that were getting out?

    1. Jackie says:

      Kathleen, I think your Dad would enjoy this, although if he knows all the secrest already it could go both ways! I’d love to know the thoughts of a police officer though, so please let me know what he made of it if he decides to give it a go.

  8. caite says:

    don’t you just love it when you end up really enjoying a book that you would never have normally picked up.

    1. Jackie says:

      caite, It is one of the best things about reading!

  9. I randomly ran into a friend yesterday who has become a police officer and, ever since, I have been wondering how he ended up there and what that job is like. Sounds like the perfect read for me right now!

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, Sounds like a good reason to me! I hope that you enjoy it!

  10. Beth F says:

    Interesting! Like you, I probably wouldn’t have even considered this on my own. I like the extract you included.

    1. Jackie says:

      Beth, It is nice to get an unexpected surprise when browsing through boks!

  11. Another new one to me. Sounds good!

    1. Jackie says:

      Sheila, I hope you enjoy it if you decide to pick it up.

  12. Jenners says:

    Isn’t it funny how you can think books are not for you and then it turns out you love them? Glad this worked for you … what a great unsolicited gift!

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenners, Sometimes the unsolicited ones are the best :-)

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