2010 Crime

Pocket Notebook – Mike Thomas

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.