I am an avid reader …but mainly of first chapters. It takes something special to get me really into a book and on the surface ‘Police, Crime & 999’ looked to be just another cop book. Sure, it promised to give me the inside track as to what REALLY goes on behind the scenes in the British police service …but don’t they all?
What I didn’t expect from a police officer was such a refreshingly different style of writing. It is rare to come across a book that so happily bucks the same formulaic trend for the genre. There is also an artistic freedom that seems to prevail throughout the book. Maybe this is because Donoghue himself does not conform to society’s norms.
After serving as a commissioned officer in the Royal Navy and then in the British Army, he became a successful businessman. Then, rather unsurprisingly, he got bored – so he just handed back his company car and keys to the executive loo – and in his early 40s, started yet another career, this time in the police.
‘Police, Crime & 999’ chronicles the true story of a year in his life as a front line response police officer. His sharp observational humour and wit are evident from the off (along with the odd corny one liner). He is a natural story teller, and Royal arrests, ‘celebrating’ corpses, irate barber shop customers, bungled burglaries, Tourettes’ afflicted pensioners, mad axe men and pornographic snowmen all get the Donoghue treatment. Humour, warmth, intelligence and humanity abound in the book …along with plenty of wonderful little asides.
Although achingly funny, utterly absorbing and very eloquently written, it is also deeply revealing. This is a part of society that (thankfully) most of us never see. What I also loved was seeing the gradual transformation in PC Donoghue over the course of the book – in his own opinions and outlook on life.
This is a treasure trove of a book – a wonderfully informative, self-mocking and addictive read, full of belly laughs. Utterly brilliant.
By Joanne West