I always love reading crime fiction from those fellow ex-cops from my Cops Writing Crime project - The Squad, as I've named us.
My normal crime reading is down the hard-boiled and noir avenues (and all those glorious gutters of depravity!), but I do love police procedurals from fellow ex-cops (at least all the ones I've read so far). Having walked those streets in those boots, there's something that reaches out viscerally, I find. And so I do occasionally venture from one variety of mean streets to another - a bit of variety in my genre sex life!
I actually read this debut novel from Canadian author Desmond P. Ryan at the end of last year, but I'm a tad behind in my book reviews. Apologies.
Ryan is a former long-serving Toronto detective, and his debut novel, 10-33 Assist PC, is a superb police procedural just basting in the realism that one hopes to get from ex-cops writing crime fiction.
All of the brush strokes of police life are here, as we follow the protagonist, Det. Mike O'Shea, through the underbelly of Toronto, doing his best to take down a prostitution ring of enslaved girls. We have the police partner with the annoying habits, the glimpses of family life and its second place to "the job" (my Aussie slang, there), the obsession with getting a result, the conflict with those cops not equally sharing the passion, the internal police politics and petty rivalries and oneupmanship, the ensuing clusterfucks (if you thought police departments were well-oiled machines, they're usually not, and Ryan nails this aspect), and the tragic end results.
Never any spoilers from me on the story - if you love police procedurals, then I strongly recommend you read it.
Ryan's realism evoked many memories for me, and I've been out of the cops for 20 years now. But so much came rushing back, especially as I worked vice, and this is the litmus test for me when I'm looking for realism in crime writing about police work. If those memories come flooding back (some of them unwelcome, I have to say), then I know the author has done a very fine job.
Take a bow, Mr Ryan, you're off to a flying start as a crime author.
And I've just gone online this afternoon to buy your next. Looking forward to the epilogue to this novel, and the next novel.
P.S. You can check out the Cops Writing Crime here - The Squad.
Bringing you hard-boiled and noir tales of crime and corruption. And various related opinions!