Thursday, 25 May 2017

Forever Blue: Adventures, Lessons, and Purpose - True Stories of My Life as a Police Officer by Carl Ross

The full precis of this book is at the bottom of my review.

I must first point out that this memoir is by a police officer who worked in the Los Angeles Police Department. His experiences and situations may not be the same in other countries or even other states of the US.

Forever Blue records the forty-year career of Carl Ross through his experiences in law enforcement.

His recollections, obviously based on well-kept notes, vary through humorous to dangerous situations, exciting to tedious, boring to exciting. They tell of pressure brought by the system, fellow officers and, of course, criminals. They also express many satisfactions of being a good cop.

The information is not only of interest to anyone considering a career in the police force but for the general public gives a greater understanding into the challenges of such a career.

However, while I appreciate Ross’ dedication and integrity in his chosen field I felt the book, although well written, is too long with many similar situations recorded making it somewhat tedious and boring reading.   

My rating 3*

This review is also available through my website

Carl Ross has spent over four decades inside the world of police work. His memoir takes the reader on patrol, into investigations, on SWAT calls, and inside the chief's office, all the while explaining what officers do and why. Forever Blue has more than 225 true stories taken from the author's files and unforgettable encounters.
The following samples of the book's stories give a glimpse of the variety of experiences in store for the reader: the best way to have a wreck in a police car; the murderer and the band saw; suicides in progress; one nightstick too many; all knives look sharp when pointed at your stomach; on scene during the UT Tower Massacre; a cop killer's parole hearing - 30 years later; a Texas Ranger's story; 3 weeks at Ground Zero; the Green Goo case; SWAT saves a family; when the dog barks - pay attention; a killer in the bushes; the captain's foot chase; why the fire department called the police; terrible collisions; when bad cops cross the line; heroes who gave it all; SWAT and "knock-knock" come calling; count the police cars before a burglary, and ", don't shoot."

Ride along with Carl Ross as he meets honest citizens, drunks, thieves, drug dealers, murderers, and even politicians.  Learn why police work is not for everyone and how it can become the ultimate life choice for others.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

True Crime Stories Volume 6: 12 Shocking True Crime Murder Cases (True Crime Anthology) by Jack Rosewood

True Crime Stories Volume 6 chronicles twelves crimes from different countries that occurred at a variety of different times including mass murders. This is the first in this series I have read or, in fact, anything by Jack Rosewood.

It is an intriguing collection with detailed information but I found it not too grisly. Rosewood doesn’t just detail the crimes but looks into the perpetrator’s background and personality. Having said that it concise with just sufficient information and obviously well researched.

For an intriguing, quick read I highly recommend this book to readers of true crime stories.

My rating 4*

This review is also available through my website

Thursday, 11 May 2017

The Blue Mile by Kim Kelly

Precis of the story follows this review.

I borrowed the audio book of The Blue Mile from my local library. I was looking for material to give me a ‘feel’ for Sydney during the Great Depression as research for my current book. Although it is a fictional story line the backdrop of hardship, politics of the day and the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge are based on factual.

 The reason I chose the audio edition was to make use of my time driving to and from work – trying to cram in as much research as possible.

This period of Australian history has always interested me but still learnt a great deal more.  As an insight into the era and the building of a major landmark, it is accurate and absorbing. The Sydney Harbour is itself a link between the two characters. It provides work for Eoghan when finding a job was difficult and inspiration for Olivia’s fashion designs.

The blue mile refers to the stretch of water in Sydney Harbour between the suburbs where the two characters, Eoghan O'Keenan and Olivia Greene, live; a world apart in relation to background, financial security and class.

As a love story, it is enchanting. The characters are believable and, although they come from different class backgrounds, are well matched. Little Agnes is a delightful child who has a very grown up attitude to life.

The audio book is narrated by Zoe Ellerton-Ashley and James Harvy. Both of these Australian actors brought their characters to life as well as that of Agnes. James’ Irish accent was delightful to listen to.
I loved the story and its audio presentation and often wished my trip to work was longer so I could keep listening.

I am not a reader of love stories but Miss Kelly has delivered a well-researched historical fiction/love story with characters I enjoyed immensely. It had me totally engrossed. I intend to follow up with reading more of her books.

My rating 5*

This review is also available via my website

The week before Christmas, 1929, Eoghan O'Keenan loses his factory job, and has to flee the slums of Chippendale with his seven-year-old sister Agnes. On the north side of Sydney at Lavender Bay, Olivia Greene is working on her latest millinery creations and dreaming of becoming the next Coco Chanel.

A job on the Harbour Bridge for Eoghan, designing couture for the Governor's wife for Olivia, and a chance meeting in the Botanic Gardens sees the beginning of an unconventional romance. From vastly different backgrounds, with absolutely nothing in common - from faith to wealth and class - it seems that the blue mile of harbour between Olivia and Eoghan will be the least of the obstacles ahead.

By mid-1932, as the construction of the Bridge is completed, the city is in chaos as the Great Depression begins to bite hard and the unemployed edge ever closer to a violent revolt. And then Eoghan disappears.

Set against the spectacular backdrop of Sydney Harbour, The Blue Mile is a tale of the both wild and calculated risks a city took to build a wonder of the world, and of those taken by ordinary people to save a great love, against all of the odds.