cover image The Night Police: Beyond the Line of Duty

The Night Police: Beyond the Line of Duty

Chris Berg and Paul James Smith. Bookbaby, $16.59 trade paper (286p) ISBN 978-1-54399-686-9

Retired cops Berg and Smith offer an unapologetically politically incorrect look at the lives of Midwestern cops in this collection of fictionalized stories based on their experiences. The authors’ heroes are the Night Police and Street Monsters, veteran policemen of Bristol City who dominate the streets and are able to anticipate and head off trouble. Starting in the 1960s, the cops use language and do things that they warn in their introduction may be off-putting to some. Much of this, however, while sometimes graphic, will strike crime fiction readers as being fairly standard fare, such as a young cop’s discovery of a woman with her throat slit sitting on a toilet in a Chinese restaurant’s bathroom and another cop’s shakedown of a drug dealer in a strip club bathroom. The gallows humor used as a coping mechanism is endemic, as when BCPD officers sharing war stories remember a rookie who was tricked into picking up a murder victim’s brain. This isn’t for the squeamish, though it does accomplish the authors’ goal of depicting policing in America in a very different era, and how career law enforcers reacted differently to horrendous crime then than now. (Self-published)