Blue: A Memoir – Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces by John Sutherland
‘Every contact leaves a trace’
John Sutherland joined the Met in 1992, having dreamed of being a police officer since his teens. Rising quickly through the ranks, and compelled by the opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives, he worked across the capital, experiencing first-hand the enormous satisfaction as well as the endless trauma that a life in blue can bring.
There were remarkable, career-defining moments: commanding armed sieges, saving lives and helping to take dangerous people off the streets. But for every case with a happy ending, there were others that ended in desperate sadness.
In early 2013, John suffered a major breakdown and consequent battle with crippling depression. After a career spent racing to be the first at the scene of crimes and catastrophes, he found himself in pieces, unable to put one foot in front of the other.
Blue is a memoir of crime and calamity, of adventure and achievement, of friendship and failure, of laughter and loss, of the best and the worst of humanity, of serious illness and slow recovery. With searing honesty, it offers an immensely moving and personal insight into what it is to be a police officer in Britain today.
This was another audiobook book. I now listen to these on 1.25 speed as it seems more natural. (Narrators speak quite slowly.) The narrator for the book was perfect, though Sutherland himself would have been a good option as you will see from his TED X talk on my last blog post HERE. In fact, I bought the book after watching the TED X talk.
Being ex-police I found I was transported back to my days in uniform within a few uttered sentences. Life on the streets was vividly brought to life with description and emotion.
It was honest and brave. Sutherland recounts stories of horror and the effects these had on him. He talks about the failings of the police and how they can do better. He talks about the only way they feel they can measure what they do and how he fights against this. He talks about the people behind the uniform. People with lives and feelings. People who go above and beyond for little to no recognition or thanks. But for a job they love.
You’re there with him. On the streets. At those scenes. In his heart. If you’re slightly interested in what the police do or how they work, then this is a book for you. If you write crime and want to know what it really feels like, what they deal with on a day-to-day basis, the wide-ranging set of incidents, the emotions that go with them, then this is the book for you. Nothing is held back other than what is decent for those involved and any policing tactics that shouldn’t be in a book like this. Everything else is here. I devoured this book and I imagine you will too.
I am not a book reviewer. I am an author who reads a LOT. I love audiobooks. And if I come across a book I particularly love then I will share it with you. You won’t find crime fiction books here as I won’t do books in the genre I write in.
I hope you enjoy the few books I decide to share. You will find more books HERE