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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review: The Job: True Tales from the Life of a New York City Cop by Steve Osborne

This book is billed as a memoir, but it isn't. It is a series of personal essays that were written at different times, can be read out of order, and also therefore there are some repetitions. I read it straight through. My husband read it but jumped around from one story to next depending on which title struck him. I don't know that either of us had a better or worse experience.

Steve became a cop in New York City in the mid-1980s. The stories in the book are mostly in chronological order, so you start with the stories of his first days as a rookie, and then climbing up to lieutenant, finally managing a large squad. One advantage of the individual stories instead of a traditional memoir is that he has license to only tell the most interesting stories, and boy, he had some interesting things happen! Not the type of cop to ever voluntarily work a desk, he had the somewhat unique experience of having arrests on his first day, and his last. Some of the stories are funny, some are sad, some are horrifying.

The comparisons to Blue Blood are inevitable. The Job is not quite as well-written, and also suffers from not having a single through-narrative structure, but it is still enjoyable and gives you a great series of slices of what life as a NYC cop is like. It was a short and fascinating read about cops I used to see every day. I'm so glad they do such an important job, and I'm so glad I don't have to.

I read an ARC that was given to me by the owner of my local independent bookstore.

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