Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Ex Libris: ‘Walk A Lonely Road’

"Anger was not enough.

The choking rage that had sustained Dave Martin through the day was dying. Exhaustion had taken its place. He needed time to recover. He needed a few days' leave. He needed to adjust. Time was impossible. They were overstretched and undermanned and riot flared continuously. The age of anarchy. The age of terrorists. The age of fear."

My local library, ‘Young Adult’ section, on a rainy day. I’d already read a few of her other, animal-centric novels, but this one* had obviously just been put back on the shelf, and I think I devoured it in the space of an afternoon.

So when I saw this on eBay last year, I had to buy it.

It has stood the test of time surprisingly well, too; it’s a very dark, gritty look at a chapter in the life of an early Seventies police doghandler who loses his dog in the line of duty, and has to retrain a pup to take its place, and though there’s no obvious gore or ghoulish descriptions of violence and deprivation, it doesn’t make easy reading for today's modern, sheltered kids.

I suspect it'll resonate with modern police officers, too. Look at that opening; couldn't it have been written yesterday? Although no-one actually says 'The job's f***ed, Sarge!', as Gadget contributors are wont to do, you won't be too surprised to find yourself expecting someone to say just that at key points!

The book itself is dedicated to 'the Cheshire Constabulary', which would have been Stranger's local force at the time of writing, and presumably gave her some advice and background research to help her write this.

*Joyce Stranger has no wiki entry, even under her real name of Joyce Muriel Wilson. That's a hell of an oversight.


Lord T said...

Well fix it then. Wiki is a living document and needs your input.

JuliaM said...

If Wiki's still around when I retire, I think I'll make it my first project.. ;)

Anonymous said...

As addictive as the most compulsive post-coital habit, a scan of Gadget rabble comments is incomplete without a hot shower and teeth brushing.

Thanks for the warning that the highlights in this book cannot be approached without anticipating the hearty words of PC Branehurts and WPC Slought.