Saturday, 26 October 2013

he kills coppers - jake arnott (plus some charlie brown)

'He Kills Coppers' was recommended to me, as l was unaware of  Jake Arnott's oeuvre (so to speak), but l must admit, it was a rollicking tale, and a change from my normal reading.
Three policemen are shot and killed (you could have guessed that bit) while the World Cup is being staged in London, 1966, and there's also a crackdown on vice around Soho, but corruption in the police force. Tony Meehan, (a would be newspaper reporter) is on the case and like Frank Turner,  the police protagonist, is very ambitious (but with a secret vice of his own).   The main killer of the policemen, Billy Porter, manages to escape justice, and the action leaps to 1971 and 1985, taking in football hooliganism, politics, changes in policing tactics, miners strikes, Margaret Thatcher (milk snatcher), CND, Class War, and much more inbetween.
All the more convincing for being a believable story that doesn't go over the top, probably because real events and people are used and referenced (The Krays and Richardsons, Lord Longford etc).  The cop killer himself that went on the run is based on the true story of Harry Roberts, who is still in prison for killing some policemen in Shepherds Bush, 1966, and who also went on the run, evading capture by hiding in Epping Forest. He used to be used by anti police groups as something to taunt the 'rozzers' with ("Harry Roberts is our friend - he kills coppers etc").
This was adapted for TV (as was Arnott's 'The Long Firm') so l may check it out to compare and contrast, although adaptations of books l have read usually let me down, as they are never as good as my own imagination and perception of them.  This goes back for me as far as the Charlie Brown and Peanuts movies, which annoyed me intensely because the accents seemed so wrong after devouring the books and hearing my own voices (l still do!).

toodle pip

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