It must be quite frustrating at times for a police officer reading crime fiction and thinking, ‘but that would never happen that way!’

Debut novelist Desmond P. Ryan is here to address this problem: a former Canadian detective with 30 years experience on the force behind him, he’s penned the first in a planned series featuring Detective Constable Mike O’Shea, and is adamant that he writes ‘Real Crime. Fiction.’.

What’s it about?

Our D/C is on his way to capture and arrest a group of human traffickers and their juvenile prostitutes when he and his partner are ‘burned’ by another unit. Anxious that they will now lose the pimps involved, but determined to shut down this group, O’Shea and his team work around the clock to locate the missing girls and their captors. Too little sleep and too little intel combine to create a volatile situation, and when things go horribly wrong, the situation becomes personal for O’Shea and his team.

What’s it like?

Gritty, convincing and full of cop humour. The interaction between the various police officers and the suspects / victims / family members feels authentic and the sense of a tightly knit group who have to rely upon each other is evident. I found the subject matter interesting and well-handled – plenty to create suspense and establish certain characters as Bad Dudes, without becoming gory or silly.

Ryan is a self-published author and this shows in places – if I had to read just one more comment about Sal chewing or spitting sunflower seeds I might have put the book down and refused to pick it up again! – but this was well-written with none of the irritating typographical or grammatical errors that can litter some self-published works. In fact, the writing is a real strength: punchy and brisk with plenty of authentic dialogue.

Final thoughts

Ryan’s desire to establish a series thread perhaps takes precedence over his story in ’10-33 Assist PC’, insofar as the incident which this blurb suggests will be central to this book actually happens quite late on (after page 150 of a 222 page book). Don’t mistake me; the story arc has a distinct climax and there’s definitely sufficient resolution to call this book finished, but this isn’t quite what the latter part of the blurb promises: the ‘story of a cop who must decide how to move forward without forgetting the past’ must actually begin in book two.

In the meantime, expect lots of authentic dialogue, plenty of swearing and a delightful scene in which two female police officers drink wine, eat dinner, discuss sex trafficking and cause the break-up of the couple dining next to them.

’10-33 Assist PC’,
Desmond P. Ryan,
2018, Canadian Government and Library Archives, paperback
Many thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.