Fellow Police Officers’ Opinions of my Police Novel

First posted: 1 March, 2017

If I had trepidation when my police novel ‘My Cup Runneth Over’ was first published almost four months ago — and believe me I did — I can guarantee that at least 90 per cent of that worry was the fear about what my former police colleagues would make of it!  I had no doubt whatsoever that they could potentially become my fiercest critics.  It seems to be a result of the job, or perhaps a qualification for it, that police officers can be both critical by nature and never shy to voice their opinion.  (Don’t tell them I said that 😀 )

Cumbria Constabulary 'day' helmet (night helmets have or had a black badge and crown to make them a little less conspicuous)
Cumbria Constabulary ‘day’ helmet (night helmets have or had a black badge and crown to make them a little less conspicuous)

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We all know that novels must typically omit boring routine and thus condense action into a far shorter time span than that in which it will probably occur in reality, and also that at least some exaggeration is equally essential in order to maintain a good story.  In this sense, the enjoyable Inspector Morse television series always made me laugh:  Not only did Morse and Lewis deal with murders in Oxford at a rate that would have represented a national epidemic of homicides, let alone in such a relatively nice city, but those two men inevitably solved the crimes with little assistance in what would inevitably have been scenarios involving dozens and maybe sometimes hundreds of officers.  And they achieved it within the duration of one or at most two television episodes, too, instead of sometimes needing months of graft.  Oh, and Morse’s reluctance to reveal his first name was farcical — it would have to be used on every report and statement he ever wrote, let alone announced each time he gave evidence in court — but it made for a good story.  Yet addressing that ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ by readers is part of how popular stories are written.

Anyway, just as I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the comments all people have made about my novel, so I have been stunned by the great reception it has received from those ‘dreaded’ police officers!  I’m not a fan of repetition but this aspect to me is so special that here are highlights of their reviews to date (oldest first):

2016

13 December 2016, Mr M.A. Johnston: “A brilliantly written book… The book is written, and reads, very much along the lines of the James Herriot books, and in my view is equally as well written and laid out…  if you only buy one book to read this Christmas make it this one. You won’t be disappointed.

16 December 2016, James Wilson:  “I sat and read [your book] in one sitting, really enjoyed it.  Rural policing as it should be.  Looking forward to the next installment…

2017

5 January 2017, Cliff Heaney (retired sergeant): “I have just completed the last few chapters of your book My Cup Runneth Over and felt compelled to let you know how much I enjoyed reading it.   As a retired police officer myself from that era it felt like I had been transported back in time. It was as if I was stood there beside you at some of the incidents and events you describe.
The highs and lows of policing do leave their mark on the people you deal with and the individual officers themselves. To my mind you have done an excellent job telling the stories the way you have, that in turn create the memories that an old copper like me can relate too. Thank you for that and good luck with the book. I’ll be on the look out for your next one!

5 January 2017, John Forrester:  “I’m enjoying every word.” – and, (in response to the above from Cliff Heaney) I echo the same sentiment, as a retired sergeant [myself]. I’m also on the last couple of chapters and can relate to the incidents etc. A riveting read.” 

7 January 2017, John Thorburn:  “I thought it was brill’, a little rumour, a little true life and lots of fun as we had in those days…

24 January 2017, Dick Base:  “Good read, My Cup Runneth Over… It has certainly made me reminisce.

Alan Gardner:  “I have just finished reading your book and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I have for some time been writing a few stories that jumped to mind about my own time in the police. mainly for my grandchildren to read… Have to say however, that I’m not in the same writing league as you…

Peter Lilley:  “Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your book.  My father, Jack Lilley, was inspector at Keswick from 1959 until his death in 1967, during which time we lived at the police station.  Your stories brought many happy memories of accompanying my father on his frequent visits to outlying farms and his regular weekly ‘points’ with the village bobbies.  It was great fun trying to identify the locations used in your yarns!  Dad was also a member of Keswick Mountain Rescue Team – all your tales of the goings on and local events rang so true!  When’s the next book due out?  Can’t wait!” 

26 January 2017, David Mayer [USA]:  “Very good book and easy to read.  I would recommend this to anyone, it’s a good insight to the policing in a rural place in the Lake District, very funny with some of the stories. Well done Steve.”

11 February 2017, Keith Meadley:  “…Very good, keep it up with the next one.

13 February 2017, David Drinkald:  “As a retired Police Officer… I found this an enjoyable read.   As in any fictional account of Police activity events are exaggerated, however there is nothing here that couldn’t have happened, probably not involving just the leading character however… I hope the author gets round to writing a follow up.  I started reading one of the novels that led to the Heartbeat T.V. series years ago.  My Cup Runneth Over is much better…”

23 February 2017, Tony Cleasby:  “I enjoyed your novel ‘My Cup Runneth Over’.  Any more books in the pipeline?”

1 March 2017, David Albert:  “I enjoyed every page. Recognised myself a few times, ha ha.

8 March 2017, Andy Soper:  “…Picture the scene… it’s a late night flight and my seat is in the middle of a Boeing 737!  It’s dark, it’s quiet and I get to the chapter in the book dealing with the unfortunate Wodger Wankin! [For my laughing out loud,] I certainly received a couple of very good ‘thwacks’ from the missus sitting next to me!  As a retired Cumbria Constable and a Rural Officer to boot, this book brought it all flooding back! … This is a very, very enjoyable read and I look forward to the next one.”

14 March 2017, Mark Jenkins:  “Just read the book on holiday on Kindle. A cracking read.”

28 March 2017, Martin Buckmaster:  “I’ve just finished your wonderful book. I enjoyed every page as it brought back lots of memories from years ago when I lived at Fieldhead near Hawkshead… The book is amazing, thank you so much for writing it. Will there be any more? I do hope so, you’re a fantastic author.”

29 Mar. 2017, also Martin Buckmaster: A beautiful book very well written  This book is truly amazing in its accuracy and descriptions.  I loved every page as I found that it brought back an awful lot of memories from the early days of my own Police service in the mid sixtees.  I admit struggling with some of the place names having lived and worked for many years in the southern Lake District and I still haven’t got there yet.  A lovely, gentle story line that held me totally in it’s grip for the entire book, I sincerely hope that we will see some more books as good as this one is.  I highly recommend this book to everyone, thank you Steve

2 April 2017,  Heather Wilkinson “Dad [former Chief Superintendent Eric Greenslade] said that your book took him back to the old days, he loved it.

28 June 2017, Roger Salmon  “Just finished your book ‘My cup runneth over’. Thoroughly enjoyed it and brought back memories of my cadetship and early years. When is the next book out please?

Buy a copy of the book (also available on Kindle)

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Here is a full list of all readers’ opinions I have received so far — with none left out! 🙂