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I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review and it will be the longest, most heartfelt review that I’ve written for any book.
SO many thoughts and emotions went through my mind with this book. The beginning was a little hard for me to be fully focused, I think mostly due to the fact that I am located in the Western USA and being unfamiliar with how the UK police force works and unfamiliar with any of the locations discussed as the author discusses the beginning of his career, I was purely a listener and not “invested” in the information.
As the book progressed, I was definitely invested and as the book came to the last 25% where the author gave additional info, not listed in the first addition and was more open about his personal opinions on the case involved, all people involved, drug enforcement as a whole and more, my mind began to spin.
A few things about me that will give you an idea as to where I am coming from as my mind went mad, bouncing around like a ping pong ball:
1. I am a non-drug user. I don’t say that to avoid opinionated readers that are pro or con on this issue, but I have a job that is secure and I am fortunate to have. Said job also requires me to submit to random drug and alcohol screening, so even though our state has recently legalized cannibis use, I stay away from all chemicals that may stay in my body for more than 24 hours.
2. I come from a family that are strong backers of all “first responders” fire, police and medical aid. I have immediate family members who are firefighters, EMT’s, nurses, retired police and corrections officer.
3. I also come from a family strong in addiction, with many family members in current recovery or addiction to both drugs and alcohol.
Given those facts, I feel my opinion about the author’s experiences and drug views are completely open minded.
I realize that world wide so many things have progressed in law enforcement and how they are treated, but even given the time frame of Project Julie and still no recognition or recourse for what the author endured during and after the operation, is inexcusable to me. Law officers of most types put their lives on the line EVERY day, but in an operation like this, it is at least 10 times as likely that those officers would not have made it home.
Drug legalization- I don’t know what the answer is to this. As stated by the author, those who think they have a step-by-step plan for this to be “managed” are delusional. That being said, in America the prisons are overcrowded and many life sentences imposed via the 3 strikes rule, putting even minor league dealers in a prison space that should be occupied by a once convicted child rapist who only serves months in prison. And guess what folks... those addicts and dealers and still taking and distributing drugs in our prisons every day!
There has to be some way to balance out the time, effort and money spent fighting this, with tracking down the serial rapists, drive-by shooters and armed robbers in these countries. Several states in the US have legalized cannabis, taking some of the $ back, by heavily taxing/regulating. However, I am not at all certain that tax $ is going into the forces that are doing the regulating and protecting of the now legal sellers and growers. As usual government has their hand in the piggy bank and officers are paying the price.
Some babbling on my side, to say that Stephen Bentley deserves accolades not only for his service, but also for being open about his feelings and SO many things, the system, the drug “war”, the people who were in his life, his fall to alcoholism. You’ve heard the saying, “until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes...”. Living close to so many first responders who I love dearly, us civilians can never even almost imagine what their day to day service is like, so never do we have the right to judge.
Lastly, narration... Half way through the story or even before, I forgot there was a narrator to this book and truly felt as if the author was reading his own story. That takes talent and belief in a story, not just reading from a script, so bravo to both narrator and author. Thanks for the opportunity to hear your work!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This book is told by undercover officer Stephen Bentley. Dive underneath the visible parts of the water and into the murky depths as you are pulled along through not just the operation but the aftermath, both personal and public. A must read for true crime lovers.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The author tells a fascinating story and gives great insight to what it was like for a policeman to drop his whole life to undertake a whole new persona as an undercover agent posing as a drug dealer. If you have read or listened to tales from the criminals involved in 'Operation Julie' this will really appeal to you.
Inside the head of an undercover cop is a scary place to be which adds a fascinating dimension to this account of Operation Julie. For me the latter half of the book confirms my own view on the failed 'War on Drugs' in favour of the Portuguese approach of decriminalisation and treatment. It is told with a no holds barred, sometimes brutal, honesty and is greatly enhanced by this. A great listen.