Street Duty, Case One, Knock Down by Chris Ould
I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but I did. I really didn't like the cover of this book so I never picked it up. Then I went to a book festival and Chris Ould was talking about the difficulties of writing a police/ crime book for teenagers. He wanted to write from the police officer's point of view but, in order to appeal to the YA market, his police officers needed to be teenagers. He managed to solve this problem by creating a police apprenticeship scheme which took 16 year olds on. My interest was piqued.
The story is based around two 16 year old apprentice police officers, Holly and Sam. Whilst they are out on the beat, a 14 year old girl is knocked down by a truck and a shop is trashed. Are the events as simple as they first appear or is there more to them?
Why I like it?
I like the fact that the story is fresh and different and the author doesn't talk down to his teen audience. The characters and the crimes are realistic, gritty and interesting. The story isn't long and it moves at a good pace. I always like to second-guess what's going to happen in police dramas; I couldn't in this one so I remained interested until the end. It was liking reading a TV police drama rather than watching it on TV - not surprising given the authors BAFTA winning background I guess
Who would like it?
Readers who like realistic crime stories with a slightly dark take on life will find the book interesting. Its not just a story about crime, it's also about the people involved in those crimes and how they get sucked into them. It's not a difficult read - the 15 years age recommendation reflects the swearing (which fits the story rather than being unnecessary) in the book, not the reading difficulty. It's not a long book and I would particularly recommend it to reluctant teen readers. I think they'll get the language, the characters, the story and they will like the tone of the book.
Chris Ould has written adult books and is a screen writer for various TV shows, including The Bill and Casualty. This is his first YA book. A sequel is coming out in June 2013 ( much better cover) and it follows on the stories of the characters in Case One.
A huge thanks to Chiara from Books Teens and Magazines for writing that post - I'd definitely advise you to check out the site, if you're not already familiar with it, everyone. A bit about Chiara...
I was born in Malta and grew up in Libya and Switzerland. At 16 I came to England to take my A levels and I went on to study Law and French Law at the LSE. I have worked as a retail banker in London and Hong Kong, an investment banker, a primary school teacher and a school librarian; picking up a number of qualifications along the way. I have three teenage boys, two dogs, three cats and a house full of books. I love reading and I love sharing my ideas about books with other people. I launched the Books Teens and Magazines website in November 2012 as a means of sharing information with teen readers and their families, teachers and librarians.