I am delighted to share my thoughts on “Into The Valley” by Chris Clement-Green. I was not able to read in time for the blog tour dates, but thanks to the generosity of @laurasummersnow at Book Machine I have a bonus slot. This book is available as a paperback and eBook and is published by Mirror Books.
Encouraged by the sizeable pay increase and high divorce rate, Chris decided that answering a recruitment ad for the Thames Valley Police was just the thing for a much-needed overhaul of her life. It was 1984, a time before political correctness, at the height of the miner s strike and in the middle of five years of race riots. Perfect timing. Expanding her police knowledge, and her love life, undeterred by sexist remarks and chauvinists she decided to make her mark, kissing goodbye to her previous dull and conventional existence. Chris captures the colourful characters and humour in the situations she found herself in, but the job had its serious side, too. She was at the centre of a riot in Oxford, during which her life was saved by a young black man she had previously stopped and questioned, and was attacked by a man with mental-health problems a consequence of the decision to move care into the community . Consistently coming up against the effects of Margaret Thatcher s politics; from miner s picket-lines, covering (poorly) for striking paramedics during the ambulance dispute to everyday drunken disturbances caused by the haves (Yuppies and Oxford students) and the have-nots (alcoholic homeless and unemployed youth), Chris also tackled sex crimes and abuse. An often humorous, always candid and no-holds-barred reflection of the life of a policewoman in the 80s, this book offers a personal account of a life in uniform, while touching on the Newbury Bypass demos, the effects of Scarman, the Hungerford Massacre, the bombing of Libya, the AIDS epidemic and working under the notorious Ali Dizaei.
When the opportunity came through my email in box to read this book. I was definitely interested in reading this, it was a book that was set during the 80’s. For me I can remember seeing things on the news at this time, in 1984 I was 13 years old. In 1984 Chris made the choice to join the Thames Valley Police Force. This book covers the 16 years she spent in the force, telling of experiences, training and how things have changed over the time, both in a procedural sense as well as from a female police officer and the prejudices that were shown towards her.
Chris has had to deal with many things over the years in the force, but her dogged perseverance has served her well. She gives a very candid account of things she has witnessed and experienced, with stories that are a mix of various crimes she has been called to attend. Some are serious in nature, some are humorous. It has been laid out in a very readable style, and charts her rise and her reasons for some of her decisions. As she tells this account, she also adds what was happening in other police forces, especially notable things that made national news headlines. It adds a good timeline perspective and helps to jog memories of where you were at the time, or what you were doing. The book is set out in various chapters, and reads like short stories as well as continuing Chris’s story.
I really enjoyed this book, I found it quite educational at times, and it was nice to see what changes have been made within the force. A book that I think will appeal to readers of Biography, True Crime, Politics and Society.
I would like to thank Book Machine Works and Mirror Books for my copy of this book. My views expressed are my own and are unbiased.
About the Author:
Chris Clement-Green recently retired from Thames Valley Police after sixteen years as a uniform sergeant followed by five as a civilian investigator on serious and organised crime teams – which included working on several murder incident rooms. Her last job involved the management of sixty registered sex-offenders. She has now moved to rural Wales and set up The Welsh Writing Shed, from where Chris runs tutored and untutored writing retreats – thewelshwritingshed.co.uk
Her serious writing started in 2007 when she was encouraged to enter the National Association of Writer’s Groups annual short story competition. It was Chris’ first ever competition so she was astonished to win with Pebbles. The win encouraged her to undertake the Open University Creative Writing course in 2010 and Advanced Creative Writing in 2011, and she completed both courses with distinction. In 2013 she was accepted onto the prestigious Bath Spa University Creative Writing MA, where she completed a life-writing manuscript Into The Valley: Policing Thatcher’s Britain. Mirror Books has recently signed Chris and her memoir is due for publication in August 2017.
Chris has had several articles and letters published in national UK magazines, most notably Writing Magazine, and in September 2016 she was published in The New Guard Volume V a literary journal based in New York. Chris has also been short listed in the Literature Works First Page Writing Prize and Writing Magazine’s Jane Eyre competition; she was also Highly Commended in the Penro Literary Festival’s memoir competition and most recently her fantasy short story, Layla, was published in Divinity Fantasia Magazine. Chris won the Oriel Davis Prose Competition in 2016 and she was also a finalist in the Women in Comedy Festival 2016 writing competition with her monologue Queenie.
Chris has just completed work on her debut novel The Soft Tread of Vengeance; a procedural crime novel which has at its heart, animal rights versus human welfare, what money can and cannot buy and the nature of terrorism and redemption. Chris is now working on the first in a series of crime novels – Come Join the Murder – which is set against the backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain.
- Paperback: 244 pages
- Publisher: Mirror Books (21 Sept. 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1907324720
- ISBN-13: 978-1907324727
- Purchase from Amazon UK
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