When I was asked to review Cops Lie! I spent a bit of time on Amazon reading the reviews because I have to be honest here and say that the title didn’t appeal and neither did the cover (which you know is a big thing for me, shallow as I am). The reviews convinced me though that it was a worth a go with three and four-star ratings and promises of a gritty book about dirty cops.
There is definitely grit in this book. The story revolves around two honest cops in a sea of police officers on the take or up to no good, shaking down drug dealers and making false arrests. There is a reference in the book to Serpico and I wonder if that is what the author was trying to do, tell a similar story.
Unfortunately, for me (and I love Serpico), it didn’t work because the officers that were supposed to be the good guys seemed to be doing a lot of the things that the bad guys were doing, and ignoring a lot of the bad they did see. I struggled with the main characters – Tony and Longo – as neither were fully drawn to me. I couldn’t picture them as they went about their business, see what they were wearing, how they looked. I knew what they were thinking but I didn’t understand their motivations.
The other thing that bothered me was that there is a lot of violence and a lot of sex in the book and, for me, they distracted me from the story. Every time the story started to pick up there was a break for one of the officers to have sex or stop a group of other cops randomly beating someone up. I felt like I was in Grand Theft Auto rather than a story about police corruption. I also felt like I was suffering from deja-vu as the scenes were repetitive; this was a problem with me throughout – not only in the scenes but the language. I am sure there were a couple of points where the text was identical or as close to.