Book Review by Rob Hanley

Updated: Mar 15

Rob Hanley; Former writer and editor for The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily Journal and The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

Once you pick up The Night Police, you’ll have a tough time putting it down!


This book, written by veteran Night Policemen Paul James Smith and Chris Berg, is the unvarnished and sometimes ugly story of the cops who shunned the day shifts, preferring crime-fighting in the dead of the night.


Set in a decaying Midwestern industrial town, The Night Police is an authentic account of policing in America from the 1970s to the 1990s by guys who were there and did it. The stories revealed are told in their voices amid the scotch, smoke and stale beer in the backroom of Solly’s. These were their lives, and nothing is held back. None of these stories are particularly uplifting. Some are funny as hell. A few are apt to leave you with the same odd sensation in the pit of your stomach felt by the cop who lived to tell the tale.


Cops evolve mental and emotional defenses to shield against the dangers and horrors that go with the job. But, like hard-edged infantrymen who unhesitatingly step forward for the most dangerous, hairy combat missions, there is a special breed of officers who not only survive the rigors of urban policing, but thrive on it: The Night Police.


Over the course of a career, a cop has less impact on the cases he or she works than the cases have on the cop. The stories in this book reveal those hard truths while the narrative barrels toward its explosive climax.

© 2020 by Chris Berg & Paul James Smith.