Night Dogs

This weekend we recommend the book Night Dogs, by Kent Anderson. Anderson writes compellingly of a Vietnam Vet turned cop in Portland, Oregon. Our protagonist, PO Hanson is working North Portland, the city’s shittiest precinct. He is still haunted by Vietnam and now haunted by the horrors of being a cop in the ghetto.

The book is like patrol itself, not a solid plot. Hanson himself is really the plot. The book depicts the daily depressing drudgery of patrol from the eyes of an already damaged man. It gets into characters well known to every cop. The bosses who don’t care. The cops who are burnt out. The buffy guys looking to get a thrill from every gun run. The hopelessness of trying to help as you run from one job to another.

The story was written in the 90’s and takes place in the 70’s. Things are different now but the themes are the same. There is no video or body cameras and there is no one watching. There is violence and misery, mental anguish and disgust. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

This is a book that will stick with you. Hanson’s deterioration and pain will speak to you as a reader. If you are a cop you will know the feelings. If you are not you will get an insight into a mentally tough job. The author, Kent Anderson was a Vietnam Vet and cop for a few years. You can tell from the writing that he is speaking from the heart. This is not a feel-good story, but it is a must read.

You can find it on Amazon for about 10 bucks.

Christopher Flanagan


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