GUEST POST: DOES POLITICS + POLICING = FICTION

I’d like to thank author David Stanley for contributing this guest post about the the jump from police officer to writer. Most authors want to enter the literary scene with a novel that gets people talking, and the launch of David Stanley’s first books, the thriller / crime duology TJF Syndrome, has the potential to do that.  As a former NSW Police Officer, this book could be considered an expose of life in the police force. TJF Syndrome is available here in print and on Kobo, Apple iBooks, Google Play, Amazon for e-readers.

TJF Cover DuologyThe jump from being a member of the police force to the relatively solitary role of author may seem, on the surface at least, to be a big and relatively unlikely one. If that jump was to be made, I think the expectation is that the resulting stories would be about solving crime, or a relatively heroic depiction of life in the force. My first novels, the duology TJF Syndrome, are neither of those things. In fact, I have been told it’s closer to being a fairly scathing expose on life in the NSW Police Force.

For me, the link between policing, politics, and unfortunately corruption, go too snugly hand in hand not to be brought to light – and in light of the increasing level of terror activity taking place as close to home as Sydney, how that impacts the citizens of our nation needs to be explored. TJF Syndrome is an exploration of sorts into these issues, and given my firsthand experience with the subject matter it makes sense that the novels are creating some level of controversy.

The duology provides a realistic depiction of a young police recruit, whose good intentions slowly erode the more time he spends in the force – something that I have not only witnessed first hand, but have lived through myself. Whilst the works are ultimately fiction, there is no denying that reality has played a significant part in the story being brought to life. It made my leap into writing a fairly terrifying prospect, but not as terrifying as failing to shed light on some very important goings-on.

Another leap I took with these novels is to weave an ongoing Twitter conversation throughout, in a dialogue that links two of the major characters. Although fictional, the digital conversation also exists in the real world. This provides not only a very real way for readers to continue to engage with the story, but also acts as a nod to the impact of the online world on our every day life, including – unfortunately – the rise of the dark web.

There’s a lot going on in these novels – and not much of it good to be honest. (There’s good writing of course – I mean the subject matter!) However, I think that’s a reflection of the times and the world we live in. I wanted TJF Syndrome to raise questions about some common but unjust practices currently taking place via our politicians and emergency services, but ultimately be a good read. If it does both, then I’ll be a happy man!

Here’s the blurb of TJF Syndrome:

Optimistic. Naive. Ostracised. Isolated.

Oscar Herald’s first day as a Probationary Constable in the New South Wales Police Force did not go as expected. His dedication to policing, his emotions and his mind are pushed to their limits as he crashes headlong against a carefully indoctrinated organisational culture. From the twisted political machinations that manipulate the very top executive officers, to the chasm between policy and practice separating criminals and victims at its grimy bottom, Oscar struggles to find support from those around him who have fallen victim to the syndrome ensuring justice will not be served. As a multiple murderer threatens the lives of thousands, Oscar’s attempts to track him are hindered and dismissed. With no-one willing to listen and nowhere to turn, Oscar seeks absolution in a desperate attempt to catch a killer and faces consequences that he could never have imagined.

The challenge for every reader will be to differentiate what is fiction and what isn’t.