A retired Chicago police officer who served as a SWAT sniper, gang specialist, and undercover agent recounts his time on the force.
Growing up, author McCarthy dreamed of joining the Chicago Police Department like his father and great-grandfather. He wanted to clean up the meanest streets of the city. As a street cop, McCarthy thrived on patrolling the worst neighborhoods in Chicago at the worst times of night. Wanting more, he eventually transferred to a special operations team and served as a SWAT sniper and a gang specialist before teaming up with the FBI on a special task force to combat Asian crime. Whether disguised as a female prostitute or as a drug addict, McCarthy often seemed fearless. Still, he makes it clear that as a cop, one is often scared—one just must face those fears every day. The debut author doesn’t pull any punches describing some of the disturbing things that he witnessed during his many years as an active-duty police officer in one of the country’s most volatile and vibrant cities, including damaged drug addicts, rotting bodies, and the murder of a fellow SWAT officer by a shooter holding an elderly woman hostage. Chapters focusing on particular investigations, like one involving a triple murder and a gang known as the Maniac Latin Disciples, are packed with memorable details told in a distinct voice that will remind readers of films like The Departed. Occasionally, some awkward stereotyping creeps into his recollections; e.g., “Most citizens have no idea how nuts and insane some people are when they’re buzzed up and out of control....Surprisingly, women can be some of the worst.” However, despite these unfortunate moments, McCarthy’s voice is that of one of the good cops out there, speaking on behalf of his often underappreciated fellow officers and the high levels of stress they encounter on the job.
A gritty memoir that gives readers a cop’s perspective on Chicago crime.