First-time author Jerry Schoenle with four decades in law enforcement, presents this riveting first-person account of a street cop’s life. The book title, “Seven Shades of Blue,” refers to the seven different uniforms Schoenle wore during his career, beginning with the United States Air Force and followed by six law enforcement agencies.
This fascinating first-person account gives the reader a behind-the-scenes view of a career cop. It is told in a style like bestselling author Joseph Wambaugh's who is known for his fascinating novels on police work that could only be told by someone who has truly lived and experienced the world of a cop. The memoir is easy-to-read, honest prose. Rather than a factual autobiography, the book is more like the transcript of a veteran cop sitting around the campfire chatting with family and friends, telling compelling and sometimes shocking stories about his life. The format is similar to Mark Baker's "COPS," which causes the reader to be immediately engaged in the story and connect with the writer.
A cops’ work is active, exciting, unpredictable, sometimes violent, and borderline-illicit. Yet "policing" is less active, more a matter of maintaining public order rather than bagging the next arrest. Policing is the mundane that takes up most of an officer’s day. The author clearly shows the evolving nature of professionalism in policing from the 70s to the present day. The book culminates and is all tied together with an essay in the addendum entitled "Fixing our Police, Yes, Black Lives Matter." This provides concrete, research-based solutions on police reform.
"In four decades of policing, I have found police officers to be ambitious, alert to the requirements for advancement, disappointed when they fail to make rank, and elated when promoted. We become warm and emotional when speaking about our families, cry when describing a child’s birth or marriage of a daughter. All of this may be obvious and unexciting, but if it isn’t stated, cops seem like the flat cardboard character of most fiction works. Until you have met the police, you can’t understand the cops. Cops take risks, so you don’t have to" (Jerry Schoenle).
“Seven Shades of Blue” opens the curtain to the “thin blue line” of the cops’ world to help the reader understand who cops really are.