Author: NORM BOUCHER
Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME, MEMOIR, ADDICTION, HEROIN, UNDERCOVER POLICE WORK
Length: 272 PAGES
Publisher: NEWEST PRESS
Received From: THE AUTHOR
Release Date: NOVEMBER 2020
Price: $21.95 CDN / $17.95 USD
Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
In his first True Crime memoir, undercover operator Norm Boucher recounts eight months spent infiltrating Vancouver’s heroin scene, a world of paranoia, ripoffs, and violence.
It is 1983 and the War on Drugs is intensifying. From his barroom observer’s seat, Boucher candidly reveals the lives of heroin addicts who spend each day looking for their next hit. Their dangerous subculture, centred around three gritty hotels on the Granville Strip, becomes Boucher’s domain as he attempts both to gain acceptance in a world far removed from his own and to keep himself safe.
With Horseplay, decorated RCMP officer Norm Boucher takes readers back to the assignment that shaped his outlook on the role of criminal law enforcement and the human side of addiction as it collides with the ruthlessness of the drug business.
True Crime has become a topic of mainstream interest. What was once only followed by law enforcement and dedicated ‘web sleuths,’ has now become a topic discussed by “regular” people all over the world.
This newfound audience has led to the publishing of myriad numbers of books, and also to the creation of thousands of podcasts, ensuring that every subset crime is being covered. I readily admit that I am a ‘True Crime Junkie’ and have been since I was a young adult (which was a thousand years ago if you ask my kids.)
What is underrepresented in this genre is Canadian stories. Yes, there are some, but most seem to focus on serial killers and/or other sensational and well-known murder cases. That is one of the reasons why I was so interested in reading HORSEPLAY.
In HORSEPLAY we get a glimpse behind the curtain of undercover work in Canada. And, lucky for readers, we get the information straight from the undercover operator himself.
Now retired, Norm Boucher has written about one of the undercover operations he worked on in Vancouver in the early 1980s. He was tasked with befriending the heroin junkies and especially their dealers with the goal of making arrests and trying to determine where the bulk of the heroin was coming from.
In the pages of HORSEPLAY readers will be shown the truth of undercover work — that most of it is not the glamorous lifestyle shown in movies or fiction books.
Spending eight months — day after day and night after night on Vancouver’s Granville Strip with addicts whose entire lives centered around shooting heroin. As soon as they used up their supply, they spent their time hustling to find their next hit. All while trying to avoid being ripped-off, robbed or beaten.
What Author Norm Boucher witnessed during that time profoundly changed how he viewed those he interacted with.
Norm pulls no punches when he writes, but I don’t want to give away too many spoilers from the book. Because of that, I humbly suggest that if you have any interest in True Crime, in Addiction, or in the real operations of Canada’s undercover officers that you pick up a copy of this fascinating memoir. This should be required reading for all up and coming law enforcement personnel and for anyone working with people who have addictions.
I feel that this book is so important and so fascinating, I have no choice but to rate it as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy of this book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Norm Boucher left Montreal at the age of nineteen to begin a long and rewarding career as an RCMP officer mostly dedicated to drugs and organized crime. An active member of the RCMP undercover program for over ten years, his assignments included drug trafficking, money laundering, and homicide. He eventually represented the RCMP as a member of the Canadian delegation to several Regular Sessions of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Commission of the Organization of American States, held in Washington D.C. and Mexico City, where he helped develop a community policing program aimed at drug harm reduction. His varied career included postings on the national anti-terrorist Special Emergency Response Team, as Marine drug enforcement coordinator on Canada’s West Coast, and as liaison officer in Madrid, Spain, and Santo-Domingo, Dominican Republic.
In 1983, Staff-Sergeant Boucher spent eight months infiltrating the heart of Vancouver’s heroin scene. This experience became the subject of his memoir Horseplay: My Time Undercover on the Granville Strip, which he wrote over a period of several years, while continuing to fulfill his RCMP responsibilities in Canada and abroad. In 2012, Norm Boucher retired from the RCMP as a Staff-Sergeant, dedicating his time to writing and his work as a consultant.
Norm Boucher studied literature at the University of Waterloo. He is the recipient of the Governor General’s Medal of Bravery, the Carnegie Medal, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
He is the proud father of four children and now lives in Manotick, Ontario with his wife Sally and their dog Cooper.
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