Tango 190 – harrowing story of PC Rathband – a review of sorts

So last night I finished Tango 190 The David Rathband Story. Of course I won’t insult you by explaining who PC David Rathband is, you would have to have been on Mars to not have been stuck to your TV screen during the Raoul Moat manhunt, and to have missed the media coverage surrounding the horrific rampage and shooting of PC Rathband while sitting in his panda car. I picked up the book after finding it hidden in a dingy corner of our newsroom, in pristine condition (obviously unread as none of the pages had even been thumbed through) and gathering dust. Knowing the story I was intrigued and took it home. Even knowing the ending I finished the book last night with a heavy heart, and wishing that the book could have had a happier ending for a man who had dedicated his life to policing an area of England which will always have a special place in my heart.

The book is desperately sad, at times painful to read, but deeply intriguing. I guess there aren’t many people out there who get shot in the face by a rampaging gunman and live to write a book to speak of the unspeakable anguish of living haunted by the final vision of your attacker. I thought I knew a lot about what happened, I thought I knew everything about the trial of Moat’s two conspirators (they referred to themselves as hostages), but this book sheds light on new facts and often so unbelievable they are humorous parts of the trial and events in Rothbury that weren’t widely publicised at the time.

Non fiction often surprises me. Often you think you know a lot about certain events, celebrities, authors, politicians and well known figures, until you read their autobiographies. I used to hate these kind of books, now I’m obsessed with them. The David Rathband Story was predictably sad and emotional to read, but it was unbelievably personal. The pain he describes, the torment, the pride he feels putting on his uniform and the loyalty to his force and profession which literally holds him back from shouting out in court, is remarkable. Reading it now he is dead is weird to say the least. Knowing he was alive when it was written feels almost wrong. It is hard not to leap ahead while reading; to read it knowing he will eventually take his life puts a taint on the whole thing. But it makes the pain he describes even more intense and the way he speaks about his new life surrounded by darkness a harrowing read.

So after a sleepless night finishing the book and then spending the entire night thinking about my novel, I’ve decided I need to read something a little happier for the rest of the week. So, thanks to a fellow Ostomate and twitter-holic, I’m going to indulge in another hilarious edition of Shit My Dad Says. If you haven’t read any of these books I won’t spoil them for you but they will make you chuckle, so don’t read them under the press bench in court, in a public toilet or at a funeral ( i hope none of you would do any of these things!).

I’ve also made a list of the next few paperbacks and hardbacks I want to read before I return to work. As you all know I’m trying to clear my bookcase before starting on my shiny new Kindle Paperweight, it’s taking all the strength in the world not to start on it now, but I really want to clear my house of books I will never read again, so that I can declutter my literary world.

So here are some reads for challenge 70 for the next few weeks, a few are autobiographies so fall under challenge 98 as well!

More Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern – sequel to Shit My Dad Says

Ooh! What a Lovely Pair – Ant and Dec

The Man Who Smiled – Henning Mankell

The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman

The Queen of Whale Cay – Kate Summerscale

Oh and I might finally – yes I’ve been trying to get through this one for years – have another crack at Tony Blair’s autobiography!!!!




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