Excerpt from The New Policeman by Kate Thompson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The New Policeman

by Kate Thompson

The New Policeman
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2007, 448 pages
    Apr 2008, 416 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter One

J.J. Liddy and his best friend, Jimmy Dowling, often had arguments. J.J. never took them seriously. He even considered them a sign of the strength of the friendship, because they always made up again straightaway, unlike some of the girls in school, who got into major possessive battles with one another. But on that day in early September, during the first week that they were back in school, they had an argument like none before.

J.J. couldn't even remember now what it had been about. But at the end of it, at the point where they usually came round to forgiving each other and patching it up, Jimmy had dropped a bombshell.

"I should have had more sense than to hang around with you anyway, after what my granny told me about the Liddys."

His words were followed by a dreadful silence, full of J.J.'s bewilderment and Jimmy's embarrassment. He knew he had gone too far.

"What about the Liddys?" said J.J.

"Nothing." Jimmy turned to go back into school.

J.J. stood in front of him. "Go on. What did she tell you?"

Jimmy might have been able to wriggle his way out of it and pretend it was a bluff, but he had been overheard. He and J.J. were no longer alone. Two other lads, Aidan Currie and Mike Ford, had overheard and had come to join in.

"Go on, Jimmy," said Aidan. "You may as well tell him."

"Yeah," said Mike. "If he doesn't know he must be the only person in the county who doesn't."

The bell rang for the end of the morning break. They all ignored it.

"Know what?" said J.J. He felt cold, terrified, not of something that might happen but of something that he might find inside himself; in his blood.

"It was a long time ago," said Jimmy, still trying to retract.

"What was?"

"One of the Liddys . . ." Jimmy said something else but he mumbled it beneath his breath and J.J. couldn't hear. It sounded like "burgled the beast."

The teacher on yard duty was calling them in. Jimmy began to walk toward the school. The others fell in.

"He did what?" said J.J.

"Forget it," said Jimmy.

It was Aidan Currie who said it, loud enough for J.J. or anyone else to hear. "Sure, everyone knows about it. Your great-granddad. J.J. Liddy, same as yourself. He murdered the priest."

J.J. stopped in his tracks. "No way!"

"He did, so," said Mike. "And all for the sake of an old wooden flute."

"You're a shower of liars!" said J.J.

The boys, except for Jimmy, laughed.

"Always mad for the music, the same Liddys," said Mike.

He began to hop and skip toward the school in a goofy parody of Irish dancing. Aidan trotted beside him, singing an out-of-tune version of "The Irish Washerwoman." Jimmy glanced back at J.J. and, his head down, followed them as they went back in.

J.J. stood alone in the yard. It couldn't be true. But he knew, now that he thought about it, that there had always been something behind the way some of the local people regarded him and his family. A lot of people in the community came to the céilís and the set-dancing classes that were held at his house on Saturdays. They had always come, and their parents and grandparents had come before them. In recent years the numbers had increased dramatically with the influx of new people into the area. Some of them came from thirty miles away and more. But there was, and always had been, a large number of local people who would have nothing to do with the Liddys or their music. They didn't exactly cross the street to avoid J.J. and his family, but they didn't talk to them either. J.J., if he'd thought about it at all, had assumed it was because his parents were one of the only couples in the district who weren't married, but what if that wasn't the reason? What if it had really happened? Could J.J. be descended from a murderer?

  • 1
  • 2

The foregoing is excerpted from The New Policeman by Kate Thompson. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.