The Job by Steve Osborne


22822859Steve Osborne has seen a thing or two in his twenty years in the NYPD—some harmless things, some definitely not. In “Stakeout,” Steve and his partner mistake a Manhattan dentist for an armed robbery suspect and reduce the man down to a puddle of snot and tears when questioning him. In “Mug Shot,” the mother of a suspected criminal makes a strange request and provides a sobering reminder of the humanity at stake in his profession. And in “Home,” the image of his family provides the adrenaline he needs to fight for his life when assaulted by two armed and violent crackheads. From his days as a rookie cop to the time spent patrolling in the Anti-Crime Unit—and his visceral, harrowing recollections of working during 9/11—Steve Osborne’s stories capture both the absurdity of police work and the bravery of those who do it. His stories will speak to those nostalgic for the New York City of the 1980s and ’90s, a bygone era of when the city was a crazier, more dangerous (and possibly more interesting) place.


Think of Steve Osborne as a regular at your neighborhood bar. Not a fancy place with strobes and a dance floor but a grimy hole in the wall with good beer, a decent pool table, and a temperamental jukebox.

After twenty years on “the job” he has a raft of stories that are funny, shocking, and tragic in turns. Each time you see him you ask for another. Today he leans back and says, “Did I tell you the one about the hotdogs?”

I listened to the audiobook and I’m glad I did – Osborne writes like he talks, a New Yorker through and through. He loves getting out of the station house and made some of the most active, craziest precincts his home. Catching robbers, large scale drug busts, hunting fugitives at 5:30 am – over the course of his career Osborne has done it all.

If you’re looking for an insight into police work today, however, you won’t find it. Osborne worked during the 80s and 90s, a rough time for New York City. He was more worried about crime, period, and didn’t care who did it. His whole outlook feels like a time slip – liberals are a cop’s worst enemy, and he has a macho persona to go with his accent. It goes with the territory, I guess, but I still cringe when he says “man up”.

The writing gets repetitive from time to time, but he’s that guy in the bar. He doesn’t remember which stories you’ve heard. Pull up a stool, order your usual, and enjoy the tales he sets before you. ‘Cause “there’s nothing funnier or more terrifying than a good cop story”.