Being from Liverpool I was particularly interested to read this book. As far as the reliability of the information contained in the book is concerned, it cannot be faulted. In fact, it sort of read like an official report in places and lacked the writing skills to make it ‘gripping’. I must admit that I struggled to finish it. As an historical background to the issues and reasons behind the troubles in Toxteth it is much more interesting, but that is just a small part of the book.
As far as the Cocky Watchman himself goes, I found him to be an interesting figure who is clearly very clever and charismatic. It is clear that as a youth he had a strong desire to become successful and rise above the poverty and desperation that surrounded him in Toxteth, it just a shame that he did not use his ability and brains for something more productive. Towards the end of the book we start to see how the pressure of being one of the world’s biggest drug dealers makes him paranoid resulting in him living in a safety ‘bubble’ that eventually leads to his downfall. It is such as shame that he refuses to write his own story, hearing it from his own mouth would be interesting.
I must admit, even though I do not want to, that I did feel sorry for Curtis towards the end of the book. His treatment at the hands of the Dutch judicial system has been disgusting. There seems to have been underhanded dealings between the international police squads that resulted from the desperate need to capture him that has cast a shadow over the whole case.
At the end of the day, the book is written in a journalistic style that can be boring at times and does not really provide anything more then what could be found in reading 90’s newspapers and Wikipedia.
I give it 3 stars out of 5.