Kent Anderson: Night Dogs



I first wrote a review of this novel over thirteen years ago on com I was a brand new police officer I had problems with the book Didn t like the protaganist or the portrayal of police work But then what did I know about police work Well that answer is simple nothing Skip ahead to the present I recently re read it out of curiosity I discovered that this book is truthful than I realized Though he was only a cop for a few years I believe it was three years in the early seventies Anderson manages to capture the essence or truth that s an overused wordof police work I haven t been involved with any uestionable shootings and I don t carry a throw away piece but the changes that a person goes through after a few years are accurate The anger the sense of isolation and disgust that one comes to feel towards the citizenry are dead on It s a constant fight to not let the cynicism destroy one s sense of purpose Not trying to be melodramatic it s a factA cop gets to wade chest deep into the ugliest parts of our society A cop isn t loved like a firefighter It s inevitable and we all tell ourselves that we don t care but there are times that it sets our teeth on edge Nobody well almost nobody likes or isn t bothered by hatred or disdain The anger that comes from this situation is made even greater when the people who are so vocal in their criticism of cops are usually the first to dial 911 when something bad is going on Hypocrisy at it s finestThis and other things will affect a cop and how he approaches thingsThis book shows that and The novel is set in the early seventies but beside the clothes technology and popular slang nothing has changed Its a grim ob and Anderson captures it It s also a ob that I won t ever uit even during the worse of days Anderson doesn t see it that way but nevertheless it s an accurate book No it isn t thrilling and it isn t an action story It s a drama and there are weak points with the narrative Anderson later became a professor of EnglishLiterature at Boise State University my Alma mater Class 1990 and there are times when the book is too literary Despite this read it and you ll have a better idea of what cops experience and feel Oh a footnote here if I may This is a novel and takes place forty years ago Much that Hanson does and says would in 2013 either get a cop written up disciplined fired andor prosecuted despite what many of the so called protestors would have you believe There are still cops doing bad things but the system isn t as tolerant of those activities as it used to be One may choose not to believe me but I know what I m talking about Night Dogs is a novel not a documentary Yet another footnote Even now in 2015 I stand by my last paragraph Times have changed Bitter Truth There are a lot of reasons not to read Kent Anderson s Night Dogs Aging Viet Nam War protestors dusting off old placards and tired slogans to recycle for the War in Ira will be infuriated with Anderson s laser focused skewering of the liberal mindset Those wishing to maintain a romantic view of an idyllic northwest paradise will risk having these illusions shattered by Anderson s Portland s mean streets of depravity and violence If you prefer neat little stories ending with the bad guys rightfully dispatched you ll find little redemption here And anyone with the slightest affection for dogs or kids will cringe in the raw reality of this unvarnished tale of a street cop s nightly grind in post Viet Nam America So while there are lots of reasons not to read Night Dogs you d be missing a powerful example of American fiction at its best a gut wrenching and emotionally draining dissection of pop culture cleverly and brutally disguised as a crime novelStreet cop Hanson is a uniue and tragic hero an Army Special Forces veteran from Viet Nam returning to test his well honed skills for survival and violence in Portland s worst neighborhoods Loosely autobiographical the two decades that have passed since the end of the war and the writing of Night Dogs have done little to blunt the ferocity and passion of Anderson s lean prose Far from Dirty Harry Anderson s stoic and cynical loner Hanson delivers his brand of street ustice without theatrics he is simply the cop on his beat doing his Absolute Khushwant job while doing his best to bury the daily horror show of his life with drugs alcohol and rough sex Non linear with little allegiance to a central plot the reader is led in stops and starts from theungles of Viet Nam to the night shift in a Portland patrol car Make no mistake this is not a pleasant read Brutal and violent the dog lab is one of the most disturbing chapters of fiction I ve ever read Anderson pulls no punches. Former police officer Kent Anderson author of the memorable Vietnam War novel Sympathy for the Devil returns with a powerful new novel about a Vietnam vet cop who still carries the war inside himself Searing and brutally honest Night Dogs plunges us into the free fire zones of our cities where the legendary thin blue line is breaking downThe North Precinct of Portland Oregon is home to two kinds of cops sergeants and lieutenants who've screwed up somewhere else and patrolmen who thrive on the action on the Avenue Officer Hanson is the second kind a vete.

( BOOKS Night Dogs ) by Kent Anderson – cafe1919.org

E until 150 pages in Kent Anderson s Sympathy for the Devil which was published in 1987 remains I think one of the best if not the best of the novels to come out of the Vietnam War It was a searing account of the war as seen through the eyes of one soldier a young man named Hanson who very closely resembles the authorAnderson s second novel Night Dogs appeared in 1996 and certainly ranks among the best police procedurals I ve ever read The book is set in the middle Seventies shortly after the end of the war The protgonist is again Hanson now home from Vietnam and working as a patrol officer for the Portland Oregon Police BureauHanson has survived the war physically at least but it haunts his every moment and he now finds himself in the middle of a new war which is The Day We Meet Again just as hard to decipher as the old one Hanson is assigned to Portland s North Precinct the ghetto and the worst precinct in the city The commanding officers are all men who screwed up in other areas of the department and who were exiled to the North Precinct The patrol officers are mostly cowboys looking for the rush that the action in the precinct provides on a daily basisThe book has only the loosest of plots One of the principal threads involves one of Hanson s closest friends from the war who has come to Portland and become a drug dealer and a killer Rather than arresting him though Hanson attempts to help him given that they bonded while in the Special Forces together and given that he remains the only man Hanson really trusts The other thread involves one of Hanson s fellow officers in the precinct a guy named Fox who hates Hanson and spends most of the book attempting to undermine Hanson s career For the most part though the novel is a chronicle of the daily interaction between the police and the criminals mostly small time who inhabit the North Precinct It s a daily battle and an endless revolving door with the cops confronting the same scumbags day in and day out without making any progress at all in the war on crime Justice is a very elusive concept here in a world where the cops dispense what is largely their own brand of very roughusticeAt one point Hanson confronts a guy who s giving him grief and shoots him The Look which was full of knees and elbows and night sticks car hoods and concrete broken noses broken collarbones and concussionsIt s not a pretty sight and this is not a book for the sueamish reader Beautifully written it s tough gritty and ugly but it has the ring of authenticity much so than virtually any other crime novel I ve ever read Anderson himself worked as a patrol cop in Portland in the Seventies and one would imagine that like his first book this one is based very closely on his experiences there It s a great novel and one that you won t forget soon 45 stars Gritty cop novel set in 1975 post Vietnam America Portland OR Long treatment looks at the dark forces at work in the protagonist s work and life James Crumley called ND the best cop novel he ever read Excellent fare This is so far afield from what I generally read that I have little to compare it with I don t read cop lit ever This was recommended to me by someone a long time ago and so I picked it up on bookmoochcom and put it on the shelf I have no idea why I threw it in my bag for a long flight When flying I generally opt for things so light they float Wow This is not your average police procedural It is gritty and raw and so painfully honest Really it is about reintegrating into American life after Vietnam or maybe not reintegrating than about police It is about racism and alpha male BS it is about unimaginable lonliness even in a roomful of people and taking control of the wrong things ust so you have control of something By book s end the way I look at the world had been altered It brought to mind one of my very favorite late 20th century books The Things they Carried though it is very different other than the Vietnam theme I recommend this unreservedly but it is not for those moments you are looking for something comforting or something with a true sense of resolution As James Crumley put it in the Forward and I surely can put no better there has never been a police novel like this The writing is as strong as the materialthe dialogue as solid as a brick through a plate glass window and the prose as sharply precise as a linoleum knife across a throat Night Dogs is not ust a fine book It s an important bookA must read for anyone who is willing to meet a part of America that is so in our face but which we can and most often do prefer to ignore and yet a part which has all of our same aspirations and with which we share so many of shortcoming. Rvivor of his Special Forces unit comes back into his life Doc Dawson is a drug dealer and a killerbut he's the one man Hanson can trustNight Dogs is an extraordinary work from a powerful and authentic voice in American fiction Recoiling from the violence that Hanson deals with every day the violence that is in Hanson readers will also understand the compassion that drives him  A novel remarkable for its razor sharp characterizations and dialogue its freshness of observation Night Dogs and Hanson will remain etched in the memory for a long time to com.

And offers no apologies Night Dogs may shock you it may enrage you it may make you cry but it will also make you better understand and appreciate a period of American history many of us would ust as soon forget Kent Anderson s Night Dogs has popped up in my Goodreads recommendations a few times and was also on a list of the ten best novels about Portland that my elder son sent to me However I think I may have previously read this novel some 20 years ago when it was first published mainly because it combines the two main topics that I used to read about and still do the Vietnam War and American police officers Hanson our main protagonist is an ex Green Beret and Vietnam veteran who is now a Police Officer in 1970 s Portland He is a patrol officer who works the notorious North Division of Portland along with his partner Dana The novel comprises of many stories and anecdotes of the type of crimes and incidents and people that Hanson has to deal with on a daily basis A lot of these people are not criminals but ar This hardcover is signed by author Kent Anderson and publisher Dennis McMillanIn Night Dogs the protagonist from Andersons previous novel Sympathy for the Devil becomes a crazy kind of cop in this continuation of his lifeThe Place Portland Oregon The Time The 1970 sI love Mr Anderson s compelling writingHighly recommended Night Dogs is a crime novel written over 20 years ago set in a period 20 years before that yet it doesn t really seem dated Yes lots of forensic advances have taken place over the last 40 years that shape how police work is now performed but the personalities and uirks of the law enforcement personnel criminals and everyday working folks are what really drive the action There are many uniue aspects of Kent Anderson s 2nd book in his series that make it such a great one The main character Hanson is a guy who doesn t undergo a typical character development seuence in the novel You learn who he is by what he does what he s thinking about before after and during what he s doing and though a few flashbacks to his previous life as a Special Forces soldier during the war in Vietnam The book is almost entirely episodic and follows Hanson in his role as a cop in the Portland ghetto after his return from the war He has a tough beat and a great partner One theme involves a detective on the force who doesn t like Hanson and is trying to his best to get him out of the Department Although this is a book without a traditional plot that s one thread that follows through to the endThe 70s were definitely a different era No DNA no video no social media lots of paper paperwork fewer lawyers lots of drugs and guns on the streets maybe not so different Street ustice is dispensed when the police think it s appropriate based on a lack of confidence in the legal system Hanson s character is a truly complex one He s a badass as all Special Forces guys were yet he doesn t push that side of himself to the front at all and tends to downplay his war experiences Getting inside his mind as he and his partner are making insignificant as well as life and death decisions at times in the course of their daily routine is a real trip They re balancing paperwork reuirements overtime restrictions precinct boundaries past experiences with the folks they re dealing with compassion for the ghetto population vs disgust at some of its inhabitants it s a truly fascinating insight into how cops or at least one cop at that point in time think Hanson has lots of problems and Night Dogs succeeds in not only exposing them but also showing how they ve shaped and will continue to affect who he has become He s definitely a flawed cop but a very human oneAnderson s writing is very sharp and his dialogue is excellent As you might expect there s a significant amount of violence and action as well a some sex involved Night Dogs is a bit long but it moves uickly with each relatively short chapter representing another day in the life Much of Hanson s character is determined by his war years which I understand are covered in the initial book in this series Can t wait to get to it Dark and gripping character study While the story is mostly episodic there is still a strong sense of momentum pushing the story to its endExcellent atmosphere and sense of place Too often genre novels choose convention over realism This book maintains its gritty reality while maintaining a strong sense of drama Reminded me of Joseph Wambaugh with Rebooting India just a touch of the surreal darkness of DAY OF THE LOCUSTThe only fault it may have my opinion is that it s a little longer than it needs to be Especially considering that the story doesn t really hit its strid. Ran who has traded his Bronze Star for a badge War is what Hanson knows and in this battle for Portland's meanest streets he's fighting not so much for the law as for his own code ofusticeHanson is a man who seems to fear nothing except his own memories  And it is his past that could destroy him now  An enemy in the department is determined to bring him down by digging into his war record and resurrecting the darkest agonies of that nightmare time  And Hanson himself risks everything his career his euilibrium even his life when the only other su.

Kent Anderson ↠ 2 Characters

Ordinary Seaman deck hand on merchant ships age 19 21 Special Forces Green Beret Sgt in Vietnam 1969 1970 2 Bronze Stars Police Officer Portland OR Police Bureau 1972 1976 NEA Grant for Fiction Writing 1976 #1 MFA in Fiction Writing University of Montana 1978 Police Officer Oakland California Police Dept 1983 1984 resigned after 15 months to write Sympathy for the Devil