Review of ‘The Accidental Cop’ by Eve Koguce

I’d never read a book set in Latvia before, so this one was interesting for both its character-driven story and its setting of Riga in 1999-2000. It follows Roberts, a young man who shows us the corruption of the police during a freezing winter. The writing style is carefully-worded and emotive. It has some indications that English may not have been the native language of the writer, which suits the tone of the book. There are Latvian words sprinkled throughout, which are explained where necessary. I liked the introduction and the mini-essay on the history of Latvia, which put the story into context.

Book cover of The Accidental Cop by Eve Koguce, showing a police officer at night in front of his car.

There is a lot of detail about life as a young recruit at the Police Academy and the procedures for murder investigations. It seemed very well-researched and designed to appeal to fans of crime fiction. The ‘accidental cop’ of the title, Roberts, wants to be a lawyer rather than a police officer, but there is so little opportunity and he had a difficult upbringing. He’s mature for his age and readers will find themselves rooting for him. It was only perhaps a third of the way through the novel that a plot began to emerge, which is when I realised that the book is more about characters and atmosphere than the usual police procedural. This ensures that the novel is unusual and memorable.

Independently published in 2023.

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