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Into the Dark: 30 Years in the Ruc Paperback – 1 May 2006


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Into the Dark: 30 Years in the Ruc + Shadows: Inside Northern Ireland's Special Branch + Stakeknife: Britain's Secret Agents in Ireland
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gill & Macmillan Ltd; New Ed edition (1 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0717141659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0717141654
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 391,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Johnston Brown was born in Holywood,County Down,in Northern Ireland in April 1950. He is the sixth born of twelve children. He has eight sisters and three brothers. He was educated at Holywood Primrary and Holywood Secondary Schools.

In and out of Welfare Care homes and short term foster homes due to his warring parents he believes his turbulent childhood prepared him well mentally for all those very traumatic events that he later encountered as an active detective in Belfast at the height of the "troubles".He was a qualified electrician for years with Rotary Electric in Belfast,before he left the trade to join the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) on 30th January 1972 (Bloody Sunday)at the age of 21 years.

Johnston served for the obligatory two year Probationary period in uniform at Newtownabbey RUC Station before he was drafted into the RUC Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on the 20th May 1974. He served in the CID in Belfast for just under 30 years in some of the most notorious hot spots such as West Belfast and the "Killing Fields" of North Belfast. He uses his experiences to afford the reader a fascinating insight into the sordid and murky world of informant and agent handling and misconduct by the few. His debut book "Into the Dark" was a local phenomenon and best seller. He is currently working on follow up books that will equally enthrall the reader.

Product Description

About the Author

Johnston Brown was born in Holywood, County Down in 1950. He joined the RUC in 1972 and served as a police officer for almost thirty years. He resigned in April 2001, after a bomb attack on his family home. He has a daughter and two sons, and now lives in Co Antrim with his wife Rebecca.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Bailie on 23 July 2006
Format: Hardcover
It was impossible to put this book down once I started reading. Johnston Brown tells a good story extremely well. The book reflects the reality of life on the streets in Northern Ireland during "the Troubles" accurately and without any sense of sensationalising the story. The difficulties faced by Brown are intriguing and harrowing, the accounts of his actions as one of the RUC's top detectives ring true over each page. A terrific read. I hope the author brings us the second book he promises at the end of this one. I can't wait.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John McBride on 28 July 2008
Format: Hardcover
For those of you that are either aware of, or are familiar with the troubles in the North of Ireland & would like to read about things from an RUC (Now PSNI) perspective, then I would recommend this book. There has been for years many things both written & spoke about that conflict each other, with regard to this issue, because 2 sides were at war. Finally, we have come across a book that is written oh so honestly, & I really mean that. Jonty Brown speaks about his life (Now Retired) during the troubles & tells us that yes, there was collusion between terrorists & the RUC. Because of what has been written & said down the years, I too was under the impression that all of the RUC are corrupt & anti-Catholic, rightly or wrongly some may say. Jonty Brown explains very well that this is not the case & that there are good & honest law enforcing officers in the RUC. There might not be a lot of them, but Jonty Brown was definitely one of them. Jonty Brown speaks the truth in this book & personally, the man has my respect for writing this book as it could not have been an easy decision to make. It is enjoyable, sometimes troubling but most importantly, Honest !!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. D. M. Kirby on 22 Nov 2007
Format: Paperback
Anybody reading Jonty Brown's compelling account of his service with the Royal Ulster Constabulary, who has not personally been involved with law enforcement in Northern Ireland, could be forgiven for believing that Brown is guilty of `over-egging the pudding'.

They would be wrong. I was there and Brown's account of his dealings with a tiny percentage of rogue officers in what I consider to have been the bravest police force in the world, is an accurate one. Brown had amassed a tremendous reputation as an investigative police officer in his dealings with the terrorist gangs of Ulster, one that was entirely justified.

In writing this astonishing account of almost 30 years' service with a premier police force, the narrative does sometimes get a little disjointed, where some episodes are taken out of context and too little is written about different subjects; for example, I should have liked to have read more of his dealings with Johnny `Mad Dog' Adair. But that, promises Brown, will be the subject of a future book. I hope it is.

This is a gripping account of an exceptional police officer; and a very brave one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Dec 2005
Format: Hardcover
From the moment I started reading this book it kept me so inthralled I sat up all night to finish it. It gave an honest view of the policing in the RUC and the problems incountered by the Good Cops. It never occurred to me these honourable men who were there to serve the community would be facing demons within their own force. I hope there is another book to follow this excellently written biography as I feel the author has a lot more to say.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By william cartwright on 3 May 2006
Format: Hardcover
Brillant read.. Both brown and his fellow officer trevor mcilwrath should be commened for their work.i hope McIlwarth will write a book soon too..Northern Ireland owes them alot!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By p.graham on 2 Dec 2005
Format: Hardcover
Excellent book,really good read,As a lot of it happened in my area it enticed me to continue reading. could not but this book down.just like to say well done to mr brown
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Wilyman VINE VOICE on 25 Dec 2009
Format: Hardcover
Very interesting book - a very brave man doing a very tough job in the most difficult of circumstances. It seems that the main opposition wasn't the terrorists, but instead came from within his own police force.
It'll shake your faith in justice and the policing system, but at least it's reassuring to know there are people like the author trying to do what's right. Scary looking man though - judging by the photos, I don't think I'd try to break the law when he's around!
The only thing that stops this getting five stars is the brief mentions of major subjects that are not further discussed, for example he mentions that he brought down Johnny Adair but there is nothing further on the background to this or how he did it. I accept this is probably for legal reasons but that doesn't make it any less frustrating. He states that it will be a subject for another book but it does make it a slightly unsatisfactory read - it almost would have been better not to mention it rather than leave the reader feeling that they haven't got the full story.
Overall though, a well written, interesting and worrying book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By fuji on 17 Nov 2006
Format: Hardcover
Johnston Brown reflects on a troubled childhood and his burning desire to be a policeman. He presents himself as a fair-minded Protestant, unionist, family-man, void of any ingrained hatred toward Catholics. He then moves through his induction training and initial experiences as a policeman, on the streets of Northern Ireland. He talks about the dangers created by paramilitaries; and also from corrupt fellow RUC police officers who were supportive of loyalist terror groups. He covers the iniquities of both loyalist and republican groups in a balanced and objective manner.

He shows a passion for the investigative skills needed to be a successful detective, in a dangerous environment. For those in Northern Ireland who rejected paramilitary violence and believed in law-and-order, this book will provide disturbing reading on high-level corruption and interference by Special Branch.

Johnston Brown pursued lawyer Pat Finucane's killer to serve justice, only to be punished for his dedication as an unwavering, conscientious detective. He has the ability to read and analyze some of the province's most dangerous psychopathic trigger men. Whatever your opinions on the conflict, this balanced book shows Brown to be a brave and honest detective, who risked his career,safety and family life to tell the truth. He tells of his mistakes as well as his successes. He wont get a knighthood for his honesty and hard work, however he deserves the respect and admiration of those who reject violence and believe in justice and impartial policing. I hope he and Trevor McIlwrath write a sequel to this book, since much of the truth is still to be told. A fascinating, yet disturbing book.
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