#Bookreview – Undercover: Operation Julie by Stephen Bentley

book reviews

What Amazon says

In March 1978, at the culmination of Operation Julie, 15 defendants, including doctors, research chemists, a writer, and “professional” drug dealers were sentenced to a combined total of 124 years’ imprisonment. Operation Julie is still today the point of reference for all British undercover operations and training. In 2011, the BBC claimed this massive and unique police operation was the start of the war on drugs. Stephen Bentley, was one of four undercover detectives engaged on Operation Julie, one of the world’s largest drug busts.

Together with his undercover partner, Bentley infiltrated the gang producing around 90 percent of the world’s LSD and uncovered a plot to import huge quantities of Bolivian cocaine into the UK. The underworld knew the author as Steve Jackson. How did he successfully infiltrate the two gangs? Did he have to take drugs, and how did living a lie affect him? Discover the answers and get inside the mind of Steve Jackson, undercover detective.

My review

I listened to the audio book of Undercover: Operation Julie. The narrator did a good job of telling this story and had a pleasant and smooth reading style. I would certainly recommend the audio book to people who like to listen to, rather than read, stories.

This book is an autobiography of a period in the author’s life when he was an undercover cop in a historic police investigation that led to the breakup of a huge LSD manufacturing and distribution operation in Great Britain. The story is set during the 1970’s and the author, known by the underworld as Steve Jackson, and his undercover partner need to integrate themselves into the shady and dangerous world of small time drug dealers and work themselves up so that they can find out who the ring leaders are.

Steve Bentley’s depiction of how both cops have to completely sever all ties to their “real” lives and eat, sleep and breath their assumed persona is compelling and quite frightening. To put yourself into a situation where you need to become a hard drinking, drug taking low-life seems inconceivable to me and the author describes how difficult it eventually becomes to separate your actual mind from that of your assumed personality. Over time, and with the help of drugs, they start to merge and you start living your lie.

Of course, both cops manage to keep their eye on the ball and work towards their ultimate goal of uncovering the entire drug smuggling and selling operation. They, together with the other undercover detectives, the police and various other involved parties, are successful in the end and the doctors, chemists, drug dealers and related parties to what became known as Project Julie were brought to justice.

I thought this was a fascinating, first hand account of this amazing story which reads just like an action movie. It was well written and detailed in a way that only a person who lived the story could describe. The last section of the book deals with the impact years of undercover work had on the life of the author. I was surprised at the lack of support and treatment for post traumatic stress disorder that was made available to Steve. I would have expected more from a first world country like Great Britain. Hopefully, this has changed and people in the line of fire doing jobs for the benefit of the citizens of a country get better after treatment after their discharge from the police force.

Purchase Undercover: Operation Julie

14 thoughts on “#Bookreview – Undercover: Operation Julie by Stephen Bentley

  1. I had heard a little about this book. We’re just following a television crime thriller ‘Line of Duty’, which involves undercover police. It is a drama, but I’m sure the issues are very real. Who knows who is undercover, at what stage have undercover officers become corrupt or merely playing their role brilliantly. The whole idea is so creepy, a job not many would want to do. I would certainly be interested to read this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve had this book on my radar. Like you, it’s hard for me to conceive the lengths undercover operatives must go to in order to accomplish their goals. I would imagine you have to believe so strongly in making a difference, you’re willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to achieve that difference.
    This sounds like an amazing book.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I watch a bunch of the NCIS shows and enjoy fiction murder mysteries. The last book I read could not compare with the reality this undercover story. But it did have an agent undercover, who had retired and just because they were in the ‘area’ were pressed into service. Who would expect a Jane Doe housewife. There actually is a TV show where the agent is called Jane Doe and it is possible that her own family doesn’t know of her ‘double life’. Could that be happening in our own reality. I suppose if the agents are doing things right we’ll never know.

    But it is sad, especially reading all that Charli had gone through with her husband that the agent in the book is not getting the proper care for recovery for the time and effort that was put into the project.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our governments are rather strange with their attitudes to mental health. People give their hearts and souls for their country and when they get mental health issues, government doesn’t support them. I believe I have heard of the TV how, Jules. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow – the main thing I got from all this is that that guy is hardcore! And, like Jules said, I hope this guy eventually gets the reward/care he deserves after having gone through all this.

    Liked by 1 person

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