Review: Electric Blue by Paul F. Verhoeven

Title: Electric Blue

Author: Paul F. Verhoeven

Published: 1st August 2020, Viking

Status: Read December 2020 courtesy PenguinRandomHouse Australia


My Thoughts:

“Murder, Misogyny, Mayhem. When Your Parents Are Cops, Story Time Gets A Little Loose.”

Electric Blue by Paul Verhoeven defies simple description. This isn’t a straightforward biography, or true crime book, it’s a conversation between a son and his father, (and occasionally a son and his mother who was also once a police officer), about work and family, trauma and ADHD, and the past and present.

While Paul Verhoeven’s first book, Loose Units, focused on his father’s career as a NSW general duties police officer, Electric Blue addresses the time his father later spent with the Scientific Unit as a forensics officer. Prompted by Paul’s questions, John recounts his experiences, a mix of the ordinary, unusual, unpleasant and bizarre, under the supervision of an eccentric mentor. The cases are fascinating, told with occasionally disturbing detail, and a sardonic sense of humour.

Paul is often wide-eyed at John’s adventures, his father being so different to himself that he can barely conceive of the choices his dad makes. Paul has ADHD and as such is incapable of his dad’s ability to focus and act decisively, and struggles with the idea that John is not outwardly traumatised by his experiences. Though the two men are quite close emotionally, both Loose Units and Electric Blue stem, in part, from Paul’s desire to bridge the gap of understanding between them.

To that end Paul turns one of the cases his father relates into a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ style story, to demonstrate how his own scattered thought process would work in the same situation, and includes it in Electric Blue, complete with a handful of illustrations. It’s an unexpected and unique addition to the book, though it won’t appeal to everyone.

I found Electric Blue to be a fascinating and entertaining, if unconventional, read. I’ve every intention of reading Loose Units too, and I’ve subscribed to the Loose Units podcast.


Available from PenguinRandomHouse Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Booktopia

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Helen Murdoch
    Dec 05, 2020 @ 11:49:36

    I assumed this book was fiction, but I like the idea of the dad and son revealing life experiences through a conversation.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  3. Izabel Brekilien
    Dec 17, 2020 @ 18:26:17

    Firstly I thought the author was the film director, but he isn’t. Secondly, the title reminded me of an 80s song ! (Haven’t had my morning coffee yet) Then I finally concentrated and read your review and this book looks interesting indeed, thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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