Under Siege

by Belinda Neil

Release date: 03/2016
Imprint: MIRA
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About the book

'Her extraordinary journey juggling the roles of police negotiator, homicide investigator, wife and mother shines a light on this little-understood limb of law enforcement.' — Mark Whittaker, Sydney Morning Herald

Belinda Neil lived and breathed her job. She loved her roles as a homicide investigator and hostage negotiator with the NSW police force, but she never knew what her work day might bring. She might be investigating a crime scene; talking a suicidal woman down from a cliff; or trying to convince a deranged man not to slit the throat of his wife and children.

As a negotiator, Belinda often found herself on cliff edges, waiting in doorways or out amongst the elements, persuading the murderous and suicidal to drop their weapons, stop terrorising their families, step back from the ledge.

Every time she stepped into a negotiation, her life was in danger, and it was hardly surprising when over time the horrors she saw began to take their toll. After years of broken sleep, traumatic crime scenes and death, one disastrous weekend brought everything to a head. The next morning when she awoke, she found she was shaking so badly she could not get out of bed. A short time later, Belinda found herself contemplating jumping off a cliff in the Moreton Bay National Park. She had even written the suicide note.

Under Siege shows us the remarkable job homicide investigators and hostage negotiators perform, and their endurance and courage in impossible circumstances. More than that, this courageous memoir reveals how the daily trauma and stress affected Belinda’s roles as wife and mother, and how she fought against the terrifying post-traumatic stress disorder that resulted, and came back from a very dark place.

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