qszk tnvr · 2021-09-13

Ex-cop’s undercover experiences basis for book

Usually, new retirees spend a little time smelling the roses. For one former police officer, however, that just wasn’t an option.

Instead, Greg Quesnelle – who recently wrapped up a 30-year career with the Ontario Provincial Police – opted to get right back to work writing his first book.

“Undercover: My Story” is a fictional account of a young man who gets hired by a major provincial police department and quickly climbs the ranks to become an undercover officer with the drug squad.

The story, Quesnelle said, describes noteworthy events throughout the character’s undercover career.

The Penetanguishene resident told The Mirror despite always dreaming of police work, he actually started off as a nurse in training at the Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene.

“I was too young to be a policeman and was fortunate enough to be hired by the province of Ontario (for the) practical nursing program,” he said.

While he enjoyed that job, it wasn’t long before Quesnelle realized he just couldn’t let his fate pass him by. At the age of 21, he applied to both the OPP and RCMP.

“I was probably drawn to (policing) by the adventure and the excitement,” he said. “You get to help people, do things, travel …  plus it’s a very honest and sincere career.”

Quesnelle officially retired March 1, 2008, and has spent the past year drafting and writing his “fictional memoir.” Although he found himself confronted with a few unique challenges, he got through it thanks to a number of motivating factors.

“The motivation for me to write book, was threefold,” he said. “(The first) is in memory of my friend Bill. He is one of the only OPP undercover officers that I know that was ever killed in the performance of his duty and recognized as such,” he said, adding Bill was one of the first friends and cohorts he got to know when he first joined the undercover unit.

“His death is still unsolved. In time, people forget. It very easily could have been me there…. I wanted to keep the story alive of the people that are there to protect society.”

The rest of his motivation, he said, came from his wife for “putting up with (his) career for 30 years” and his daughter for urging him to write the book.

Quesnelle said his job provided most of the inspiration for the book and, although it is a work of fiction, there are many parallels to his own career.

“I’ve been there (and) done it. I’ve bought the heroin, bought the coke, bought the grass, the LSD, stolen property,” he said. “I did an undercover jail job where I was in jail with a suspected double murderer … so (it is) loosely based on (my) own experiences,” he said. “It’s a different twist to have a fictional memoir. Usually, books are categorized as one of the other … but there are a lot of (parallels) with the story line and my career.”

Quesnelle noted society doesn’t often get to see the covert side of policing.

“It’s not your everyday-type job. It’s a real challenge (that requires) living with honesty and integrity,” he said, adding the story also shows the dangerous elements of the job – something he’s hoping readers will be able to appreciate a little more after reading the book.

“I hope (readers) will understand that there are people out there in specialized services that are doing a lot of good, dangerous work for society,” he said. “A lot of times (we) are the unsung heroes. We don’t advertise who we are; we just do things because it’s the right thing to do.”

The book, which was published March 11, is available online at and .