Red on Red by Edward Conlon
I just kept reading things like “the cop book of the year” and such stuff about Red on Red. And that made me go, Hmmm. And so I had to read it.
And, guys, the rave reviews are warranted.
I’m intrigued by the whole male psyche thing, and I’ve been puzzled and in a state of wonderment about it ever since I was a wee girl.
This book is filled with the brotherhood of the cop world. And specifically the close bond between cops who are partners. There’s male psyche just oozing out of this thing. I was entranced.
The main character, NYPD Detective Nick Meehan, is at a very bad turning point in his life—his marriage is ending, he’s disengaged from his work, and he’s depressed as all heck.
And he’s just been assigned to work with a new partner, Esposito, and to report on him to Internal Affairs. Seems that Esposito’s a loose cannon, and Meehan’s supposed to find out just how far he’s strayed from the usual rules governing police behavior. So there’s a built-in betrayal here, in addition to all the big and little betrayals that happen daily in their world. Excellent.
Beyond the fascination of getting inside the heads of the cops, there’s an amazing plot here. These guys see all kinds of ugliness, and lots of it is pretty darn dramatic. The story goes places I didn’t expect, and in a good way. It’s gritty. There ain’t a lot of beauty, joy, and happiness in this book. There’s not meant to be.
While I was reading Red on Red, I came across a great article about it on BookBeast, which tells some really interesting stuff about the author (who anonymously wrote a New Yorker column called “Cop Diary” some years ago).
So glad there are people out there who can write like he does, even as he continues to do his day job. A remarkable thing, that.