'Superb. The most stunning memoir ever written about the cop world' - Joseph Wambaugh. 'Beautiful and inspiring, terrifying and heartbreaking' - James Frey. 'More chilling than even the most realistic cop dramas on TV' - "People". 'A great book...with the testimonial force equal to that of Michael Herr's Dispatches' - "Time". "Blue Blood" is the ...
'Superb. The most stunning memoir ever written about the cop world' - Joseph Wambaugh. 'Beautiful and inspiring, terrifying and heartbreaking' - James Frey. 'More chilling than even the most realistic cop dramas on TV' - "People". 'A great book...with the testimonial force equal to that of Michael Herr's Dispatches' - "Time". "Blue Blood" is the fast-paced, insider story of Edward Conlon's career in the NYPD. Conlon can really write, but is a cop's cop through and through (the fourth generation of NYPD cop in his family). The book is part memoir, part action, set in the Bronx starting in the mid-1990s. We follow Conlon's rise within the force, from rookie beat cop through a stint in the narcotics division to finally achieving gold-shield detective status as he is today, but he also manages to portray a fascinating social history of the Bronx over the last twenty years and a history of the NYPD and its often violent evolution. The writing is gripping, with stories of shoot-outs and drug dealers interspersed with domestic disputes and runaways.
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Blue Blood is a memoir by New York policeman Edward Conlon. Conlon worked (or, potentially still does) as a street cop in the Bronx during the mid to late 1990s. He's also a Harvard graduate, which makes him unusual in his field, to say the least. The memoir is long, over 500 pages and I was worried that it would get repetitive - and to some degree, that does occur. But largely, I was riveted in reading this. Conlon manages to paint a very telling picture of the life of the policeman without getting too in depth in any specific case. He also shows a side of the police force I hadn't really considered outside of Michael Connelly novels; the insane internal politics, sometimes which bungle cases due to someone's insistence on protocol or ownership of a procedure. Even with its length, it reads relatively fast, and makes you feel like you really have gotten a sense of the inside. Even so, many of Conlon's peers were worried about him, knowing he might be writing a book - I can't imagine that too many of them felt slighted afterwards. Even his Sergeant at one point, who he absolutely skewers for his lack of perception and acumen, is not named but simply referred to as The Sergeant.
The fact that Conlon discusses the beat in small, brief stories makes the whole novel seem as if he was relaying these stories to you over a beer or twenty in an Irish pub somewhere. And that is great - but given the length of the book, it seems like he could have cut down on some of the stories and given more depth to the best ones. While I did enjoy the book, it left me wanting a bit more. Recommended, but with caveats.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-03-29 This gripping account of his life in the NYPD by a Harvard-educated detective will evoke deserved comparisons to other true crime classics, like David Simon's Homicide and Kurt Eichenwald's The Informant. The son of an FBI agent, Conlon began his career patrolling housing projects in the Bronx before moving on to narcotics work and eventually getting his gold shield. He seamlessly weaves in family stories, autobiography and a history of corruption and reform in the legendary police force, but the heart of the book is his compelling and detailed rendering of the daily grind of the average policeman, a refreshing antidote to car chases and running gun fights that are a staple of popular culture's depiction. There are dozens of fascinating supporting characters on both sides of the law, including pitiful addicts and career criminals hoping to become informants, devoted public servants, good bosses and petty bureaucrats. The narrative spans the violent early 1990s, touches on the controversial Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo cases, and features an evocative account of the grim recovery at the Fresh Kills landfill, sifting through remains of the twin towers, where circling birds provided clues to human remains. Even those with a more cynical view of the realities of police work will be impressed by the warts-and-all portrait Conlon provides, and his gifts as a writer will doubtless attract a wide audience. Agent, Owen Laster at the William Morris Agency. (Apr. 12) Forecast: Conlon is already established as the author of the "Cop Diary" pieces in the New Yorker, written under the pseudonym Marcus Laffey. A six-city author tour should help launch this one onto many bestseller lists. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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