RED ON RED by Edward Conlon
Kirkus Star


Email this review


Nick Meehan is the job, the quintessential New York City PD detective, also one who’s ironic and self-contained, intelligent and driven. And troubled.

Meehan and his new partner, the hard-charging Esposito, are dispatched to investigate an apparent suicide in Inwood Hill Park. Meehan has been granted a preferred assignment, but only by accepting a troubling caveat. Meehan is to report on Esposito for the Internal Affairs Bureau. No cop likes a rat, and Meehan doesn't need the IAB's pressure added to worries about a failing marriage and a frail father. At the scene, the detectives confront Ivan Lopez, who reported the body, but his story is shaky, and Meehan is troubled. The next call takes the partners to the scene of a shooting. The victim has been murdered with a shotgun, leading to an incorrect identification. It's not Malcolm Cole, drug dealer and possible killer. It's his brother. Now the detectives are caught between Cole and a Dominican gang with major ambitions. With the pensive and self-aware Meehan doubting his own judgment, Esposito leads the way though a series of maneuvers, some legal, some not, and many skirting department rules, that land the pair in a gun battle at a Dominican gang funeral and then at a clandestine meeting with Cole at which a rogue IAB agent appears. Meanwhile, Ivan Lopez dogs Meehan, wanting help with his teenage daughter, Grace, either the victim of a gang rape or a participant in an orgy. Conlon (Blue Blood, 2004) is a gifted writer, surefooted on this terrain, drawing on personal NYPD experience to immerse the reader in the job, a milieu far more gritty and less glamorous than the car chases that pass for police work on screen. Meehan is a powerful character, realistic in his wry, existentialist approach and deeply sympathetic in his relationship with his wife and with Daysi, a Dominican florist, who may represent a second chance.

A first novel sure to make the bestseller lists.
Pub Date: April 5th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-385-51917-5
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2011


FictionGUILT BY ASSOCIATION by Marcia Clark
by Marcia Clark
FictionRED ON RED by Edward Conlon
by Edward Conlon
FictionTHE TRINITY SIX by Charles Cumming
by Charles Cumming
FictionVERY BAD MEN by Harry Dolan
by Harry Dolan


FictionPROVING GROUND by Peter Blauner
by Peter Blauner