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Extended Audio Sample Red on Red: A Novel Audiobook, by Edward Conlon Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (357 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Edward Conlon Narrator: Mark Deakins Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2011 ISBN: 9780307876102
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A gripping debut work of crime fiction, from the author of the bestselling memoir about life as a New York City cop, Blue Blood. (“May be the best account ever written of life behind the badge.” —Time) In Red on Red, Edward Conlon tells the electrifying and suspenseful story of two NYPD detectives, Meehan and Esposito: one damaged and introspective, the other ambitious and unscrupulous. Meehan is compelled by haunting and elusive stories that defy easy resolution, while Esposito is drawn to cases of rough and ordinary combat. A fierce and unlikely friendship develops between them and plays out against a tangle of mysteries: a lonely immigrant who hangs herself in Inwood Hill Park, a serial rapist preying on upper Manhattan, a troubled Catholic schoolgirl who appears in the wrong place with uncanny regularity, and a savage gang war that erupts over a case of mistaken identity. A literary thriller about the twisted dynamic of a successful police partnership—the tests of loyalty, the necessary betrayals, the intersections of life and work—Red on Red tells an unrelenting and exciting story that captures the grittiness, complexity, ironies, and compromises of life on the job.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Conlon brings his full knowledge of police work to bear in this gritty chronicle…[He] captures the herky-jerky nature of a policeman’s daily routine as it swings between farce and tragedy, all the while detailing the way cops talk, joke, and stress. This realistic take on police work, relayed in cinematic prose, has all the earmarks of a hit.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “This expertly crafted novel will appeal to readers of literary crime masters such as George Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane, and Richard Price.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Extraordinary…Mr. Conlon, already showing a mature novelist’s skill, has produced an accomplished work full of wisdom and adrenaline, contemplation and action, pride and regret.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Conlon is a gifted writer, surefooted on this terrain, drawing on personal NYPD experience to immerse the reader in the job…[Nick] Meehan is a powerful character, realistic in his wry, existentialist approach and deeply sympathetic.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A first novel sure to make the bestseller lists. Kirkus, starred review
  • ...this expertly crafted novel will appeal to readers of literary crime masters such as George Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane, and Richard Price. Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • Conlon  brings his full knowledge of police work to bear in this gritty chronicle..[He] captures the herky-jerky nature of a policeman’s daily routine as it swings between farce and tragedy, all the while detailing the way cops talk, joke, and stress.  This realistic take on police work, relayed in cinematic prose, has all the earmarks of a hit. Booklist, starred review
  • A big, daring, psychologically complex story—passionate and poignant, pulsating with authenticity and street smarts yet lyrical and literary—this is the cop novel for everyone who reads books. Joseph Wambaugh
  • Red on Red is often brutal and often brutally funny, reaching into the depths of human malice and rising to the level of language that all good literature should achieve. Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin, winner of the National Book Award
  • Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books, Best Thriller 2011
  • A 2012 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominee for Best First Novel

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth Schneider | 2/18/2014

    " This is a solidly written novel based on a NYC police detective. For awhile it seemed as if everyone around him was going to die or experience something horrible, but by the end his luck appeared to have changed. I really enjoyed the evolution of the main character as well as his relationship with his partner. I think I may have to go back and read Conlon's first book as well. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kristina | 2/7/2014

    " I can't read this book. I enjoyed Edward Conlon's first book Blue Blood about being a NYC detective, but I can't get through this one. It's the best example of overwriting that I've ever seen. Conlon doesn't know when to stop with a description or a scene or anything. He uses a lot of commas and slows down the pace of the book with excessive words. Stop, Conlon! I think the characters will be interesting and the plot (well, he kinda hasn't gotten to the main plot yet) seems interesting but I can't keep my interest focused. This isn't the type of book to skim through so I can't do that just to get to the meat of the book. I'm giving up and returning it so I can move onto the many other good books I still have to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bea | 2/5/2014

    " This is a good beach read if you like Joseph Wambaugh without the humor. It is written by a real detective, is very psychological and you have to read every paragraph carefully to understand what just happened. I would have given it a 4 except for the daily mundane police bordom and depression that seeps into the story that makes the book seem longer than it is. For this genre, it is pretty good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diana | 2/4/2014

    " Funny, sad, philosophical. Some good info on the etymology of certain words. I have the feeling that Ed Conlon really is Det. Mehan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jay Caselberg | 12/29/2013

    " This was very gritty, very weel written, which I would expect reading the author's bio and plaudits, but there was something, I don't know, missing. Our protag wanders through life being manipulated by circumstance. Things happen and he's like a passenger on the journey. Now, as a story of a cop's descent into despair, bad luck and powerlessness, then it's all good, with the backdrop being a series of seemingly unrelated crimes. They get solved in the end, but ultimately, it is nothing to do with our hero's efforts. Strings of synchronicity draw them to resolution. I was expecting a crime novel. I don't really think I got that. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Vanessa Eneas | 12/26/2013

    " For the first time in years, I couldn't bring myself to finish a book. I thought I would like this as an aid, law and order, csi, bones fan. However, this is much more masculine and seems to revolve around the pretty feeble male characters. I didn't like, understand or even want to get to know these guys........ Had to put it away forever. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Virgil Larson | 12/20/2013

    " I've read a number of crime novels set in Norway and Sweden, so the New York City setting seemed foreign to me. The story is exciting, the main characters are believable, and the action and setting seems authentic. I would read more books by Conlon. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karen Sikora Toronyi | 12/1/2013

    " The book was a compilation of thoughts and feelings of the characters. There really wasn't much of a story, no surprise ending, no nail biting excitement. I became quite bored about three quarters of the way through the book and had to force myself to finish reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gail Strickland | 10/24/2013

    " Bleak. Not what we see on Law and Order by any means. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 10/4/2013

    " This is more about two cops, their relationship with each other and their relationships with other cops, wives, victims, perps, than it is a straight-up mystery. And it was wonderfully done overall. I look forward to reading more by this author. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Viccy | 2/15/2013

    " Could not finish it. I was almost 200 pages into the book and nothing interesting was happening. When the same EMS crew showed up at the third crime scene in as many days, I was done with it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn Kearney | 1/13/2013

    " It's not surprise to learn the writer was or is a cop. Quite a gripping read, though long and dense. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura | 8/12/2012

    " Very much enjoyed this book, its a crime novel that is more about the shades of gray in the relationship between the two detectives, as well as legal shades of gray, than it is about the crime aspect. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian Grover | 8/10/2012

    " I'm surprised to say that I loved this book. It feels as real and as intimate as I imagine a cop/detective novel could ever manage. It's early in the year, but Esposito's going to be tough to dislodge from my "favorite literary character of the year" award. I didn't read Blue Blood, but I will. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janis | 6/20/2012

    " The book started a little slow for me, but I quickly warmed to Nick and Espo. The pace is slower than other crime novels, but the relationship between the two cops is riveting. Really enjoyed it and will read Conlon's memoir Blue Blood. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Norma | 5/7/2012

    " This modern day New York City police procedural about two partners (one of whom is spying on the other for IAD)has a lot of psychological introspection as everyone works through their days. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Corinne | 8/2/2011

    " Conlon brought the same wit and authenticity to this novel as he did in his memoir. I'm not a huge fan of detective books, where the plot lines a formulaic and absurd. Conlon is refreshing in that the characters and story felt real. A good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Norma | 5/9/2011

    " This modern day New York City police procedural about two partners (one of whom is spying on the other for IAD)has a lot of psychological introspection as everyone works through their days. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jen | 4/23/2011

    " I would have given it 4 stars but the ending didn't feel finished. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dena | 4/22/2011

    " This author is known for his non=fiction.

    But his departure into fiction will bring him acolades of the highest quality.

    This would also make a great readers choice material. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diana | 4/16/2011

    " Funny, sad, philosophical. Some good info on the etymology of certain words. I have the feeling that Ed Conlon really is Det. Mehan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gail | 4/1/2011

    " Bleak. Not what we see on Law and Order by any means. "

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About the Author
Edward Conlon is a detective with the New York City Police Department. A graduate of Harvard, he has published articles in The New Yorker and Harper’s and his work has been included in The Best American Essays. He is the author of a memoir, Blue Blood, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, A New York Times Notable Book, and a New York Times bestseller.
About the Narrator

Mark Deakins is an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator and actor whose television appearances include Head Case, Star Trek: Voyager, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His film credits include Intervention, Star Trek: Insurrection, and The Devil’s Advocate. He wrote, directed, and produced the short film The Smith Interviews.