Ensiform's Reviews > Blue Blood

Blue Blood by Edward Conlon
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Feb 05, 12

bookshelves: non-fiction, justice
Read in June, 2004

The author is a Harvard-educated NYPD cop, son of an FBI agent, writing his memoirs seven years into his career on the force. Over the course of the book’s 560 pages, he begins in Housing (drug busts in the projects), works with Narcotics, gets a feel for the midnight shift, sifts though the awful wreckage of 9/11 on Fresh Kills, and finally becomes a detective. Every so often, he interrupts his own story to tell some other facet of police or city history, such as that of the real Serpico or the tale of the French Connection, stories of crooked and heroic cops and politicos of the past, the Black Panther cop-murder spree, and so forth.

It’s a very interesting book, with plenty of very funny bits (his descriptions of and banter with informants provide much humor) as well as food for thought. Certainly, though, it’s no masterpiece. For someone who clearly bristles when talked to about police corruption, Conlon breezes over Abner Louima, and takes a very Blue Wall-ish view of the Amadou Diallo case. The book is also overlong; it could use some editing, especially given that there are no spectacular cases here (lots of gritty interrogation and stakeout stuff, but it is everyday police work). On the whole though, the great writing, the eye for a relevant story, Conlon’s intense devotion to the NYPD, and a real flair for characterization make this a memoir worth reading through.
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