Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Red on Red” as Want to Read:
Red on Red
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Red on Red

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  724 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
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
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Red on Red, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Red on Red

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Darcia Helle
If you want gripping suspense or fast-paced mystery, don't look here. This story does not move quickly. Instead, it forces readers to take their time, to wander the paths of the main character, to get lost with him, to feel his emotions and to see the minute details in life that many of us so easily overlook.

Edward Conlon is a cop writing about cops and his inside viewpoint gives readers something new to look at. There is some mystery, some suspense, some police procedural. But, at its heart, t
Feb 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Red on Red is a cop book, but not in the traditional police procedural vein. While there is a thread of related and unrelated crimes none of these take precedence in this novel. Instead, Mr. Conlon offers us a lyrical look at the city he loves and reveals what it's like on the job.

Throughout this book we get to ride along with two homicide detectives - Meehan and his new partner, Esposito (Espo). Theirs is an unlikely pairing - Meehan, Irish, withdrawn, dragging himself through the days; and Esp
Feb 07, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
On a cover blurb, the Wall Street Journal says this book is, “Full of adrenaline.” And Kirkus Reviews called it, “One of the best novels of the year.” They must have read a different book than I did.

Red On Red starts off great with the main character Nick at crime scene then pace slows to a crawl with an in-depth detailing of his thoughts and feelings. And from there the book is almost a minute-by-minute recording of his life and thoughts.

On the plus side, Red On Red contains some beautiful ima
May 24, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Remember in your college comp class when you had that one story read aloud that seemed like the author had a checklist of literary conventions and worked tirelessly to hammer each and every one of them into the ground throughout the piece to where you wanted to scream, "OKAY! WE GET IT! YOU'VE PAID ATTENTION!"

Yeah. Well, imagine if that short story assignment was extrapolated into a fairly lengthy novel!



I got to a point with this book where I was tired of all the heavy-handed allusions an
I loved this a moody love-letter to New York City that also is kind of what The Wire might be like if it were a novel and set in NY and if McNulty were more philosophical and less of a horndog and Bunk were Sicilian.
Ellen Keim
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It was a bit like watching a long episode of "Law and Order" but was much better than that. I don't usually like a lot of description, but the author handles it wonderfully; he really made "place" come alive for me. This is partly police procedural (although on the "shady" side) and partly what seemed to be an authentic look at what it's like to be a New York City police detective. Which makes sense, because that's what the author is. I'm a mystery fan, and this wasn't ...more
Feb 13, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Goodreads for this advance copy from the giveaways! This book is about two NYPD detectives. One is secretly partnering up with the other as a narc for the internal affairs division. The story follows them through several cases that are somewhat interwoven. Their relationship grows and the IAD cop becomes disenchanted with his role and starts to feel more and more protective of his partner until he is entangled in a situation from which they both must "bend the rules". I found the book ...more
Jun 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I pulled this off a library shelf kind of at random (it fulfilled my basic criteria: nice and thick, no cats or swastikas on the cover, and it didn't seem to involve vampires). And I enjoyed it immensely. In TV terms, it's more "The Wire" than "Law and Order" -- sharp characterization, great dialogue, no neat conclusions. It's very realistic, not surprising since the author is a working detective. Don't read it if you're looking for a traditional police procedural or thriller, but if you're a fa ...more
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title of this debut novel by a NYC cop refers to what happens in wargames when the oppositional or attacking side (ie. the "red" team) turns on itself. It's a very apt title for a story that features plenty of blue (police) vs. red (criminal) activity, but also plenty of blue (regular police) vs. blue (internal affairs), and red (gang 1) vs. red (gang 2) drama. Indeed, as in many of the better crime stories, there are all kinds of moral shades of gray flickering across the pages.

The protago
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, mystery
This is a slow book- it develops slowly, drawing out the various cases assigned to two cops, and rising to a slow conclusion. As a study in character development, it is impeccable. And it can serve as a model for young writers on how to carefully draw out a plot to the very end.

Nick Meehan is a young cop who is gong through the motions of his job and of his life. He and his wife are separated, with neither of them having the energy to either try to get back together or to take the final step tow
Kelly Roll
Be warned, those readers thinking that they are about to read a straightforward “this is the crime committed, this is how the crime was solved” type book will be disappointed. This book is really about relationships, particularly the relationship between Nick Meehan and his partner, Esposito, but to a lesser extent the other cops in their precinct as well as the criminals they encounter.
I really appreciated Conlon’s depictions of the life of a cop. He spotlights not so much the excitement of wh
Jun 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Red on Red' is a gritty, introspective mystery that takes readers into the mind of detective Nick Meehan and his partner, detective Esposito, whom the Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) has recruited Meehan to keep an eye on. I found it slow to get into but ultimately quite rewarding, with a few points of note that make it a departure from other mysteries I've read.

First of all, unlike most books in the genre, there isn't really one central mystery that the detectives devote all their time to solvi
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Two most unlikely NYPD detectives work to solve cases. Meehan is by-the-book and is to spy on his partner, Esposito, who is known to take liberties to solve his cases. Rumor has it that he even accepts bribes. What is the truth? As the relationship develops between them, one begins to understand both men who are unpopular with the rest of the squad.

Meehan's marriage is falling apart but his partnership with Esposito is strengthening as the two find that they work together well. Their cases inclu
Doug Park
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
{3.5 stars}

RED on RED has so many admirable and dissatisying aspects to it that it's hard to decide how many stars it really earns. Unlike many authors in this genre, Edward Conlon can definitely write, and, being an NYC detective himself, shows impressive authority on his subject. The police lingo and wisecracking NYC humor are very real, without the overdoings that we often see in this setting, and Conlon's metaphors and similes are frequently just plain brilliant. Yet, he often tries a bit to
Feb 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction

A gritty literary epic of police life as it often is, rather than the fiction of TV and film.

The title comes from street lingo for criminals killing other criminals. But it might as likely be applied to the relationship between Meehan and Esposito. The former, in limbo as a result of marital difficulties and insecurity about his life, has accepted assignment as an Internal Affairs “field associate” in order to transfer to this squad. Ironically, the change has him partnered with the IAB target.
Brandon Pagan
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Red on Red by Edward Conlon is an action-packed fiction book about the life of a detective in one of the harshest environments to have such a job: New York City. The detective works day and night as a homicide investigator with an intriguing partner on the job. As the case goes from cold to hot in a series of very unusual events, the cop now had gotten deeper into something more mysterious than he could have thought. After his father dies unexpectedly, and after having an affair, he becomes conf ...more
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Smart, funny, compelling first novel by a cop about cops. I have no idea why all the lukewarm reviews here; this was a great debut novel. The author is a Harvard-educated NYPD detective, and his protagonist seems like one too, an introspective and philosophical man who is always thinking at several levels and would have done well in philosophy or semiotics courses at a top-end university. Teamed with a less cerebral partner who may or may not be corrupt, tasked to ferret out the partner's corrup ...more
Jun 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is so much better than the many lukewarm reviews I have read of it; I think it is mainly a problem of expectations. This is emphatically not a plot driven story. There are many threads involving several cases which are more improbably connected than is strictly believable. That's why we gladly suspend our disbelief.

None of that matters as much, anyway, if you get into the actual story here, which is the story of a partnership, begun out of a kind of betrayal but growing, in spite of t
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
Having been a regulator in my past life, I found this novel to be very meaty in its content.

From the back cover: In 'Red on Red', Edward Conlon captures the vibrant dynamic of a successful police partnership between two NYPD detectives-the tests of loyalty, the necessary betrayals, the wedding of life and work. 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
Mar 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Red on Red is the fiction debut of Edward Conlon, author of the memoir Blue Blood. He is a detective with the NYPD, and it shows in the structure of Red on Red. The novel follows two NYPD detectives, Meehan and Esposito, who get along despite, or perhaps because of, their very different styles. We meet them as they work a night shift and catch several cases. These cases play out over the course of the novel.

Most crime novels I’ve read are clearly about a single crime from the very beginning. The
Jan 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: firstreads
FirstReads Giveaway-thank you! The writing and storylines in "Red on Red" are original and vividly written. Occasionally it's so honest in its descriptions, that you cringe. Conlon gives you more peeks into real police life than most authors usually dare. The characters are wonderfully flawed and realistic. I often wondered if the author pulled them from the NYCPD and if so, would they recognize themselves in the novel? Conlon didn't pull any punches so you'd like the characters. They were who t ...more
Ambitious cop novel by actual NYC detective. The story revolves around Nick Meehan, who is bored and at loose ends in several aspects of life, and his partner Esposito, who is under investigation by Internal Affairs. Nick is helping, sort of, but is conflicted about it.

We're talking drug dealers and street thugs, psycho rapists and hottie florists.

And we're also talking a lot of time in Nick's head, where no thought is too weird or insignificant to go unexplored. At length.

Strong points: Good d
Alfred St
Sep 18, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Read up to 11 percent of the book and could go no further. This book was one of the most boring I have ever read. I am still trying to understand the high recommendations.
Thomas Goldie
I remembered that when this book came out that it was well received by reviewers. When I saw it at a book sale, I picked it up. Not sure what reviewers saw in this one. Was disappointed by a disjointed plot. I also do not like books where the main character is difficult to relate to and is an anti-hero. Given the climax of the book, it could have been much shorter without all the wish-washy thoughts of Nick Meehan, who appears to not like being a cop.
Sarah Black
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous writing; best book I've read this year. If you're a writer, you'll love this book.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Overwritten and pretentious.
Amy Lignor
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one novel that will resonate with all fans of thriller, suspense, and stories about the inner-workings of a human mind when it comes to loyalty, belief, and the need to be the absolute ‘best’ in their chosen field.

Although this is a complicated tale, this author was the one who gifted the world with the amazing memoir, “Blue Blood,” and once again challenges the reader by offering up a clear vision of how tough, strong, and relentless one must be if they are living the life as a member
Jun 10, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
The author – a NYC police detective – turns to fiction after his memoir Blue Blood. Red On Red chronicles a day in the lives – actually about six months – of NYPD Detectives Meehan and Esposito – two partners who couldn’t be more different, (sound familiar?). Meehan is brooding, introspective and battling psychological demons; Esposito is the proverbial bull in the china shop – ambitious, unscrupulous and boisterous, (sound even more familiar?). Billed as a police procedural and a thriller – it ...more
As a police procedural, what makes this book slightly more interesting than, say, watching an episode of CSI, is the time Conlon can spend exploring the dysfunctional relationship between two detectives as they solve crimes in Manhattan. Conlon doesn't have to follow the tropes of crime drama as depicted on TV. Instead, he can plod along after Nick Meehan, a depressed, veteran investigator, as he wrestles with his decision to feed incriminating information about his charismatic partner, Esposito ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: Red on Red 1 5 Jun 15, 2012 12:05PM  
  • Suppose You Meet a Dinosaur: A First Book of Manners
  • The Tailypo: A Ghost Story
  • Gracias/Thanks
  • Secret Pizza Party
  • Just a Minute!
  • The Terror of Living
  • What Mommies Do Best / What Daddies Do Best
  • The Long Fall (Leonid McGill, #1)
  • Grandpa's Teeth
  • That's Good! That's Bad!
  • Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale
  • The Giant Jam Sandwich
  • Mr. Maxwell's Mouse
  • We're Different, We're the Same
  • Tap the Magic Tree
  • Broke Heart Blues
  • Trauma
  • Duplicate Keys
Edward Conlon was born in the Bronx. Conlon spent most of his childhood in nearby Yonkers. He attended Regis High School and graduated from Harvard in 1987 before joining the NYPD in 1995.Mr. Conlon's family background is also in law enforcement. Mr. Conlon's great-grandfather was a police sergeant in Brooklyn, and his father was an F.B.I. agent.

Conlon's police experience focused on patrolling cit
More about Edward Conlon...

Share This Book

“In the military, when the enemy turned on the enemy, they called it “red on red.” Soldiers didn’t have to pretend to be sad about it.” 0 likes
More quotes…