Blue Blood is an work of nonfiction about what it means to protect, to serve, and to defend among the ranks of New York's finest. Edward Conlon is fourth generation NYPD - and the story he tells is an anecdotal history of New York through its police force, and depicts a portrait of the teeming street life of the city in all its horror and splendor. It is a story about fathers and sons, partners who become brothers, old ghosts and undying legacies. Here you will see terms like loyalty, commitment, and honor come to life, in action, on a daily basis. Conlon depicts his life on the force - from his first days walking a beat in the South Bronx, to his ascent to detective." The book opens with Conlon's first day on patrol, but in fact his story begins in the time of his great-grandfather, an officer of dubious integrity who participated in the corruption that marked the Tammany-era NYPD as a corps in need of reform; it continues through the experience of Conlon's father, a World War II officer who left the ranks of the NYPD to become an FBI agent, and the years of his uncle, an old-fashioned, easygoing career cop, who stayed in uniform throughout the political upheavals and corrections of the 1960s and 1970s. Conlon joined the NYPD during the Giuliani administration, when New York City saw its crime rate plummet but also witnessed events that would alter the city and its inhabitants, and its police force, forever: polarizing racial cases, the proliferation of the drug trade, and the events of September 11, 2001, and its aftermath. Conlon captures the detail of the landscape, the ironies and rhythms of natural speech, the tragic and the marvelous, firsthand, day after day.
This book, already being hailed as a masterpiece of the genre, may be the read of the decade. ("Portland Oregonian") Writing that combines the efficiency of a police officer with the melancholy of a street poet. ("Details") Short of getting recruited or mugged, you won't find a more up-close look at the NYPD than this...memoir. ("People") Splendid. A book that resonates with the shattering ring of truth. (Ed McBain, "Entertainment Weekly") "[A] sprawling, wry, opinionated, beautifully written memoir." - The New York Times "He illuminates every aspect of police work with wisdom and wry humour...Blue Blood is a memoir that casts back to the earliest days of New York's police. It is also a family history, written with love and esteem..." -The Telegraph "A sprawling, loose-limbed collection of funny and harrowing on-the-clock anecdotes, broken up by numerous digressions into family and institutional history..." - AV Club