Conlon, Edward 1965–
Conlon, Edward 1965–
PERSONAL: Born 1965. Education: Graduated from Harvard University.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Penguin Group, Riverhead Books Publicity, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
CAREER: Writer and police detective. New York Police Department, officer, 1995–2001, detective, 2001–.
AWARDS, HONORS: Finalist for National Book Critics Circle Award, Los Angeles Times Book of the Year, and PEN/Martha Albright award, all 2004, all for Blue Blood.
Blue Blood (memoir), Riverhead Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Under pseudonym Marcus Laffey, published parts of Blue Blood in New Yorker under title "Cop Diaries," and contributed to The Best American Essays 2001, edited by Kathleen Norris and Robert Atwan, Houghton Mifflin, 2001.
ADAPTATIONS: Blue Blood was adapted as an audiobook by Recorded Books, 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Edward Conlon is a Harvard University-educated police detective who works for the New York City Police Department (NYPD). In the late 1990s, under the pseudonym Marcus Laffey, he began publishing a series of articles on the daily life of a NYPD policeman, and in 2004 he collected these initial diary entries as the memoir Blue Blood, which, according to Time magazine reviewer Lev Grossman, "may be the best account ever written about life behind the badge." Conlon comes from a family of policemen and is conversant not only with current events occurring in the NYPD, but also with historical ones. As Terry D'Auray noted on Trashotron.com, Blue Blood tells of Conlon's years on the force, of the boring mundane work and of the dangerous and exciting moments, as well. As D'Auray further commented, the book "is not just a collection of recollections," however: "The reader learns a bit about the illustrious Tammany era, the Knapp Commission, Serpico, [and] the full story of the French Connection." Zac Unger, writing for the Washington Post Online noted, "Conlon is a cop's cop and his book, a dazzling epic of street life and rough camaraderie, is far more rewarding than any disgruntled Serpico-style tell-all could ever be." Conlon's work on the streets of the South Bronx introduced him to the seamier side of life as a policeman. As he told Leonard Picker in a Publishers Weekly interview: "I love case work, helping victims and catching bad guys. I have no interest in administration or management. I like robbery and traditional detective work because you have real victims—individual human beings who need you to help them."
In her review of Blue Blood for Booklist, Connie Fletcher noted, "readers are lucky Conlon gives them a pass into his world." A Publishers Weekly reviewer found Conlon's book a "gripping account," and further commented that Blue Blood provides a "compelling and detailed rendering of the daily grind of the average policeman." Sarah Jent, writing for Library Journal, termed the book "an insightful and revealing biography." Laura Italiano, a reviewer for People, felt Conlon's "respect for cop life is palpable."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Conlon, Edward, Blue Blood, Riverhead Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Booklist, February 15, 2004, Connie Fletcher, review of Blue Blood, p. 1002.
Entertainment Weekly, April 23, 2004, Gregory Kirschling, "Cop Talk," p. 42.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2004, review of Blue Blood, p. 162.
Library Journal, April 1, 2004, Sarah Jent, review of Blue Blood, p. 103.
People, April 19, 2004, Laura Italiano, review of Blue Blood, p. 47; June 28, 2004, "Edward Conlon," p. 111.
Publishers Weekly, November 30, 1998, John F. Baker, "Talk of the City," p. 12; March 29, 2004, Leonard Picker, "An Ivy League Policeman on the Job" (interview), and review of Blue Blood, p. 53.
Time, April 19, 2004, Lev Grossman, "Rhapsody in Blue: Tales of Life on the Job from a Harvard-Educated Cop in the South Bronx," review of Blue Blood, p. 75.
Gothamist, http://www.gothamist.com/ (September 16, 2004), review of Blue Blood.
Trashotron.com, http://trashotron.com/ (May 10, 2004), Terry D'Auray, review of Blue Blood.
Washington Post Online, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ (June 26, 2005), Zac Unger, review of Blue Blood.