cover image Red on Red

Red on Red

Edward Conlon, read by Mark Deakins. Random House Audio, unabridged, 14 CDs, 17 hrs., $45 ISBN 978-0-307-87609-6

Talk about a policeman's lot not being a happy one. NYPD detective Nick Mehan, the protagonist of NYPD detective Conlon's debut novel, is repressed and depressed and, thanks to his situation, not likely to be in for a mood change. In order to get reassigned to a better precinct, he's agreed to partner with a rule-bending investigator named Esposito and report on his partner's activities to Internal Affairs. That job gets tougher when he develops a close friendship with the charismatic, outgoing Espo. Mark Deakins has a field day defining and contrasting the two men vocally. His Nick speaks softly and thoughtfully, with just a hint of self-pity. Espo is brash and full of bravura, but there's a slightly tinny tone to his overconfidence. There is a lot of plot, not to mention police procedure, in this 17-hour tale, beginning with an apparent suicide and including several shootouts, a gang war, mistaken identity, and the hunt for a serial rapist. Deakins has no trouble keeping up with Conlon's relentless prose and adding another layer to the author's carefully crafted secondary characters, but his most notable achievement is his audio portrayal of the two partners as they push the bonds of friendship to the breaking point. A Spiegel & Grau hardcover. (May)