18 Books to Watch for in April 2011
From hard-boiled detective fiction like Edward Conlon's Red on Red to the social science breakthroughs in Tina Rosenberg's Join the Club, April's got something for everyone.
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Red on Red: A Novel
Spiegel & Grau
Fans of Edward Conlon's Blue Blood, a memoir about his career in the New York City Police Department, have waited seven long years for his debut novel, Red on Red (Spiegel & Grau). And it was so worth the wait. After infertility sucks his marriage dry, protagonist Nick Meehan separates from his wife and moves in with his Irish Catholic father. Meehan, a wry and introspective detective who decodes Latin on city buildings and prefers suicide cases because they offer "glimpses of archaic wonder and terror," becomes embroiled in an internal affairs investigation of his partner, Esposito, who dresses like a mob lawyer and acts "a little reckless and almost righteous." While this book is quintessential cop fiction, complete with hard-boiled one-liners ("Child abuse was like art and obscenity—you knew it when you saw it") and the requisite gallows humor, the story also has emotional verisimilitude. Conlon, a Harvard-educated NYPD detective, focuses as much on tangled familial relationships as he does on plot twists fit for Law & Order. Set in a city that's often portrayed in black-and-white, Red on Red exposes in vivid color the back rooms, basements, and walk-ups where good and bad reside. Plus, there's a vigilante rescue, a very hot bunk bed scene—and maybe even a miracle.
— Kristy Davis