Book Notes: NYPD Green, An Irish-Born Detective’s Twenty Years on the Mean Streets of New York


Courtesy of Touchstone Publicity. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“This face, my face, is the face on an illegal immigrant,” says Luke Waters—who came over to America from Ireland as an undocumented worker in the 1980s, and later became both a detective in the NYPD and a U.S. citizen. “I’m just like other immigrants who come here every day, wanting nothing more than to work hard and make a life for themselves. I did, and by God what a life I’ve had so far….”

Luke Waters’ debut book NYPD GREEN: A Memoir (Touchstone Hardcover; January 12, 2016; $24.99; ISBN: 978-1-5011-1901-9) is a candid glimpse at the grit and the glory of police work in the Big Apple through the eyes of an Irish immigrant who spent more than 20 years rising up the ranks of the NYPD.  Growing up in the rough outskirts of Dublin, Waters always dreamed of becoming a police officer, but it wasn’t until his arrival in New York City that his dream became a reality.

After spending a few years serving drinks at Manhattan bars (overstaying his visa and skirting the law along the way), Luke decided to finally see his dream through. He eventually got a US passport (with the help of the Donnelly visa program), and in August 1993 he joined the ranks of New York’s finest. Moving swiftly from the “Pickpocket squad” to the Narcotics division and finally to Homicide. Luke served as a detective in one of the toughest places in the world, The Bronx. Here, he would see the best and the worst of what the NYPD and New York had to offer: from the heroism of fellow detectives and the utter selflessness of so many in the aftermath of 9/11, to the ravages of crack cocaine, drug warfare, gang violence, and terrorism alerts. Throw in a hearty dose of dark Irish humor and you’ve got just another day in the life of a detective in one of the toughest (and most beloved) cities in the world.

But NYPD GREEN is more than an account of NYPD life on the beat—it’s also a compelling portrait of personal success and a stirring example of the American dream at work. Waters shows how he worked his way up the ladder, beginning as an illegal immigrant then putting in time doing grunt work as a NYPD rookie before finally achieving his lifelong dream of becoming a homicide detective.

NYPD GREEN is a rollicking ride through New York City’s criminal underbelly and a no-holds-barred insider account of the NYPD like you’ve never seen it before. Throughout it all, Waters’ love for New York City and detective work shines through. The story of an Irishman made good, of the American dream, NYPD GREEN also pays tribute to one of the hardest jobs there is.

Waters Author PhotoAbout the Author:

Now retired, Luke Waters resided in Queens and Putnam County; he is a decorated officer who received 18 medals from the New York Police Department.  He received commendation from the FBI, and in 2012 was awarded the Detective of the Month award.

Photos courtesy of Touchstone Publicity. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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