Audio Edition Of “Providence Rag” Named Finalist For Audie Award

Rag Cover 2The audio edition of Providence Rag, the third book in my series of hardboiled crime novels, has been named a finalist for the Audie Award. Given by the Audio Publishers Association, it is the Oscar of the audio book industry.

I’m incredibly lucky that Jeff Woodman has narrated each of my novels so far. He will do the deed again for the audio edition of my fourth, A Scourge of Vipers, which will be published on April 7.

How good is Jeff? His narration of my first novel, Rogue Island, was an Audi finalist, and this year he narrated two of the six finalists in the mystery category. My crime novels featuring Liam Mulligan, an investigative reporter at a dying newspaper, are set in Providence, Rhode Island; and Jeff has got the regional accent down pat. The series has won the Edgar Award and the Macavity Award and been listed as a finalist for the Shamus, Barry, and Anthony awards.

Audible Studios publishes my  audio books and does a fine job; you can listen to a sample of Jeff’s Providence Rag narration and/or purchase the unabridged downloadable edition of the book on their website here.

And you can purchase print, digital and audio editions of all of my books here.

The full list of this year’s Audie nominees in the mystery category are:
The Dead Will Tell by Linda Castillo; narrated by Kathleen McInerney; Macmillan Audio
Hounded by David Rosenfelt; narrated by Grover Gardner; Listen & Live Audio, Inc.
Malice by Keigo Higashino; narrated by Jeff Woodman; Macmillan Audio
Missing You by Harlan Coben; narrated by January LaVoy; Brilliance Publishing
Providence Rag by Bruce DeSilva; narrated by Jeff Woodman; Audible, Inc.
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith; narrated by Robert Glenister; Hachette Audio

The winner will be announced at the Audies Gala at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City on May 28.

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A Starred Review From “Publisher’s Weekly” for “A Scourge of Vipers.”

VipersPublishers Weekly, the bible of the publishing industry, has given a starred review to my latest crime novel, A Scourge of Vipers.  It’s the second starred review for the book, which previously scored one from the Library Journal.

The review says: “Edgar-winner DeSilva’s excellent fourth Liam Mulligan novel (after 2014’s Providence Rag) finds the Providence, R.I., investigative journalist on hard times professionally. His newspaper, The Dispatch, has been reduced to a shell of its former self, publishing fluff rather than substance and largely staffed by wet-behind-the-ears newcomers. His jerk of an editor, Charles Twisdale, is more concerned with the bottom line than reporting the news, leaving Mulligan feeling like a dinosaur on the verge of extinction. But if that’s to be his fate, the reporter is determined to go down swinging, pursuing the truth behind a series of murders that appear linked to the governor, colorfully known as ‘Attila the Nun,’ who hopes to solve the state’s public-pension crisis by legalizing sports gambling. The lean prose and clever plotting will remind hard-boiled fans of Loren Estleman’s Amos Walker novels.”

“A Scourge of Vipers” will be published on April 9, and can be ordered in advance here.

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“A Scourge of Vipers” Scores a Starred Review from “Library Journal”

VipersThe prestigious Library Journal has published a starred review of A Scourge of Vipers, the latest in my series of crime novels featuring Liam Mulligan, an investigative reporter for a dying Providence, R.I,. newspaper.

The review says:  “Rhode Island Governor Fiona McNerney proposes the legalization of sports betting to reduce the state’s budget deficit. The mob opposes the idea because it would eat into its bookmaking business, and sports oversight groups claim it would open up games to dishonesty. After Atlantic City mobsters show up in Providence with bags of cash, presumably to influence legislators, veteran newspaper reporter Liam Mulligan investigates. When a state legislator and several other people turn up dead, Mulligan soon becomes a prime suspect in several murders. VERDICT DeSilva’s Edgar and Macavity Award-winning books (most recently Providence Rag) are a consistently well-written hard-boiled series. Few of the regular characters have roles here. Still, this excellent addition features a bit of romance, a lot of action, plenty of snappy repartee, and social commentary on the fate of newspaper journalism and the corrupting role of money in the political process. QUALITY ALL THE WAY.”

The book will be published on April 7, but can be ordered in advance here.

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New Mulligan Crime Novel To Be Published April 7

VipersA Scourge of Vipers, the fourth hardboiled crime novel in my series featuring Liam Mulligan, an investigative reporter at a dying Providence, RI, newspaper, will be published in hardcover and e-book editions by Forge on April 7.

I love the look of the cover.

Here’s synopsis of the plot, with no spoilers:

To solve Rhode Island’s budget crisis, the governor wants to legalize sports gambling, but her plan has unexpected consequences. Organized crime, professional sports leagues, and others who have a lot to lose—or gain—if gambling is made legal flood the state with money to buy the votes of state legislators. Liam Mulligan, investigative reporter for The Providence Dispatch, wants to investigate, but the bottom-feeding corporate bosses at the dying newspaper have no interest in serious reporting. So Mulligan goes rogue to dig into the story. But when a state legislator turns up dead, an out-of-state bagman gets shot, and his cash-stuffed briefcase goes missing, Mulligan finds himself the target of shadowy forces who seek to derail his investigation by destroying his career, his reputation, and even his life. A Scourge of Vipers is at once a suspenseful crime thriller and a serious exploration of the hypocrisy surrounding sports gambling and the corrupting influence of big money in politics.

You can order the book in advance here.

And you can read a sample chapter on my website.



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Another Major Literary Award For My Wife Patricia Smith

PD3Congratulations to my brilliant wife Patricia Smith for still another major literary award. The Library of Congress is naming her the winner of the 2014 Rebeka Johnson Bobbitt Prize for Poetry for her most recent collection, Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah.

The awarded is given in recognition of the most distinguished book of poetry published in the preceding two years. Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah had already won the Academy of American Poets’ Leonore Marshall Prize and was a finalist for both the Balcones Prize and the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award.

jIMIPatricia will give a public reading from the book at the awards presentation at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 17, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building in Washington, D.C.

You can read details about the award here.

And you can learn more about Patricia and her work here.

“you suddenly knew you had the right
to be explosive, to sling syllables through back doors,
to make up your own damned words just when you needed them”
— Patricia Smith

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This Rondo is NOT Getting Traded To Dallas

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAfter the Boston Celtics traded Rajon Rondo to the Mavericks earlier this week, our own Rondo, a big mutt named after the all-star point guard, was worried that he was getting shipped off to Dallas, where he would have loathed the hot summers.

Don’t worry, buddy. You and your big brother Brady (named after Tom, of course) aren’t going anywhere.

Brady and Rondo

Brady and Rondo

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Goofy Selfies From The Bouchercon World Mystery Convention

The best part of the Bouchercon World Mystery Convetion is the chance to hobnob with crime fiction royalty including Lee Child, David Morrell, and Sara Paretsky; to catch up with old friends including Gar Anthony Haywood, D.P. Lyle, and S.J. Rozan; to have long talks about storytelling, the publishing biz, and the writing life with the likes of Timothy Hallinan, Tim O’Mara, and Thomas Perry; and to chat with hundreds of readers. Here are a few selfies from the event, which was held in Long Beach last weekend.

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“Cliff Walk” Brazillian Edition

Brazil Cover for Cliff Walk“Cliff Walk,” the second crime novel in my Edgar Award-wining Mulligan series, is about to be published in Brazil. I thought you might like to see the cover.

The title, in Portuguese, translates roughly to “Dangerous Trek.”

The Mulligan novels (there are three in print and another coming in April) have been translated into ten foreign languages.

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Killer Nashville Founder Clay Stafford’s Thoughts About “Providence Rag”

Rag Cover 2Clay Stafford, author, filmmaker, and founder of the Killer Nashville conference, wrote this commentary on Providence Rag, the latest novel in my hardboiled Liam Mulligan series, to accompany a guest blog I wrote for the conference website:

“Madness and Media: An Ethical Exploration:

“Author Bruce DeSilva goes, not only into the mind of a serial killer, but into the court system designed to hold him in Killer Nashville’s 52 Weeks, 52 Guest Bloggers series.

“Never say never. That’s one of those things we all probably learn with age. Edgar-winning author Bruce DeSilva swore he would never write a story about a serial killer. But he did. Sort of.

“What he has written is a story that haunts you. What kind of person is safe for release and, if everyone knows a prisoner is a time bomb, is it right to release him? Or is the court system allowed to invent charges to keep certain people behind bars after they have served their time for the public good? Doesn’t happen? Yes, it does.

“This is one of the most intriguing and informative studies I’ve read in a long time and we couldn’t find a better author than Bruce DeSilva to fictionalize it. This story will make you think.

“I can see why Bruce DeSilva wanted to write Providence Rag, even if it is something he said he would never do. This is not a story about where do you get your ideas, but how do you exorcise them for your mind. Some stories such as this- haunting and ethical- need to find a voice.”

You can read all of the guest blogs, including mine, here.

Providence Rag is the third novel in my Edgar Award-winning series featuring Liam Mulligan, an investigative reporter at a dying Providence, R.I., newspaper. I hope you will purchase a copy from an independent bookstore; you can locate one in your area here.   If that’s not convenient for you, the novel, as well as the first two books in the series, are available in print, e-book, and audio editions here. 


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“Providence Rag” Featured on Cover of September “Suspense Magazine”

suspense magazine coverMy thanks to the great folks at Suspense Magazine for putting me on the cover this month and for including a fine three-page interview with me about Providence Rag, the third novel in my Edgar Award-winning series featuring Liam Mulligan, an investigative reporter for a dying Providence, R.I., newspaper.

The magazine is a print and online publication available by subscription, and if you like suspense, you ought to consider signing up here.

Meanwhile, here is the text of the interview:  

“Providence Rag” is your latest book and inspired by a true story. What was it about the story that inspired you to write the book?

 Six years ago, when I retired from journalism to write crime novels, I vowed I would never write one about a serial killer. For one thing, it seemed to me that we already had enough of them. Ever since Thomas Harris created Hannibal Lecter, novelists and screen writers have fallen all over each other trying to make the next monster more twisted than the last; and I didn’t want any part of that.

Craig Price Shortly After His  Arrest

Craig Price Shortly After His Arrest

Besides, after I researched and wrote a long non-fiction article about Craig Price, the butcher of Warwick, I never wanted to get that close to pure evil again. But for decades, the true story haunted my dreams. Price was only thirteen years old when he began butchering his neighbors in a Providence, R.I. suburb. He was the youngest serial killer in U.S. history—and that wasn’t the interesting part. When he was caught in the 1980s, Rhode Island’s juvenile justice statutes were antiquated. When they were written, no one had ever imagined a child like Price. So the law required that all juveniles, no matter their crimes, be released at age 21 and given a fresh start. Today, Price remains behind bars, held on a series of offenses allegedly committed on the inside. I have long suspected that at least some of those charges were fabricated, and he obviously has been wildly over-sentence for them. For example, he was given 30 years for contempt of court because he refused to take a court-ordered psychiatric exam. I wrote the novel to explore the legal and ethical dilemma the case poses. The result is an unusual crime novel in that the murders are committed and the killer is caught in the first 75 pages. The rest of the book is devoted to exploring this question: What are decent people supposed to do if the only way to keep a psychopath from killing again is to fabricate charges against him? No matter which side of the question you come down on, you find yourself condoning something that is reprehensible.

Your main character Liam Mulligan is caught in the middle of a very emotional situation; how difficult was it for you to explore those emotions?

As a journalist, I often confronted difficult ethical choices. For example, what should I do when I learn that conditions in a state institution are so medieval that residents are dying of diseases rarely seen outside of third world countries—and the only way to expose it is to gain access to the place by violating a sacred journalism rule against misrepresenting myself? (I chose to get the story by any means necessary.) But the dilemma posed by the Price case was the most troubling I ever encountered as an investigative reporter. Exposing the truth could force the state to set a monster lose to kill again. But allowing officials to fabricate charges is incredibly dangerous, because if they can do it to him, they could do it to anyone. My protagonist, Liam Mulligan, is also an investigative reporter for a Providence newspaper. As such, his first instinct is to report the truth. Forcing him to confront the consequences of doing that in this case tortured both of us. Sometimes, there is no right answer when matters of truth, justice, and public safety collide. Recently, a working journalist who read the novel asked me if he should dig into the truth behind the Price case. I told him I’d decided not to long ago, but that he should be guided by his own conscience.

Rag Cover 2“Providence Rag” is the third book to feature Liam Mulligan; how has he grown from book to book?

Creative writing teachers always insist that novels fail unless the main character changes in some fundamental way during the course of the narrative. They’re wrong. The late Robert B. Parker wrote 40 Spenser novels, and his private-detective hero was exactly the same guy from the first book to the last. The protagonist of Lee Child’s wildly successful Jack Reacher novels never changes, either. He’s always the Lone Ranger, the mysterious stranger who drifts into town, kicks butt, and moves on to the next town. But the things I’ve put Mulligan through have changed him. At the beginning of “Cliff Walk,” my novel about the wide-open Rhode Island sex trade, Mulligan believed that prostitution is a victimless crime—that if women want to sell their bodies and men want to buy them, it’s nobody else’s business. But as his investigation dragged him through the underbelly of sex clubs and online pornography, the things he found made him doubt everything he’d believed about both sexual morality and religion. With each novel, Mulligan grows older, sometimes wiser, and always less cock-sure about the wavering lines between right and wrong.

Is there one sentence or one scene in the book that you feel captures the essence of your writing?

In “Providence Rag,” I invented an early childhood for the killer, showing how he gradually evolved into the monster he was to become. On the first page, a little boy is torturing a grasshopper with a magnifying glass. I like the contrast between the violence of the act and the poetic beauty of the language.

 Your first book “Rogue Island” won the Edgar Award. Do you feel pressure with each new book to match that success?

 Pressure was having the city editor stand over me screaming for copy on the brink of city-edition deadline. Pressure was bolting upright from a sound sleep in the middle of the night, terrified that I’d spelled someone’s name wrong. Pressure was having a thug warn that things would “go badly” for me if I persisted in investigating his boss. I find, now, that being free to make stuff up is liberating and pressure-free. Besides, a novelist learns something new with each book, and I’m convinced my third is both better written and more textured than the one that won the Edgar and Macavity awards.

Is there a character in “Providence Rag” who ended up having a bigger voice than you originally thought he or she would?

My first two novels were written in the first person with the protagonist narrating his own story. But as I waded into “Providence Rag,” it became clear that its moral complexities required multiple points of view. As a result, significant portions of the story are written from the points of view of two of Mulligan’s colleagues, a one-eyed news photographer named Gloria Costa, and Edward Mason, the young son of the publisher who is learning the trade as a cub reporter. This made “Providence Rag” more of an ensemble-cast novel than I had originally envisioned.

 In your opinion, do you feel that a suspense/thriller fiction book should have an underlying moral?

 “Should” is too strong a word. Elmore Leonard, for example, is one of the best crime novelists of all time, but he rarely tried to do more than entertain. That said, as a reader I prefer books that use the popular form of the crime novel as a platform to address serious social issues and still have readers. I’m thinking of the work of George Pelecanos, Laura Lippman, and James Lee Burke, to name a few favorites. As a writer, I strive to be more like them. Each of my novels has a dominant theme. “Cliff Walk,” for example, explores the consequences of living in an era of ubiquitous pornography and sex-for-hire internet sites. And because Mulligan is a reporter for a dying newspaper, each novel chronicles the sad decline of the business he and I love.

 What scares Bruce DeSilva?

I can’t begin to describe the damage the decline of newspapers is doing to the American democracy. Network television news, never all that good to begin with, is being eroded by the same economic forces that are destroying newspapers. Cable TV news has morphed into a sewer of irrelevant celebrity news, shrieking talking heads, and warring propaganda machines. Most online news sites are no better, and the few that try to do an honest job aggregate most of their news from dying newspapers. As a consequence, we find ourselves in an era of misinformed citizenry, paranoid conspiracy theories, and the widespread belief that political opponents are traitors. Real reporting is expensive, and investigative reporting is especially costly. I see nothing on the horizon to replace newspapers as honest brokers of information.

 Did you have a personal goal for yourself when you starting writing fiction?

Because my wife, Patricia Smith, is a wildly successful writer—one of the few poets able to make a very good living–I faced no economic pressure when I retired from journalism. I approached the first novel as if it were a hobby to be pursed at my leisure. But after the first novel won awards and was lavishly reviewed, my agent and publisher clamored for the next one. Suddenly the hobby became a full-time job. Now I’m in the middle of a six-figure, three book deal; and just like when I was a reporter, I have deadlines again.

What can fans expect to see from you in the future?

 My fourth novel, “A Scourge of Vipers,” is finished and will be published next spring. In it, Mulligan explores the world of legal and illegal sports betting and the impact of big money on politics. I’m now working on the fifth. When that’s finished, my wife and I intend to a crime novel together.

Providence Rag is the third novel in my Edgar Award-winning series featuring Liam Mulligan, an investigative reporter at a dying Providence, R.I., newspaper. I hope you will purchase a copy from an independent bookstore; you can locate one in your area here.   If that’s not convenient for you, the novel, as well as the first two books in the series, are available in print, e-book, and audio editions here. 

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