Who’s Reading “A Scourge of Vipers” Now? Legendary Blues Singer Irma Thomas!

Irma Thomas reading my novel

Irma Thomas reading my novel

Look who’s reading A Scourge of Vipers, the latest in my Edgar Award-winning series of crime novels. It’s legendary blues singer Irma Thomas, aka The Soul Queen of New Orleans. My wife Patrica and I caught up with her a short time back, and I snapped the picture.

Like me, Liam Mulligan, the hero of my novels, is a big fan of the blues.

“Why the blues?” he asks himself in the next Mulligan novel, The Dread Line, which will be published next fall. “Why was I always drawn to music about hard times at the bottom of a shot glass? The music of the scorned and shattered. At the end of most every day—even the ones that didn’t involve shaking a tail, tracking down thieves, or staring at a broken body—I’d lean back with a glass of something bitter and drown in Koko Taylor’s growl, Buddy Guy’s soulful riffs, or the vibing wire of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s guitar. Just like my dad did before the cancer took him. He’d come through the door, exhausted from another day of delivering milk, put a scratchy Son Seals album on the turntable, pull out his Comet harmonica, and play along. Like him, I belonged to the downtrodden tribe that turns misery into music—the kind of music that warns us what the world is like and steels us against it. My old job as an investigative reporter, like my new one as a detective, was to probe the dark hearts we pray against. I’d locked eyes with murderers. Wondered, more than once, if something rotten was eating away at me, turning me into the very thing that I fear. Then the twang of a blues guitar would fill the room, preaching that even in the darkest of times, the idea of light exists—and that the purpose of life is just to live it.”

A Scourge of Vipers by Bruce DeSilva is the fourth in my Edgar Award-winning series of hardboiled crime novels featuring Liam Mulligan, an investigative reporter for a dying newspaper in Providence, R.I.  The novel has received rave reviews in The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and a host of other publications. You can order any of the books in the series from independent or chain online bookstores by following this link.

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Buddy And Me: My Farewell to “The Prince of Providence”

Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci

Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci

Like the city of Providence, I had a complicated relationship with Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. — the city’s longest-serving mayor, a convicted felon, a brilliant politician, and a charming rogue — who died today of colon-cancer complications at the age of 74.

I admired his hopeful vision for the city he inherited when he was first elected mayor in 1974, back when almost no one thought the decaying old industrial town had a future. I’m glad he served long enough to set his vision into motion—and lived long enough to see it realized in a beautiful, revitalized downtown.

As a young journalist in Providence during the first half of Buddy’s many years in office, I found that he could nearly always be counted on for a lively quote, an insightful political analysis, or a snarky quip. And “The Mayor’s Own Marinara Sauce,” with his photo on the jar, was good, too.

mayor-s-own-marinara-sauce-16oz-19.gifBut I detested his corrupt, old-school methods for greasing the wheels of his political machine and getting things done (including many good things) with underhanded deals, the trading of favors, and the passing of envelopes. Although he was often charming and funny, he was also given to pettiness over slights and quick to seek retribution over personal and political grievances.

Many journalists I admire, including my old friend M. Charles Bakst, the finest politics reporter in the city’s history, came to loath Buddy. Another former colleague, Mike Stanton, eviscerated the former mayor in The Prince of Providence, a 2003 book about the events leading to Cianci’s conviction on a single federal conspiracy charge. (On a host of related corruption charges, a jury found Buddy not guilty.)

During my thirteen years as a reporter and editor at The Providence Journal, and another dozen at another New England newspaper, I produced a lot of stories about Buddy that I’m sure he didn’t like. In fact, my last big story before I departed from the Journal was an expose of systematic mail ballot fraud on Buddy’s behalf – a scheme so big that it may have provided him with his margin of victory that year.

Buddy Cianci reading one of my crime novels, "A Scourge of Vipers"

Buddy Cianci reading one of my crime novels, “A Scourge of Vipers”

And yet, Buddy was always cordial to me. The way he saw it, we both had our roles to play, and there were no hard feelings (although he did carry grudges against Stanton in particular and The Providence Journal as an institution).

After my first crime novel, Rogue Island, was published, Buddy invited me to appear on his popular Providence talk radio show – his new career after he served his time in federal prison. He kept me on the air for an hour, chatting about the book, Providence politics, and his glee about the decline of the Journal,  a newspaper I once loved.

Since then, we talked on the air each time another one of my novels came out. Each time I snapped a photo of him reading my book and posted it online.

Lincoln C. Almond, a Cianci detractor whose career as Rhode Island Governor and U.S. Attorney for the state spanned the Buddy years, once grudgingly acknowledged to me that Buddy’s revitalization of the city was a good thing but added that “it came with a thirty-percent corruption tax.” Maybe so, I replied, but given what the city was before he took office and what it has become, I think most Rhode Islanders think it was worth it.

Warts and all, I’m going to miss him.

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My Review of Reed Farrel Coleman’s “Where It Hurts.”

41DbZ+WgGBLWhere It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman is a superb detective novel in the Raymond Chandler tradition, featuring fine prose, a suspenseful yarn and a compelling main character who will leave readers hungering for the next installment.

You can read the full text of my review for the Associated Press here.

 

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“Nantucket Grand” by Steven Axelrod — A Review

nantucketI always enjoy discovering a fine new crime novelist, so I’m indebted to Barbara Peters of Poisoned Penn Press and the proprietor of the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale, AZ, for introducing me to Steven Axelrod.

Steven isn’t exactly new. His latest novel, Nantucket Grand, is the third in his series set on the island of Nantucket – but he’s new to me.

Nantucket Grand has everything I look for in a crime novel – tight, vivid prose, a sharply-drawn setting, an intricate plot with lots of unexpected twists, well-crafted characters, and an appealing protagonist in the person of Police Chief Henry Kennis, a dogged investigator you’re going to enjoy following on all of his adventures.

If you’re like me, you think of Nantucket as an Atlantic coast island with a rich whaling history and a present as a great vacation destination. But the Nantucket of Axelrod’s imagination is a land of tensions between locals and well-heeled summer visitors, and between those who would preserve its natural beauty and those who would bulldoze everything to build more playgrounds for the rich.

The story begins when a local Land Bank executive dies in what appears to be a hunting accident. But when someone sets a historic summer cottage on fire, the body of a young Jamaican boy is found floating in the harbor, and a local hero is murdered, Chief Kennis has all that he can handle.

As Kennis digs into the seemingly unrelated crimes, he discovers they are all part of a diabolical conspiracy.

Kennis bears a superficial resemblance to Jesse Stone, the hero of a series of crime novels by the late, great Robert B. Parker – a series that has been picked up and given new life by another fine writer, Reed Farrel Coleman. Both Jesse and Kennis are former Los Angeles detectives who have made new lives for themselves as small-town police chiefs in coastal Massachusetts. But moody Jesse tends to spend his idle moments drinking whiskey, brooding about the injury that ended his professional baseball career, and obsessing about his bitch of an ex-wife. Kennis spends his writing poetry and attending island literary events.

Steven Axelrod

Steven Axelrod

Axelrod holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of the Fine Arts and remains a member of the WGA despite a long absence from Hollywood. His work has been featured on various websites, including the literary e-zine Numéro Cinq, where he is on the masthead. His work has also appeared at Salon.com and The GoodMen Project, as well as the magazines PulpModern and BigPulp. He lives on Nantucket, where he paints houses and writes, often at the same time.

Nantucket Grand will be published on May 3, but you can place an advance order here.

 

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Year-End Honor for “A Scourge of Vipers”

Scott MacKay

Scott MacKay

My thanks to Scott MacKay of the Rhode Island NPR affiliate for including my latest crime novel,  A Scourge of Vipers, on the list of his favorite 2015 books.

Scott said in part, “DeSilva shows once again that he is to Rhode Island what James Lee Burke is to Louisiana.”

You can find Scott’s complete list here.

A Scourge of Vipers by Bruce DeSilva is the fourth in my Edgar Award-winning series of hardboiled crime novels featuring Liam Mulligan, an investigative reporter for a dying newspaper in Providence, R.I.  The new novel has received rave reviews in The New York 4ca6f-a2bscourge2bof2bvipersTimes, Publishers Weekly, and a host of other publications. You can order any of the books in the series from independent or chain online bookstores by following this link.

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Mulligan, Hero of My Crime Novels, Gets the Perfect Christmas Present

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Mulligan, the hero of my hard-boiled crime novels, may be fictional, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve a Christmas present. My wife Patricia got him a fine bottle of whiskey with his full name engraved on the glass. Maybe Mulligan will share, but if not, I can always reach for the bottle of Blanton’s that she bought for me.

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“Who’s Reading “A Scourge of Vipers” Now? Mystery Writer Parnell Hall

parnell hallVeteran mystery writer Parnell Hall is the author of both the Stanley Hastings and the Puzzle Lady mystery series. You can learn more about him and his work here.

A Scourge of Vipers by Bruce DeSilva is the fourth in my Edgar Award-winning series of hardboiled crime novels featuring Liam Mulligan, an investigative reporter for a dying newspaper in Providence, R.I.  The new novel has received rave reviews in The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and a host of other publications. You can order any of the books in the series from independent or chain online bookstores by following this link.

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Who’s Reading “A Scourge of Vipers Now? Best-Selling Mystery Writer S.J. Rozan!

Rozan DONES.J. Rozan is one of the most respected mystery writers in the business, as indicated by the the fact that her work has won the Edgar, Shamus, Anthony, Nero, and Macavity awards for Best Novel and the Edgar for Best Short Story. You can learn more about her and her work here.

A Scourge of Vipers by Bruce DeSilva is the fourth in my Edgar Award-winning series of hardboiled crime novels featuring Liam Mulligan, an investigative reporter for a dying newspaper in Providence, R.I.  The new novel has received rave reviews in The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and a host of other publications. You can order any of the books in the series from independent or chain online bookstores by following this link.

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“A Scourge of Vipers” Wins December Earphones Award From Audiofile Magazine

Lawrence Block reading "A Scourge of Vipers"

Lawrence Block reading “A Scourge of Vipers”

The audio edition of A Scourge of Vipers, the fourth book in my Edgar Award-winning series of crime novels, has just been named the December winner of the Earphones Award. Audiofile magazine, perhaps the most trusted reviewer of audio books, gives the award monthly to recognize the finest book recordings. Here’s what the magazine had to say:

“Jeff Woodman provides an outstanding narration of this crime story, which explores the corruption of sports gambling and its influence on politics at many levels of government. Liam Mulligan’s newspaper career is nearly dead, but when he begins a story on the governor’s proposal to legalize sports gambling, Mulligan soon finds his life in jeopardy. Wisecracking characters are enhanced by Woodman’s charm and engagement with the story. He finds unique, consistent voices for the various principals, especially the governor; Mulligan’s good friend, Attila the Nun; and his odious boss, Charles Twisdale. This masterful reading will charm most listeners even if the corruption exposed does not.”

I’ve been fortunate to have the remarkable Jeff Woodman narrate all four of my novels. His narrations of two of them were finalists for the Audie, the Oscar of audio books.

Meanwhile, here’s a free recording of the first chapter:

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/210442271&color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false“>first chapter.

The Audible edition can be ordered here.

 

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Offering Scarce, Signed First Printing, First Edition Copies of My Mulligan Crime Novels

First edition, first printing copies of the four books in my Edgar Award-winning series of crime novels are quite scarce. Why?  Because my cautious publisher, Forge, printed only 5,000 each (before each of the books went into subsequent editions and printings.) And few of the first printings survive in pristine condition.

I am offering signed copies of each of these novel in very limited quantities.

— 10 copies of the fourth novel, A Scourge of Vipers at $26 each.

— 9 copies of the third novel, Providence Rag, at $40 each.

— 10 copies of the second, Cliff Walk at $40 each.

— And just 4 copies of the first novel, Rogue Island, which won both the Edgar Award and the Macavity Award — is VERY hard to come by — at $99 each.

Each will arrive signed by me or, if you prefer, with an inscription of your choice.

The books are listed for a fixed price on eBay. Below are the links for making a purchase.

For A Scourge of Vipers  click here.

For Providence Rag, click here.

For Cliff Walk, click here.

For Rogue Island, click here.

Walter Mosley

Author Walter Mosley reading “Rogue Island”

 

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