John Lescroart Raves Over “A Scourge of Vipers”

VipersHere’s what New York Times best-selling thriller writer John Lescroart says about the latest book in my Edgar Award-winning series of hard-boiled crime novels:

“‘A Scourge of Vipers’ has made me an instant Bruce DeSilva fan. In the tradition of the great noir protagonists, Liam Mulligan is a true hero with whom you’ll love spending time. DeSilva’s got the most entertaining narrative voice I’ve come upon in years–funny, wise, whip-smart, and just sensitive enough. He’s already got an Edgar Award and–damn his eyes!–this might be his second.”

The new novel, which has already received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, will be officially published on April 7, can be ordered in advance here.

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Interview About “A Scourge of Vipers,” The New Novel In My Edgar Award-Winning Series

VipersBookMarket Buzz Blog, one of the top online sites for talk about new books, interviewed me about A Scourge of Vipers, the latest crime novel in my Edgar Award-winning series featuring Liam Mulligan, an investigative reporter for a dying newspaper in Providence, Rhode Island. Here’s the text:

What inspired you to write your new book?
I’ve long been intrigued by the hypocrisy surrounding gambling on sporting events. Federal law bans it in all but four states that were grandfathered in, and most states (which rake in millions from official lotteries) also have laws against it. Yet the total Americans bet on sports is estimated at three hundred and eighty billion dollars annually—enough to fund the Pentagon for twelve months with enough left over to start another small war. Studies indicate that eighty-five percent of Americans place sports bets at least occasionally, much of it on the Super Bowl and the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament. Recently, a number of states including New Jersey, where I live, have proposed legalizing it so they can tax the revenue. The NCAA and the major sports leagues are vehemently opposed (although the NBA softened its opposition recently), claiming that legalization would threaten the integrity of their games. They take this position even though they profit handsomely from sports betting. It is, after all, a major reason why many people follow sports. But the sports leagues are not alone in viewing legalization as a threat. Las Vegas casinos want to keep their near-monopoly on legal sports gambling, and criminal organizations are aghast at the prospect of losing the cash they rake in from bookmaking. Pitting these powerful forces against one another in a struggle over legalization is a rich subject for a hardboiled crime novel.

What are some of the key themes presented in your new book?
In A Scourge of Vipers, Rhode Island’s colorful fictional governor, a former religious sister nicknamed Attila the Nun, proposes legalizing sports gambling to ease the state’s budget crisis. Powerful organizations that have a lot to lose—or gain—if gambling is made legal flood the little state with money to buy the votes of state legislators. As my protagonist, Liam Mulligan, digs into the story, several people including a state legislator and a mobbed-up bagman turn up dead. And shadowy forces try to derail Mulligan’s investigation by destroying his career, his reputation, and perhaps his life. The result is a suspenseful murder mystery that provides a vehicle for exploring the duel themes of the hypocrisy surrounding sports betting and the corrupting influence of big money on politics. This is the fourth novel featuring Mulligan, and each of them also deals with the decline of America’s newspapers—and the damage being done to the American democracy as these honest brokers of news and information fade into history. It is my hope that as readers see the skill and dedication with which Mulligan works, they will gain a greater appreciation for what is being lost.

Is it similar or different from your prior books?
Each Mulligan novel focuses on a different main theme. For example, the second, Cliff Walk, is at once a murder mystery and an exploration of sex and religion in the age of ubiquitous pornography. But each novel is also different because the ordeals I put Mulligan through can’t help but change him. At the start of Cliff Walk, for example, he believes that what men do with their money and what women do with their bodies is nobody’s business but their own. But as he investigates the public corruption that allows prostitution and pornography to flourish, he is forced to wade through the ugly underbelly of the sex trade; and what he finds challenges everything he has believed about sexual morality and religion. The evolution of Mulligan’s character keeps each new story fresh. But perhaps the main difference is that in A Scourge of Vipers, the tone is lighter. The first three novels were littered with innocent victims, but in the new book, nearly everyone who gets hurt had it coming.

What challenges or rewards came about from writing it?
Each book in the series has presented a different challenge. The first, the Edgar Award-winning Rogue Island, poured out effortlessly, the first draft needing only a few minor revisions. That made me think that the next one would also come easy, but instead, the plotting was a struggle. When I mentioned that to a crime-writing colleague, he said, “Of course. You spent years thinking about the first book, and now you’re trying to write the second one in a few months.” Luckily, A Scourge of Vipers also came easily; but now I’m struggling again as I try finish the next one, tentatively titled Dreadline, for publication next year. For me, the biggest challenge is always the same as the biggest reward: discovering the story as I write. I never outline. Instead, I being each novel with a clear idea of its theme and set my characters in motion to see what will happen. I do this partly because I figure that if I don’t know what’s going to happen next, my readers probably won’t either. But the main reason is that discovering the story is what puts my butt in my writing chair every day. If I knew in advance how it was all going to turn out, my desire to write the story would vanish.

Did you tap into the journalist side from your 40 years in the media when writing this book?  My books are very much novels of place–an evocation of 21st century life in Providence, R.I. I know Providence well because I began my journalism career there as an investigative reporter. Unlike the big, anonymous cities where many fine crime novels are set, Providence is so small that it’s claustrophobic. Almost everybody you see on the street knows your name, and it’s almost impossible to keep a secret. Yet it’s big enough to be both cosmopolitan and rife with urban problems. And its history of organized crime and corruption, which dates all the way back to a colonial governor dining with a famous pirate named Captain Kidd, makes it an ideal setting for crime fiction. I have made Providence not just the setting but something akin to a major character. One reviewer called my portrayal of the place “jaundiced but affectionate,” and I think that gets it exactly right. And by making my protagonist an investigative reporter instead of a cop or a private eye, I am writing about what I know best.

What should make people go out and buy it?  The books I most enjoy reading use the popular form of the crime novel to address significant social issues. If you admire the work of writers such as George Pelecanos, Laura Lippman, and Richard Price, I think you will like A Scourge of Vipers, which has already received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. But let me give the last word to Mystery Writers of America Grand Master James Lee Burke, who read the book months before it was published. Here’s what he had to say: “Bruce DeSilva writes a story in the tradition of Hammett and Higgins, and he writes it with the knowledge of an old-time police reporter. DeSilva knows cops, corruption in eastern cities, wiseguys, rounders, bounders, gamblers, and midnight ramblers. He writes with authority about the issues of our times, and he does it with honesty and candor. His newsman protagonist feigns the role of the cynic, but in his way represents the virtues most of us admire. If you want a hard=boiled view of how a city actually works, this is your book.”

A Scourge of Vipers is being published in hardcover and e-book editions by Forge on April 7, and it can be ordered in advance here. An audio book edition from Audible will be available soon.

The above post was originally published on the Bookmarketing Buzz Blog where you can find a lot of great articles about books and the publishing business.

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“Providence Rag” Now Available in Trade Paperback Edition

ragProvidence Rag, the third book in my Edgar Award-winning series of hard-boiled Mulligan crime novels, is now available in a trade paperback edition.

The fourth, A Scourge of Vipers, which has already scored starred Vipersreviews in Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, will be published in hardcover on April 7.

All four of the Mulligan novels can be ordered here.

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April Book Tour Schedule for “A Scourge of Vipers,” the New Mulligan Crime Novel

VipersI’ll be on tour for most of the month of April, signing copies of my new hardboiled Mulligan crime novel, A Scourge of Vipers, and talking to readers. Please come by to see me if I’m I a city near you.

Here’s the schedule:

 April 9, 6:30 p.m., Mysterious Bookshop, 58 Warren Street, Manhattan, New York City.
 April 11, 12 noon, Readmore Books, 330 Winthrop Street, Taunton, MA
 April 12, 2 p.m., Providence Public Library, 150 Empire Street, Providence, RI
 April 16, 7 p.m., Book Carnival, 348 South Tustin Street, Orange, CA
 April 18, 1 p.m., Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonet Street, Houston, TX
 April 21, 7 p.m., The Poisoned Pen, 4014 N Goldwater Blvd. Suite 101, Scottsdale, AZ
 April 23, 7 p.m., Once Upon a Crime, 604 West 26th Street, Minneapolis, MN

A Scourge of Vipers, the fourth novel in the Edgar Award-winning Mulligan series, has already received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. It will officially go on sale April 7, but you can place advance orders here.

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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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