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Providence Rag: A Liam Mulligan Novel

Providence Rag: A Liam Mulligan Novel - Bruce DeSilva DeSilva Hits a Homerun with this Taunt and Thrilling Tale - 5 Stars

Thank you God. 2014 has been a rough year for the written word. Granted, I am writing this in the middle of March so there is much more time left to right this wrong. While having listened to many great audiobooks this year, I have not read much worth celebrating. Thankfully, Bruce DeSilva comes through again and helps me break the slump. If you haven't yet discovered this author, I suggest you go and pic up his Edgar winning [b:Rogue Island|8522372|Rogue Island|Bruce DeSilva|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1386924529s/8522372.jpg|13389226] and give this series a go. DeSilva writes gritty and taunt thriller and shows us with his third installment that his Edgar Award was no fluke.

Plot summary

The story begins with a series of flashbacks covering several timelines. The reader follows both the mind and musings of a disturbed serial murderer while following our protagonist, Liam Mulligan, and the case that changed him from a sports reporter to an investigative journalist. Flash forward to the present and we find the once prestigious paper struggling to keeps its head above the water. In the midst of the struggle, a story threatens to divide the newsroom as the publisher's son investigates and threatens to exposes crimes against prisoners, specifically false charges and convictions designed to keep the most violent of criminals in jail and off the street. The story explores the bounds of journalistic ethics, the negative effect of good deeds, the blindness of youth and cynicism that comes with age.

The Good

Keeping it Fresh

The first two novels in the series where atmospheric/noir with the hard nosed journalist investigating crime and exposing corruption. At the outset of this novel, the reader is brought back in time and the reads as a prequel to the previous installments. This provides a wonderful set up for the remainder of the novel. In the first two novels, DeSilva deals with arson and child pornography respectively. This time around the author covers a form of corruption that the average person could easily justify. The reader is left asking if the ends really do justify the means. Is it better to allow crime go unexposed or expose the corruption and put the lives of innocent people in jeopardy. The idea is explored in a unique and interesting manner with two storylines/investigative reporter working at cross purposes. The flashbacks and the present day investigations culminate in an expected but nonetheless chilling confrontation.

The Bad

Done Already?

If I had to say anything negative about this story is that it ended too quickly. It builds to a final confrontation and seems to end as soon as it started. The author indicates that this is the first of his story to be based on real events. Unfortunately, the author does not provide the fact and the fiction at the end of the story. It is not clear which portions occurred and which portions did not. With the "based on true events" label, I believe it is important to provide the reader with some biographical information at the end of the story.

Final Thoughts

I am afraid this review does not sufficiently portray how much I enjoyed this novel. While I wish to better explain how the investigative reporting was compelling, I am afraid that I will reveal portions of the plot that are best left to discovery. Regardless, DeSilva continues to interesting interesting and refreshing crime fiction. In this novel, the author adds significant elements that make this a psychological thriller as well. If you are tired of crime thrillers that focus only on murder and serial killers or you want to explore other equally compelling crime investigations, its time to pick up and read a Bruce DeSilva novel.

Content Advisories

It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations.

Scale 1 - Lowest 5 - Highest

Sex - 3.5

There was some minor sexual tension between characters. There was a non graphic description of a sexual experience between two characters. The novel focused largely on the historical murders of several woman and children. While exploring the murders and developing the antagonist, the are descriptions of how he obtain sexual gratification through violence. Additionally, the is some moderately graphic description of how sexual gratification was obtain through the actual murders. The content will disturb some readers. There is a scene in which a character is a "peeping tom" and is watching a naked women through her window. If you have read the previous novel, this content is less disturbing and less disturbing that many of the recent novels dealing with dark subject matters.

Language - 3.5

There is moderate use of mild obscenities and low to moderate use of the f-word. Generally, the adult language was confined to a few scenes with specific characters. It is in these few scenes that much of the language is contained.

Violence - 4

The story focuses on a series of brutal murders. The victims are subjected to a significant amount of violence. The reader experiences the crimes through the eyes of the killer as well as viewing the aftermath through the eyes of the investigators and the protagonist. It is the violent nature of the crimes and the continual referral back to the crime that garners this specific violence rating.

A fuller review posted at The Literary Lawyer