“From the great first line, through the smart twisty plot,
to the final word, DeSilva's “The Dread Line” is
pure magic. Mulligan is a Hall of Fame PI who'd fit comfortably
Marlowe, Spade, and Easy Rawlins.”
-- Reed Farrel Coleman,
NY Times Bestselling author of “Debt to Pay.”
“With his series, Bruce DeSilva is creating a path through
our confusing times, told with a classic style of the master mystery
authors whose ranks he’s now joined. “The Dread
readers a roguish hero who faces the worst of our culture and
the worst he can be -- and tries to face that all while delivering
justice and finding some personal peace. “The Dread
what too many modern novels avoid: it delivers entertainment
while taking a stand.”
– James Grady, author of “Last
Days of the Condor.”
"The best yet in one of my favorite series ever -- fast and
funny, yet it packs a serious punch. This is hardboiled crime
fiction at its best."
-- Steve Hamilton, two-time Edgar Award-winning
author of The Second Life of Nick Mason.
"For a great read, get Bruce DeSilva’s latest mystery
novel, The Dread Line. Believe me, you will not be
again, DeSilva captures well our cozy, parochial and tribal
state in all its florid sleaze. The author has an uncanny sense
Indeed, the Ocean State is as much a character as the group
of aging mobsters, waspy swells dwelling in oceanside mansions,
sketchy lawyers, bookies and reporters roiled out by DeSilva.
I’ve written this before, but now more than ever, it is
apparent that DeSilva is to Rhode Island what James Lee Burke
is to Louisiana. Without giving anything away, we can safely
say that Mulligan flies very close to the sun in this edition.
nearly the last chapter, the reader is left wondering whether
Mulligan has drifted too far to the dark side of the law. All
of this adds up to a rollicking read."
-- Scott MacKay, Rhode
Island Public Radio
"Getting fired from the Providence
Dispatch has done nothing
to lighten Liam Mulligan’s workload; the first chronicle
of his work as a part-time private eye piles no fewer than three
cases on his back. The first job is the most straightforward:
find the masked robber who stuck a gun in Ellington Cargill’s
fabulously wealthy face while he was using his safe-deposit box
at the Jamestown office of Pell Savings and Trust and walked away
with jewelry valued at $6.3 million. The second has the client
with the deepest pockets: the New England Patriots, who want McCracken & Associates,
whose sole associate is Mulligan, to vet Conner Bowditch, the
Boston College defensive tackle they plan to draft if he checks
out. Since Mulligan already knows Bowditch’s not going to
check out—he’s in debt to Mulligan’s old friend
Dominic “Whoosh” Zerilli, the bookie who’s generously
cut Mulligan in for a piece of his action—this job is a
little complicated. But it’s not nearly as complicated as
the third job: catching the creep who’s kidnapping dogs
on the island of Conanicut, dousing them with lighter fluid, and
setting them on fire. Mulligan, who’s just acquired two
dogs of his own in the hope of protecting his homestead from the
depredations of the fiend he dubs Cat the Ripper, is more than
happy to join the hunt for this lowlife even without a client
or a fee. But although the Bowditch affair drags on the longest
and requires the most fireworks to resolve, it’s the search
for the dog killer that ends up touching Mulligan most deeply."
“With an opening carved from classic noir, Bruce DeSilva’s
superb and deliciously dark Dread Line is off and running.
A ribald mix of Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard, with a bit
of Donald Westlake
thrown in for good measure, it's a masterpiece of style with
enough substance to make it a classic of postmodern crime noir.” – The
"DeSilva has delivered another winner with The Dread Line.
The action never lets up. Mulligan has a snappy answer to any
situation, and when it comes to always having someone's back,
he's the guy to call." -- The Associated Press
"Mulligan isn't just an imitation of those who came before
but a unique character all his own. . . . This novel is a joy
read." -- Sons of Sam Spade
"The Dread Line, which works as a stand-alone, is an intense
journey with multiple threads that are worked out expertly." --
My Book Views
"This book is a real gem. From the very beginning the reader
is caught up in the mess of a high priced football team that
a great deal like it's been ripped from the headlines. DeSilva
has done it again." -- Suspense Magazine
"If you like your heroes hardboiled (but with a heart of
gold), you're in luck. . . . If you don't know this series, how
Grab it up! and then the earlier ones, too." -- Award-winning
mystery writer SJ. Rozan.
"I've been a big fan of Bruce DeSilva's excellent Liam Mulligan
books from the start. How could I not enjoy stories about a wisecracking
newspaper reporter taking down the bad guys. Highly recommended." --
New York Times best-selling author Ace Atkins.
"DeSilva has a terrific new mystery called The Dread Line.
. . . I can't resist letting you know about Bruce and this great
series. Check it out." -- David Morrell, the creator of
The Dread Line, by Bruce DeSilva
He was a serial killer, but I didn’t hold that against him.
It was his nature. The way he killed irked me some. His victims
were all missing their heads. But what I couldn’t abide was
his habit of using my porch as a dump site.
The first corpse appeared on a cool damp September morning. I’d
just carried my second cup of coffee out the back door and settled
into my Adirondack chair with the daily newspaper. As I read, I
was vaguely aware of the cries of the gulls and the slap of the
waves against my dock. Then something red fluttered in my peripheral
Even without a head, the victim was easy to identify. A northern
cardinal. Either that or a scarlet tanager, but I hadn’t
spotted one of those in Rhode Island in years. This killer, I thought,
preferred to slaughter things that were beautiful. But his next
two victims were moles. Then a wren, a starling, and a field mouse.
Like most predators, he clung to the shadows, but today I finally
caught a glimpse of him as he fled down my porch steps. A big tabby
with a torn left ear and a matted coat. People on the island take
care of their pets, so this one had to be a stray; or maybe it
was feral. He’d left me his latest victim, a full-grown rabbit.
Cat the Ripper was escalating.
I didn’t figure I’d be able catch him, and reforming
him was out of the question, but perhaps I could nudge him into
choosing another disposal site. It was time to get a dog.
I was on my laptop, checking out what was available from the Animal
Rescue League of Southern Rhode Island, when Johnny Rivers started
belting out “Secret Agent Man,” my ringtone for Bruce
McCracken, the boss man at McCracken & Associates Confidential
Investigative Services. “Associates” was an exaggeration
because I was the only one—and I worked there part time.
“You busy?” he asked.
“Shopping for a dog.”
“Yeah? I got an ex-con pal who needs a new home for his two-year-old Rottweiler.”
“Says he’s getting too aggressive.”
“No thanks,” I said.
“Don’t tell me you want a damned punt dog.”
“What’s a punt dog?”
“A little shit you can dropkick fifty yards.”
“Oh, hell no. I’m looking for a pooch big enough to knock me down
come home. But I’d prefer one without a record.”
“I don’t think Bandit’s bitten anybody yet.”
“Maybe so, but with a name like that, he’s destined for a life of
“Speaking of crime,” McCracken said, “we’ve been retained
look into a major one.”
“Seems somebody knocked over the Pell Savings and Trust branch on the island.”
“When was this?”
“Three weeks ago.”
“What? How come I haven’t heard about it?”
“Because armed robbery is bad for business,” he said. “The
trying to keep it under wraps.”
“They did call the police, right?”
“And they’re not happy with the lack of progress from the quote hick
“Bank robbery is a federal crime,” I said. “Isn’t the
“An agent from the Providence office took a report, but you know how it’s
been ever since 9/11. If it’s not a terrorism case, the feds aren’t
“How much did the bank lose?”
“I don’t have any details,” he said. “Mildred Carson,
manager, wants a face-to-face.”
“Did you say Mildred?’”
“There are still people named Mildred?”
“At least one, anyway. So can you handle this or not?”
“Gonna reimburse me for mileage?”
“Mulligan, you live in Jamestown.”
“So the whole damn island is only one mile wide.”
“Yeah,” I said, “but it’s nine miles long.”
Jamestown, population 5,405 in winter and about twice that in summer, is the
lone municipality on the island of Conanicut, which basks like a harbor seal
at the entrance to Narragansett Bay. I was keeping house this year in a five-room
cottage situated on two acres of meadow along the island’s north shore,
just a ten minute drive from Newport’s mansions and forty-five-minutes
south of McCracken’s office in downtown Providence. I’d bought the
place last spring, about nine months after I was let go by the dying Providence
Dispatch. The house needed work, but it was a step up from my old apartment in
a squalid Providence triple-decker.
My new job with McCracken seldom paid enough to meet the mortgage, and the loose
change I picked up freelancing for The Ocean State Rag, a local news website,
barely covered my cigar and Irish whiskey habits. But for the first time in my
forty-five years of life, I had money in my pocket. Before he retired to Florida
last year, my old friend Domenic “Whoosh” Zerilli had made me a silent
partner in his bookmaking racket.
After two decades as an investigative reporter for Rhode Island’s biggest
newspaper, it felt odd to be living above the poverty line. It felt even odder
to be a lawbreaker. But the way I saw it, I wasn’t breaking any important