Providence Rag: Bruce Desilva
Imagine someone that spends every waking hour dreaming about his next kill. Imagine enjoying the smell of burnt flesh, the stench of a dead body and the sight of a mutilated animal. A serial killer finds different ways to torture, kill, maim and obliterate a life. Kwame Diggs enjoys hunting and staking out his victims, watching them go about their everyday lives and quietly sneaking into their homes and killing them. Gore does not deter him. Screams are stifled and witnesses non-existent. Kwame Diggs feels justified in his actions and thinks the world owes him something but what no one really knows. From a young age he enjoyed taking apart insects, burning cats and dogs and destroying his own sister’s Barbie Doll collection smiling as he hammered away at each of the doll’s limbs. Kwame Diggs thought he was clever and would never get caught. Killing two young women and their children, two years apart was the just tip of the iceberg. Attacking another woman and leaving her permanently scarred only makes his dreams of what he might do if he is ever freed more vivid, hardboiled and frightening. What would you do if you thought this man was about to be released from prison? Rhode Island has an antiquated law stating that juveniles are to be released from prison at age 21 regardless of the severity of the crime. Bone chilling to say the least! When the scale of justice is even and it is about to be tipped in the wrong direction freeing this man and one other killer, would you bend the law, plant evidence, create situations and lie in order to make sure he never sees the light of day? Moral and ethical values are tested to the limit and two close friends are about to become rivals and go head to head as author Bruce DeSilva brings back his most powerful character, Liam Mulligan to fight for the safety of so many and the safety of a small community.
Liam Mulligan is a sports reporter for the Providence Dispatch until his editor Ed Lomax requested his help on a different story. A young woman and her daughter were murdered in 1992 and the killer remains at large. Teaming up with Detective Andy Jennings they scour the neighborhood, question witnesses, unknowingly even the killer, but no arrest is made. Two years down the line he strikes again but not before he does damage in different ways. Mulligan is persistent, hardnosed and once again teams up with Andy Jennings but this time something will change. Cruising the small community of Warwick he sees a young black teen on a bike. One simple clue would awaken something in Mulligan and the next thing you know they might have their killer but first some legwork needs to be done. Becky Medeiros and her four-year-old daughter were his first victims and Connie Stuart and her two daughters were next. With an arsenal of help at his fingertips and the cooperation of the police, labs and others this young reporter manages to help catch a killer. But, there is much more to this murder and the arrest. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Confession on tape, in prison for six years this young man was never released because people inside and outside worked the legal system to find creative ways to make sure that he served more time. Eighteen years to be exact and now the law says he might be released and the charges against him that were filed keeping him in prison were faked, lies and if proven others will go down.
Edward Mason works for the Dispatch and decides to go on a one-man crusade to find out why Diggs was not released and if the evidence was tampered. Ed Lomax is the chief editor of the Dispatch and must decide which side to take, how to handle the controversy and if Mason should be allowed to continue with his investigation which might result in Diggs being freed. With Mulligan’s limited help, interviewing prison guards in Supermax, hearing the voice of Kwame Diggs telling him why he committed the murders readers will have to decide whether he is deranged, was framed or should be committed. As Mulligan managed to put Kwame behind bars, just how far will Mason go to free him? Edward Mason is the publisher’s son. Whose side will the publisher take? Subscriptions being pulled, advertising down just how far will the publisher goes to save the Dispatch?
Mason is determined to pen a profile of this killer and with the help of Diggs new lawyer a beautiful blonde named, Felicia, he manages to interview him. Killers are smart, cunning and often convincing when the listener does not have a trained ear for lies, deceits and wants to believe what he says. Claiming he killed all of these white women, who are blonds because of racial slurs, comments and being treated as a pariah in his community, Mason takes his word as gospel and when he lies the truth things take on a different turn.
Law enforcement agencies are supposed to protect the rights of all citizens so when Kwame came up for release why did so many team up to make sure he remained inside? His incarceration was legal but the extension of it unethical and Mulligan and Mason fight on opposite sides, putting many lives in danger to protect the innocent, the public and the rights of one man who does not warrant anyone really caring. Moral decisions and ethical choices are at the center of this complex novel bringing to light many issues regarding both our legal and prison systems.
Each step of the way Mulligan, enlists the help of many close friends as he reunites with the Governor of Rhode Island hoping she will give him the information he needs to keep this man in prison. Working feverishly with her to find new evidence to make sure that he is never released will they succeed or will it be too late? But the Attorney General brings information to light, the judge listens to both sides and a verdict is rendered. Should those that lied, planted evidence perjured themselves and broke the law to keep others safe be held liable? With Mulligan working closely with the police and Mason with Kwame’s lawyer which side will succeed in their quest but can there be a clear winner?
What would you do if you were the presiding judge and had to decide if the state presented enough evidence to keep this man inside? What would you do to balance or tip the scales of justice in the right direction? A decision so controversial and a killer so diabolical you won’t believe the final result. Based on real life events this killer confesses to the crime and is convicted as a minor. But, history was made when the state law stating juveniles as adults could not be applied retroactively. His crimes so horrific that it was the opinion of the state’s psychologists that he could not be rehabilitated. Vigilante justice, mobs, threats against correction officers, judges, reporters, lawyers and violations of probation rights, extortion and even refusing to allow doctors to test him allowed the courts to give him more prison time. But, claiming he was jailed due to racism and breaking into the homes of two young women, smoking weed and stabbing victims countless times yet showing as you can tell when you hear his voice within this novel that he enjoyed his work and could not wait for his next kill. Just where is this killer now and what was his final fate? Two reporters on opposite sides of the scale of justice. Just where will the gavel land?
Author Bruce DeSilva brings to light many issues within this five star novel. Lies, deceits and cover-ups revealed but should they go unpunished? A man so dangerous that releasing him might endanger his own mother. Liam Mulligan and Edward Mason: two outstanding reporters each having a different style. Liam persistent, strong, careful and meticulous when researching a story. Mason hoping to get that major first page byline and headline learning the ropes.
Courthouse drama, a judge, Attorney General and a Lawyer that put it all on the line: Kwame Diggs: Freed or Remained in incarcerated! If you were the judge how would you rule? Surprises every step of the way and a killer whose words will send chills down your spine and a reporter who is relentless. Providence Rag: DeSilva and Mulligan at their best.
Let’s give this Five Golden Brand New Tires for Secretariat.
Fran Lewis: reviewer