The Dread Line: Bruce DeSilva
Within this complex novel there are three distinct plots that the author has intricately woven and linked together. The first is an unusual jewelry heist where someone entered a bank vault, tied up the assistant bank manager and the owner of the jewelry in the box, yet no one saw this person enter or alight from the vault. Taking the jewelry and leaving the box empty yet not harming the two victims. The second is someone is going around kidnapping precious dogs and burning them alive. Why? Who would be so cruel? Finally, the third deals with Conner Bowditch an offensive tackle hoping to be drafted by the Patriots but something about him seems to be off and the NFL and the Patriots want him investigated to make sure they he has nothing to hide. Liam Mulligan was once an investigative reporter in Rhode Island for the Dispatch and has changed careers becoming a Private Investigator when the paper closed and he lost his job. Brash, impulsive, inventive, creative in his methods of dealing with people and thugs, Mulligan is someone that you don’t want to cross. Added in he and his partner have set up an illegal gambling enterprise to supplement their income and that of a well know bookie. Author Bruce DeSilva brilliantly connects the gambling enterprise with that of offensive tackle Conner Bowditch whose hoping to get traded in the draft but his character flaws are many and when researching and digging into his background and profile gambling seems to come to light but is he betting on football games and is he doing something to cause his team to lose? Nothing comes up at first and Mulligan cannot believe that he is squeaky-clean knowing for some reason he is hiding something but what? Dealing with a sick person who enjoys torching dogs and the jewelry heist and the background check somehow what appears to be no clues on the surface you won’t believe how he connects the dots between the heist and the dog torching. Even more baffling is the owner of the jewelry prefers to remain in the background and does not want his name revealed. But Mulligan is determined and to track down the thief he needs to find out why and who would benefit. The owner of the jewelry does not want the items back nor does he care that they cost millions; he wants revenge on the thief. Added in the author includes a rather disturbed cat who enjoys decapitating animals and placing them on Mulligan’s doorstep avoiding detection or getting caught. To counteract this villain he buys a rescue dog named Brady who he hopes will help him get the character dubbed as “Cat the Ripper.” Working for the McCracken detective agency he hopes to uncover whom the thief is and do a background check for the New England Patriots. The incentive is that the NFL draft is close, the dread line is coming up and the Patriots have Conner in mind but learning about his gambling debts, knowing that someone is not only following him but Conner too, he hopes that he will return his phone calls before it’s too late. Thugs try to take out Mulligan but that proves to be their downfall. Threatening him to stay clear of the investigation of Bowditch only gets him and his favorite strong-arm man, Joseph, to come at the two and although they break his wrist in their first encounter you have no idea what happens when Joseph, Mulligan and McCracken team up. The football player when he finally comes clean has no idea why anyone would follow him but secrets, lies and blackmail come out and just how is Mulligan going to handle all three cases and solve them before more dogs are burned and lives are lost?
What would this book be without a love interest for Mulligan who misses Yolanda, the true love of his life whose job takes her away from him? Ellington Cargill is rich, unyielding and expects the world to cater to him because of his position or station in life. He just wants justice to find the thief and does not care about anything else. Added in we meet another enabler the father of Alexander Cargill or Ellington who condones his son’s rudeness, lack of effort to do anything but spend his inheritance and his money. Sometimes things do not always stay on the straight and narrow and the methods Mulligan, his partner and Joseph use to solve these cases will prove that sometimes rules need to be broken and things set aside when Mulligan teams up with Chief of Police Ragsdale who somehow manages to say no to his requests and then funny how he changes his mind. This story brings out the difficult job of homicide detectives and why investigative reporting can be dangerous when all the reporter wants to do is report the facts and hopefully they are true and accurate. But sometimes there are those that will blindside others, report false information just to get a story and create sensationalism.
Liam is smart and when certain information comes to light and he’s told to keep it quite he manages to enlist the help of Mason, who now owns another paper since the Dispatch is defunct, and using another name manages to get front page headlines. With all the beer and liquor they consume these characters might consider buying a brewery but gambling and their dealings with Zerilli’s Market keeps them in the black as far as their finances but will it keep them out of jail? With everyone investigating everyone you won’t believe what happens when the assistant bank manager is killed and who is torching the dogs and looking after his semi-retired mobster friends’ bookmaking business and when things get dicey Zerilli only wants to make sure he gets his cut. With the legal team of the Patriot’s down his back and neck wanting to learn the truth about Conner, someone decides to take the tables and turn them in their direction as false stories are aired on the local news and in the papers and Mulligan will go to any length to stop what someone has put in place.
In order to rid himself he hopes of Cat the Ripper he buys another dog named Rondo who loves Brady and of course makes it easier for him to work since Brady will no longer eat his furniture. With the jewelry heist coming together, the animal sadist he hopes can be stopped and the New England Patriots case the most prominent, will he ever solve it, and is Connor guilty of murder? Who wants him silenced? What happens when shots ring out and it’s too close for comfort since someone does not want him asking questions and forces them to pushback. What does Connor have to hide? What about Jenks the man who owns the store where the bets are made? The ending will surprise readers and who killed the assistant manager you won’t see it coming? What happens when the secrets about Connor come out and a crooked agent receives the McCracken, Mulligan double team? What happens when someone takes out the person torching the dogs and Mulligan is asked to investigate? An ending that you won’t see coming as only author Bruce DeSilva can give an ending riddled with surprises, twists, a police chief that often looks the other way and one man named Mulligan who will stop at nothing until he gets the answers he wants and the victims deserve.
With his lust for Cuban cigars that he and Ragsdale smoke it’s only right that I present this book with FIVE GOLDEN CUBAN CIGARS.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine