The newspaper The Providence Dispatch is barely hanging on by a thread. A shadow of its former self pretty much in name only it is now owned by a media conglomerate known to all as “General Communications Holdings International” or GCHI. A media conglomerate bent on wringing out every last penny as the bottom line drives everything. Investigative reporter Liam Mulligan is quite possibly the last dinosaur as he is hanging on to his job by a thread. It has been a long time since the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and his newspaper were allowed to what a scourge of vipersthey do best. These days he has to punch a time clock and write press releases for a managing editor that never edits because everything at GCHI is sent to an “International Editing Center” in Wichita where idiots manage to screw up everything.

Every now and then he gets sent out to report on something. In this case a body that was floating in the Blackstone River above the falls in Pawtucket. That body, as well as another one on a small plane that crashed at a nearby airport, are just two small pieces of a very large puzzle involving gambling interests, major league sports of all types, murder, conspiracy, politics, and more in this latest very good read from award winning author Bruce DeSilva.

Along with chronicling the end of traditional newspapers as we know them, the author takes on the hypocrisy that involves sports gambling as well as money in politics especially in the form of super PACs. While those details occasionally stray very close to the line of ranting A Scourge of Vipers the anger is very much justified in all cases for those readers that have been paying attention to the reality of all levels of government the last decade plus.

Those relevant observations do not overshadow the complex mystery at the heart of the book. Fourth in the series featuring Liam Mulligan, the read references earlier reads in the series while also representing a turning point in multiple ways for the classic wise cracking reporter. It will be very interesting to see how this series evolves going forward as it appears this one a major turning point for Liam as well as several other characters.

If you are new to the series really should read them in order starting with Rogue Island before moving on to Cliff Walk and Providence Rag. A Scourge of Vipers is another mighty good one in the series and very well worth your time.

A Scourge Of Vipers: A Mulligan Novel
Bruce DeSilva
Tom Doherty Associates Book (Forge)
April 2015
ISBN# 978-0-7653-7431-8
Hardback (also available in e-book and audio)
320 Pages


Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2015
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