As The Dread Line: A Mulligan Novel by Bruce DeSilva begins, former newspaper investigative reporter and current part time private investigator Liam Mulligan gets a phone call from his boss, Bruce McCracken. They have a new client who is not happy with the efforts of the Jamestown Police Department or the FBI. Approximately, three weeks ago there was a robbery at The Pell Savings and Trust and the branch manager, Mildred Carson, wants a meeting.

Mulligan goes to the meeting and learns that early in September a wealthy customer came in to access his safety deposit box. The assistant manager and the customer went into the vault, opened the relevant box, and then were confronted at gun point by someone. They were soon helpless, the jewelry gone, and the person was gone with no one else in the bank aware of anything. Mulligan asks a lot of questions and soon he has a couple of ideas though things are slowed down because the wealthy customer does not want to cooperate.


Things are also slowed down by the fact that somebody is going around killing local pets. In limited detail that may upset some readers, it becomes clear that somebody is setting pets, dogs specifically, on fire to kill them. Like the recent events at the bank, local police have no clues or even a possible suspect.


If that is not enough, McCracken and Mulligan soon also have a major and potentially lucrative client, the New England Patriots. As any football fan knows, background checks and profiles of players about to be drafted in the NFL do not show everything. Things get missed. The Patriots have a record of missing some things in recent years and do not want to make that mistake again. There is an athlete with ties to the area that the Patriots may move up in the draft to get if he is as squeaky clean as he appears. Mulligan already knows for a fact that he isn’t. The real question is, how dirty is he?


These three main storylines and a couple of other ones eventually coalesce together in The Dread Line: A Mulligan Novel by Bruce DeSilva. Flashes of humor, plenty of action, and multiple mysteries make the fifth book in the series that started with Rogue Island another compelling and highly entertaining read. As noted earlier, what happens to several dogs in this book is horrific and may disturb some readers though it should also be pointed out that the descriptions are not gratuitous or excessive. Those few situations are handled very well by the author through Mulligan’s character and are not glorifying of it in any way.


I have been a fan of this series and The Dread Line: A Mulligan Novel by Bruce DeSilva is highly recommended as is the series.


The books and my reviews in order:

Rogue Island (November 2010)

Cliff Walk (September 2012)

Providence Rag (May 2014)

A Scourge of Vipers (May 2015)

The Dread Line: A Mulligan Novel (You Are Here)


The Dread Line: A Mulligan Novel

Bruce DeSilva

A Forge Book (Tom Doherty Associates, LLC)

September 2016

ISBN# 978-0-7653-7433-2

Hardback (also available in audio and eBook formats)

320 Pages


My reading copy came from the Downtown Branch of the Dallas Public Library System


Kevin R. Tipple ©2021

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