Reporter Liam Mulligan from the start knows this is going to be a very unpleasant story. Cosmo Scalici raises hogs and hogs will eat just about anything that ends up in their pens. That includes a child’s arm. While local law enforcement now has killed the hog so they can hopefully retrieve whatever is left of some little girl’s arm and hand, finding out to whom it belonged to and where it came from is going to be very hard. When Cosmo Scalici isn’t dealing with the hogs, he runs company, Scalici Recycling. They collect garbage from schools, jails, and restaurants all over Rhode Island. That means the arm could have come from just about anywhere.
That isn’t the only story Mulligan is working on though it is the most gruesome one right now. Mulligan is also working on figuring out who is doing some waste dumping, who is trying to buy the governor this time through campaign funds, and how long his paper, Providence Dispatch, is going to survive.
It is because he is sent out to Newport to attend an event during the weeklong Newport Jumping Derby that he witnesses Salvatore Maniella in deep conversation with the governor. The same Salvatore Maniella who is found hours later splattered across the rocks below Newport’s world famous Cliff Walk. The same Salvatore Maniella who is linked to various forms of pornography, prostitution, and others things.
In chasing the various stories, Mulligan finds himself a target as well as a confident to a number of people. He might make headway on his stories if the newspaper he works for wasn’t in such a state of collapse. The newspaper is crumbling around him with more and more layoffs, circulation cutbacks, financial cuts and other problems. Like any other business these days, it means that those that are left, Mulligan and others must increasingly share the workload to keep the paper afloat. His personal problems in terms of his health as well as an ex that just won’t leave him alone add to his burdens. Mulligan is at a crossroads, both personally and professionally, in a tale where faith and politics play increasing roles in cases that get darker as the weeks pass into the fall months.
Bruce DeSilva won both the 2011 Edgar and Macavity Awards for his debut novel, Rogue Island. Rightfully so, as that was a powerful book that firmly established the Liam Mulligan character as well as several others. Simply put, CLIFF WALK just might be a better book. Featuring the same occasionally sarcastic tone and laugh out loud moments (the obits are a must read on their own), several complex storylines where nothing is as it seems, and a sense that you right there with Mulligan every step of the way, he book is a good one from the start to the moving finish.
While it can be read as a stand-alone, those who have read Rogue Island will get far more out of CLIFF WALK as the characters and relationships continue to evolve.
CLIFF WALK: A MULLIGAN NOVEL
A Forge Book (Tom Doherty Associates)
Hardback (also available in e-book and audio book)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2012