Friday, March 14, 2014

Bruce DeSilva

Bruce DeSilva grew up in a tiny Massachusetts mill town where the mill closed when he was ten. He had an austere childhood bereft of iPods, X-Boxes, and all the other cool stuff that hadn’t been invented yet. In this parochial little town, metaphors and alliteration were also in short supply. Nevertheless, his crime fiction has won the Edgar and Macavity Awards; has been listed as a finalist for the Shamus, Anthony, and Barry Awards; and has been published in ten foreign languages. His short stories have appeared in Akashic Press's award-winning noir anthologies. He has reviewed books for the New York Times Sunday Book Review and Publishers Weekly, and his reviews for The Associated Press have appeared in hundreds of other publications. Previously, he was a journalist for forty years, most recently as writing coach world-wide for The Associated Press, editing stories that won nearly every major journalism prize including the Pulitzer. He and his wife, the poet Patricia Smith, live in New Jersey with two enormous dogs named Brady and Rondo.

DeSilva's new book is Providence Rag, the third novel in his crime series featuring Liam Mulligan, an investigative reporter at a dying Providence, R.I. newspaper.

From his Q & A with Kristi Belcamino:

Q: Tell me about your new book?

A: Providence Rag, the third novel in my Mulligan crime series, is the first to be inspired by a true story – one I covered as a journalist many years ago. I’ve long been fascinated by the case of The Warwick Slasher, a teenager who stabbed young mothers and their female children to death in his suburban Rhode Island neighborhood in the 1980s. The real killer, Craig Price, was just 13 years old when his murder spree began and 15 when he was caught, making him one of the youngest serial killers in U.S. history. But that’s not the interesting part. When he was arrested, Rhode Island’s juvenile justice statutes had not been updated for decades. When they were written, no one had ever envisioned a child like him, so the law required that all minors, regardless of their crimes, be released at age 21 and given a fresh start. Nevertheless, he remains behind bars to this day, convicted of committing a series of offenses behind bars. I have long suspected that some of these charges were fabricated, but in the very least, Price has been absurdly over-sentenced. For example, he was given an astounding 30 years for contempt for declining to submit to a court-ordered psychiatric exam. Have the authorities abused their power to prevent his release? I think so. Should he ever be let out to prey on the innocent again? Absolutely not. The ethical dilemma this poses fascinates me. No matter which side of it you come down on, you are condoning something that is indefensible. In the novel, the murders are committed and the killer caught in the first sixty pages. The rest of the book follows my protagonist, an investigative reporter at a dying Providence, R.I. newspaper, as well as his fellow reporters, his editors, and the entire community, as they struggle to decide which is worse: condoning the abuse of power that is keeping the killer behind bars or exposing it and allowing him to be released to kill again.

Q: What was the biggest challenge in basing a novel on a true story?

A: Although the characters and plots of my first two crime novels sprang entirely from my imagination, this has not prevented some readers...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Bruce DeSilva's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Rogue Island.

Coffee with a Canine: Bruce DeSilva and Brady.

The Page 69 Test: Cliff Walk.

Coffee with a Canine: Bruce DeSilva & Rondo and Brady.

Writers Read: Bruce DeSilva.

My Book, The Movie: Providence Rag.

The Page 69 Test: Providence Rag.

--Marshal Zeringue