According to the author’s introductory words to this novel, he
received a note in 1994 about a story he had written for the newspaper where he worked as a reporter in Providence, Rhode Island, suggesting that it could serve as the outline for a novel. He did begin to write such a book, only to put it aside because of personal problems. The note was from Evan Hunter (Ed McBain). A couple of years ago, the
author met Otto Penzler who, when he learned about the note, said: “Evan never had a good thing to say about anything anyone else wrote , … you’ve got to finish that novel.”
And we can all thank Otto Penzler and the late Evan Hunter for their
encouragement. This debut novel merits their praise, and then some.
It is witty, well-paced, entertaining, cynical, and worthy of its
nomination for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel.
Liam Mulligan is a wise-cracking investigative reporter for a
Providence daily, who closely pursues a story on a series of fires in
a small neighborhood that turn out to be cases of arson, resulting not
only in destruction of property but fatalities. It is up to Mulligan
to uncover not only the schemes behind these crimes, but the
corruption endemic to the State of Rhode Island, and specifically its
capital, giving rise to the title of the novel. No more about the
plot, because you have to read the book. And enjoy.