To solve Rhode Island's budget crisis, the state's colorful governor, Attila the Nun, wants to legalize sports gambling, but her plan has unexpected consequences. Organized crime, professional sports leagues, and others who have a lot to lose - or gain - if gambling is made legal flood the state with money to buy the votes of state legislators.
Liam Mulligan, investigative reporter for The Providence Dispatch, wants to investigate, but his bottom-feeding corporate bosses at the dying newspaper have no interest in serious reporting. So Mulligan goes rogue, digging into the story on his own time. When a powerful state legislator turns up dead, an out-of-state bag man gets shot, and his cash-stuffed briefcase goes missing, Mulligan finds himself the target of shadowy forces who seek to derail his investigation by destroying his career, his reputation, and perhaps even his life.
Bruce DeSilva's A Scourge of Vipers is at once a suspenseful crime story and a serious exploration of the hypocrisy surrounding sports gambling and the corrupting influence of big money on politics.
"The versatile Jeff Woodman provides an outstanding narration of this crime story.... This masterful reading will charm most listeners even if the corruption exposed does not." (AudioFile)
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What does that mean?
I think you would need to be a truly hard-core Mulligan fan to enjoy this, and, even then, you have to admit that the book is the least of the three. It may be fiction, but it has the feel of reporting with really good Providence accents. The only gags that make you chuckle are from the first two books, like Attila the Nun, the mayor of Providence. Otherwise, it reads like straight reporting with an attempt to be funny, which fails more often than it succeeds.
I don't think I will listen to another Mulligan book. I think this brief series has run its course. You can find way better books about modern-day urban corruption, and you can find more appealing protagonists than Liam Mulligan. You also can find more suspenseful writing. Almost anything by Dennis Lehane beats this stuff with a stick.
I don't think that would matter. It's the material, by and large, that keeps you reading. Joe Barrett might be able to make this sound better.
As I said, a few chuckles. A few insights into corrupt local politics. A car with an unfunny name: Secretariat, for a beat-up forty year old clunker. Very few qualities that would make me spend my money on this kind of thing again.
Nope. Save yer sawbucks.
- Richard Delman
Maybe Im just tired of the series... It must be me
- Charles Atkinson