Thursday, September 8, 2016

"The Dread Line"

Bruce DeSilva grew up in a parochial Massachusetts mill town where metaphors and alliteration were in short supply. Nevertheless, his crime fiction has won the Edgar and Macavity Awards; been listed as a finalist for the Shamus, Anthony, and Barry Awards; and been published in ten foreign languages. His short stories have appeared in Akashic Press's award-winning noir anthologies, and his book reviews for The Associated Press appear in hundreds of publications. Previously, he was a journalist for forty years, editing stories that won nearly every major journalism prize including the Pulitzer.

DeSilva applied the Page 69 Test to The Dread Line, the fifth novel in his crime series featuring Liam Mulligan, who was recently fired from his investigative reporter job at a dying Providence, R.I. newspaper. He reported the following:
From page 69:
“What was the stolen jewelry worth?” I asked.

“It’s insured for six point three million,” Booth said. “Of course, anybody trying to fence it will have to settle for about twenty percent of that.”

“Suppose you had the goods,” I said. “How would you dispose of them?’

“Half of the pieces are unique designs,” Booth said. “Unless you wanted to get caught, you’d have to break them up, melt the settings down for the gold and platinum, and reset the stones. The other half were bought over the counter at Harry Winston, Van Cleef, and Chopard. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of pieces just like them, so you probably could get away with selling them out of a pawn shop or on eBay. Happens all the time.”

“How would you know which ones were unique?” I asked.

“A fence who specializes in rare jewelry could figure it out,” Booth said.

“How many fences like that are there?”

“In the U.S., we’ve identified a couple of dozen, but there are sure to be others we don’t know about.”

“Are any of them local?”

“The closest one is Max Barber up in Boston.”

“Have you had a chat with him?” I asked.

“I have. “Gave him photos of the stolen jewelry, asked him to be on the lookout, and promised him fifteen percent of the insured amount if he helps with recovery.”

“Did you make the same offer to the others?’

“The ones we know of, yeah.”

“Does this ever work?”

“More often than you might think.”

“Have you talked to Carmine Grasso?” I asked.

“Who’s that?”

“The go-to guy in Rhode Island for disposing of stolen goods.”

“Does he have the expertise to handle something like this?” Booth asked.

“He deals mostly in pilfered electronics and hijacked liquor,” I said, “but there are a lot of jewelers in Rhode Island, Harvey. Expertise can be bought.”
Page 69 finds Mulligan comparing notes about a spectacular jewelry heist with an insurance investigator named Harvey Booth – one of several obsessions that keep distracting Mulligan from a bigger case that requires his full attention. The New England Patriots, shaken by murder charges brought against their superstar tight end, have hired Mulligan to investigate the background of a college athlete they’re thinking of drafting. At first the job seems routine, but as soon as he begins asking questions, he gets push-back. The player, it seems, has something to hide—and someone is willing to kill to make sure it remains secret.
Visit Bruce DeSilva's website and blog.

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

My Book, The Movie: The Dread Line.

--Marshal Zeringue