Providence Rag Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Providence Rag

Reporter Liam Mulligan races to solve a crime that will keep a dangerous murderer in jail. Liam Mulligan hadn't planned to be an investigative reporter. He started off as a sports reporter, but when he was assigned to help a cynical and overworked crime reporter, he ends up uncovering the clues that lead to a serial killer. It's a decade later and Mulligan is now the investigative reporter for the Providence Dispatch. The paper is in financial trouble and is up for sale. Even worse for Mulligan, the teen convicted of the killings that made him a star reporter is now set to be released from jail when he's 21.
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It's clear that the warden and other officials have been conspiring to keep Kwame Diggs in jail by trumping up various charges inside the prison. Given the violence of the crimes committed by Diggs, Mulligan and just about everyone else in Providence is fine with the charade. But reporter Edward Mason is determined to reveal the plot and since he's also the publisher's son, no one can stop him. He and Mulligan and best friends, but they ultimately take different approaches to the problem. Mason works to expose the conspiracy, while Mulligan and newspaper photographer Gloria try and find evidence of some crime that would legitimately keep Diggs in jail.

Lots of people are unhappy with Mason's digging into the prison and several attempts are made on his life. But he's able to uncover evidence, include videos that prove that guards were lying when they claimed Diggs assaulted them. Diggs is released and he's already mentally preparing to kill again. But at the last minute, Gloria talks to Diggs' mother and they are able to tie him into an unsolved murder that took place at a summer camp briefly attended by the then-teen. After a brief chase, Diggs is rearrested and convicted of the murder, which will keep him in prison for several decades. When it's over, the paper is in the process of being sold. But the reporters can at least be happy with the knowledge that they kept a dangerous criminal off the streets.
Best part of story, including ending: I liked the old-school approach to a story in which dedicated reporters worked to uncover the truth and tackle the big stories. It's a nice change from the typical story that portrays newspaper reporters as old, out-of-touch buffoons.

Best scene in story: There is a scene in which Gloria forces Diggs' mother to confront the truth of what he son did to the women he murdered. She couldn't bring herself to admit out loud what she already knew: that her son was an evil monster.

Opinion about the main character: Liam Mulligan is the modern-day equivalent to those old hard-working reporters you find in the 1950s film noir movies. He's cynical and jaded and doesn't wasn't to believe the good that exists in the world.

The review of this Book prepared by Rick Ellis a Level 4 Yellow-Headed Blackbird scholar

Chapter Analysis of Providence Rag

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 60%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   Dry-cynical How difficult to spot villain?    -   Challenging Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   solving long-past murder Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   squabbling with fellow investigator(s)/police boss Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   writer Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Bruce DeSilva Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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