The Art of Dying
Ray Hanley, a homicide detective with the Boston PD, stumbles on a strange new case that threatens to ruin the tentative truce between the Irish and Italian mobs, along with upend his personal life and career. A mutilated corpse is discovered, belonging to Danny the Mule, a foot soldier for the Irish mob. His murder is attributed to a serial killer called The Artist who is on a spree of bizarre kidnappings and murders. The Artist is partly motivated by personal revenge, selecting victims who have wronged him in the past. Mainly, however, he seems to view his killings more philosophically as the basis of a new artistic medium—the so-called art of dying—in which his victims’ bodies are mutilated and displayed in public as exhibits.
As Hanley hunts after the psychotic killer he finds himself caught in a web of mob violence, political cover-ups, personal vendettas, and law enforcement incompetence. By the time he unravels the mystery and breaks the case wide open, his life is in shambles. With everything crashing down around him, Hanley must apprehend The Artist and rescue his hostages before he kills again.
Cavignano’s new detective novel, The Art of Dying: A Ray Hanley Crime Thriller is a compelling exploration of abnormal psychology. The book deftly blends the world of hard-boiled noir with that of the psychological thriller. Though a detective story at heart, it is also reminiscent of The Silence of the Lambs, or Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter series, with a splash of The Godfather and The Sopranos.
Cavignano excels at alternating between the idyllic domestic environment of the family home and the seedy underworld of Boston, in which a series of murders are coming to light. As each murder points to another, Hanley is pushed to his breaking point, taking bigger and bigger risks to pursue the truth. With The Artist, Cavignano has created a portrait of abnormal psychology every bit as memorable, nuanced (and harrowing) as Hannibal Lecter.
It is rare that a work of detective fiction conjures a world of such gripping realism replete with twists and turns, false leads, and surprise reveals. The high-octane pace of the book is unrelenting, and readers will be brought along as they accompany Hanley from one lead to the next. A meditation on art, as well as on crime, The Art of Dying is a thriller through and through.
Author: Derik Cavignano