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20 September 2019

The Art of Dying Derik Cavignano Book Tour and Review!

Cavignano’s latest crime thriller sets a serial killer investigation against the backdrop of an escalating mob war
Boston’s baddest mobster Whitey Bulger inspires ‘The Art of Dying’

TAMPA, Florida – Award-winning author Derik Cavignano revisits his popular character Detective Ray Hanley in The Art of Dying (Dark Corners Press, September 20, 2019).

When the bizarre death of a mob foot soldier sparks an escalating war between Boston’s Irish and Italian mafia, Detective Ray Hanley’s relentless search for the truth uncovers evidence of a serial killer obsessed with the art of human suffering. As the body count rises, Detective Hanley must navigate a minefield of crime families, dirty politicians, and crooked cops, while matching wits with a deranged serial killer. Temptation, betrayal, and death threaten to derail the investigation… and justice doesn’t come without a price.

This fast-paced police procedural examines the darkest corners of the human mind, exposes powerful political corruption, and depicts an honorable detective striving to balance the horrors of the job with his commitment to his family.

Derik Cavignano: A native of Boston and a writer since high school, Derik Cavignano currently lives in Florida with his wife, children, and an angry cat who won’t stop biting him. He writes character-driven thrillers in a variety of genres, including horror, sci-fi, and crime. His novels include “The Righteous and the Wicked” and “Colony of the Lost” (a 2016 Silver Falchion Award finalist for best horror). His upcoming crime thriller, The Art of Dying, is due for release in fall 2019. Connect with Derik on Twitter @DerikCavignano or visit his website at

Praise for Derik Cavignano

The Art of Dying was announced as a winner in “Horror General” for the 2019 American Fiction Awards. 

The Art of Dying blends drama and horror for a disturbing and gripping thriller.” — Foreword Clarion Review for The Art of Dying

“Boston gets gory in this enjoyable, horror-tinged crime tale.” — Kirkus Review for The Art of Dying

“Cavignano artfully misdirects the plot with family dramas and subtle clues, while keeping the cat-and-mouse conflict between Hanley and his quarry on track—all while the terror of the story’s victims ratchets up the tension between chapters.” — Blue Ink Reviews for The Art of Dying

“An edge-of-your seat detective thriller that crackles with gore and wit before delivering a stunning knockout blow. Fans of Silence of the Lambs should flock to Derik Cavignano’s new series debut.” — for The Art of Dying

“Cavignano brings wonderful characterization of people and places to his lightning-paced fantasy thriller... Boston neighborhoods are impeccably portrayed... A gleefully hard-boiled urban fantasy that lights up Boston's mean streets.”  Kirkus Review for Cavignano’s The Righteous and the Wicked

"A wildly entertaining book ... [that] delivers a deliciously compelling villain” — review for Cavignano’s The Righteous and the Wicked

My Review 
To say that this book is thrilling is an understatement. The Art of Dying by Derik Cavignano is a novel of murders that are taking place in Boston. One the mob's foot soldiers died in a bizarre manner which escalates the war between the Irish and Italian mafia. A couple more men are murdered and a few people are missing. Are these instances related? That is what Detective Ray Hanley has to find out.

With a deranged killer out there, one of the bodies has his limbs cut off and spider legs in place of the limbs, the other one fished out of the water had his genital in place of his nose. Now that is one bizarre killer. 

The reader reads about the killer, The Artist, a man who was upset with the people he kills or abducts because of a slight done to him in the past. Ray and his fellow cops have a hard task of finding who and why of the investigation. The FBI is involved with one of the witnesses and of course, there is tension. But what is The Artists identity?

Ray has a brother Jacob who shows up occasionally in the story especially when Ray has succumbed to temptation and he needs his brother. The other characters are portrayed as they should be, the mafia dudes are tough and violent. 

Ray is a gentler kind of cop as opposed to his partner Billy who is close to retirement and can be a real jerk. Ray has a wife and children while Billy is a single man with a slanted view of the world, but their interaction is a good one and they work well together.

Beware that this book is a gory horror story. I enjoyed reading this book, I hope to read the next one in the series. If you love a good scary police procedural type of book, this one is definitely for you. I read it in two sittings.

I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

An Interview with

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about the research you did for this novel? How do you balance fact and fiction in your work?
I wanted to write a crime thriller that was gritty and authentic, but to do that takes a massive amount of research. Growing up in Boston during the heyday of Whitey Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang and Gennaro Angiulo’s La Cosa Nostra, I was exposed to constant news coverage on the mob. But in order to get inside the heads of my fictional crime bosses, I watched documentaries and read books about the history of Boston’s Irish and Italian mafia. I also wove into the novel certain aspects of stories I heard from police officers and other acquaintances who had first-hand knowledge of Bulger and his associates. I also researched police procedures, crime scene investigation techniques, the psychology of serial killers, and watched videos of autopsies. My goal was to add just enough facts to bring the story alive in a realistic way without hampering the pacing.    
  1. You often write about topics that are considered unusual or even horrific. What draws you to this type of subject matter?
I find myself drawn to horror because it taps into our most primal emotions. Weaving elements of horror into a story can evoke a powerful response from the reader, especially if the reader is vested in the character. I’ve always felt that someone’s true character is best revealed when faced with their worst fears—will they rise to the occasion or run from the room with their tail between their legs? I think on some level everyone wonders that about themselves, and there’s a certain attraction to experiencing that test vicariously through a character.
  1. Why did you choose to base your character Jack Flaherty on Whitey Bulger in The Art of Dying? What do you find most compelling about Bulger’s story?
I grew up in Boston in the 80s, and during that time Whitey Bulger loomed large in the news and cast a dark shadow over the city. But no matter how many crimes were attributed to Bulger’s gang, the authorities could never seem to pin anything on him. He was always one step ahead of the law, which made me wonder if he’d paid off the cops or if his brother Billy—the long-serving president of the Massachusetts State Senate—had anything to do with that. Of course, the world would later discover that Bulger had secretly become an informant for the FBI and had used that relationship to bring down his enemies in the Italian mob. Another compelling element of Bulger’s story is the myth he created about being one of the “good bad guys”, a real-life Robin Hood of South Boston. And while some residents of Southie may share tales of Bulger donating money to the church or to neighbors in need, Whitey was at the same time shaking down local businesses and murdering with impunity.
  1. Kirkus Reviews wrote of your previous book The Righteous and the Wicked that your “Boston neighborhoods are impeccably portrayed.” Tell us a little bit about why you chose to set The Art of Dying in Boston as well. 
I lived in Boston for over 30 years before relocating to Florida to escape the long winters. But even after being away for 12 years, I still consider Boston my hometown. It’s an amazing city with a rich history, and everything from Faneuil Hall to the Old North Church to Paul Revere’s house are so well-preserved, and walking the Freedom Trail is such a great way to explore the city. My love for the city seeped through the pages of my sci-fi suspense thriller, The Righteous and the Wicked, which features Detective Ray Hanley in a supporting role. In that book, Ray emerges as a larger than life character, so I knew he needed to star in his own series with the city of Boston as the backdrop.
  1. What is in store next for Detective Hanley?
In the next book, Detective Hanley teams up with a Salem cop to find a missing woman with ties to a demonic cult operating at the fringes of Salem’s witchcraft underground. I’m still in the outlining phase, but I expect the case to take Ray well outside his comfort zone and pit him against a dangerous villain who defies conventional logic.

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