William Singley’s Didja’ Hear? Danny Devlin’s Dead: A Tommy Palmer Story is the perfect example of execution done right. It is fast-paced but does not compromise the tiniest detail. Singley knows how to make a scene bleed and affect emotions without resorting to saccharine language. His thriller is a vivid and authentic depiction of life in Atlantic City and how one event can affect countless others.
The story opens on a rainy night, a dark alley, sirens blazing out front, a soul about to meet his maker—or the devil. Everybody loved Danny Devlin. There were no dry eyes when he was laid to rest days later. He was a true-blue son of Atlantic City. In fact, on the night he died marauding the city post office, the black cross on his forehead, an Ash Wednesday tradition, was still fresh; and at his funeral, criminals and crime busters crowded the church of Our Lady Star of the Sea. Was it just Danny, or was it the city? Crime and faith and law and order thrived side by side in Atlantic City.
Father Jimmy, a priest and Danny’s own brother, had to ID the body at the morgue and comfort Danny’s wife and Danny’s wide-eyed kids. They needed Danny’s insurance to survive, but should it be proven that Danny died committing a crime, there was no policy to cash in.
The family turned to Tommy Palmer. “The Devlins and Palmer had grown up together and then went separate ways, Tommy into the Airborne and Vietnam, Jimmy into the seminary, and Danny into crime. Over the years, they stayed as close as distances allowed.”
The Devlins asked Tommy to help clear Danny’s name, but everybody knew there was no chance of that happening. Danny was a thief—a well-loved member of Atlantic City society, but a thief nonetheless. The lead detective warned Tommy about his chances, but Tommy was not about to let it go without trying. Accepting the challenge, Tommy didn’t know what interesting characters he had to deal with—a casino boss, a hooker, the usual crime suspects in the city, and Father Jimmy. Everybody had their own little story, and everybody loved Danny Devlin.
Reviews and What Readers Say
" I got hooked on Singley's Tommy Palmer character in The Good Seats and look forward to each installment.Always exciting, enjoyable page-turners, the tour through the east coast is worth the trip with Singley's people. Makes one wonder if he knows the characters personally. A very good read."
—O'l Reg, Amazon Reader's Review
" Gourmet Jersey noir, : A promising young criminal is killed during a bungled post office robbery, setting off a roller coaster ride of retribution and violence that in its quick, deft downhome way recalls a more "relaxed" George V. Higgins.Didja Hear? Danny Devlin's Dead is told from the point of view a semi-retired detective Tommy Palmer, just returned from a long sojourn in Hawaii to his hometown, an old New Jersey neighborhood where the bars and churches thrive side by side and crime and Catholicism have likewise thrived together in surprising harmony for as long as any of the local barflies and penitents can remember.The author has a sharp and funny eye for detail--faced with a problem, one of the novel's dimmer lights is relieved when "a thought zipped through his head like a little car in a long tunnel" and the plot is as tight as a solved Rubik's Cube."
—EMachine, Amazon Reader's Review
" As I grew up living and working around Atlantic City, I was excited to read the novel. My childhood was in front of me in print.. It kept me turning the next page. Vividly, I pictured many of the places mentioned. I remember a fight in the alley behind the YMCA where a guy brought brass knuckles. That was mentioned in Bill Singley's book. This was my Atlantic City. What a wonderful place to live. One could walk anywhere safely. However, look for trouble and it would find you."
—Comache, Amazon Reader's Review
Didja' Hear? Danny Devlin's Dead: A Tommy Palmer Story by William P. Singley
Review by A. Alcott
Disclosure: This article is a personal endorsement of the professional reviewer. The BookWalker is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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William Singley spent most of 1967 serving as a combat writer/photographer with the First Brigade, 101st Airborne in Vietnam. His stories and photos were published worldwide, and he was awarded a Bronze Star. William's original coverage of two events was the foundation for two Medal of Honor winners. Also, he served in the 82nd Airborne and attended UCLA, where he won the prestigious Samuel Goldwyn Literary Award. He holds a master's degree in Southeast Asian Studies and has traveled extensively in Africa, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Currently, he resides close to the ocean in Southern California.