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Extended Audio Sample Serpents in the Cold, by Thomas O'Malley Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Douglas Graham Purdy, Thomas O'Malley Narrator: Jim Frangione Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Boston Saga Series Release Date:
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A serial killer stalks the streets of 1950s Boston—and two friends take it upon themselves to bring him down.

Postwar Boston is down on its luck and looking for change. A year after the Great Brink’s Robbery—the largest robbery in the history of the United States—Boston is known more for its seedy underbelly than for its rich, historical past. The winter of 1951 is the worst in recent memory, and the Bruins are suffering another losing season.

Like Boston itself, lifelong residents Cal O’Brien and Dante Cooper are struggling to find their identities after World War II. Cal has built a mildly promising life for himself as an employee of a company providing private security, whether to an honorable businessman who needs a night watchman or to an Irish mafioso who needs to have someone’s legs broken. Dante is everything Cal is not. A heroin addict trying but failing to stay clean, Dante feels the call to do good after he discovers that his sister-in-law was the latest victim of a serial killer targeting disadvantaged women.

Woefully unqualified but determined to help, Cal and Dante take it upon themselves to track the killer—but their daunting quest takes on dangerous consequences when the trail leads them to the highest ranks of city government. There are a few well placed men who don’t want Cal and Dante to solve this case.

An absorbing mixture of history and suspense, told with a meticulous eye for detail and character, Serpents in the Cold is a moving exploration about two men battling for second chances.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Serpents in the Cold is a great addition to the canon of gritty Boston street fiction, a no-punches-pulled look at a bygone era. Noir is how we like our crime.”

    Chuck Hogan, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Eternal

  • Serpents in the Cold lovingly revisits the hardboiled noir. From the dives of Dorchester to the Locke-Ober Café, John Garfield and Richard Widmark would feel right at home in O’Malley and Purdy’s bygone, fallen Boston.”

    Stewart O’Nan, New York Times bestselling author of Faithful

  • “Brutally realistic…The authors give us one last, lingering look at the good-bad old days.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • "[O’Malley and Purdy] excel at the language of their characters…Nothing is innocent, and nobody is what he or she seems.”

    Boston Globe

  • “In the best noir tradition, these co-authors shine a smoky light on lives often lived in the shadows, in this case, the inhabitants who lived in Scollay Square and the West End of Boston, before it all disappeared under the developers’ wrecking ball.”

    WBUR (Boston)

  • “O’Malley and Purdy bring postwar Boston to life, making neighborhoods feel as distinct as separate countries. They have delivered a love letter to Boston that’s long gone.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “O’Malley and Purdy write cinematically, building the bleakness of the city and its denizens around Scollay Square into the fabric of the fiction, with the city itself becoming a primary character…This is a bone-crunching, gut-wrenching novel that captures the atmosphere of a city in decay and its inhabitants. It delivers noir fiction like we always want it to be.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Frangione’s dynamic performance illuminates the dark underbelly of Boston as he delivers a mystery packed with gangsters, loan sharks, drug dealers, crooked cops, and a psychopath known as the Butcher. Frangione’s ability to transition effortlessly between colorful characters with various Boston accents highlights their temperaments and classes, making this post-WWII era sound authentic. As narrator, Frangione never loses the listener in the violent exploits of the perilous journey.”


  • “Melancholy as a lonesome train whistle, beautifully written, as well as thrilling, Serpents In The Cold is a tight little gem of characterization and suspense. You need this.”

    Joe Lansdale, author of The Thicket

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About the Author

Thomas O’Malley, raised in Ireland and England, earned a BA at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is currently on the creative writing faculty at Dartmouth College. He is the author of This Magnificent Desolation, a New York Times Editors Choice and shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2013. His In the Province of Saints was named one of the best novels of 2005 by Booklist and by the New York Public Library.