Bruce DeSilva's Rogue Island is steeped in nostalgia; ostensibly set in the present, it mourns a dying (dead?) world where the newspaper journalists – embodied here by one Liam Mulligan - are campaigners for truth and justice, obstinately following leads from door to door, working round the clock to get their name on the by-line. The arson attacks that plague the city of Providence seem almost honest in their Luddite criminality compared with the real villains of the book: social media whiz kids and property developers, both of whom are guilty in DeSilva's eyes of erasing the past and bastardising once-familiar landscape.
A lot of modern crime writing stakes out new literary territory, consciously imbuing a previously-overlooked environment with a semi-mythological sense of possibility; Jonathan Lethem achieved this feat in Motherless Brooklyn. In Rogue Island, the geography comes with its own inferiority complex: the locally-set movie Dumb and Dumber is a repeated reference point. But DeSilva's Rhode Island is a rich creation, one which he seems to have looked backward in order to achieve. It's populated with a cast of characters that Damon Runyon would recognise: bookies and monsters, tough-talking editors. The one character with a modern job description is the son of the newspaper's publisher. Needless to say, Mulligan views him with contempt, although Woodman's sympathetic portrayal signals that he will emerge as one of the good guys.
Mulligan is a late-thirties Pulitzer-prize winner in a world where the print journalist is as anachronistic as the camel-coat wearing private detective, many of whose trappings Mulligan shares – a protracted adolescent with an ex-wife problem. Jeff Woodham's engaging portrayal fends off the bitterness that smudges the edges of the character. When Mulligan repeatedly calls the same number to chase a lead, Woodham's range of comic voices are a treat. He's at his most impassioned when Mulligan eulogises newspapers, "the only institution that people trust" – or rather, as the distinct shift of tone here makes clear, it's DeSilva who’s doing the eulogising. Dafydd Phillips
Liam Mulligan is as old school as a newspaper man gets. His beat is Providence, Rhode Island, and he knows every street and alley. He knows the priests and prostitutes, the cops and street thugs. He knows the mobsters and politicians - who are pretty much one and the same. Someone is systematically burning down the neighborhood Mulligan grew up in, people he knows and loves are perishing in the flames, and the public is on the verge of panic. With the police looking for answers in all the wrong places, and with the whole city of Providence on his back, Mulligan must find the hand that strikes the match.
BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction written and read by author Bruce DeSilva.
©2010 Bruce DeSilva (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"This tremendously entertaining crime novel is definitely one of the best of the year." (Booklist)
"The smallest state bursts with crime, corruption, wisecracks, and neo-noir atmosphere in Bruce DeSilva's blistering debut." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Rogue Island 'has raised the bar for all books of its kind.'" (The Dallas Morning News)
The fact that it was fast paced, and I didn't feel like I'd read the story before.
The excitement and the small town feel.
No extreme reaction. This is a good story though.
I was thoroughly entertained by this book and wanted to know what was going to happen right the way through. Definitely going to continue with this series. Pleased to have found this author.
A hard-boiled newsman who knows he’s a dinosaur in the internet age, but will not let go of his profession, a man who loves women but not too wisely, and a narrator,Woodman-, who gives wonderful insight into the characters--what’s not to love? Mulligan has flaws and the reader can see what lies ahead before he does, but DiSilva’s hero is so likeable and interesting we just shake our head and say ”Mulligan, we coulda warned ya,” and continue on the journey with him. Yep, I’ll be reading further in this series.
some marginally sympathetic characters
Got this as a deal-of-the-day. Finished it because the main mystery was intriguing, but the protagonist and most of the other characters were dislikable to loathsome. Some threads were left unresolved, but I would not listen to another book in this series even if it was free. Fans of George R.R. Martin might like this series, but I did not.
I rarely give myself the time required to sit down and do nothing else except read a book. Thank goodness for Audible!!
A story that didn't have curse words in 99% of the sentences. I curse - sometimes it's even fun, so no one reading my comments should think I'm some prude. However, this book surpassed fun cursing or mean cursing - I have to wonder if the author could have written the story with less of it. Did he think the incredible amount of swearing really enhanced the novel? I sure didn't think so.
Less swearing and perhaps not such a convoluted story line.
The narrator may have nailed the way people in Rhode (Rogue) Island speak, but it was over the top.
When I was able to follow the story line (which wasn't always) I enjoyed the plot, but as I said, the story was somewhat convoluted, which made keeping track of who was doing what somewhat challenging.
The author should try again. Next time, use curse words sparingly and see what happens.
I work a lot. I can listen to books while I work. My new hobby. Thank God I can multi-task!
The ending. Very realistic. in tune with normalcy
The characters are very real.
The old guy who he kept going to ask for information
This is solid stuff with a newspaper reporter detective who sits at the center of everything and has more of it his own way than is good for anyone. It has a few twists and turns (and leaves a few loose ends open) and I enjoyed it to the end as I guessed some and got blind-sided by others. The Providence details definitely add to the whole, but I'm not burning to read any next installments.
That said, the reading is exceptional -- just the right hint of a New England accent and a good, engaging speed.
Having lived in Rhode Island , this book brought back great memories of all the colorful characters and places there. The narrator has the Rhode Island speech patterns down pat which add a lot to the story. The plot is somewhat predictable but the characters overcome that shortcoming. I am going to download the next book in the series right away.
Retired Political Science professor from a community college. Especially like Legal Thrillers.
Bruce DeSilva uses a wry humor and gritty dialogue to tell the tale of a Rhode Island newspaper reporter uncovering a large number of arsons in his home town.It is difficult to believe that this is the author's first novel. However, it is not difficult to believe that he has received Edgar and Macavity awards and been nominated for other awards.I already plan to listen to two subsequent novels: "Providence Rag" and "Cliff Walk". It isn't often that I give five stars in all categories, but they were richly deserved in this case.
Good Story if you know a little about Rhode Island. My wife is from there and some of it really rings true. The reader needs to work a little more on the accents. I will likely read more in the series.
Husband, Dad, Principal, Adjunct prof, RC Deacon, radio co-host, story teller, NYer, walker, & occasional sipper of fine whisk(e)y,
Great characters, great performance. unpretentious writing, classic whodunnit!
It made my commute almost pleasurable.
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