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Rogue Island [Paperback]

Bruce DeSilva
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

June 21 2011 Liam Mulligan (Book 1)
2011 Edgar Award Finalist for Best First Novel

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 whole city of Providence on his back, Mulligan must weed through a wildly colorful array of characters to find the truth.


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Review

“A tense, terrific thriller and a remarkably assured debut from Bruce DeSilva, an author to watch.”--Dennis Lehane, New York Times bestselling author of The Given Day and Shutter Island

“In this vivid landscape peopled by colorful mobsters, brutal cops, and sleazy politicians, a droll hero named Mulligan fights long odds to find a measure of justice. Rogue Island is a stunning debut in the noir tradition.”—Harlan Coben,  New York Times bestselling author of  Long Lost

“Writing with genuine authority, a dose of cynical humor, and a squinting eye on the world, Bruce DeSilva delivers a newspaper story that ranks with the best of them.”—Michael Connelly, New York Times bestselling author of the Harry Bosch novels

“With Rogue Island, Bruce DeSilva accomplishes something remarkable: He takes everything we love about the classic hard-boiled detective novel and turns it into a story that’s fresh, contemporary, yet timeless. By turns gripping, funny, and touching, it’s a tale filled with characters so vivid they jump off the page.”—Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Paranoia

“Not since Dennis Lehane’s A Drink Before the War have I read a first novel as compelling and sure-handed as Rogue Island. Investigative reporter Liam Mulligan has the gritty, tough-talking charm, the old-school street smarts, and sexy chivalry of a Marlowe or Spade.”—James W. Hall, Edgar Award–winning author of Hell’s Bay

“The tight description, deft pacing, and coming-alive-off-the-page characters will have me standing in line for the next one.”—Tim Dorsey, New York Times bestselling author of the Serge Storms mysteries

“Imagine Don Winslow peppered with Peter Dexter and you’d have the flavor and pace of this novel. The writing has a balanced poise that is perfectly suited to the narrative.  There are no tidy solutions, and the ending leaves a fierce chill lingering. A terrific slow-motion burn of a novel.”—Ken Bruen, critically acclaimed Irish master of noir

“When it comes to fresh noir-on-wry, readers could not ask for more—except for the author to hurry up with Mulligan’s next adventure in detection.”—Otto Penzler, dean of America’s crime novel editors and owner of New York City’s famous The Mysterious Bookshop

“A stunning debut. Authentic, hilarious, and compelling. I’ve read hundreds of crime books, but this one bleeds the truth.”—Ace Atkins, critically acclaimed author of Devil’s Garden and Infamous

“A debut novel as witty as it is intelligent, smoothly written, and wryly told, a gem.”—Thomas H. Cook, Edgar Award–winning author of Red Leaves

Rogue Island is a stunning debut, and DeSilva is a writer to watch.”—Alafair Burke, author of 212

Review

“A tense, terrific thriller and a remarkably assured debut from Bruce DeSilva, an author to watch.”--Dennis Lehane, New York Times bestselling author of The Given Day and Shutter Island

“In this vivid landscape peopled by colorful mobsters, brutal cops, and sleazy politicians, a droll hero named Mulligan fights long odds to find a measure of justice. Rogue Island is a stunning debut in the noir tradition.”—Harlan Coben,  New York Times bestselling author of  Long Lost

“Writing with genuine authority, a dose of cynical humor, and a squinting eye on the world, Bruce DeSilva delivers a newspaper story that ranks with the best of them.”—Michael Connelly, New York Times bestselling author of the Harry Bosch novels

“With Rogue Island, Bruce DeSilva accomplishes something remarkable: He takes everything we love about the classic hard-boiled detective novel and turns it into a story that’s fresh, contemporary, yet timeless. By turns gripping, funny, and touching, it’s a tale filled with characters so vivid they jump off the page.”—Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Paranoia

“Not since Dennis Lehane’s A Drink Before the War have I read a first novel as compelling and sure-handed as Rogue Island. Investigative reporter Liam Mulligan has the gritty, tough-talking charm, the old-school street smarts, and sexy chivalry of a Marlowe or Spade.”—James W. Hall, Edgar Award–winning author of Hell’s Bay

“The tight description, deft pacing, and coming-alive-off-the-page characters will have me standing in line for the next one.”—Tim Dorsey, New York Times bestselling author of the Serge Storms mysteries

“Imagine Don Winslow peppered with Peter Dexter and you’d have the flavor and pace of this novel. The writing has a balanced poise that is perfectly suited to the narrative.  There are no tidy solutions, and the ending leaves a fierce chill lingering. A terrific slow-motion burn of a novel.”—Ken Bruen, critically acclaimed Irish master of noir

“When it comes to fresh noir-on-wry, readers could not ask for more—except for the author to hurry up with Mulligan’s next adventure in detection.”—Otto Penzler, dean of America’s crime novel editors and owner of New York City’s famous The Mysterious Bookshop

“A stunning debut. Authentic, hilarious, and compelling. I’ve read hundreds of crime books, but this one bleeds the truth.”—Ace Atkins, critically acclaimed author of Devil’s Garden and Infamous

“A debut novel as witty as it is intelligent, smoothly written, and wryly told, a gem.”—Thomas H. Cook, Edgar Award–winning author of Red Leaves

Rogue Island is a stunning debut, and DeSilva is a writer to watch.”—Alafair Burke, author of 212

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Rogue Reporter May 9 2012
By Bernie Koenig TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Art Matters: The Art of Knowledge/The Knowledge of Art

This is a very well written book. I enjoyed the style and the imagery as much as the characters and the plot.

The story takes in Providence Rhode Island. The title comes from an explanation of how the state got its name--probably because of the pirate activity off the coast.

There are bunch of suspicious fires in a poor neighborhood. The main character, investigative reporter Mulligan, starts his own investigations. he has to because he knows everything about the state is corrupt. His good friend Fire chief Rosella is also investigating.

The fires are clearly arson but it is hard to figure out the who or why since, upon checking the property records, some of the homes are owned by the residents and others have been bought up by a number of different reality companies.

There is also a large mafia involvement in the book, on both sides of the issue.

Along the way we really get to know Mulligan, his crazy separated wife, his current girlfriend, and other assorted folk at the newspaper.

A major aspect of the story occurs when Mulligan fits the description of the FBI profile and is arrested. This leads into a discussion of how corrupt everything is in Rhode Island.

Without going into any of the details of the plot, which does take its turns, Mulligan, with the help of another reporter, and the insurance company investigator, figure things out, but cannot prove it, which is where the story takes another interesting turn.

In short a very satisfying read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  114 reviews
79 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Oct. 15 2010
By Westreacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've lived in Rhode Island all my life, albeit downstate. I'm an avid reader of everything from mysteries to nonfiction, very picky, and a former, now part-time journalist. I was entranced by this book from page one. DeSilva has done a wonderful job combining inside knowledge with a true love for our screwed up, but wonderful state. His hero is a well-written character, reminiscent of Spenser, but with a more human, believable personality. The plot line was great, his characters entertaining. Even if you're not from the Biggest Little State in the Union, you'll enjoy this fast-paced, well-written book. Looking forward to more from this author.
55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rogue Island Oct. 17 2010
By Mike Waller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Rogue Island is a terrific book, written by an outstanding reporter who was a great writing coach for The Hartford Courant and then the Associated Press. The testimonials on the book jacket are actually right on target--the writing is superb and true to the newsroom and street scenes. DeSilva's characters jump off the page, alive with all their human flaws. The pages are like potato chips--you can't read just one. DeSilva is especially skilled at creating a sense of place--Providence is so real you can touch and smell it. And his hero, investigative reporter Liam Mulligan, has just the right touch of cynicism and idealism. I'm looking foward to Mulligan's next adventure and to his inaugural appearance in what surely will be a series of movies. To bad William Powell or Bogart aren't around to play him. Perhaps Matt Damon will do.
61 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sparkler of a First Novel Oct. 29 2010
By MM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I read this book in three sittings over a weekend; it was hard to put down. The plot is fast-paced, and the writing is sparse yet rich, and studded with laugh-out-loud lines. When a book is this easy to read, you know the writer worked hard. Bruce combines this discipline with an ability to entertain. He has the requisite anatomy _ an ear for dialog, an eye for detail, a head for street smarts and the heart of a softie. Plus insights into human nature that come from having seen more than a few slices of life.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Local Color but a Weak Story May 7 2011
By A. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you like fast-paced crime thrillers with a rich sense of of atmosphere and a strong male protagonist, this is the book for you -- just don't expect too much from the plot. Set in a richly detailed grimy Providence, RI, the story follows newspaper reporter Mulligan ("just Mulligan") as he pokes his nose into an outbreak of arson in the city's run-down Mount Hope neighborhood. Meanwhile, the separated-and-nearly-divorced Mulligan is also embarking on a new relationship with the paper's beautiful courthouse reporter while fending off the attentions of the paper's hot photo-lab lady.

The book largely succeeds as an example of using the crime genre as a vehicle for presenting social history -- the reader learns about Providence's sordid past and present as Mulligan rolls around its streets and various local haunts form the backdrops for scenes. It's very reminiscent of aspects of George Pelecanos's crime novels set in and around Washington, D.C., which deliver a much more richly authentic history of the city and its inhabitants than any guide or history book. The whole reason I picked up the book is that I have two good friends who've settled in the Providence, and I was looking to get a little more sense of the city. In that respect, the book is quite good (although the constant Red Sox boosterism gets exceedingly tiresome).

Unfortunately, as a mystery/crime story the book is much less successful. The motive for the arson is easily guessed at, and when a hint regarding who might stand to benefit is given, it sticks out like a sore thumb. However, since the story requires some action, it delays the intrepid reporter hero from vigorously pursuing the obvious paper trail that will lead him to the motive and perpetrators. I'm not the kind of reader who likes to try and "figure out" a story along the way, I prefer to get immersed and let the story take me along for the ride. But this was a rare case where I kept waiting and waiting for the protagonist to take the obvious step that would lead him to the obvious culprit, and when he finally does, it's fairly underwhelming.

There are a few other missteps, for example the author cheezily inserting a mention of his wife's book of poetry into the story in a way that felt completely forced. I also found Mulligan's tough-reporter-meets-wise-guy patter just a bit too over-the-top at times. Partway through the book, a new character is introduced in a kind of "Odd Couple" partnership role that feels a bit forced. On the whole, I can write these off as the normal flaws of a first novel, and I'll definitely be checking out the next in the series for the local color, I just hope that the plot is much stronger.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Parker Lives! Jan. 14 2011
By Rick Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This terrific debut novel is so reminiscent of Robert parker's early (and best) Spenser novels, I had to check the cover to make sure he had not written it.

Set in Providence, Rhode Island, DeSilva's narrator, Mulligan, is a an old-fashioned reporter in the dying newspaper industry. Providence is his home town and he knows everyone, including the crooks - which comprise most of the city's population. There is a horrendous string of arsons in the Mount Hope section of the city and Mulligan investigates them. Along the way he falls in love with a fellow reporter and unwillingly takes on the blueblood publisher's son as a partner. He refers to the 'kid' as "Thanks-Dad".

As Spenser would quote poetry, Mulligan quotes classic movie. As Spenser knew Boston, Mulligan knows Providence and brings it alive to the reader.

Mulligan is a fully fleshed out character with depth and emotions. The supporting cast is terrific and varied. Just when you think there is a stereotype, the character steps out of form. The underworld of Providence is brought to light in a humorous manner without the descriptions being trite. All the characters are believable.

Mulligan's frustration in solving the arsons is palpable. Eventually he does solve them - he is after all, the hero. Solving only leads to more frustration. If there is one weakness in the book, the ending is a bit too pat, but that criticism pales when compared to the quality of the rest of the book.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable book that I enjoyed from start to finish. I am hopeful that Mr. DeSilva will follow with more Mulligan mysteries. This was a great debut, but that is not to diminish it. It is a great read whether an author's first or fifteenth mystery. Highly recommended.
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