Friday, October 7, 2011

Rogue Island: Gritty, Witty Thriller

When veteran journalist Bruce DeSilva ended his forty-year newspaper and wire service career to write fiction, he turned out Rogue Island, which won the 2011 Edgar Award for best first novel. Not only that, he also won the Macavity and was a finalist for the Anthony, Barry and Shamus awards. Now the book is out in paperback, which makes it affordable for us peons.

The title is a take off on Rhode Island, where the book is set on the mean streets of Providence. Believing the dictum about writing what you know best, DeSilva made his main character, Liam Mulligan, an old-school newspaper reporter. Best-seller Harlan Coben wrote of DeSilva's maiden effort:

"The Rhode Island of Bruce DeSilva’s imagination is a claustrophobic little state where everyone knows your name, secrets are hard to keep, and corruption has ruled since the first colonial governor dined with Captain Kidd. 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."

The story revolves around the systematic burning down of the working class neighborhood where Mulligan grew up. People he knows and loves are dying in the flames. With the cops looking for answers in all the wrong places, Mulligan feels it's up to him to find the hand that strikes the match.

James W. Hall, another Edgar winner, said "investigative reporter Liam Mulligan has the tough-talking charm, the old school street smarts, and sexy chivalry of a Marlowe or Spade. He needs all these skills to navigate a world where vigilantes prowl the neighborhood with baseball bats, and everyone from sleazy politicians to mafia losers are out to slice off their pound of flesh."

If you like gritty, witty thrillers, this one's for you. 

Chester Campbell
Visit me at Mystery Mania


Randy Rawls said...

Chester, differences of opinion are what makes the world go round. I was underwhelmed with ROGUE ISLAND. It had its good points and some entertaining writing along the way, but when I reached the climax, all I could say was, "You gotta be kidding me." However, its sales numbers and its many awards prove once again I'm in the minority.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I interviewed Bruce a few months back and he impressed me as a street smart journalist. I'm not sure I'd want to read his nitty gritty, witty thriller. That's why I left news reporting to write "civilized" novels.

dissertation help said...

it is a great post! i like it and thank you for sharing your experience!

Morgan Mandel said...

Thanks for sharing, Chester.

Morgan Mandel

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I use the library and got my copy back in the hardcover days.

Liked the book a lot when I reviewed it.