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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
BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction written and read by author Bruce DeSilva.
Edgar Award, Best First Novel, 2011
Macavity Award, Best First Mystery Novel, 2011
"This tremendously entertaining crime novel is definitely one of the best of the year." (Booklist)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Michael Jacobi on 06-03-11
I had some serious doubts about this one. Not a big fan of reporter based crime stories but wow was I wrong. And the narrator does a simply superb job as well. This may (I hope) be the first book in a great series, and a welcome addition to my authors list now that we have lost Robert Parker's Spenser series. Give "Rogue Island" a try, if you like really good mystery/crime with characters that are pretty well developed, this is for you
33 of 34 people found this review helpful
By Joe on 11-24-13
I wish I had more to say about Rogue Island, but I just found it unremarkable. I love a good mystery and one about a serial arsonist sounded like a lot of fun. But the plot lingers and there are really no serious twists. There are too many sections that don't advance the investigation and most of the book is spent looking at the main character's personal life. I just didn't care. When the whodunnit moment comes, it's underwhelming and dragged out. I found very little satisfaction in the end.
This is a series and there's already a second book. I didn't hate the first, but I won't be buying the second either.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful