Ashland Mystery Oregon's Reviews > Rogue Island

Rogue Island by Bruce DeSilva
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May 01, 11

Read in January, 2011

Congratulations to Bruce DeSilva, on Thursday's Rogue Island Edgar win- it's well deserved.

I enjoyed this quick read, with lots of local references and strong characters. It's set in Rhode Island, which is just like New Jersey only smaller, and like New Jersey, Rogue Island glories in the state's corruption, exploitation, organized crime and the heroism of everyday people. I like that baseball rules and Dorcas, the pazza stronza who's Mulligan's almost ex-wife appears only by phone, and that a short thug who's bald head has scaley red patches punches Mulligan in the nuts.

Living in Southern Oregon's Rogue Valley, I also enjoyed the layered meanings of the title and found the Flemings hilarious - the Prineville, Oregon couple who left the storied lands for a better life in Rhode Island.

"Seems like I'm always hustling for something - a lead, a quote, a free parking space, space above the fold," says Mulligan, the newspaper reporter protag. Just one of the really nice lines in Rogue Island. Mulligan's an excellent protag, and DeSilva makes good use of the natural instincts of the investigative reporter to further the plot and solve the crime. There's a funny part where a gaggle of reporters try to top each others stories, telling the glory days of learning the ropes. There's nostalgia too, for those who've died, homes long gone, a scent so strong in memory that it comes through the phone, and newspapers - the bastion of truth and conscience - now evolving into something very different.

The last part of the book seems a little rushed, closing some of the narrative lines a bit too abruptly for my taste. And the motivation for the crimes seem fairly obvious early on though doesn't emerge until very late. It's easy to overlook these as DeSilva has a written a very good read in this debut mystery. I'm looking forward to lots more.

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