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Rogue Island

(Liam Mulligan #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,694 ratings  ·  289 reviews
2011 Edgar Award Winner 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 Mull
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Forge Books
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3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,694 ratings  ·  289 reviews

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Oct 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
An Edgar Award winner for Best First Novel? Seriously? Must have been a weak year for debut crime books.

Mulligan is a newspaper reporter covering a string of arsons in the Mount Hope area of Providence, Rhode Island. Since the arson cops are completely inept, it looks like Mulligan will have to solve the crime as he dodges fluff assignments from his editor, deals with a bitchy ex-wife, romances his new girlfriend, and bemoans the state of the newspaper industry.

I had three big problems with this
James Thane
Apr 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
An arsonist is hard at work, burning down homes in the Mount Hope neighborhood of Providence, Rode Island. People are dying and a town is terrorized. Local reporter Liam Mulligan grew up in this neighborhood and so he's taking this whole thing personally. Not content simply to report the story, Mulligan injects himself into the investigation, determined to stop the arsonist before he or she can claim any additional victims.

It's a good thing he does, because the local authorities are inept and cl
Jim Thomsen
Oct 23, 2010 rated it liked it
The good stuff and the not-so-good stuff run nearly neck-and-neck in the debut novel from Bruce DeSilva, well-known in the mystery-book community for his reviews for the Associated Press, his longtime employer.

The good stuff: The story lopes along at a energetic pace, lean and leathery and limber, never stopping too long to gaze at its own navel the way many debut novels do. The dialogue is another strong point, crisp and crackling, and cut with Cutty Sark and crusty wit. And the story is steep
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Thomas by: Miss M, Goodreads friend
Shelves: us-urban-crime
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is full of cynical wisecracks about corruption in Providence, Rhode Island. Liam Mulligan is a newspaper reporter who is determined to find the arsonist burning houses and other buildings in Providence. People are dying, including 2 children. His comments about corruption are humorous and sad:
"Graft, Rhode Island's leading service industry, is widely misunderstood ... Those of us who live here know it comes in two varieties, good and bad, just like choleste
While this was a decent enough debut I was expecting a bit more since it won the Edgar for best first mystery this year. The best part of the book was the Providence setting and the various descriptions of inner workings of the state. The plot started off well but the lead character took his time putting the pieces together and the pace was bogged down by the never ending listing of the lead character's musical choices (including all of his cell phone ring tones).
Darrell Delamaide
Bruce DeSilva has produced a well-written, well-edited but only mildly entertaining noir novel featuring a hero so obviously modeled on himself that it gets in the way of the story. The author succumbs to one of my pet peeves in these debut novels -- he inflicts his personal tastes and preferences on the reader in lieu of doing any genuine characterization.

DeSilva's author photo features him with a big stogie and his fictional hero Liam Mulligan distinguishes himself every few pages by "firing u
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Liam Mulligan is an investigative journalist for the Providence Journal disguised as a beat reported with direction from his editor to write human interest dog stories. Liam however, is basically a poor man's Woodward and Bernstein with a much better sense of humor who's driven to investigate a series of arson fires in his old neighborhood. Liam is also a cigar smoking, old school reporter with a variety of friends and associates throughout the city including cops, firemen, mafia bad guys, mafia ...more
Dec 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Modern mystery fans
Update 1 month later - I'm upgrading from 3.5 to 4.5. I find I look back on the experience of listening to this with a real appreication and I'm looking forward to the next one. I almost wrote the author to find out the name of a band Mulligan listens to because I liked all the others so much and hadn't heard of one of them. And I wanted to pressure him to include Popa Chubby in the next one. Then I realized that was a bit moronic and curbed the desire.

Maybe this book would get 3.5 stars from m
May 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
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 beautifu ...more
Jun 24, 2011 rated it liked it
I picked this up because it's set in Providence, and I thought it would be interesting to read a mystery set in our new hometown.

The plot was pretty standard, and DeSilva definitely worked the hard-boiled investigative reporter for all it was worth. You could practically hear Bogart's laconic drawl in the dialog, and Spillane's world-weary gumshoe in the narrative. It was a little hokey, but not too bad once you settle into the rhythm, although that rhythm is often broken by DeSilva's too-freque
Blue collar, slightly downtrodden, Providence, RI is the setting for Bruce DeSilva’s Edgar Award winning first novel. Arson rocks newspaper reporter Liam Mulligan’s old neighborhood and as panic begins to set in Mulligan uses his life-long contacts among the locals to find the truth and see justice served.

Wonderful setting and great characters that all seemed very authentic plus a complex story with a terrific ending. My one complaint was with the overall balance of the book. It seemed DeSilva s
Tim The Enchanter
A solid 4 stars

I would not have guessed this was a debut novel. Well written and well paced.

In the story, a serial arsonist is terrorizing the city. Building are burning and people are dying. Arson is not exactly compelling crime fiction. In this case, it didn't matter as the characters were very entertaining and you knew the story was going to get more involved.

After about 3/4 the book was a 3 star book but the last quarter provided some interesting and unexpected plot twists. Had the final o
Jonathan Briggs

A mad arsonist blazes a trail through Providence, R.I., focusing on the low-income immigrant neighborhood of Mount Hope, former home of reporter Liam Mulligan. Mulligan is a newspaperman -- emphasis on the paper -- who's so old-school he still smears ink all over everything he touches. The city's arson investigators are too fat, lazy and incompetent, so Mulligan takes it upon himself to track the killer firebug. And that's about it as far as plot goes in forme
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The lead character is sort of like Demille's Corey or Parker's Spenser, but not very funny. The whole thing is OK but nothing special. For a recent book, the constant glorification of tobacco is nuts.
First Sentence: A plow had buried the hydrant under five feet of snow, and it took the crew of Engine Company NO. 6 nearly fifteen minutes to find it and dig it out.

Newspaperman Liam Mulligan is a true son on Providence, RI. His beat isn’t the elite. It’s the crooks, mobsters, and hookers, as well as the police and fire departments. Now, someone is starting fires in his old neighborhood. First, it’s just empty buildings. Until it’s not. Mulligan wants to know who, and what, is behind it. Trying
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love this book and am looking forward to the next one. I especially liked the historical information about Rhode Isand and the politics and how he weaves Patricia Smith's poetry into the perfect part of the novel where Mulligan is in bed with his new love, co-reporter, Veronica. I am going to research to see if I can find the complete text online.
The book is full of witticisms mixed with humor in the style of Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy and the recently deceased, Robert Parker. Robert Parke
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
People are dying as many buildings in the Mount Hope area of Providence go up in flames. An arsonist is on the loose. People are terrified. The Arson Squad (dubbed, Dumb and Dumber) are both incompetent and ill equipped to stop the fatal fires. Investigative Reporter Liam Mulligan’s anger has reached its fevered pitch. It’s personal now. Mount Hope is where he grew up and he doesn’t like the fact that a firebug is reducing his childhood to ashes. No more is he just covering the story: he interje ...more
A home town RI reporter try's to use his familiarity with the big players, politicians and thugs to help find out who is committing arson in a specific neighborhood. He is estranged from his wife, in love with another gal who he works with and has an old high school friend in love with him. Along with his complicated love life he has a half pint-tough guy after him to drop the investigation. This man who is a foot shorter than he is, keeps getting the best of him by catching him off guard.

I tho
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Solid first mystery in a series. I hesitate to call this a cosy as it is fairly gritty but it does feature a nonprofessional "sleuth" in the shape of veteran newspaper reporter Liam Mulligan. I found the subplot about the decline of newspapers just as interesting as the mystery. The mystery isn't a murder mystery per se -- people died but mostly as a result of a series of arson fires.
Jul 12, 2011 rated it liked it
a very nice 1st noir ish novel of newspaper reporter investigating a serial arsonist/murderer in his neighborhood. This won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 2011. Takes place in Providence RI and environs so there is lots of local color too, and Red Sox games, and food, and beer, and snow, and wiseguys and bent politicos, good dialog and fair sex.
Becky Peterson
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Rogue Island was just okay. The plot lingers and there are really no surprises. There was little character development unless liking baseball adds layers and I just did not get it. The witty repartee and zingers got old. I just did not care whodunnit and found very little satisfaction in the end.
After happily stumbling onto the fifth book of the series, I am looking up the old ones to read. This was book #1, and it showed me two good things: DeSilva's writing was god from the start, and it improved a lot as he continued the series. Great fun.
Only one thing ruined this book for me: ANY Red Sox fanatic (which I am not, but Mulligan is) would 100% know how to spell a star pitcher's name. It's not "John" Lester, it's JON Lester. #CopyEditorFail
Stewart Sternberg
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lots of character development, an interesting plot, and a satisfying resolution makes this book a pleasure. I'm looking forward to seeing how this writer's craft develops.
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Rogue Island is a tour-de-force of noir writing that leads us through the gritty underbelly of Providence, RI where we meet the cast of characters who thrive in the “smallest state’s” corrupt culture. Liam Mulligan (a Providence native and inveterate newspaper man) is our flawed but earnest guide. Early in the book he points up the harsh facts of his life when contrasting them with those of his girlfriend Veronica “Veronica was gorgeous and I wasn’t. She was Princeton and I was Providence Colleg ...more
Marjorie Ingall
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grownups
This book will have special appeal for Rhode Islanders, but hey, I'm a Rhode Islander; I devoured it. Three stars if you're from elsewhere, 4 if you're my homey.

DeSilva proves that the most corrupt little state in the union is a great setting for a modern-day yet old-school noir. He's clearly read his share of Hammett, Chandler and Spillane (the last one is problematic -- if you have any triggers around sexual assault or a sort of humming low-level macho shamus sexism, avoid this book). It's ab
Jan 28, 2011 rated it did not like it
I read this book because it was a selection for our book club, Sista’s. The book was highly rated and my anticipation was high. The last two books I had read were dud’s and I was really looking forward to a good story. Boy was I disappointed. It never ceases to amaze me how the so-called experts will provide a review of a book and my experience with the book turns out to be completely the opposite.

Rogue Island was labeled a suspense and/or thriller. To me it was neither. The author, Bruce DeSilv
Oct 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2011
This was a really engaging book. I don't really like mysteries, but I definitely liked this one. It was pretty fast paced, was well written, it was clever and he had a lot of great lines. Anyone who has ever lived in Providence will love it, as will any Red Sox fan, for me I think that was a lot of the initial appeal.

My one critique is that I don't think the women were well written. Mulligan makes a point of telling us how smart and accomplished his younger girlfriend is, yet every time she tal
Steph (loves water)
Story was only two stars, but the extra star is for the descriptive atmosphere, I felt like I was there. Even though the main character was an asshole, he had excellent taste in music. I don't think I'll be reading anything else in the series. I wish some of these writers would make their protagonists a little more likeable. This guy had very few redeeming qualities. I'm not interested in anything else that happens to him.
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, especially for Rhode Islanders
Fast paced newspaper/crime piece set in Rhode Island. There are times when I wonder if other folks who have not lived here would appreciate some of the wrinkles, but then the work itself takes over. Really easy reading piece well worth the effort.

You don't have to be from RI to enjoy this but there are some things that will bring a smile to your face if you are.

A fairly quick read but entertaining.
Mar 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
A quick read. Based in Providence, Rogue Island, Liam Mulligan is an intrepid reporter for the local newspaper investigating a series of suspicious fires, likely arson. When it appears that the neighborhood is targeted for redevelopment, Liam uses all his resources (some legal, most not) to bring the perpetrators to justice, but manages to get himself and others hurt or killed along the way.
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Bruce DeSilva grew up in a tiny Massachusetts mill town where the mill closed when he was ten. He had an austere childhood bereft of iPods, X-Boxes, and all the other cool stuff that hadn’t been invented yet. In this parochial little town, metaphors and alliteration were also in short supply. Nevertheless, his crime fiction has won the Edgar and Macavity Awards; has been listed as a finalist for t ...more

Other books in the series

Liam Mulligan (5 books)
  • Cliff Walk (Liam Mulligan, #2)
  • Providence Rag (Liam Mulligan, #3)
  • A Scourge of Vipers (Liam Mulligan, #4)
  • The Dread Line: A Mulligan Novel