Sherrill Joseph's Reviews > Dark Paradise

Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers
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it was amazing
Read 2 times. Last read August 22, 2019 to August 28, 2019.

Gene Desrochers’ novel is aptly subtitled, “A Caribbean Noir Murder Mystery.” Like that other great writer of noir murder fiction, Raymond Chandler, Desrochers’ work is steeped in disappointment in the human condition, the corruption that money brings, and the effect of corruption on innocent people.

As the story opens, private investigator Boise Montague has fled Los Angeles where his wife had been murdered under suspicious circumstances. He makes a beeline for his birthplace, St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. There, he hopes to find peace and a new purpose. But there is something deeper. He really seeks his childhood friend, Roger Black, who, Boise believes, can help assuage his sorrows. Instead, Boise discovers more death as well as the decay of important island landmarks from his past.

Tourists flock to St. Thomas from their cruise ships almost daily, never glimpsing the chronically dark underbelly of paradise that engulfs Boise. Teaming up with Dana Goode, a crack reporter for the island’s newspaper, he soon finds himself in not one but two criminal investigations, the other being the kidnapping of Celia Jarl, a rich islander’s teenage daughter. And who is Elias, an elusive boy who nevertheless shows up in strange places and Boise’s escapades?

Readers, especially noir aficionados, will enjoy Desrochers’ skillful inclusion of famous Chandler literary elements, such as colorful similes: “At the Greenhouse, the food went down like sandpaper”; succinct prose: “I leaned against the wall formulating a plan. This wasn’t the right time. I needed to find some other way”; and, a cast of shady characters with catchy names: Tommy Scarpetti, Little Nicky, Frankie—“the Dalai Lama of crime”--, Earl DeVere, MD, Mr. Hariri, a Dutchman, and a couple of attorneys.

Adventure spins to deadly danger as Boise and Dana track down leads to solve their cases. Injuries, car chases, drugs, rum, smokes, bad girls, and bad language abound—just what you would expect and want in a thrilling noir murder mystery.

And what’s not to like when Boise Montague splashes on some Dior Sauvage cologne? He complains that he isn’t James Bond, but at least he can smell like Johnny Depp.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
August 22, 2019 – Started Reading
August 28, 2019 – Finished Reading
August 29, 2019 – Shelved

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