Image by rhondda.p via Flickr
By Bruce DeSilva
A Forge Book
Agreeing to review the first novel for Associated Press’s Bruce DeSilva was a little daunting for this independent reviewer, but after learning that it had taken Ed McBain, who wrote the 87th Precinct novels and then Otto Penzler, the dean of NYC crime-novel editors to encourage him to finish his novel, and after getting over my initial excitement when I received it, I figured Bruce would expect me to do just what I always do—tell my readers how I honestly felt about his book!
Rogue Island by Bruce DeSilva had an “old” flavor to me, one I immediately felt comfortable with—could I really see shades of Mike Hammer in Mulligan’s style of investigating and hear Robert B. Parker's Spenser’s witty dialogue as Mulligan quipped back his quick thoughts or was Mulligan and entirely new man I had to get to know and love? Which I did...
Or did I admire most his desire to find the truth amidst all of the corruption surrounding him, even while fighting a losing battle, as proven by his ending?
Of course, Ed McBain had been right! Bruce DeSilva’s novel is a thrilling addition to crime fiction, that reads as if Mulligan has been alive and well for many years! And I’m hoping that he will continue in future books as the tenacious investigative reporter who still believes in printing the true story, no matter what...
Take his “Dumb and Dumber” caricature story for the two arson investigators who were supposed to be working to solve an epidemic of major fires in Mount Hope, Rhode Island. There had already been nine arsons in three months with five dead. Mulligan was seeing his community, his friends, losing their homes or businesses and he knew, since Polecki and Roselli had paid their way upward and then were moved to get them away from dealing with the public, that these men were not going to find the firebug or whoever was responsible. So after outing their incompetence in headlines, Mulligan began his own investigation.
While Max Lomax would be on Mulligan’s back to write the “Dog Story,” Mulligan would whistle for Secretariat to come give him a ride, shrug at his failure to gallop to him, and then walk to his Ford Bronco. Then he'd take off to talk to his friend, the fire insurance investigator, to begin brainstorming what was really behind the fires. Even the local bookmaker was concerned enough that he formed a local group, the DiMaggios to prowl the streets with baseball bats, while he, himself, sat in his private room, in his shirt, tie and boxer shorts, taking bets. They called him Whoosh for a reason! Trading information with Whoosh while Mulligan placed a bet was just part of everyday life...
Just like his friends Whoosh and Rosie the fire chief, and Lomax, Gloria and Veronica, with whom Mulligan might be falling in love, DeSilva has created characters worthy of the gutsy and sometimes dangerous newspaper world of yesterday, while he laments the possible future for newspapers in today’s world. Though his book highlights this potential loss, Bruce DeSilva, in Rogue Island has provided readers with a dynamic invasive look into the power of crime and corruption and how far it pervades our society—and even how to use it to help make things better, under the circumstances...Right?
Frankly, I think this is one hell of a book! Highly recommended!
G. A. Bixler
Rogue Island Pre-Order Available in October! Link with Bruce DeSilva at Facebook and read more, by clicking title of article...