Saturday, December 31, 2011
Rogue Island by Bruce deSilva
Rogue Island was the second (of two so far) books that we read as part of our “literature club” (so named just to give it a tongue in cheek distinction from the girls only alkie club to which a few of our members also belong.) Unfortunately, Rogue Island got us off to a bad start, which we’ve not yet recovered from.
On the shitty little Island of Rhode, in the town of Providence, assorted corrupt scumbuckets perform misdeeds. Our anti-hero newspaperman walks these dirty streets, checking noir detective clichés off deSilva’s list, looking for an arsonist. He gets double crossed, finds a little love, etc. etc.
All of this retread turf would be more interesting if I felt that deSilva were somehow offering a new look at a fifty year old formula, or a more interesting insight into the fading days of print journalism; but we get neither. The plot and pacing also get a tad wonky towards the end of the novel, when our hero runs off to nowhere in particular to wait out a few key events, which happen off screen. Then, just to further shred any sympathy we might have had for the broken-hearted narrator, he goes and gets with some random waitress.
I applaud DeSilva’s interest in the detective/noir space, and would probably read his next work, but ultimately, Rogue Island never took me anywhere I hadn’t already been, which made it feel forty years too late to really qualify as even a footnote to the genre.