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Review: ‘Rogue Island’ by Bruce DeSilva

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Updated: July 6, 2012 8:43AM

In his Edgar Award-winning first novel, Rogue Island, author Bruce DeSilva introduced readers to the affable Liam Mulligan, a crime-solving Rhode Island metro reporter for the fictional Providence Dispatch.

Mulligan, an old-school newspaperman with a taste for whiskey, cigars and irreverent humor, returns in the chilling murder mystery Cliff Walk (Forge, $24.99), whose sometimes violent plot is tempered by the hero’s wry observations on print journalism’s seemingly inexorable decline.

Recent staff consolidation and cutbacks have forced Mulligan to churn out light stories on topics such as high-society parties. But a charity gala in posh Newport turns into real news when a guest is murdered atop the rocky Cliff Walk separating the area’s Gilded Age mansions from the sea.

Despite the book’s sexually charged situations and graphic crime-scene descriptions, DeSilva’s masterly narrative style ensures that any shocking details remain firmly in service of the plot, and the tone never turns exploitive. You can count on the brilliant Mulligan to reappear in the next installment of the series, but be prepared for changes. When Mulligan learns bookmakers are taking bets on how long the Dispatch will remain in business, he begins to consider a tempting job offer — from a private detective agency.

Jonathan Lopez / AP

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