Boise Montague’s life in Los Angeles has fallen apart. After his wife dies, he returns to the tiny island where he grew up. Unfortunately, coming home doesn’t bring him the peace he’s looking for. Things have changed drastically since his last visit. The island has moved on and so have the people he once knew. When Boise tries to find the one friend he thinks he can count on to be there for him, he’s confronted with another death. A murder. A murder that the police did not think important enough to investigate thoroughly. Boise wants answers. He enlists a local reporter named Dana, who has theories of her own, to help him dig deeper. With not much left to lose, a bone to pick with the justice system, and a relentless partner, Boise sets out to do what the police would not: solve the murder of Roger Black. The island of St. Thomas is a gleaming tropical paradise. Welcome to the Caribbean, where murder is as common as sunshine.
Genre: Mystery (Caribbean Noir) Published by: Acorn Publishing Publication Date: June 25, 2018 Number of Pages: 336 ISBN: 1947392166 (ISBN13: 9781947392168) Series: Boise #1 Purchase Links:Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
Behind me, the door I’d entered through opened. A very tan redhead showing signs of aging from many days spent in the sun entered carrying a laptop bag and shouldering a camera. A red Carnegie Mellon University baseball cap that looked like it had been run over by a garbage truck covered part of her tough, but beautiful face. She looked me over like I was a mongrel who’d wandered in begging for table scraps.
“You need something?” She dropped her stuff down on the cushioned chair next to the counter.
“Uh, yes, I wondered if I could get some clippings or microfilm or copies or whatever it is newspapers give for issues two to eight years old. Are they digitized yet?” I stammered.
“Seriously, what do you want?” She pulled her Ray-Bans off and the gray-blue of her eyes stunned me for a moment. Using her sunglasses, she tapped my shoulder. “Hello?”
The faint odor of cigarette smoke assaulted me when she got close.
“Clippings, you know, news from the past,” I said.
As she slipped the glasses into a case from her purse she said, “Yes, but you implied that something here was digitized.” She pursed her thin lips. “This newspaper went online three years ago, so, the last three years are available online in the archives section if you buy a subscription. You a subscriber?”
“I don’t have a subscription,” I said defensively.
“Figures. This is why my job is constantly in danger. Everyone expects news for free.” Her fine hair moved in a blur as she shook her head derisively while she rummaged for something in her bag.
“Hey, I’m happy to buy a subscription. I support journalism,” I said. It sounded lame.
We both flinched as a thunderous banging rang through the room as something or someone hit the other side of a door to my left.
She threw her hands up, exclaiming, “Not again!”
“What? What’s that?” I said.
“Calling the cops,” she sang out. “They said they’re gonna start charging us if this happened again,” she whispered.
Another, more urgent banging erupted through the room. The reporter had her cell out.
“Wait,” I said. “Is it really that dangerous?”
“No, just annoying.” She pressed a button on her phone. “You believe this? Now I’m on hold. I could probably walk over to the police station faster. He’ll probably take a dump on the floor by the time we get back.”
How I researched for Dark Paradise
By Gene Desrochers
I essentially spent my life researching Dark Paradise. Growing up on St. Thomas and living in St. Croix, I got a unique perspective on a unique place in the world; a place some people have visited, but few know intimately. Places like that are wonderful settings because it transports the reader to the unfamiliar.
Cities in the U.S. like Los Angeles and New York, are interesting because of the teeming masses of varied people, but there are so many stories set in these places, it’s difficult to create a sense of wonder. I had a natural feel for the islands and I believe it comes out in the subtext of the story. The dialect and the way people carry themselves as well as the food and customs all are second-nature to me as a native.
There were other aspects of Dark Paradise that were more elusive. Some of the specific locations were not especially familiar to me, so I had to review old photographs, maps, and journals. I read a book called A History of the Virgin Islands of the United States by Isaac Dookhan. The book had some helpful facts that carried me back in history and gave me a general sense of the islands in a more academic way, which triggered other aspects of my writing including some various local spiritual beliefs I had not considered previously. The religious history and why people in St. Thomas cling to those beliefs in an effort to keep their chin up and rebuild every time the town or settlement was destroyed by a hurricane or tropical disease came alive in some of my research.
I investigated the history of slavery and poverty to get a sense of why most residents wound up living in a place that for most was remote to their ancestral homeland. Many came because they had no choice or they came because they thought they would become rich. The remote nature of islands in general feeds a penchant for illicit behavior. Many people who go to islands are fleeing something in their homeland and if they had a choice, they would not go. Those stories cropped up again and again. Of course, slaves had no choice. But, pirates relished the opportunity to exist in a place with little oversight from the law and in numerous cases, their illegal behavior was encouraged by the leaders of their respective homelands. Francis Drake, person who in England would probably be in prison was knighted for his thievery and deception on the open seas of the new world.
Much of my research came from reading the Virgin Islands Daily News, the primary newspaper for the U.S. Virgins and Tortola, a British Virgin Island. The Daily News featured prominently in my story as Boise teams with a reporter named Dana Goode. By reading the online version of the paper, I got a feel for the present-day happenings and the repetitive nature of the crime and political issues, like corruption, that haunt the islands.
I did some tangential research on the University of the Virgin Islands because another character in my story attends that school. The course offerings and programs, as well as the layout of the campus played a role in my story and in my ability to picture the settings.
All in all, most of my research supplemented my personal knowledge of the Virgin Islands. I did read a novel, Caribbean, written by James Michener, himself an excellent historian, that also lent a colorful backdrop to my experiences and the larger history of the region including the famous pirates and revolutionaries. The Caribbean’s impact on world history is vast and often underappreciated as the most powerful nations on earth spent vast sums of money, human beings, and time securing their claims. The place has always had a mystical quality that lured persons of adventure away from the safety of their homes and into the treacherous territory in search of fortune and glory. I tried to bring a taste of that to Dark Paradise.
Gene Desrochers hails from a dot in the Caribbean Sea called St. Thomas. He grew up with minimal supervision and free-roaming animals in a guesthouse that also served as a hospital during wartime. He has spent his life steadily migrating west, and now finds himself in Los Angeles with a beautiful wife, cats, and kids. After a lifetime of writing and telling short stories, he ventured into the deep end, publishing his first novel, Dark Paradise in 2018. If you ask, he will regale you with his Caribbean accent and tennis prowess.
Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
Enter To Win!:
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Gene Desrochers. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on January 1, 2019 and runs through February 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.