by Gene Desrochers
on Tour January 1-31, 2019
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
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.
Guest Post by Gene Desrochers
How is Boise Montague (the main character from Dark Paradise) similar or different from you?
The most compelling similarity between Boise and I from a plot standpoint is we both had a childhood friend who became a drug dealer get murdered. The way Boise discovers that his friend, Roger, is dead, was somewhat similar to the way of found out a friend of mine was murdered. From there I asked the question, “What if I decided to figure out what really happened rather than accepting the party line that he was murdered in a drug deal gone wrong.” That became the nugget of Dark Paradise.
Physically, Boise and I have a mix of commonalities and differences. He’s one-quarter African and three-quarters European and his skin tone alludes to his heritage, although, he could be Puerto Rican or something else. His appearance is not standard or easily categorized. I too have some ambiguity in my history that makes me hard to characterize. I have olive skin and I’m definitely largely Italian, however, I also have Creole in me and perhaps some more deeply ingrained African blood since my mother’s family had been in the Caribbean for generations, interracial relations were not uncommon. We also have similar hair, although I keep my trimmed short so you cannot tell how bushy and curly it is most of the time. We differ in that Boise is overweight and I am not. He’s a little taller but not much.
The biggest thing that ties us together psychologically is a feeling of not belonging anywhere. Both of us grew up in bars and alcoholism was a major factor in our lives. I had two alcoholic step-fathers and Boise had an alcoholic, controlling father. None of our “fathers” ever got treatment or into a program.
My biological father was not a drinker. He was into a healthy lifestyle, which I have personally mirrored. Boise on the other hand has a drinking problem and eats terribly. Unfortunately for my life, but perhaps fortunately for my writing, I did not spend a lot of time with my father as my parents divorced when I was very young and my mother maintained custody. I do not struggle with eating or drinking disorders, however, I have lived with the consequences and witnessed the results of addiction up close and personal for most of my life.
Boise’s position in life and his lost nature reflect the way I’ve felt throughout my life. I did not fit with my family, particularly my mother and her parents. I felt like something was just not right, but I struggled to fit my round self into the square life of my childhood. Boise has similar feelings of displacement. Los Angeles is a place for those who don’t fit elsewhere. That’s why we both wound up there. I tried to return to a past home at one point, but did not fit and in a few months wound up back in Los Angeles for good. I did not have a powerful catalyst driving me away permanently. Boise on the other hand did. Evelyn’s (his wife) death and the subsequent issues with the local authorities over what had happened to her propelled Boise away with a vengeance. For him, L.A. held too many reminders of his loss. He needed to start over, but do it somewhere he felt comfortable. St. Thomas was that place.
I do believe that both Boise and I are men of convictions and a healthy cynicism about the watchers. Between that common fear and the driftwood nature of our early life with people we did not feel anchored to, Boise and I ultimately have a lot more similarities than differences where it counts. I’m exploring those intersections and trying to entertain while doing it.
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.”
Excerpt from Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers. Copyright © 2018 by Gene Desrochers. Reproduced with permission from Gene Desrochers. All rights reserved.
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