Paperback: 320 pages, Atria Books
Publication date: September 27, 2011
In a nutshell: Simone finds and retreats to a small uninhabited island off Largo Bay in northeastern Jamaica, returning after years of living in the U.S. The tiny island belongs to an American expatriate - Eric, who runs a bar on the mainland and who rents her his island although he worries about her safety there.
In the meantime, a mysterious foreign businessman nicknamed Man-O-War has hired local thugs to influence votes in the upcoming general election for a new government. The two plots connect when a serious threat to Simone develops.
She tapped the gun once in her palm, held Eric's gaze, then glanced at Shad....My comments: The main character is a mysterious, determined woman whose actions and unusual retreat to the island arouses suspicion and concern among the residents of Largo Bay, who wonder about her sanity. These include Eric and his bartender Shad. To protect the woman Simone, they call on local people including a medicine man who performs black magic or obeah. I enjoyed seeing the Jamaican culture and its current economic and political situations woven into the plot. These, in addition to the characters, carried the novel, which did not have a complicated crime plot. It's the first in a new detective series. I rate the novel 3.75-4 out of 5.
"This island belong to him, miss," Shad said in a low voice. "You're trespassing...."
"He should've had a sign," she said. The words were guttural but crisp - an American accent with some Jamaican underneath. (p. 19)
Author: Gillian Royes was born in Kingston, Jamaica and lives in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She earned a doctorate in American Studies at Emory University, and is the author of Business is Good and Sexcess: The New Gender Rules at Work. The Goat Woman of Largo Bay is her first work of fiction.
© Harvee Lau 2011
I received a complimentary copy of this novel for possible review.