Monday, 28 August 2017

Murder In Montego Bay by Paula Lennon


Murder In Montego Bay by Paula Lennon
First published in the UK by Jacaranda Books Art Music Ltd in June 2017.

I registered my copy of this book at BookCrossing

375 pages towards Olivia's fun August Reading Challenge to read an average of 50 pages each day throughout the month. Total = 3128.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy via The Contemporary Small Press

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Check for Murder In Montego Bay at these bookstores:

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon US / Amazon UK

In Montego Bay, Jamaica, privileged Chinese-Jamaican brothers Lester and Carter Chin Ellis have enjoyed a sheltered life as the heirs to the iced desserts empire Chinchillerz. One fateful night, following a fiery encounter with local law enforcement the brothers are taken to Pelican Walk Police Station, where Lester is detained for drunk driving, while Carter is released without charge. When Carter is shot dead within minutes of leaving the station his murder throws the police force into crisis mode.
Discredited Detective Raythan Preddy is put in charge of the murder case and is forced to accept the assistance of Detective Sean Harris, a Scottish lawman seconded to Jamaica. With his superiors watching his every move and the Chin Ellis family interfering with the investigation, Preddy is determined to catch the killer and save his career.


I was pleased to receive a copy of Murder In Montego Bay via The Contemporary Small Press because of its Jamaican authorship and setting. I have only previously read one Jamaican novel, A Brief History Of Seven Killings, and although this book also revolves around murder, it provides a very different perspective on island life. Lennon sets her tale within the grossly underfunded Jamaican police service I appreciated that her team of detectives really are portrayed as a team. Their leader, Preddy, does have shades of the dysfunctional-older-detective-against-the-world crime fiction cliche, but at least he isn't an alcoholic who never eats! There's no random love interest forced into the plot either which made a refreshing change! Instead Lennon's detectives realistically banter, support and rile each other in a patois dialogue which is easy to understand and adds a real sense of authenticity. Their camaraderie reminded me of Sjowall and Wahloo's Martin Beck series and I think fans of those books might also enjoy this tropical mystery.

Lennon's great strength I thought was in her evocation of Jamaican culture and people. She presents the poverty of the island alongside the vast wealth of some of its inhabitants, and shows how tourists are generally fenced into their own secure beach enclaves away from sights that might discourage them from visiting again. Details of police station disrepair are shocking. I liked that the lack of available high tech gadgets gave a classic crime fiction feel in keeping with the investigation's style. This novel is certainly more of a character-driven mystery than an all-action thriller. The plot narrative isn't particularly convoluted, but Lennon kept my interest throughout and I actually found myself being drawn deeper into her created world as the book progressed. I wasn't immediately gripped by the early chapters, but struggled to lay the book aside by the end as I wanted to know how everything would turn out! Murder In Montego Bay is a nicely satisfying read and has the potential to continue into a strong series.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Paula Lennon / Crime fiction / Books from Jamaica

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