Murder in Montego Bay by Paula Lennon
Murder in Montego Bay is a police procedural crime novel set in Jamaica, featuring an unlikely partnership and a fight to solve the case despite funding issues and inside involvement. When the son of a prominent entrepreneur family is found killed, Detective Preddy wants to solve the case and prove he’s better than the failures that haunt his past. To do so, however, the Jamaican detective will have to work with Glaswegian Harris, seconded into their force and sticking out like a sore, ginger thumb. The pair, plus female colleagues Spence and Rabino, must hunt through lies and cover-up to find out what was really going on with the family and whether local criminal types were involved.
Lennon’s novel is a solid crime story focused on the police difficulties and the quirks of solving a murder in Jamaica. The story is mostly told from Preddy’s point of view, showing his personal struggles at work and at home, but cuts to other characters to give key scenes and information to the reader. The dialogue is stellar, with Jamaican patois and moments of Glaswegian dialect to show characters’ similarities, differences, and ability to fit into different situations, and giving the novel a realistic feel by showing the varying voices of characters.
This is an enjoyable read, perfect for crime fiction fans and people who like the use of dialect and regional language to create realistic characters. The issues of police funding, racial differences and tension in Montego Bay, and police reputation and brutality form the backdrop to the novel alongside the sunny location. It is a police crime novel with social issues and a message that even the rich won’t stop wanting more.