Quick book picks for August

Another month, more new books coming out. Not as many this month, but they’re quite a varied selection with a lot of metafiction in there. Expect the full reviews for some of these later in the month, but for now here are my August book picks with links to reviews on here or Goodreads where posted.

  • My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent – A horrific and absorbing novel about a fourteen year old girl brought up by an apocalypse-obsessed father who is forced to fight to survive, with a writing style that impressively gets across her troubled mindset.
  • Murder in Montego Bay by Paula Lennon – Procedural crime novel set in Jamaica, featuring an outsider Scottish detective, local politics, and questionable police practices. An enjoyable read that uses different regional dialects and language to depict its characters and hierarchies.
  • Christopher Wild by Kathe Koja – An unusual novel split into three parts, that tells the story of Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe in his own time and then reimagined in two other settings. Very transformative and will appeal to Marlowe fans for sure.
  • The Word Is Murder by Anthony Horowitz – A metafictional whodunnit from the acclaimed author of the Alex Rider books and various Bond and Sherlock Holmes stories, combining crime fiction and the art of writing itself.
  • The Book of Luce by L. R. Fredericks – A literary mystery as a meta book featuring a mysterious messiah rock star figure.

Murder in Montego Bay by Paula Lennon

Murder in Montego Bay by Paula Lennon

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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.