PRIME SUSPECT: Crime fiction is a relatively unheralded genre in West Indian lit, but at least one contemporary author seems determined to change that. With his Ross Camaho Quartet Grenada’s Jacob Ross wants to deliver stories laced with “richly observed characters” and “fast-moving narrative”. The Bone Readers (Peepal Tree Press) is the first novel in the series, tackling family dynamics, retribution and secrets with life-altering consequences. Set on the small Caribbean island of Camaho, it follows rookie cop Michael ‘Digger’ Digson, who is determined to find out who amongst a renegade police squad killed his mother during a political demonstration. But another case soon captures the interest of this no-nonsense man-on-a-mission: a cold case involving the disappearance of a young man whose mother is convinced he has been murdered. At 270 pages, The Bone Readers (shortlisted for the 2017 Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year) bears testament to “persistence and the courage to survive,” while compelling reminding readers that “secrets can be buried but bones can speak.”
I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO: In The First Black Society: Britain’s Barbarity Time in Barbados, 1636-1876 (UWI Press), an exhaustive exploration of the brutal course of Barbados’s history, Sir Hilary Beckles details the systematic barbarism of the British colonial project, where the practice of slavery “reached its apotheosis.” A prequel to Beckles’ Britain’s Black Debt, this 320-page text is essential reading for anyone interested in Atlantic history, slavery and the plantation system and modern race relations.