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The Goat Woman of Largo Bay: A Novel (A Shadrack Myers Mystery) Paperback – September 27, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Strong characters and vivid descriptive passages." —Kirkus Reviews

"The writing in The Goat Woman of Largo Bay is poetic at times and the plotting of the story is more literary in its approach but still leads to a tense climax that will have the reader engrossed to the end." —New York Journal of Books

"A strong debut... I look forward to following the adventures of Shad and the inhabitants of Largo Bay." —Executive producer of Precious

"An irresistable character is born in The Goat Woman of Largo Bay and Royes wonderfully blends suspense and the soul of the island in this smart debut." —Jamaican.com

"Bring together a ruined hotel, a disheartened dreamer, a hard working bartender turned amateur sleuth and a mysterious beauty hiding on a tiny uninhabited island, throw in a dash of political corruption, and you have all the elements for a first class detective story, which novelist Gillian Royes certainly delivers with her novel The Goat Woman of Largo Bay. That said, the thing that makes this book impossible to put down is the author's amazing eye for the details of life in this tiny Jamaican town. How can you possibly resist a hero who cools tempers in a heated political exchange by putting on some classic Toots and the Maytals reggae music to get the vibe back on track?" —Pearl Cleage, author of Just Wanna Testify

"Gillian Royes weaves beautiful story." —Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, author of When the Spirits Dance Mambo

[Royes] does an outstanding job of creating a small Jamaican village – it is so vivid that the reader feels part of the environment – and deftly shows the social and political life on the island. The novel is an absorbing read and one that won’t be forgotten quickly.

–Barbara Cothern, Portland Book Review

About the Author

Gillian Royes is the creator of the Shad series, detective novels that take place on the North Coast of Jamaica. The first in the series, The Goat Woman of Largo Bay, appeared in 2011; the second, The Man Who Turned Both Cheeks, in 2012; and most recently, The Sea Grape Tree, in 2014. Prior to that she authored two nonfiction works entitled Business Is Good (1997) and Sexcess: The New Gender Rules at Work (2003). A native of Jamaica, Gillian pursued her higher education in the United States, obtaining a doctorate from Emory University in 1979. She currently lives in Atlanta and on the island of St. Croix, where she lectures at the University of the Virgin Islands. Find out more at GillianRoyes.com.
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Product Details

  • Series: A Shadrack Myers Mystery
  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Original edition (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451627416
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451627411
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,275,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
How can you not appreciate a book with a title as original as this?

This relaxing novel could accompany the reader on a winter vacation. Just thinking of the setting at a remote fishing village in Jamaica, makes me long for the blue ocean and dread another New England winter.

Eric is from the United States. He's the owner of a bar and of the ruins of a hotel which was damaged by Hurricane Albert. Now, the hotel is cut off from the main land.

As the story opens, Eric and his bartender, Shad, are surprised to observe a woman on Eric's island. Eric rows out and learns that the woman, Simone, wants a place of peace and quiet. She offers to pay the mortgage and asks Eric to arrange for a man in the village to deliver groceries. She also makes it clear that she wishes to be left alone.

Shad is a person who people feel comfortable in revealing their problems and concerns to. If there was a mayor of the little community, it would be Shad.

With little changing in their lives, Eric becomes fascinated with Simone. As the story progresses, we learn of her reason for wanting to be left alone on the island.

Life goes on and Simone becomes the talk of the village. Another change comes when two men arrive and begin talking about the political views of people in the village.

The setting is well described and the leisurly pace of the novel allows the reader to slow down and experience life as it is described in Jamaica. I enjoyed this and imagined I was listening to appropriate background music and enjoying the ocean view.

There is little suspense and not much really happens in the story. Only in the barest of terms could this be called a detective story but with the author's skillful plotting, "The Goat Woman of Largo Bay," was an entertaining novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
I picked this up partly because I'm always on the lookout for mysteries set in other cultures, but also because I just finished Ian Thomson's dense nonfiction book about Jamaica, The Dead Yard. It seems pretty clear that the author was heavily inspired by Alexander McCall Smith's gentle No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series in crafting this first of a projected 10-book series. Like McCall Smith's series, this debut features a developing world landscape quite alien to most potential readers, and a warm-hearted protagonist who's ashamed by aspects of their past.

Here, the "detective" is Shad, a bartender for an small beachside establishment in the Jamaican backwater of Largo. He works for a middle-aged American expatriate named Eric, who moved down to the area and opened a hotel, only to lose it all to a hurricane. Now Eric gets by with his small bar, and looks out over the water to the island that his destroyed dream sits upon. One day, a mysterious woman shows up on that island, leading Eric and Shad to go investigate. She's an American with some ghosts of her own, looking for a place to be alone while she recovers from whatever befell her. Meanwhile, in a completely unrelated plotline, election season is coming up, and Shad is pressured by an old friend to do a little work on behalf of the ruling party to ensure electoral success.

There are other bits and bobs to the story, such as the woman's brother coming down from New York to try and take her back to the U,S., and Shad's attempts to keep his youthful stint in jail secret.
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Format: Paperback
The Goat Woman of Largo Bay wants to be the first book in a mystery series when it grows up. I'm not sure it's quite there yet. There really isn't a lot of mystery in this book. The mystery plot is quite predictable and was really not much of a mystery. Although the "goat woman" didn't turn out to be what I had initially envisioned when I read the title of this novel.

That said, there is much to like about this novel. The setting of Jamaica is unusual in a main stream novel. It also happens to be one of my favorite places on earth! The author, Gillian Royes (who grew up in Jamaica) captures the unique flavor of the island perfectly. Shad, the bartender, has great potential as a character in future novels. Royes managed to avoid the stereotype of the island bartender as she developed the character of Shad. We learn about has past mistakes and meet his family. He embodies the beautiful spirit of the Jamaica people that I find almost more attractive than the scenery of the island. I'd like to see him play a big part in future novels.

The other characters in this book did not captivate me as much as Shad. They seemed more one dimensional and I wasn't as invested in their stories. I did not understand the attraction between Eric, the expat and Simone, the goat woman. I think with more developed characters, it might work. I just didn't "know" either of them well enough to make it a plausible relationship.

I would like to know more about the mysterious character of the Obeah man. He seemed to be a mix of holistic healer, village shaman and local witch doctor, complete with potions and spells. "Obeah" is an actual Jamaican practice of the occult arts, if I understand it correctly. He is another character I would love to read about in future books.
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The Goat Woman of Largo Bay: A Novel (A Shadrack Myers Mystery)
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