cover image Palms, Paradise, Poison

Palms, Paradise, Poison

John Keyse-Walker. Severn, $26 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-5080-5

Keyse-Walker’s intriguing third outing for Constable Teddy Creque of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (after 2017’s Beach, Breeze, Bloodshed) finds the tiny island of Anegada bracing for a hurricane. As everyone takes shelter, Teddy receives a mayday from Kevin Faulkner, a captain aboard a sinking freighter. Teddy heads into the storm, but Kevin is dead by the time he reaches the freighter. Then a woman leaps onto Teddy’s boat who turns out to be escaped convict Marianna Oro (known as Queen Ya-Ya for practicing black magic), and the two barely survive the trip back to the police station. After the hurricane passes, Teddy is surprised to find Queen Ya-Ya gone, one of his officers incoherent, and a longtime island resident nearly dead. So begins Teddy’s obsessive quest to bring Queen Ya-Ya to justice—a mission fraught with violence and which takes him from the British Virgin Islands to Cuba and back again. Keyse-Walker smoothly integrates Caribbean lore and culture into the narrative, which is peopled with distinctive, well-wrought characters. Scenes of animal sacrifices, however, are not for the faint of heart. Readers will look forward to Teddy’s further adventures. (Jan.)