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Gillian Royes

The Rhythm of the August Rain

Gillian Royes The Rhythm Of The August Rain
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Series:

A Shadrack Myers Mystery

Excerpt from book:

The Rhythm of the August Rain

CHAPTER ONE


God liked to play games with people, made the biggest things creep into their lives when they least expected them. If it wasn’t so, Renford would have gotten a shout-out before he climbed onto his bicycle to tell him a drunk driver was coming down the road, and somebody would have told Miss Maudie, hinted to her gentlelike, that she’d won the lottery. It might have saved her the heart attack when she heard it on TV. But, no, Shad was to reflect later, God liked to spin people around with a shock and see if they could walk straight, like a child about to pin the tail on the donkey. Like the boss after Shannon’s call.

The news had fallen out of the clear blue sky. Shad had been minding his own business, wiping the dust and salt spray off the bottles behind the bar before any customers came in. The ocean had been drumming on the cliff below and the breeze blowing through the bar’s open sides as they always did. Even the tiny island sitting a quarter mile offshore hadn’t been doing much of anything. The mildewed buildings in the middle were sitting roofless and somber in the sun, the almond tree tossing its leaves now and again.

The petite bartender had squatted down to reach the vodka and gin bottles under the sink, and since it had been a month since he’d dusted, he’d had to do more wiping than he’d expected. Beads of perspiration had popped out on his bald head, and his once-crisp white shirt was getting damp. Normally meticulous about his appearance, Shad had barely noticed. He’d been brooding about an upcoming celebration, the one that surprised every man no matter how far in advance he’d been notified. He’d just started talking himself into a positive attitude (for the sake of the children, if nothing else) when the telephone in the bar had started to ring.

“Largo Bay Restaurant and Bar,” he sang out after snatching up the receiver.

“Shadrack Myers, how are you?” a woman said with an unmistakable lift to her voice.

“Shannon!” Shad inhaled sharply through the gap between his front teeth. “It’s still cold in Canada, nuh?”

The woman laughed in her usual hearty way. “No, it’s June, remember? It’s spring here, the flowers are out and everything.”

“It’s nice in Jamaica, too, dry season.”

“How’s Beth?”

“She good, busy planning for us to marry next month. Is all she can talk about—wedding, wedding, wedding. You would think we was young, not big old people with children.”

“You’re getting married? That’s wonderful!” The groom wagged his head in doubt. “What day in July?” she added, her voice more intense. “Maybe I’ll be there.”

Shad’s hairless eyebrows shot up as he leaned on the counter. “You mean—you coming back to Largo Bay?”

“After fourteen years, Shad, can you believe it?”

“I better get the boss.”

Shad hurried toward the parking lot, where Eric Keller was peering inside the hood of his ancient Jeep pickup with a sour face.

“Boss, your baby mother on the phone,” Shad called from the safety of the restaurant, and Eric looked up, frowning. As the tall American trudged past in his old shorts and flip-flops, knobby knees slightly bent, Shad thought about giving him Shannon’s news, but decided against it. Certain messages shouldn’t be relayed by third parties to sixty-five-year-old men with white hair and paunches, especially when ambulances tPraise for The Sea Grape Tree:
“A superb detective story with richly imagined characters, The Sea Grape Tree is set in an island paradise where more goes on than meets the eye. This splendid third novel in Gillian Royes’ “Shad series,” featuring the delightful bartender/neighborhood detective Shadrack “Shad” Meyers, involves a lonely tourist from England, a local woman determined to leave the island, and an American investor whose possible re-development of the struggling, fictional town of Largo Bay, Jamaica keeps everyone on edge.”


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