Black Rain Falling is the sequel to The Bone Readers, the first two in what is apparently designed to be four novels collectively called the Camaho Quartet. These books were written by Jacob Ross, a Grenadian-born, award-winning author and poet who lives in Britain. They are police procedural novels, crime thrillers set on an island called Camaho (which is clearly a thinly disguised version of Grenada) featuring two psychologically wounded and ethically complicated detective protagonists in Detective Constables Michael "Digger" Digson and Kathleen Stanislaus and a host of colorful supporting characters and criminals.
The Bone Readers was memorable for its immersive depiction of island life while unspooling a captivating, suspenseful story and introducing the reader to DC Digger and DC Stanislaus (who is invariably referred to as "Miss Stanislaus" in the text). In Black Rain Falling, the stakes are higher for our main characters as Miss Stanislaus fatally shoots in self defense a known criminal (who was also responsible for her traumatic sexual assault when she was a teenager) and Digger’s frenemy/boss/rival Malan Greaves uses this incident to make his move to advance his career while crippling Digger’s and Stanislaus’ by dissolving the special criminal justice investigative unit that all three of them worked at by having them all transferred to a new police station where he gets a promotion and Digger's enemies get easier access to him.
However, the central mystery in Black Rain Falling is about how the international drug trade is bringing increased crime that is beginning to impact life on Camaho and neighboring islands. For example, there is a shockingly violent killing, an abundance of “hush money” and an incredibly powerful speedboat that can be used to ferry drugs between multiple islands. Digger and Stanislaus are trying to puzzle out the connections between these pieces before the corrupt powers that be strip them of their ability to do anything about it.
By the end of the book both Digger and Stanislaus, who have complicated and ambivalent relationships with their fathers will need to rely on familial connections in order to persevere and ultimately succeed.
As with the first book, the reader can come for the compelling characters and thrilling plot but what really sets these mysteries apart from others in the genre is 1) Digger and Stanislaus’ chemistry and teamwork; 2) the verisimilitude of the depiction of the island setting of Camaho (Grenada) and 3) Ross' lyrical writing; the author is an award-winning poet and it shows in the quality of the prose.
Overall, Black Rain Falling is another excellent police procedural written by Jacob Ross, set in the Caribbean with two compelling characters in DC Digger and Miss Stanislaus whom I hope to spend a lot more time with in future installments of the Camaho Quarter.
Title: Black Rain Falling.
Author: Jacob Ross.
Length: 432 pages.
Publisher: Mullholland Books.
Date Published: March 5, 2020.
Date Read: December 30, 2021.
OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.67/4.0).