I recently re-released Judging Paradise. It will be available on Amazon soon. In the meantime, it's available here. The first three paragraphs are below.
In its history of contact with the West, the island of Santa Clara has been a lonely fortress for a succession of distant empires, a hopeless sanctuary for wandering, crazy priests, a death row for West Africans condemned to work its sugarcane fields, a filthy citadel of whores consumed by the wandering merchants of the eastern Caribbean, a scattered collection of cheap resorts and casinos, and the forgotten victim of large hurricanes, small revolutions, and brutal drug dealers. Its history is a chronicle of the powerful and the damned, of excess and misery, of shared exile and escape, of occasional renewal and near constant decay. It’s a history the islanders have deliberately distorted or discarded altogether, and then forgotten, a history which nonetheless infects every turn of life, which finds its way into the heart of anyone who takes life from the island air.
When the breeze is up, when the trade winds bring distant promises, the residents of Santa Clara can close their eyes, point their faces into the breeze, and dream tropical postcard dreams of sunlight, orchids, and the garden before the fall. When the air is still, when open eyes feel the heat’s sting, when the only air on the island is Santa Clara’s, there’s a stench of poverty, sweat, diesel, and hard work, of cheats, liars, stray dogs, and garbage, of cheap rum, cigarettes, adultery, and violence, the unfiltered, unadorned smells of toiling humans.
Whatever else it has been, Santa Clara now serves as a harsh refuge, a hideaway, a place of exile without redemption for the less than criminal, the less than respectable, for the wanderer. It is shaped like a swollen liver.