Colin Campbell has never set foot in Jamaica Plain, and it shows. It’s great that the British author set his new crime novel in the neighborhood — why should Southie get all the literary attention? — but “Jamaica Plain” sounds a few jarringly false notes: Campbell imagined a nightclub next to sedate Jamaica Pond, and portrayed the notoriously progressive-minded and hipster-addled neighborhood as “the face of Middle America.” Since Campbell did most of his research on Google Maps, a few slip-ups were inevitable. But if he’d actually visited, Campbell might have found plenty of more authentic plotlines for Jamaica Plain noir:
■ A bloody santoku knife clanks against the pavement. A Subaru wagon speeds off into the night. As police arrive, the dying victim manages to whisper just two words: “Whole Foods.” The murder sets off a torrid tale of jealousy, vengeance, and heirloom vegetables, as two jaded cops search for a killer in a desperate underworld of home canners and unemployed sous-chefs.
■ He works at a nonprofit devoted to nonviolent creativity. She works at a nonprofit for creative nonviolence. Can this zany odd couple put aside their differences to solve the mysterious disappearance of a beloved pet therapist? Read “Dogged Pursuit” to find out!
■ In “Knit Guilty,” a freelance doula walking around the pond makes a gruesome discovery: the body of a respected local crafter, hanging by yarn from a tree. Police are stumped — until they realize that, as the catchy slogan spray-painted on Centre Street puts it, late-modern capitalism has violence at its core.