Twenty-eight-year-old Kendra Clayton is after nothing more than making ends meet as a part-time GED instructor and restaurant hostess (and maybe running into Mr. Right) in her hometown of Willow, Ohio. Then her best friend's
gigolo boyfriend turns up brutally murdered, and Kendra finds herself a police suspect. As she unravels the secret pasts of people she thought she knew, she may just have finally met that Mr. Right - only he's the soon-to-be ex of the dead man's last conquest.
Angela Henry's debut Kendra Clayton novel heralds a strong new voice in amateur-sleuth mysteries as well as a character certain to make her mark in both the African-American female investigator category and the wider genre. Twenty-something Kendra, whose career goals are as uncertain as her yo-yoing dress size (she's got sizes six to sixteen hanging in her closet), is smart, sassy, self-deprecating, sarcastic, and warmly dedicated to her well-meaning but sometimes maddening friends and family in small-town Willow.
Kendra's friend Bernie confides that her shark of a boyfriend is cheating on
her with the white woman renting a house Bernie owns - and within the hour of
that confession, Bernie calls Kendra hysterically with the news that she's found
Jordan - said playa - beaten to death in that very house. The police
suspect Bernie, and when she asks Kendra to withhold a small piece of
information from the detectives, Kendra's own suspicions are raised. She sets
out to find the truth behind Jordan's death and discovers a web of kept secrets
and hidden pasts entangling friends and acquaintances she realizes she barely
knows. But her curiosity and need to know her friend is innocent put Kendra
herself in the vengeful path of a killer - and send her into the arms of a man
whose own motives are in question.
Willow, Ohio, has its fair share of eccentric characters and nosy neighbors,
as well as the sometimes-dark secrets any small town harbors and keeps, and as
much enjoyment is had reading of Kendra's interactions with her fellow Willow-ites
as is found in the mystery's unraveling - and in Kendra's quest for Mr. Right.
Angela Henry has a future ahead of her with Kendra Clayton; may her readership
do naught but grow.