As most fiction writers know, characters don't typically spring from an author's pen to page as full-blown concepts: they evolve, like a sculpture from a piece of clay, as the story moves on. This wasn't the case, however, for author Ian Kingsley as he wrote The Grave Concerns of Jennifer Lloyd. His protagonist, Jen, 'built herself' and poured from his pen already developed as a strong and humorous lead character with whom the reader can readily empathize: one filled with zest and always ready to confront new situations. Kingsley's other characters are equally interesting and well-drawn, and the English country estate where the mystery is set sounds gorgeous. There is even a romantic angle.
From its first paragraph, The Grave Concerns draws readers in with a flash and a bang: "I plan to start with a murder. That should get me noticed. I'm after headlines and television news. Or, to put it more bluntly: fame."
Jen's job in freelance television involves creating lead stories, conducting interviews, and cultivating a nose for trouble. It's the latter that drives Jen into a dangerous situation, even though her job largely consists of developing wildlife and documentary pieces and educational works.
All this is about to change as she confronts something far more sinister. Her troubled past comes back to haunt her and she discovers that her talents and instincts may be no match for her adversaries.
As Jen's secrets and lack of credentials are exposed, threatening everything she's built, she finds herself recreating a new life through alternate avenues that bring her into contact with different experiences and individuals.
Can a TV reporter who has invented her career path solve murders that have baffled the police? What happens when she truly has to face down a murderer and confront her own ethics by possibly destroying a man's carefully-built facade of a life that he, too, has reinvented in a creative manner?
Murder mystery and thriller readers will relish The Grave Concerns of Jennifer Lloyd. The feisty and conflicted world of Jen and how she chooses to navigate her obstacles makes for a powerful, compelling read that's hard to put down.