Thursday, August 25, 2005

Book Review - The Company You Keep by Angela Henry

I recently finished reading the mystery novel The Company You Keep by Angela Henry. This book was one of the books I received in my gift bag from the National Book Club Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this month. I was really happy about that because this book is on my current reading list.

Kendra Clayton, a twenty-eight year old part-time GED instructor and part-time restaurant hostess, lives in the sleepy town of Willow, Ohio. She leads a nice and quiet life surrounded by family and friends. Kendra's best friend, Bernie Gibson, is involved with Jordan Wallace, a shady ladies man. Bernie confides to Kendra that she is sick of Jordan's cheating ways and plans on cutting him lose. Bernie, already mad and fed up, discovers Jordan's murdered body on her property. She calls Kendra first. Then she calls the police. Kendra gets to the scene of the crime before the police. As a result, both Bernie and Kendra are suspects in the murder of Jordan Wallace.

Kendra, in a effort to clear herself and her best friend, starts doing a little private investigating on her own. And she finds that there was more to Jordan and his shady life than meets the eye. The story goes on from there...

This book was a great "whodunit". At first, I was thinking, okay, there are going to be one or two suspects and that's it. After all, this book isn't that long-- only 210 pages. But the author's attention to detail amazed me. With each chapter, the list of suspects lengthened. The backstories of many of the suspects made this book all the more interesting. When I thought I had it figured out, I was wrong. And that's what made this book a good page-turner: I couldn't wait to see who the killer was and why.

And then there were a a couple of good subplots in the novel, and these subplots in no way overshadowed the main plot. Kendra had a love interest in this book, and this love interest was one that may have some of the answers that Kendra was looking for. Kendra's relationships with her mother and neighbors were also interesting. Again, none of this took away from the main storyline, and I liked that.

As you can tell, I really liked this book. From what I can tell, The Company You Keep is the first in a series of novels involving Kendra Clayton. I look forward to seeing what Kendra gets herself mixed up in next!

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