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A killer to unmask - on an English country estate. So far the police have failed, but Jennifer Lloyd has a devious plan.
A feisty TV reporter - prepared to go the extra mile to secure her career in television. Blogging deficiencies or a dodgy CV might otherwise lead to her downfall.
A high-risk strategy - accusing someone of murder while filming a documentary about his beloved gardens. Will Jennifer's self-defence skills save her when the knives come out?
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PRE-PUBLICATION REVIEWS say...
"An impressive accomplishment. Exceptionally entertaining."
- read more from Book Viral
"A powerful compelling read that's hard to put down."
- read more from Midwest Book Review
"A thrilling murder mystery... engaging to read."
- read more from Readers' Favorite
amazing happened when the idea of this novel popped into my head. Its protagonist,
Jennifer Lloyd, came to me fully-formed. It was as if I already knew her as
a real person. Normally an author gets to know principal characters gradually,
or creates something like a fictional CV in order to put flesh onto the bones
and personality into a mind-set. Not so in the case of ‘Jen’ (who,
by the way, only lets her close friends call her that). She came over with such
strength she virtually dictated the way she wanted to be represented, right
from the start. She’s an ambitious girl, determined to raise her profile
as a television reporter/presenter, but she’s from a broken background
and was abused in a children’s home. But “the girl made good”—although
she is very untrusting of just about everyone except her friend Ami, and you:
Right from the start, I think Jen envisaged the reader as a much-wanted friend with whom she could joke, trust and confide. Such a strong lead character is a real gift to an author, so I felt compelled to listen to her. I greatly enjoyed her company, while following her adventures, so I hope you will, too.
I believe a novel should have strong characterisation and a convincing sense of place. But when it comes to murder, it’s as well to make the crime scene fictitious to placate local sensibilities. So while this book contains many real locations in and around Christchurch in Dorset, England, the murder scene, Solent House and Gardens, is purely fictional; it is a composite of three different gardens I know. To save you wondering, and allowing for artistic licence, the imagined location of this fictional garden is where you can find Highcliffe Castle—but that is not at all like my fictional setting—apart from its stunning view across the sea to the Isle of Wight.
This is a psychological/mystery thriller featuring Jennifer Lloyd. Although she's effectively an orphan, she's learned how to be a survivor, and she's concentrating on her television career - and how to stand out and get noticed. With the certain knowledge she will one day become famous, she decides to keep a journal about her reporting and presenting adventures but, in order to capture her knowledge and emotions as they happen - in real-time - she goes for writing it in what reads like a fictional format. Hence the book! It's an angle which allows her to talk to the reader as a close friend - and another close friend would be great for her, because she only really has one person she fully trusts: a Chinese girl called Ami Tan who shared a bedroom with her in a children's home. So the thing is, will you be her friend and confidant?
Wealthy landowner, Digby Barrington-Smith, was arrested three years ago after the suspicious drowning of his wife within the grounds of their famous Dorset attraction: Solent House and Gardens. Due to lack of evidence, and because their handyman inexplicably disappeared immediately afterwards, Digby was released due to lack of evidence. So why did Digby then become a virtual hermit when he once liked nothing better than to chat with visitors to his beloved gardens? Feisty TV reporter Jennifer Lloyd smells a rat.
Unmasking a murderer on-camera seems a great way to fame and fortune for Jennifer. With visions of making her name by filming protracted interviews along the lines of Martin Bashir’s exposure of Michael Jackson, Jennifer employs the ruse of producing a documentary about the history of the gardens and Digby’s expertise as a plantsman. Is it possible to gain the trust of the eccentric who now lurks in virtual squalor within the grand house? Can she worm her way into finding out more than the police by befriending his sons and defensive staff? More importantly, will Jennifer survive an escalating series of death threats aimed directly at her?
This novel describes Jen's first dramatic adventure. Will there be more? There could be, because I've built in back-story to take her career and adventures further. If I get an encouraging number of good reviews on Amazon I'll probably start working on that. (Otherwise I shall be looking for a new protagonist!) Thankfully, the comments in the two pre-publication reviews have been very exciting, which is very encouraging at this juncture.
I hope you enjoy the book when it comes out. If you'd like an email when that happens, please just drop me an email at: .cover image source © iStock.com/Yougen