In Fatal Liaison, Vicki Tyley's latest novel, we meet financial planner Greg Jenkins and personnel recruitment consultant Megan Brighton, who are on separate life paths until they connect via the Dinner for Twelve dating agency.
Well, "connect" isn't the right word; that implies they were both looking for dates. Perhaps the more generic word "meet" is more appropriate.
Greg's younger sister Samantha ("Sam") has disappeared and Greg is desperate to find her, leaving no stone unturned, eventually following the only lead he has left – Sam's involvement with the dating service. And it just so happens that Megan is there at one of the functions, accompanying her good friend, real estate agent Brenda De Luca.
The characters (mostly the agency's clients) all seem quite the curious lot, with several appearing to have something going on between them, especially after one of them is murdered.
Brenda has a revolting molesting encounter with a client Megan has dubbed "Mr. Ginger Moustache," an unemployed landscaper with a sexual harassment past, in a warehouse. Soon after, she goes missing, awakening shackled to a bed in a dark room. Then, the police can't find their chief suspect whom they want to arrest for Linda's murder.
Greg's and Megan's searches shift into high gear; eventually they agree to work together when it appears the two disappearances night be interconnected somehow. Sam's decomposed body with a plastic cable tie around her neck is found in a forest by a wildlife photographer. Soon, other skeletons are found there, with cable ties around their necks, apparently the work of a serial killer.
If while you're reading you get a feeling that you know who the murderer is, forget it. It's not him. Or him. Or him either. And it's definitely NOT him. So, maybe it's a her? Tyley does a good job keeping the reader guessing until just the right moment.
As an Australian, Tyley's writing is sprinkled with quite a few Australian/British idioms: fossicked, skolling, the footy, suss, loud hailer, fob him off, dobbed in, jemmy, etc. That's not a bad thing as it adds atmospheric flavor. Thank God for the in-book dictionary app that can be downloaded for the iPad2's Kindle reader app.
This is Vicki Tyley's fourth book. It was a two-day read for me. It's easy, enjoyable, captivating reading, and I am eagerly awaiting the release of her fifth – Bitter Nothings, due for release soon.
Patmay Press, Kindle edition ($3.99 list)