This is my first experience of reading Kirsten Tranter although I am aware that her debut novel `The Legacy' was acclaimed by critics and readers alike, if it is half as good as `A Common Loss' then I can see why.
Elliot, Brian, Tallis, Cameron and Dylan became friends at college and formed a tight bond, especially after they had been involved in a car accident together. After leaving college they go their separate ways but for the past 11 years they have met up for a reunion in Las Vega which forms the perfect back drop for the this story of grief, friendship, deceit, intrigue and Blackmail. For this reunion everything has changed, Dylan has been killed in a road accident and the remaining 4 are still coming to terms with the tragedy. He was the central character of the group; the one the others went to when in trouble. Elliot, Brian, Tallis and Cameron all have secrets and Dylan is the only person who knew them all, secrets which if revealed could ruin their lives. They become paranoid when each of them receive an envelope containing information which they believed had died with Dylan. Elliot is the narrator and the story unfolds through his eyes, but just how reliable a narrator is he? Gradually he begins to wonder just how well he really knows his friends, particularly Dylan when he discovers by chance that he too had a secret, unknown to any of them.
`A Common Loss' is a carefully plotted and intriguing story that I read over a couple of days. It is beautifully written with believable characters, I can't say that I found any of them particularly likeable but I was drawn into their stories and wanted to know what happened. A central character of course is Las Vegas itself and I cannot see this story working so well if it had been set anywhere else. A tense psychological drama that is literary but also highly readable. Should appeal to fans of Donna Tartt's 'Secret History'.