This is the third page-turner by Australian author Vicki Tyley that I have read, and I must say it's the best ever, in my opinion.
Jemma Dalton flies to Melbourne to sort out the affairs of her sister Tanya, who has died in tragic circumstances. In a strange city, outside her comfort zone, pretty Jemma soon attracts attention. But who are these men who are taking such an interest in her? She's only recently separated from her boyfriend, and with her sister's death fresh in her memory she's certainly in no mood for romantic liaisons.
Jemma becomes convinced that there is more to Tanya's death than has emerged. But no one seems to share her concerns. Then unpleasant and scary things start to happen, and she finds something sinister hidden in her sister's apartment that confirms her worst suspicions.
Events then spiral quickly out of control, and soon Jemma is in fear of her own life. Can she get to the truth before someone gets to her?
With `Brittle Shadows', Ms Tyley shows that she has completely mastered her craft. Gone are the multiple viewpoints of earlier novels, to be replaced with a focused single third-person viewpoint. This is harder to write, but builds tension more effectively.
I liked the Melbourne setting. What a great place it sounds. Everyone is always eating out at chic restaurants and wine bars, or strolling around in manicured parks. I want to go there! It makes a refreshing change from London, New York and the other usual urban haunts.
Jemma is a likeable and dogged heroine. There were a couple of occasions when I wanted to take her aside, grab her by the shoulders and say, `Just because a man turns up wearing a mossy-scented aftershave and carrying a picnic basket, it doesn't mean you have to go to the park with him!' But she does start to wise up in the second half, so I'll let her off.
The book is a little grittier than the others of Ms Tyley's that I have read. That said, there's no need to hide it from your teenage daughter. I would give it a 13 rating.
There's a totally unexpected twist at the end of the story that ties up all the loose ends.
Vicki Tyley reigns supreme over a genre which she has practically invented, `Urban Aussie Amateur Female Sleuth' (Amazon should introduce that as a category!). I can highly recommend `Brittle Shadows' to anyone looking for an exciting, fast paced read with a satisfying conclusion, particularly at the low offer price.