SLEIGHT ~ use of dexterity or cunning, especially so as to deceive. MALICE ~ the intention or desire to do evil; ill will.
One cold Melbourne winter's night a suburban bungalow goes up in flames. Despite their best efforts, firefighters are unable to save the home. When a badly charred body is discovered in the remains, web designer Desley James is devastated. Her best friend, Laura Noble, had been the only one in the house that night - her partner, Ryan Moore, is away in Sydney on business. Then Desley learns the unidentified body is male. But it's not Ryan. He and Laura have disappeared…
Not realising until it's almost too late what some people will do to cover their tracks, Desley teams up with private investigator Fergus Coleman to search for the missing couple.
Based in rural Victoria, Australia, Vicki Tyley writes fast-paced mystery and suspense novels in contemporary Australian settings.
Born and raised in New Zealand, she moved to Western Australia with a single suitcase when she was nineteen years old. She has travelled extensively, spending a year touring the world before terrorism was an influencing factor. She has lived in the central business districts of large cities, suburbia, idyllic seaside locations, rural areas, bushland, and remote desert mining camps.
In the lead up to her writing career, Vicki worked in a multitude of different industries including banking, stockbroking, importing and wholesaling, human resources, mining, hospitality, civil engineering, and toys, in predominantly accounting, IT and management roles.
All these life experiences are brought to bear in her writing.
Outside of writing and reading, her main interests are design and photography. She likes to laugh, drink coffee, spend time alone, spend time in company, and get close to nature. She dislikes crowds, hospitals and offal.
Being held back from the blazing fire by a firefighter, Desley James was desperate to find out if her best friend, Laura Noble had escaped the fire. Desley had only that night had a girls night in at her house where she and Laura had a fun night together as Laura's partner, Ryan Moore was away. Now watching Laura's bungalow going up in flames, Desley is worried she may never see her best friend alive again.
Eventually, once the fire is put out they discover an unidentified body of a male. Immediately the question remains as to where are Ryan and Laura as it seems no one knows where they are. Wanting questions answered, Desley begins an investigation of her own and tries to find out information on Laura.
As the investigation comes to a halt, Desley begins to worry if she could be in danger with receiving threatening emails and then her house gets broken into. Will they find Laura alive or will the police and Desley be too late?
Aussie author Vicki Tyley never fails to deliver a fast paced page turner. This story is full of mystery, intrigue and twists that you won't see coming especially towards the end. A fantastic read that I absolutely LOVED and one in which I have no hesitation in recommending HIGHLY.
A very entertaining and enjoyable read and one that you never want to put down until you reach that last page. I had no idea at all who the murderer was and the ending turned out to be a complete surprise! Vicki Tyley has the ability to make everyone seem a possible suspect and it is next to impossible to work it out. Always fun trying though. I always enjoy a murder mystery just a little bit more when it is set in Melbourne or Sydney so Vicki's books are perfect for me and I am looking forward to my next one already.
What a great read this was! Totally absorbing from start to finish, it was so jam packed with things going on that I wonder how Vicki Tyley was able to keep track of everything, no stone was left unturned as she cleverly had every scenario covered.
This unique storyline with its many twists made this a real page turner where you are never really sure who the bad guy is until the very end. The scenery as it was described had me transported and I could almost feel the frigid chill in the air and smell those wet Eucalyptus leaves in the Dandenongs!
This author doesn't insult the reader's intelligence by relying on smut, sex or bad language to pad out her story, but rather teases the reader with hints or subtle nuances in behavioral patterns to add an air of mystery and possibilities to come. That is not to say that there is no romance involved, it's just not overdone. It reminded me of the good crime fiction I used to love to read, where you are always trying to deduce the next outcome...and that is what I believe elevates this author's writing to the next level. It is clear that the author has paid a lot of attention to detail, without cluttering up the story. There is no trifling of useless information or wasted words, everything mentioned enhances the story in some manner.
Although the story was action packed and full of detail, it is never too complicated. There was something happening on every single page and you are always held captive to its unfolding drama.
I really loved the main characters in this story, especially the relationship between Desley James and Fergus Coleman, it was very convincing, and I would love to see them team up in future books, they just had a nice chemistry with an easy going banter. The kind where you know you will miss sharing their company when the book is finished.
This is Vicki Tyley's second book, and if this is a promise of things to come then I can't wait to see what else she has in store, she is a natural when it comes to writing crime fiction, the storyline just seems to unfold as if they were real events...like a snapshot...being vividly captured live, with no essential detail, big or small being left out...adding that extra touch of credibility.
It was a real delight to sit and immerse myself in the mystery and suspense within this book, and I am really looking forward to the next one!
Following a pleasant evening spent at home drinking wine and chatting with her best friend Laura, Desley wakes to the news that Laura's house has burnt down. Neither Laura nor Ryan are found inside the house but the body of an unknown man is found in the ashes. When the police are unable to find any trace of Laura or Ryan, Desley starts to make her own enquiries and finds out there was a lot about her friend that she didn't know.
Another excellent page turner from Vicki Tyley. There are plenty of twists and turns as Desley tries to work out where her friends could have gone. The suspense builds right to the end of the book where the revelation of what had happened to Laura and Ryan was both a shock and surprise. Ms Tyley is very good at designing realistic characters as well as atmospheric Australian settings for scenes outside the city. There are many layers to this story with Desley's brother Brandon, her ex-husband Trent, his fiance Selena and her client Fergus all adding to the complexity of the story.
Great little mystery set in a cold Melbourne winter, I loved reminiscing about my home town and remember how cold it could get.
The story revolves around a girl, Laura, who goes missing after a house fire and with all of the twists and turns in the story I couldn't quite work out who did what to whom! A fun book, short and suitable for a wide range of young adult and adult alike. There's a bit of swearing which I don't mind at all. 4 stars.
Desley James struggled in the arms of a strong male, desperate to escape and enter the house in front of her. But the man holding her back was a firefighter, and the house she wanted to go to was burning down. She was distraught – her best friend Laura Noble was in there, on her own; they had spent the evening together at Desley’s home, having a girl’s night with a few drinks and laughs as Laura’s partner, Ryan Moore was away on business, not due back until the following day. Now it seemed her best friend was dead.
But upon investigation, the body found inside the house was male – it also couldn’t possibly be Ryan. So where were Laura and Ryan? It seemed they had vanished, and now there were more questions than answers. With Desley desperate for answers into the disappearance of her best friend, she began to investigate Laura’s background. Desley was a web designer, and it so happened that she was currently designing a website for a private investigator, Fergus Coleman – so together they decided to dig deeper….
With the police at a standstill in the investigation, suddenly Desley found herself in danger. Threatening emails arrived, her house was broken into, her ex-husband was harassing her – with the clock racing, another death, an attack – would Desley and Fergus find Laura before it was too late? Or was she already dead, and would it be her body they would find? What were the secrets someone would go to any lengths to stop being uncovered?
I loved this book! The second of Aussie author Vicki Tyley and I’m so glad I found her books. The pace was intense with twists everywhere, and the ending shocked me as I definitely hadn’t seen it coming. A fantastic mystery suspense which I have no hesitation in recommending highly.
3.5★s Sleight Malice is the second novel by Australian author, Vicki Tyley. On a Thursday night, Desley James sees off her best friend, Laura Noble, after a pleasant evening’s wine and chat. Early Friday morning, Laura’s rented house is burning down, there’s an unidentified deceased male inside, and Laura and her partner Ryan Moore are missing.
A state-wide alert yields no confirmed sightings of the pair or Ryan’s Nissan 4WD. Desley is worried to distraction about the whereabouts of her friend, and the police are no help. When her web design client, PI and ex-cop Fergus Coleman arrives, he’s able to calm her down with intelligent questions and observations, and an offer to help.
Meanwhile Desley’s ex-husband Trent makes the situation worse by falsely using Des as an alibi with the police. Trent holds a rather large grudge against Ryan, one that involves redundancy at work and a certain pregnant fiancée. And it turns out that Trent isn’t the only one with motive to harm Ryan.
But where is Laura? Whoever has reason to argue with Ryan must surely know that Laura is innocent of his schemes. Desley can’t believe that Laura would disappear without reassuring her best friend she is safe: it must mean Laura has been taken against her will. Desley vows to use her IT skills, any talents for tracking down that Fergus possesses, and any insider knowledge to which he might have access, to find her friend.
Tyley certainly weaves her characters into a tangled web of lies and deceit, one that will keep the reader guessing and the pages turning right to the end. Desley has, at various times, reason to suspect most of those around her, except perhaps those she should. Gripping Aussie crime fiction.
“Sleight Malice” was my second encounter with Vicki Tyley’s writing. Her debut novel “Thin Blood” was a truly captivating story with strong characters already, but early on, “Sleight Malice” makes it clear that it is superior in many ways. Once again, Tyley shows her prowess in creating dimensional characters that readers can latch on to very quickly. These characters make up the heartbeat of the novel, as her character-driven plot is more about what people say, think and feel, as it is about the unfolding of the actual events.
In this case the events surround the mysterious burning down of her best friends house and the disappearance of said friend and her husband. Determined to find out what happened, the story’s main character, Desley, makes use of all the tools and information at her disposal as she goes down a path of self-discovery that ultimately solves the case.
Tyley’s writing conjures up images of urban Australia, the lifestyle, the people, while always keeping it a bit edgy and unsettling, as the mystery evolves and the sense of danger grows. Nicely balanced and paced, the story is filled with surprises that keep the reader engaged. By the time the story reaches its third act it is practically impossible to put the book down and I found myself turning page after page to finally learn what really happened.
In her heart-pounding second novel, author Vicki Tyley confirms what readers of her debut novel “Thin Blood” already knew; Ms. Tyley is a talented, masterful writer who develops thrilling, chill inducing tales like no other. “Sleight Malice” may be Tyley’s second novel, but it reads as if a seasoned professional, who knows exactly how to captivate readers, has perfectly crafted it.
“Sleight Malice” begins with a fire. Desley James is fighting terribly to get inside the burning home of her best friend Laura, as firefighters hold her back. When a body is pulled from the ash, Desley is heartbroken and completely stunned. The story, however, takes a dramatic turn when the body pulled from the home is male and Laura is nowhere to be found. In no time, Desley finds herself stuck in a terrible web of deceit, as she tries to unearth the secrets of her once best friend.
In perfect Vicki Tyley fashion, “Sleight Malice” entertains and stuns its readers. The characters are marvelous, complex people meticulously constructed for our enjoyment. With this novel Ms. Tyley has proven to be a contender, an author to keep your eye on because one day you’ll find yourself in a bookstore saying, “I’ve read her novels from the beginning”.
This is my second Vicki Tyley novel. Her first novel Thin Blood was a fantastic 5-star read, and if possible, Sleight Malice is even better. The storyline immediately captured me from the get-go. So many twists and turns and a wonderful climactic surprise at the end, that yet again I didn't see coming. Cleverly written and nicely layered with quirky, interesting and realistic characters, that keep the reader both entertained, and on their toes throughout the plot. A thoroughly enjoyable and gripping read. Kudos Vicki Tyley!
Sleight Malice is the second in Vicki Tyley's series of stand-alone thrillers, set in Melbourne, Australia. Following her recent separation from cheating husband, Trent, website designer Desley James, has been leaning on best friend, Laura, for support. After waving Laura off home after a wine-filled girls’ night in, Desley is woken in the middle of the night by sirens, in time to witness her best friend’s house burning to the ground. If that isn't enough, there is no sign of Laura or her boyfriend, Ryan; only the charred body of a unidentified man. Frustrated by the local police’s lack of progress, Desley starts to investigate, aided by new client and PI, Fergus Coleman. Soon enough, Desley knows she’s searching in the right direction when her house is broken into and her own life is threatened…
Vicki Tyley has written another corker! Sleight Malice is a modern, complex, multi-layered mystery which deals its twists and turns skilfully. The plot is enhanced by good dialogue, a little romance and some sprinklings of humour. Whenever you might think you’ve worked it all out or guessed what's coming next, know for sure that you have not - there is an ocean-full of red herrings on offer here! The story is quite dark in places, is structured well and builds cleverly to a tense climax. I was reading through the last few dozen pages at double speed, desperate to find out what happened next; and it was well worth the wait. I would whole-heartedly recommend this book to all mystery and thriller fans. Reviewed by Julia for Readers' Favorite.
Another great book by Vicki Tyley. I started Sleight Malice and became so caught up in the story I missed getting to the bank before it closed for the day.
The story and characters are written so well, that I was "in" the story as it happened and forgot the world around me. The story immediately began on a high note and continued with unexpected twists and turns as it kept building to a totally unexpected ending.
This was my second book by Vicki Tyley and I can not wait for more.
The morning after a girl's night in, Desley discovers that the home her friend returned to was burned down overnight. Where is her friend and whose is the unidentified body found in the ruins?
Sleight Malice is Vicki Tyley's second crime/mystery novel. This is a whodunnit that seems to have extended into a whosthatwherearetheyandwhodunnit? The author has decided to make the sleuth an ordinary woman with her own web design business and her client, a newly established ex-detective private-eye. The choice to focus on an amateur rather than a professional usually allows the author to focus a bit more on character development as the protagonist is dropped into a situation that's bound to provide multiple challenges and conflicts. However, it does come with its own set of issues. I believe it's harder to make such a story believable as the reader will ask: is it realistic that she could succeed where the professionals would fail? In this case, it helps that Desley is assisted by an ex-detective, but I still don't think the question is comfortably answered in the affirmative in this story.
Leaving plausibility aside, the story itself is a good one. The story has side-plots, misdirection and sufficient twists to make it an intriguing read and I received the additional benefit of following a story set in the environs of Melbourne and country Victoria, which always adds interest for me. So the plot ends up with a nice tick from me. Definitely worth the read.
There are two main characters: Desley, our inadvertent sleuth, and Fergus Coleman - and ex-detective employing Desley to build the website for his new private-eye business.
OK, let's get it out of the way immediately. There is sexual tension between the two characters. I'll let readers find out whether that tension actualises in any meaningful way, but its existence affects how they relate to each other throughout the story.
Desley is a fairly strong-willed and independent character. She has an ex, who has a pretty strong role in the story, but is an impediment rather than a support. I liked the character but could find her annoyingly stubborn and closed to people. It wasn't an unrealistic state given the obvious hazards of allowing her ex any benefit of the doubt. However, what frustrated me more was that I found her dialogue to be rather clunky and unnatural at times.
Fergus provided a less satisfactory point of view for me as a reader. His character suffered from a couple of things I find particularly frustrating. Firstly, I become quickly uninterested in a character whose observations of another character revolve almost entirely around his/her appearance. Secondly, he has an almost stereotypical view of women which he's happy to share with the reader at any opportunity. I feel like an alien when I encounter characters like this and I'm not sure if it reflects the author's lack of understanding of the male psyche or, even more disturbingly, an absolutely accurate view of the male psyche. Either way, it tends to disconnect me from the character and affects my enjoyment of the story.
Other than some issues I had with dialogue, the writing is spot-on and error free. The author is clearly a good writer and I can't imagine anyone submitting any claims to the contrary.
I liked Sleight Malice. I think some of the choices the author made in characterisation might mean I'm not the ideal target audience. I guess I'm not really a "women are like this", "men are like that" kind of reader and I've never understood every interaction spawning parallel threads of admiration for someone's appearance.
However, the plot itself is a really good one and definitely worth the effort.
A fire destroys a neighbor's house and Desley is anxious to find out what happened to the residents of the house- her best friend and her friend's husband. When it turns out that the only casualty of the fire is an unidentified man, the search for the missing couple is on. Desley's determination to unravel the mystery of what happened to her best friend takes her on a suspenseful journey to the truth; a truth that just may change her forever.
Vicki Tyley gives us another great read. Suspenseful and intriguing, this book is hard to put down, and each small twist and turn keeps you engaged right through to the end. Each new secret that is uncovered leads you to make new guesses as you try to discover the truth right along with Desley. With well-developed characters and interesting connections tying them together, there is never a dull moment. You are pulled further into the story with every new discovery, and it's hard to put the book down before you find out what truly happened.
Having read the author's first book, "Thin Blood," I was very pleased to find the writing style in her second book more fluid and engaging than her first. The actual writing shows growth and maturity, and proves the author is one to watch. There were several places, however, where I was confused by a seeming jump between chapters. One chapter would end in a bit of a cliffhanger, and the next would start the next day, or hours later in a different location, without any of the intensity of the previous chapter's ending. Those jumps were a bit confusing, and somewhat of a letdown after the ending of the chapter before. It added a bit of an awkward break in an otherwise exciting, flowing storyline.
Overall, a great story that is well worth the read. I will continue to look to Vicki Tyley for stories that hold my attention and make me want to read more!
Desley James is a website designer with an easy, calm life. Well, she used to anyway before the disappearance of her best friend Laura Noble along with Laura’s husband Ryan Moore.
Without giving a lot away, Desley stumbles on to many secrets involving Laura and Ryan who Desley now believes is Laura’s brother. She was on the money when she figures out Ryan is indeed Desley’s brother, yet she was incredibly wrong. With the help of Fergus Coleman, P.I., ex-cop, customer, turned lover, she gets deeper and deeper involved in a menagerie of issues with her ex husband Trent and his fiancé Selena who’s pregnant with another man’s child. Not to mention her brother Brandon who holds many keys.
Enter Paul and Helen Escott; Paul is Ryan’s ex partner in business and appears to have secrets of his own. Nothing comes off as it seems. There are twists and turns all over this book that brings you along on a wild ride that leaves you wondering if you’ve lost your ability to string two thoughts together. It was an excellent who-dun-it! The way this book ends is really good. What I mean by the end is not the last few pages, but how you find out what’s actually been going on. Every time I thought I had it figured out, I was dead wrong. I love it when a book does that to me.
Reviewed by Terri Ann Armstrong, author of “Morning Menace” and Executive Editor for Suspense Magazine
I had read and liked Australian Vicki Tyley’s last book, “Thin Blood,” and was eager for more. “Sleight Malice” was even better. The protagonist, Desley, is heartbroken when her best friend Laura’s house burns down and Laura has disappeared. Desley is the kind of lead character I like. She’s quirky, with enough unique qualities to stand out from the crowd. Desley’s loyalty to her friends and her perseverance in pushing ahead no matter what the obstacle are qualities we should all emulate.
Yet Desley is human and has plenty of flaws. She doesn’t always anticipate, maybe just ignores, the consequences of her actions. She doesn’t suffer fools lightly. Desley’s tolerance is severely tested when you toss in a potential love interest who’s loyalties aren’t always clear and a drunkard, ex-husband with his new, younger wife-to-be.
As Desley pushes the police to find Laura and, when they’re slow with results, starts searching on her own, all of these qualities come into play. The people she thought she knew best turn out to have secrets she’d have never guessed. Just as you think you know where the story is headed, you find you were wrong. It appears when they passed out the latest copies of “The Novelists Formula for Suspense” Vicki Tyley tossed her’s in the dustbin. I’m glad she did.
Warning--Don't start reading this book at bedtime. 'Sleight Malice' by Vicki Tyley kept me up most of the night. In this mystery/suspense Ms. Tyley skillfully rachets up the pressure until I felt I couldn't endure it any longer. Then there is a surprise ending. You will get no hints from me.
Ms. Tyley cleverly provides several suspects and red herrings that left me unable to predict the finale. I love the Australian background with little comments about climate, scenery, housing and way of life which all blend in smoothly with the plot. Ms.Tyley gives small touches of humour at intervals allowing the reader some much needed breathing space.
I sensed a tension between Delsey and Fergus Coleman throughout. This is very normal since the relationship develops under so much anxiety and makes it even more realistic.
Vicki Tyley shows that she is a professional by providing readers with both three dimensional characters and a well written, polished, difficult to solve mystery. I eagerly await her next book.
Tyley has created a great cast of characters that you can easily identify with as they push the story forward. The story takes place around the events of a mysterious fire that burns down the house of Desley's best friend Laura. After an unidentified body is found in the ruins she discovers that Laura and her husband missing. Determined to find out what reallly happened, Desley gathers all of the information at her disposal to go down a path of self-discovery that ultimately helps her solve the mystery as the tension ratchets up.
Another good mystery thriller from Tyley. Hopefuly it will be released soon. "Thin Blood" is another book by this Austrailian author. Look for it in ebook form from Smashwords.
As usual, the Queen of Suspense takes the reader through a labyrinth of situations and clues where the reader thinks "Yes, yes, I know who's done it!", but we're often wrong. When Vicki is ready, and not a minute before, she eventually leads the reader to a culminating and unexpected ending.
Like Vicki's other book "Thin Blood", I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sleight Malice. The story gripped me from the start and then I couldn't put it down--even when I was supposed to be working on other things. LOL.
I will soon embark upon another suspense adventure with Vicki's "Brittle Shadows" and already I know it's going to make an excellent read.
Laura and Ryan's home burns down. A man's body is found in the embers but Laura is missing. The police seem baffled. Laura's best friend, website designer Desley James, takes matters into her own hands to solve the mystery. The more she probes, the more complex things become. Friends and family are drawn into the intrigue. Twist follows turn as the story builds up to a tense climax - and a most surprising conclusion.
Vicki Tyley has given us another fast-paced, readable mystery, set in her Australian homeland. It's a very enjoyable and easy read, with nicely developed characters and natural dialogue, and some well-judged romantic interest all the way. I really enjoyed it.
I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of Sleight Malice. As was the case in her previous novel, Thin Blood, Vicki Tyley has woven a wonderfully complex tale of deceit and murder.
After her best friend's home goes up in flames, Desley James enlists the help of private investigator, Fergus Coleman, to find the missing woman and her partner. As their investigation heats up, Desley begins receiving threats against her own life.
Sleight Malice is a first-rate mystery guaranteed to keep you guessing. The characters and setting are richly detailed and the novel is filled with suspense to keep your heart racing. Vicki Tyley is definitely an author to watch.
I read about this book on line and I was really intrigued. I contacted Vicki Tyley and asked if I could have a copy to review. She was nice enough to send me a beta copy of the book. I was looking for a story that was not young adult fiction but still had the ability to fascinate the way that Ya does. I found exactly that in this story. Like Desley in the story I was wanting to know what happened to Laura. I was suspicious of every character in the book. I even had the mystery work out in my head. With each new clue that would present itself, my theory would change. It is a fun book to try to solve with the main character. However, I was completely off in solving it.
I have to admit I hardly ever give out 5 stars, for me 5 stars is when I can visualize the story, like a running movie in my head. And only rare books do that for me, some have too many cluttering details while others have too little. Finding the perfect balance, is rare and Sleight Malice did it perfectly. I loved the characters, Desley, her ex husband, and Fergus, and all the other characters were believable and likable in some way. I would recommend this book for teens to up, its a PG rated book.
I absolutely hate to use the cliche, "I couldn't put it down", but honestly it was applicable with this book. Desley, the heroine, was very real to me. When we first meet her, she is not a woman with superhuman emotional strength which is what helped me to relate to her. But she was stubborn, which also made me relate to her. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the budding romance between her and Fergus, and on top of it all, the murder mystery kept me on edge till the very end. I can't wait to start Ms. Tyley's next book!
What I like about Vicki Tyley's books is the absolute realism of her characters. The dialogue is listening to REAL people and is the true Australian drama that is played out, day in and day out in any part of this country. The story of Sleight Malice is a typical scene of work-a-day Melbourne and then it explodes into strong drama and deep intrigue. Once again the characters are strong minded young women who are faced with problems and how they solve them is the essence of the story. A good read with a lot of twists and turns.
Sleight Malice and Thin Blood - I read every word. These stories are worth every word. The characters are well thought out and real. These are two rare reads. Let me qualify by saying that during the summer, my best reading time, I go through books quickly. Many I get bored with after a few chapters and find myself skim reading in order to get the end of the story and not read all the fluff. Vicki Tyley's books are NOT boring and are well worth the time.
Classic whodunnit from Australian author Vicki Tyley that keeps you guessing until the end. It was refreshing and a bit surreal to read about places, slang and names from my home town of Melbourne. I really enjoyed the writing and dialogue, between a richly developed cast of characters. I thought it took a while to build momentum, and felt that some of the the chapter transitions tended to be a bit jarring with a lack of continuity. However, the climax and ending was worth it.
Another great read by Vicki Tyley, I enjoyed her first book (Thin Blood) so much that I downloaded Sleight Malice right away and I wasn’t disappointed. Sleight Malice is a page turned that kept me captivated from beginning to end. I wouldn’t give anything away but the ending had me surprised. Now I just have to wait for Brittle Shadows to be available for download at Amazon.com.