Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Next One to Fall by Hilary Davidson

Hilary Davidson follows her award-winning mystery, The Damage Done, with a story that turns her character inside out, changing her from a vulnerable, lonely woman to a defiant one fighting for justice. The Next One to Fall moves travel writer Lily Moore, and the reader, out of the shadows of her life.

It's been three months since the funeral of Lily's sister in The Damage Done. Lily isn't sleeping, isn't herself, and she's been drifting through life. She's miserable no matter where she is. So, her best friend, Jesse, thought of a scheme to take her away. He suggested a trip to Peru where she could do research for travel pieces and he could take photos. But, she wasn't much happier hiking the Inca trail. And, then the hike to Machu Picchu ended in tragedy when they overheard an argument, and found a woman at the foot of the stairs. While Jesse ran for help, Lily tries to console the dying woman, but only ends up hearing a rant about the man who had left her there to die. Up until then, Lily had admitted, "Since Claudia had died, my perception of the world had changed. I didn't feel adventurous anymore." But, those dying comments thrust her into danger and unforgettable adventure.

Although the police are reluctant to believe Lily's statement that she saw a man run from the scene, they soon learn that Len Wolven, the son of a powerful wealthy man, had been with the victim. But, Len was surrounded by caretakers, people who protected him from the consequences of his actions. It wasn't long before Lily's probing uncovers a history of drugs, and missing and dead women. All attempts by the police and Wolven's handlers to brush the death aside only strengthens Lily's resolve to dig in and find justice for the dying woman. If no one else will look for the killer of an addict, and if no one else cares, Lily, the sister of an addict, will look for answers. That determination sets her on a collision course with a family convinced "money could shape justice."

Read this book for the mystery, and the exotic setting of Peru. But, the character of Lily Moore is the best reason to read The Next One to Fall. Davidson took a woman, manipulated by her mother and sister, lost and alone in the world, and threw her into the path of a family worse than her own. Lily's descriptions of her own feelings break your heart. She was scared, haunted by her feelings for her sister, and her feelings of loneliness. "Now that I was completely rootless, lacking family or a real home, I seemed to be standing at the edge of an abyss, ready for a fall of my own." Lily had choices. She saw mirrors in other people who had faced loss. Jesse faced it, and chose to go on with a positive attitude. Len Wolven and his family chose an entirely different direction. Even one of Len's protectors faced loss. Lily could choose to continue to drift through life, or she could find a reason to live, to fight for her own life.

Hillary Davidson gives Lily Moore choices in this powerful character study. Lily Moore is a character you won't forget, a woman who can choose to dig for answers, to fight for justice for the vulnerable in life. Or she can choose to be The Next One to Fall.

Hilary Davidson's website is www.hilarydavidson.com

The Next One to Fall by Hilary Davidson. Tom Doherty Associates, ©2012. ISBN 9780765326980 (hardcover), 352p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Beth Hoffman said...

I'm drawn to fully actualized characters, and Lily Moore sounds fascinating.

Thanks for the recommendation, Lesa!

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Beth! Thanks for the note. And, Happy Valentine's Day to you my friend, from me and all the cats!

Hilary Davidson said...

Lesa, I'm honored by your wonderful review! Thank you so much for your thoughtful consideration and for your enthusiasm. Both mean a lot to me!

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Hilary. And, thanks for a terrific book! See you soon.