One Small Sacrifice

Mysterious Book Report No. 387

by John Dwaine McKenna

Don’t let the innocent sounding title fool ya . . . . One Small Sacrifice, (Thomas & Mercer, $24.95, 351 pages, ISBN 9781542042116) by Hilary Davidson . . . is an utterly engrossing. finely wrought and thoroughly entertaining murder mystery and thriller that will keep the reader guessing from the very first page to the very last.

It’s complicated.  The protagonist, Alex Traynor, is a mess.  He’s a prize-winning war photographer who’s living in New York City where he’s been self-medicating, because he’s suffering from a raging case of PTSD coupled with severe survivor’s guilt.  A little more than a year earlier, Alex’s friend, and a fellow drug abuser named Cari Stanton, fell to her death from the fifth-floor roof of his apartment building while in a drug-induced stupor.  There were just two people up there at the time, Cari . . . and Alex Traynor.  Alex claims that he can’t remember what happened, that he blacked out from all the drugs he’d ingested. But the tough NYPD Detective named Sheryn Sterling doesn’t believe a word of it.  She thinks the evidence indicates Cari was pushed.  But she can’t prove it.  And although the case is ruled a suicide, Sheryn’s gut instincts tell her that Alex Traynor got away with murder.

Alex has moved on.  With the love and help of his fiancé, Dr. Emily Teare, the woman who operated on him when he was shot and wounded in Aleppo, where she worked for Doctor’s Without Borders, he’s working his way out of addiction and doing his level best to fly right.  But everything changes in less than a heartbeat when Emily disappears.   Detective Sterling, convinced that Alex is a murderer, vows to do everything in her power to ensure he doesn’t get away with it again.  Then, there’s a whole cast of other characters in the mix, like Cari’s enraged and grieving father who won’t let go, because he’s so convinced that Alex killed his only daughter;  the mysterious woman with the platinum wig who breaks into Alex and Emily’s apartment; Will, the disgraced financier and boyhood friend of Alex’s who’s got a hidden agenda that’s not so friendly; and then, there’s Bobby . . . the snooping, apartment creeping, panty sniffing superintendent who lurks around their building, in this outstanding novel.

Hilary Davidson is without a doubt, the queen of suspense thrillers. One Small Sacrifice has more red herrings than the Bering Sea, and more twists, turns and sharp points than a five gallon bucket full of number ten fishhooks.  Read it for yourself and you, like the MBR, will become an instant fan of this awesome writer!

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