The blurb of this book described the main character, Alex Traynor, who was suffering from PTSD, as getting away with murder. At least that’s what New York Police Detective Sheryn Sterling believes. A year later Traynor’s fiancée Emily disappears, Sterling is determined to prove he has killed again. In One Small Sacrifice (Shadows of New York Book 1), author Hilary Davidson tackles the controversial subjects of PTSD and drug addictions.
The book begins with a bang then moves slowly forward. Alex Traynor was a war photographer and was wounded during one of his assignments. Dr. Emily Teare is one of a group of Doctors Without Borders and she saves Traynor’s life although he is left with a limp. Along with PTSD Traynor becomes addicted to drugs in an effort to deal with the fears and nightmares he carries with him. The love between the doctor and the photographer becomes the anchor he clings to. When Emily disappears, leaving only a good-bye note and her engagement ring behind, Traynor’s life is thrown into a turmoil.
Detective Sterling had been keeping tabs on Traynor since his “girlfriend, Cori was pushed or fell from the roof of the apartment building where he lived. Without sufficient evidence she is certain he pushed her off the roof, but Emily is his alibi. With Emily gone and no clues to her whereabouts except for a bloodstain under Traynor’s carpet and a copious amount of blood in the trunk of Emily’s abandoned car, it appears Sterling may be correct to assume he had something to do with her disappearance.
Midway through the book the story’s pace picks up. More characters are introduced, fleshing out the suspect pool. Clues begin to add up.
Davidson does a good job of building suspense once she gets going. Her characters are well developed, and many make excellent suspects. From Cori the drug addict’s father who holds Traynor responsible for her death, to Traynor’s good friend Will, there are clues pointing to multiple possibilities. Even Detective Sterling begins to question her objectivity.
Set in New York City, anyone who has lived there will be delighted at the mention of various locations. Davidson paints the city with descriptive strokes until the odors and crowds of the city come alive.
Overall this is a great suspense story. You may have to struggle a bit in the beginning, but once the tale gets rolling it’s difficult to set aside. I will definitely look for Hilary Davidson’s next book.
An apparent suicide. A mysterious disappearance. Did one man get away with murder—twice?
NYPD detective Sheryn Sterling has had her eye on Alex Traynor ever since his friend Cori fell to her death under suspicious circumstances a year ago. Cori’s death was ruled a suicide, but Sheryn thinks Alex—a wartime photojournalist suffering from PTSD—got away with murder.
When Alex’s fiancée, Emily, a talented and beloved local doctor, suddenly goes missing, Sheryn suspects that Alex is again at the center of a sticky case. Sheryn dislikes loose ends, and Cori’s death had way too many of them.
But as Sheryn starts pulling at the threads in this web, her whole theory unravels. Everyone involved remembers the night Cori died differently—and the truth about her death could be the key to solving Emily’s disappearance.
Photographs of Hilary by Anna Ty Bergman. Cover art courtesy of Thomas & Mercer.