Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Evil in All Its Disguises - HIlary Davidson

First line: "The snake had coiled itself halfway around my ankle by the time I spotted it."

Hilary Davidson's third novel featuring Lily Moore finds the amateur-sleuthing travel writer in Acapulco, Mexico, for a travel junket at the Hotel Cerón. The lavish accommodations aren't as much of a surprise as the fact that the hotel is owned by Pantheon Worldwide, her ex-fiancé's corporation. The surprises keep coming when Lily discovers that the hotel's manager is Gavin Stroud, the former right-hand man of her ex-fiancé Martin Sklar.

Armed with this knowledge, Lily is determined to find new lodgings, but meanwhile her friend and fellow travel-writer Skye McDermott has gone missing. The two were having a drink in the bar when Skye left to make a phone call and never returned. The hotel is practically empty except for the travel writers, and there's no evidence that Skye has left the premises, so where could she have gone and what could have happened to her?

As Davidson builds the suspense of the plot, a dark tone and atmosphere permeate the story. Weaving references to Edgar Allen Poe's work throughout the novel set in a virtually empty hotel creates a gothic feel for the reader. And Davidson's trademark references to classic movies and their actors adds to that vintage, black and white impression, as does the Acapulco setting--a one-time playground to Hollywood's big names.

The pacing of the novel is such that the reader can't stop turning pages, but at the same time Lily's feeling of being stuck in Acapulco for an eternity is projected to the reader. Can it really only be two days? The anxiety and intensity make us certain a lifetime has passed, or at least a week!

Hilary Davidson has indeed delivered again with a haunting crime novel that traps readers in its atmospheric microcosm--an engrossing story line, dramatic characters and exotic locales--coming back to a safe reality has never been so disappointing.

Evil in All Its Disguises is available today from Forge in hardcover (ISBN: 9780765333520) and as an unabridged audio (ISBN: 9781624060854), narrated by Hillary Huber from Dreamscape Audio.


Elizabeth March 5, 2013 at 2:29 PM  

Best one in the series yet, and that's saying something. Nice review. :-)

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