A capable but jaded NYPD detective questions whether a dangerous killer is picking off his romantic partners one by one—or whether someone else is getting away with murder.
When Alex Traynor's fiancee, Emily, goes missing, Detective Sheryn Sterling feels partly responsible. After all, when another woman connected to Alex died the previous year after falling off a roof, she was sure he was guilty—but she could never find enough evidence to put him away. Alex might be an award-winning photojournalist, but his years spent bearing witness to the horrors of war have given him PTSD, and Sheryn knows from personal experience that this demon can make rational people do terrible, violent things. As the investigation into Emily's disappearance deepens, Sheryn and her new partner find themselves going back over the previous case as well. It's possible that there's a darker story there and that Alex isn't the only one with secrets. The novel changes third-person perspectives in each chapter, giving insight and development to a handful of different characters, which allows for several characters to become multifaceted throughout the novel. There is an immediate relevance to Alex's struggles with PTSD as well as to Sheryn's concern that her beloved former (retired) partner's casual bigotry might have had some effect on how they approached their job. An additional plot thread involving both opioid addiction and illegal prescriptions also rings sadly current. Overall, Davidson's (Blood Always Tells, 2014, etc.) plot doesn't offer anything groundbreakingly new or unfamiliar, but it's easy to get drawn deeply into the various motives and secrets of each character because it's so perfectly human for all of us to keep things hidden, even from those we love.
A thoughtfully plotted and skillfully characterized procedural mystery—and, it appears, the first in a new series.
A Crime Reads Best Crime Novels of 2019 Notable Selection
“Fans of Karin Slaughter, Tana French, and Lisa Gardner will devour this new police procedural, which boasts a strong female detective and an intriguing antagonist. Sheryn will draw in readers, and Davidson’s complex storytelling will keep them wanting more.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“A thoughtfully plotted and skillfully characterized procedural mystery…It’s easy to get drawn deeply into the various motives and secrets of each character because it’s so perfectly human for all of us to keep things hidden, even from those we love.” —Kirkus Reviews
“[A] taut series launch…Davidson’s ability to maintain the suspense bodes well for future installments.” —Publishers Weekly
“The story line veers between alternate points of view…[while] perspectives on the same information provide different results. Writing the novel in this fashion amps up the suspense while also giving the narrative a complex and compelling flair. In addition, Davidson does an admirable job of making a complicated issue such as PTSD relatable. With an unpredictable ending and evidence that this is the start of a series, definitely check out One Small Sacrifice.” —Associated Press
“One Small Sacrifice is a complex and engaging psychological thriller with fully realized characters. The plot throws light on the darker areas of human nature, of the fallibility of memory, and leaves the reader guessing until the very end.” —Authorlink
“A thriller, of the filled-with-dread-but-I-have-to-finish-it variety.” —New York Journal of Books
“Told from multiple points of view, Davidson has crafted a compelling police procedural…” —Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
“This thriller, told from alternating points of view, will keep readers glued to their seats.” —National Examiner
“Davidson’s stealthily plotted, rapidly deployed, multi-stranded mystery encompasses the most intimate of brutalities—including domestic abuse and post-battlefield PTSD, a solid handful of dodgy characters, and, in the most humane of touches, a dog named Sid.” —The Seattle Review of Books
“Davidson’s plotting is tight and complex, a slow build of twists and reversals that keeps characters and readers guessing until the final pages. The resolution is well supported and natural, while simultaneously surprising.” —Quill & Quire
“One Small Sacrifice is an intense page-turner with twists to the very end.” —Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (5 stars)
“Davidson’s latest novel is her best work yet. One Small Sacrifice is a fast-paced winner. Highly recommended.” —Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Run Away
“Davidson has crafted a tightly woven mystery. Each thread of the intricate plot draws you toward one surprising revelation after another.” —Sandra Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Tailspin
“Hilary Davidson’s One Small Sacrifice is both a heart-pounding procedural and a rich, mesmerizing tale of the weight of trauma and the elusive nature of memory. Twisty, absorbing, and deeply humane, it’s a thriller you won’t want to miss.” —Megan Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Give Me Your Hand
“Packed with secrets, lies, and surprises, One Small Sacrifice kept me guessing to the very end. A gritty kaleidoscope of a thriller.” —Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of Final Girls
“A taut, compelling narrative with a nerve-tingling climax. Davidson turns clichés of the contemporary novel on their heads to create a wholly believable cast of characters. I hope we’ll see more of Detective Sheryn Sterling.” —Sara Paretsky, New York Times bestselling author of Shell Game
“One Small Sacrifice is a terrific thriller with a big heart. A smart, compelling examination of guilt, blame, and responsibility that will keep you turning the pages. Hilary Davidson is a rising star of suspense.” —Jeff Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of The Three Beths
“Hilary Davidson is one of the best crime writers on the planet. This novel is a dazzling work by a master operating at the height of her abilities. Dark, twisty, and psychologically complex, One Small Sacrifice kept me guessing and gasping until the final page. I couldn’t put it down, even though I didn’t want it to end.” —Chris Holm, Anthony Award–winning author of The Killing Kind
“One Small Sacrifice hooked me hard. Hilary Davidson has written a riveting and beautifully layered thriller that satisfies on every level. The characters surprise, the plot twists, and the pages turn themselves.” —Lou Berney, Edgar Award–winning author of November Road
“I tore through this book! Hilary Davidson is at the top of her game with this masterful and twisty new novel that’s jam-packed with suspense. Filled with wonderfully diverse characters, breakneck pacing, and surprises at every turn, this modern mystery will thrill even the most old-school crime fiction lovers. This book satisfied me on so many levels.” —Jennifer Hillier, author of Jar of Hearts