By Hilary Davidson
Tor Forge, $24.99, 352 pages
Travel writer Lily Moore’s drug addicted sister has recently died, plunging her into a deep depression. Her best friend Jesse, a photographer, convinces her to travel to Peru with him where on a trek to Machu Picchu, Lily witnesses a woman’s suspicious death and becomes obsessed with solving the case and bringing the perpetrator to justice.
With a strong premise, The Next One to Fall virtually guarantees to be an enthralling read. But it falls a bit short, its weaknesses mostly laying in its rather limited list of suspects. Towards the end of the novel, having approximately five people of interest, all of whom are in some way related to each other (biologically or through business), and author Hilary Davidson wanting to stretch her story out to achieve the utmost suspense, we end up actually just going in what feel like tedious circles. Is it Suspect A? No, it must be Suspect B! But no! Another twist! Maybe it’s Suspect C…but was Suspect A in on it? Additionally, there are certain aspects of the characters that seem forced; Lily’s best friend and cohort Jesse, for example, is conveniently homosexual, but with a penchant for down home colloquialisms that come across as superficial.
Shortcomings aside, however, The Next One to Fall is a fun and quick read, a relatively unchallenging book featuring a strong—albeit wavering—female protagonist and intriguing real-life Andean locations. Still, with Davidson having authored almost 20 nonfiction books, it should be a bit stronger.
Reviewed by Ashley McCall