Small Sacrifice by Hilary Davidson is a procedural mystery
that will keep readers guessing until the very last chapter.
Each thread of the detailed plot unveils one surprising revelation
after another. With the compelling characters, this story
contrasts how good people can go astray with horrible people
that have no conscience.
The early chapters set the pace for the rest of the book with
war photographer Alex Traynor getting away with murdering
his good friend Cori Stanton. At least that’s what New
York Police Detective Sheryn Sterling believes. Alex has PTSD
due to his harrowing work in war zones around the world. Unable
to remember what happened the night Cori fell from a rooftop,
it is believed he pushed her to her death. Yet, because of
a lack of evidence, he was released.
wanted to incorporate into the story some of what I went through.
My first job, more than twenty years ago, straight out of
college, had workplace violence. A man tried to murder everyone
in the office at the Veterans Government Department in Toronto.
There were people who were not getting enough help that included
this one man in particular. He was homeless with a mental
illness that was not properly treated. This person was very
angry at their counselor and made death threats for months.
One day he came and started a massive fire that destroyed
three floors of the office building. It was a horrifying scene.
There is this lost time in which I do not recall what exactly
happened. I had this weird fragmental memory and unforgettable
When Alex’s fiancée, Dr. Emily Teare, a talented
and beloved local doctor, suddenly goes missing, Sheryn suspects
Alex of misdeeds. Initially, she was out to prove Traynor
murdered again, but 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, and that Alex isn’t
the only one with secrets. Slowly she discards her tunnel
vision and personal bias and starts relooking at the evidence
that includes opioid addiction and illegal prescriptions.
intention, in the beginning, was to have Sheryn fall into
the mindset to have the facts fit into her conception. She
had it while on the hunt and when she had the suspect in her
sight. I put in this book quote by Alex’s lawyer to
show just that: “She’d going to shoehorn every
shred of evidence to fit her theory and incriminate you.”
I think that police work is sometimes like a scientist where
they have a theory and go in that direction. But I hope the
readers saw she had a flexible enough mind where she could
take in new information and reset her thinking. Some have
told me that they recognized that Sheryn grew and changed.
She broadens her perspective. She is a tremendous advocate
for the victims and is determined in the pursuit of justice.”
It is also a love story between the two main characters, Alex
and Emily, and how much they will sacrifice for each other.
Alex, a photographer who made a name for himself taking pictures
in war torn countries such as Iraq and Syria, witnessed multiple
horrors. While photographing the harrowing scenes, Alex was
kidnapped in Syria. During the rescue operation by his army
friend Maclean, Alex was shot in his leg. Taken to a medical
center for treatment of his injuries, he met Emily, a neurosurgeon
who volunteers with Doctors Without Borders. She removes the
bullet from his leg, and their relationship builds from there
into a romance that leads to their engagement.
makes this a good thriller are the ingredients that Davidson
puts into this story: Twists, turns, and surprises that make
the novel really suspenseful. The story is so well crafted
that it’s difficult to know who the guilty party is.
Is there a connection between the death of Stanton and the
disappearance of Teare? Davidson drops details throughout
the narrative that keeps the reader off balance, unsure, and
on the edge of their seat.