The Next One to Fall
by Hilary Davidson
Release Date: February 14th, 2012
2012 Tor Books
Hardcover Edition; 352 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Travel writer Lily
Moore has been persuaded by her closest friend, photographer Jesse Robb,
to visit Peru with him. Jesse is convinced that the trip will lure Lily
out of her dark mood, but Lily is haunted by betrayal and loss. At
Machu Picchu, the famous Lost City of the Incas, they discover a woman
clinging to life at the bottom of an ancient stone staircase. Just
before the woman dies, she tells Lily the name of the man who pushed
When the local police investigate, the forensic evidence
they find doesn’t match what Lily knows. Unable to accept the official
ruling of accidental death, Lily hunts down the wealthy man who was the
dead woman’s traveling companion and discovers a pattern of dead and
missing women in his wake.
Obsessed with getting justice for
these women, Lily sets in motion a violent chain of events that will
have devastating consequences.
The Next One to Fall is one of those mystery novels that I really enjoyed for its beautiful and rich descriptions of Peru, in particular Machu Picchu, but is not one that I would necessarily recommend for its suspense or mystery. And after reading the first one in this series, The Damage Done, having enjoyed it quite a bit, I was somewhat let down after finishing this one.
First of all, I will give Ms. Davidson full credit for setting her mystery in a very unique and interesting part of the world. I have been wanting to visit Machu Picchu for a very long time now and after reading this, it has only moved that longing to the near-top of a very long bucket list. I truly enjoyed the descriptions of the area and the people and would have liked to have learned much more. That being said, I wish more depth had gone into some of the areas discuseed as I felt like only the tip had been mentioned, such as the flourishing drug trade, but then the whole topic kind of petered out and I was left feeling as if it just wasn't interesting or necessary to the story and just dropped. It made the novel feel incomplete for me and I was left wondering why it was mentioned in the first place. And there seemed to be a lot of this hodge-podge material in the novel.
And while there could have been some very interesting character development in this story, this was never quite achieved with either the primary or secondary characters, expect for maybe Detective Vargas, whom I liked the most as I found I empathized with his situation. Truly, I would have found Lily Moore difficult to deal with as well and there were times when she annoyed me tremendously. I just had a hard time connecting to her and some of the things she did seemed so out of line for an experienced travel writer. I totally understand her concern for someone else, but I did not buy into the fact that an experienced travel writer and an experienced photojournalist would be all that interested in getting involved in a murder in a foreign country.
While the novel started off interestingly enough, I think the various convolutions and twists sort of got away from the author and it became a bit messy. It also became less and less believable and I was in shock when I got towards the end; it just caught me off guard and I felt like I was in a reality show. I just didn't feel like it was believable and I was somewhat let down by that. I also didn't know what to think by that ending. I wish I could explain a bit more, folks, but I would give away important plot points and I don't want to do that either.
The Next One to Fall was somewhat of a disappointment in comparison to The Damage Done. I found the plot to be too cliched for me to be believable and I didn't buy into it this time around. Despite all this, I really did enjoy the first novel and would like to read the next novel in this series to see if maybe this one was a fluke and Ms. Davidson will return to her stellar form in Evil in All its Disguises.