One Small Sacrifice by Hilary Davidson

One Small Sacrifice by Hilary Davidson
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (366 pages)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

An apparent suicide. A mysterious disappearance. Did one man get away with murder—twice?

NYPD detective Sheryn Sterling has had her eye on Alex Traynor ever since his friend Cori fell to her death under suspicious circumstances a year ago. Cori’s death was ruled a suicide, but Sheryn thinks Alex—a wartime photojournalist suffering from PTSD—got away with murder.
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When Alex’s fiancée, Emily, a talented and beloved local doctor, suddenly goes missing, Sheryn suspects that Alex is again at the center of a sticky case. Sheryn dislikes loose ends, and Cori’s death had way too many of them.

But as Sheryn starts pulling at the threads in this web, her whole theory unravels. Everyone involved remembers the night Cori died differently—and the truth about her death could be the key to solving Emily’s disappearance.

Alex Traynor doesn’t have an easy life. Suffering from PTSD acquired during his years as a wartime photojournalist, bad luck seems to follow him wherever he goes. Accused – and then absolved – of taking part in the death of his friend Cori Stanton, Alex is haunted both by his lack of memory from that night as well as by the detective who can’t let the case go. When his fiancée, Emily, disappears, suddenly Alex is back in the crosshairs. But did he do something to Emily or are there bigger forces at work?

It’s easy to have sympathy for Alex Traynor. Early on in the novel, you see his PTSD kick in and you can feel his stress and anxiety as a result. He makes for a very sympathetic character who has some pretty awful moments. His relationship with Emily, a doctor he met in a war zone, is endearing and gives hope to the reader that maybe, he really didn’t hurt her. The crazy thing is, he has no idea whether he has or not.

I had a real love/hate relationship with Detective Sheryn Sterling. On one hand, I love that she wasn’t willing to let Cori Stanton’s death go until she had the answers she needed to close the case. On the other, she is borderline obsessed with Alex and often comes across as if she’s trying to set him up to pay for Cori’s death. About halfway through the story, once she realizes that things weren’t as clear cut as she’d thought, I really began to like her and understand her motivation. Her partner, Rafael Mendoza, is the perfect guy to mellow her out. He made me laugh often and smoothed out some of Sheryn’s rougher edges.

One Small Sacrifice is one of the best thrillers I’ve read in a long time. The author is a master at misdirection, leaving tidbits here and there to completely throw the reader off the scent. I’ll admit that I’ve never been very good at figuring these things out, but I was even less sure of the culprit here. Had Alex finally snapped? Was Detective Sterling setting him up? I had no idea what was really going on. When the actual bad guy was revealed, I was floored because it was one of the few people that hadn’t actually occurred to me until near the end. Excellent mystery that I’d highly recommend to anyone who loves a roller coaster ride of a novel.


  1. Ohhh, she is a new author to me, and from your review, I clearly need to know more about her titles!

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