Delivering on all counts, Hilary Davidson’s startling debut The Damage Done is so much more than what meets the eyes. As you turn the pages of this pulse-rating crime fiction, Davidson deftly transports you to a mystery-laden setting where you will be plunged into a deep, dark tragedy that will leave you breathless until you have reached the final written word.
On hearing that her deeply troubled, drug-addicted younger sister Claudia has been found dead in her apartment in New York, a shock-stricken Lily Moore rushes home from Spain. A successful travel journalist, Lily made her escape to Spain a year ago to get away from the troubles in her life, namely her sister Claudia who has been living on the edge of life.
Lily was soon, however, baffled to learn that the body at the morgue belongs to a complete stranger, who has been impersonating Claudia. The whereabouts of her sister therefore remains unknown and the new turns of the events sends her into a state of utter panic. What has happened to Claudia? Where has she disappeared to?
And so, the frantic search for Claudia begins in earnest and when Claudia transforms from victim to suspect in the eyes of the police, Lily becomes determined to find out the truth behind all the baffling mysteries surrounding the disappearance of her sister. In her quest to search for her sister and the person responsible for the tragic situation, Lily makes sure that not a stone is left unturned.
Through all the chaos that ensue, Lily confronts her own past and a string of people who might have any information about Claudia including her next-door neighbor, Lily’s former fiancé, and even Claudia’s obsessive ex-lover. Then there is the life of Claudia’s impostor that Lily has to dig through to find answers. What emerges is a terrible truth shocking beyond belief that ultimately threatens to take a toll on Lily and those she loves.
With haunting details and heart-quickening twists that you won’t anticipate even in the slightest, The Damage Done explores the issue of identity theft in a new light, cautioning us about the threat it poses. The cleverly-woven plot sends you spiralling down an unknown path, as Davidson guides us through her heroine’s family secrets as well as the peculiar bond between the two sisters and their dysfunctional relationship.
Easily one of the most refreshing crime thrillers to emerge this year, Davidson’s The Damage Done is a first-rate mystery debut that is thoroughly entertaining and highly satisfying. So sit back and enjoy this racing thrill ride of a novel full of mystery and suspense that guarantees escapism at its best.
Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com