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Blood Always Tells

by Hilary Davidson

With Blood Always Tells, Hilary Davidson gives her recurring character, travel writer turned amateur sleuth Lily Moore, a rest. This time out, the Anthony Award–winning author spins a standalone tale of revenge, greed, and abuse, told from the perspectives of three characters linked by blood and circumstance.

Dominque Monaghan, Desmond Edgars, and Polly Brandov are all haunted by the events of their pasts – encounters with the law, family disappearances, abuse, and murder. Dominque’s plot to embarrass and inconvenience her cheating ex-boyfriend sees her tumbling into a relentless downward spiral of kidnapping and,
ultimately, murder.

Desmond, Dominique’s elder brother, has been watching over her in the years since the siblings’ mother went to prison for murdering their father. When Desmond receives a panicked message from his younger sister, he rushes off to her rescue.

The many intersecting plot threads involving a family fortune, a missing child, and multiple secrets could easily have become a tangled mess. Fortunately, Davidson knows how to handle a complicated story and also keep her reader turning the pages. Motivation, history, and plot twists are meted out in the novel’s short, punchy chapters, building suspense and escalating the thrills quickly but logically. As the stakes of the novel change, Davidson shifts the point of view, pairing the reader with the character who has the most to learn, the most to gain, or the most to lose.

Throughout, Davidson’s prose is measured and effective. Her repeated references to haunted houses and ghosts play well against the Byzantine family politics at the heart of the story. Davidson also displays a great facility for evoking memorable characters, whether through physical description or a focus on their habits and obsessions.

With its many curves and revelations, Blood Always Tells manages to surprise as well as thrill. Even the most minor-seeming detail pays off. In the dedication, Davidson writes, “If you’re going to sin, sin big.” The sin for the reader would be missing out on this well-crafted mystery.