Lily Moore, a successful travel writer, fled to Spain to get away from her troubled, drug-addicted younger sister, Claudia.  But when Claudia is found dead in a bathtub on the anniversary of their mother’s suicide, Lily must return to New York to deal with the aftermath.

The situation shifts from tragic to baffling when the body at the morgue turns out to be a stranger’s. The dead woman had been using Claudia’s identity for months.  The real Claudia had vanished, reappearing briefly on the day her impostor died.  As Claudia transforms from victim to suspect in the eyes of the police, Lily becomes determined to find her before they do.

Is Claudia actually missing, or is she playing an elaborate con game?  And who’s responsible for the body that was found in the bathtub?  An obsessive ex-lover?  An emotionally disturbed young man with a rich and powerful father?  Or Lily’s own former fiancé, who turns out to be more deeply involved with Claudia than he admits?

As Lily searches for answers, a shadowy figure stalks her and the danger to her grows.  Determined to learn the truth at any cost, she is unprepared for the terrible toll it will take on her and those she loves.


Publishers Weekly: “In Davidson's razor sharp mystery debut, travel journalist Lily Moore, who's been living in Spain, rushes home to Manhattan's Lower East Side on learning that her younger sister, Claudia, a recovering heroin addict, has apparently drowned in her bathtub on the anniversary of their mother's suicide. The corpse in the morgue, however, is that of a stranger who'd been posing as Claudia for months. So where's Claudia? An increasingly frantic Lily launches her private investigation while NYPD detectives Norah Renfrew and hunky "Brux" Bruxton oversee the official one... Davidson, herself a travel journalist (Frommer's Toronto 2010), offers a great portrait of sisterly love, despite a dysfunctional past, as well as a highly satisfying mystery.” — August 2, 2010

Library Journal: “Successful writer Lily Moore returns to New York from Spain when her heroin-addicted sister is found dead in her bathtub on the anniversary of their mother's suicide. Lily is shocked to find that the dead woman is not her sister but has been living as Claudia Moore for six months. Where is the real Claudia? At this very vulnerable time, Lily's ex-fiancé reappears, causing further emotional turmoil, and then her life begins to disintegrate as everything that Lily believes is turned upside down. VERDICT Making a notable fiction debut, travel journalist Davidson has written an intriguing psychological mystery with a fully drawn protagonist who is surrounded by real characters who either care for her or who want her to fit their idea of who she should be. Readers will eagerly await Davidson's next book.” — October 1, 2010

The Globe & Mail: “Fans of the late Lyn Hamilton’s lovely Lara McClintock series, rejoice! Travel journalist Hilary Davidson, a Torontonian transplanted to New York City, brings us Lily Moore and the beginning of a series that will charm and delight those who love mysteries in exotic locales... This is a most promising beginning with likeable characters, a good puzzle and an excellent sense of place. Hilary Davidson is one to watch.” — Margaret Cannon, October 14, 2010

Crimespree Magazine: “One of the best debuts I’ve read in years. The Damage Done is so good it makes me wonder why Davidson waited so long to write a novel... Davidson does an outstanding job of building suspense and creating tension. Her characters are believable and at no point did I find myself not believing every word. I can’t wait to read the next book.” — Jon Jordan, September/October 2010 (print only)

WETA Book Studio: “Top Ten Reads: The Thriller Edition”:The Damage Done by Hilary Davidson — In this strong debut thriller, travel writer Lily Moore has to leave sunny Spain for Manhattan when her drug-addict sister Claudia is found dead in a bathtub — on the anniversary of their mother's suicide. Unfortunately, the body in the bathtub isn't really Claudia, and as Lily tries to unravel her sister's web of lies, she herself becomes the prey of an obsessed stalker.” — Bethanne Patrick, September 30, 2010

Lesa’s Book Critiques: “Hilary Davidson's debut, The Damage Done, is a powerful crime novel, the story of a missing woman. But, it's so much more.  It's the story of all the damage done in family relationships, including the damage done by addiction. Davidson's given us a profound story that shows the depth, the pain, and the collateral damage caused by addiction, problems that extend far beyond the person with the addiction...” — Lesa Holstine, October 3, 2010

University of Toronto Magazine: “One doesn’t have to be a crime-fiction enthusiast to appreciate the rapidly paced plot or well-developed characters. Davidson weaves together a murder mystery so complex, it’ll have you asking “whodunit?” right up until the last page.” — Suzanna Chang, Winter 2011 issue

Surrey Now: “All those years Davidson spent in travel journalism have paid off in her debut novel. The characters, who hail from around the globe, are each quite real in how they act, speak and in the cultural heritage they bring with them -- an accomplishment that's no small feat. Davidson said she did a whole draft focusing on getting the dialogue and details of each character's culture just right. It may be a crime novel, but The Damage Done is as much about family ties, relationships and the pressure of change. Hopefully it's the first of many from Davidson.” — Carolyn Cooke, December 7, 2010

Savannah Morning News: “Oh, what a deliciously tangled web of circumstances does author Hilary Davidson weave in her masterful debut, The Damage Done... it almost defies belief that this is Davidson’s first novel...” — Elizabeth A. White, December 24, 2010

Ransom Notes (Barnes & Noble Mystery Blog): “This is good old fashioned mystery writing – characters  hashing out theories at length, exposing secrets, making sport of literally life and death situations – the kind Agatha Christie might write today meant to work in multiple mediums, stage, page and cinema simultaneously.  But the secrets revealed, the motives exposed and the uh Damage Done strike me as juuuust a shade darker than those of the average Marple case... This is a terribly assured debut from someone I think we’ll be reading for a long time.” — Jedidiah Ayres, October 1, 2010

“Once Were Mysteries” by Ken Bruen: “In an era of Kindle, Amazon ratings, where does, say, the spirit of David Goodis linger? In the new authors, a whole batch of gung ho mystery writers who believe that mystery is the new rock ’n’ roll. Duane Swierzynski. Al Guthrie. Russell McLean. Ray Banks. Alan Glynn. Megan Abbott. Hilary Davidson. Who don’t give a toss about so-called literacy conventions. They are out there writing the most exciting literature this side of the Booker Prize.” — August 31, 2010

Booklist: “Travel writer Lily Moore is called back to New York by news of the death of her younger sister, Claudia, but on arrival, she discovers that the body found in the bathtub of her apartment isn’t Claudia’s. (Lily had taken her heroin-addict sister in to save her from life on the streets, but she fled to Spain when living with Claudia became unbearable.) So who died in the apartment that Lily still pays for? Where is Claudia? And how are Claudia’s close friend and onetime lover, wealthy Tariq Lawrence, and Lily’s ex-fiancé, real-estate magnate Martin Sklar, involved? With the help of her best friend, Jesse, and a couple of sympathetic cops, Lily traces strands of a tangled web back to a shady rehab facility. Travel-journalist Davidson does a fine job with characterizations, gradually fleshing out the Moore sisters’ backstory, and she keeps plot tangents under control to spin a tale of nonstop action with a nice final twist. An entertaining and promising crime-fiction debut, with the potential for a sequel.” — Michele Leber, September 15, 2010

Jen’s Book Thoughts:The Damage Done is Hilary Davidson's debut crime novel and I'm thrilled to discover her at the onset of what I'm sure will be a long and prosperous career in crime fiction. This debut is exciting, engaging and all around exceptional... Davidson's judicious plotting covers every angle of the story, weaving multitudinous outcome possibilities into the fibers of the plot. Questions build upon questions and everyone's a suspect. This keeps the reader turning pages; just how do all the pieces and characters fit into this puzzle? Davidson expertly sneaks the story and its cast into the reader's thoughts, not leaving room for much else.” — Jen Forbus, September 13, 2010

Saskatoon StarPhoenix: “Hilary Davidson is a Toronto-born travel journalist who, in her first mystery, creates a successful travel journalist with a sister problem. Lily Moore returns to New York from a year working in Spain because her drug addict sister, Claudia, has been found dead in her bathtub on the anniversary of their mother's suicide. However, the woman in Claudia's bathtub is not Claudia. Who is she, and where is Claudia? Chasing down the answers to those questions will eventually drive Moore into the New York night with a gun in her purse, and take her very close to death—in the same bathtub... Davidson has started a promising second career with The Damage Done.” — Jenni Morton, January 29, 2011

Manhattan User’s Guide: “Hilary Davidson's debut novel, The Damage Done, is a twisty, compelling mystery centered around a death on the Lower East Side.” — October 7, 2010

Stop, You’re Killing Me! “This twisty-plotted suspense thriller paints a compelling portrait of dysfunctional family love, and is a finalist for the Arthur Ellis, Anthony, and Macavity awards for Best First Novel.” — July 1, 2011

Jenn’s Bookshelves:The Damage Done is a stellar debut novel by Hilary Davidson. I appreciated how she incorporated parts of her life (as a travel writer) into the main character, Lily. Lily is an extremely realistic and flawed character: her exterior reveals a strong, independent woman but inside she’s vulnerable…” — December 13, 2010

The Thrill Begins: “First Write a Book a Bookseller Wants to Read”: “Hilary Davidson, in The Damage Done, wrote a more serious, even elegant noir debut: ‘It was the bright yellow tape that finally convinced me my sister was dead.’ We’ve all seen enough crime shows to know just what that yellow tape means. In fourteen words, Davidson paints a vivid scene, one we won’t forget.” — Linda S. Brown, June 9, 2011

Scott Montgomery, BookPeople (naming The Damage Done as a Top 10 mystery pick for 2010): “Hitchcock with grit. A tight well told, thriller with fully developed characters a true emotion with a woman who returns to New York to deal with her sister’s death only to find out the corpse is not her sister.” — December 22, 2010

Steve Weddle: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Not only is this the best debut I've read in a while, this is the best book I've read in a long time.” — December 13, 2010

Chris F. Holm: “In a world of popcorn thrillers, The Damage Done is a five-course meal. At once dark, brainy, and propulsive, but with the guts and heart to match, The Damage Done announces Hilary Davidson as a major player in the future of crime fiction.” — May 9, 2011

I Meant to Read That:The Damage Done has great characters and plot that will keep the reader guessing until the climax when Lily uncovers the truth and finally understands the true worth of her sister and the inherited damage done to both girls that they were never going to escape from by running away... The plot twists and turns, hinting at many outcomes before flowing onto one unexpected revelation after another. Hopefully there will only be a short wait to discover what comes next from the pen of Hilary Davidson, but however long, it will be endured with great anticipation.” — November 19, 2010

TerribleMinds: “Man, Hilary Davidson looks so nice. She’s very sweet. All smiles and big bright eyes. But make no mistake: she’s demented. She’s got a whole twisted brain under that hair of hers, and that twisted brain isn’t just concerned with your murder, but how to make your murder as tangled and iniquitous as humanly possible. Hilary Davidson is an engineer of sin, deception, and madness.” — Chuck Wendig, November 18, 2010

In Reference to Murder: “Davidson maintains the suspense at a high level but also manages terrific character development, vivid imagery, and an engaging mystery, to boot.” — B.V. Lawson, November 5, 2010

Book Pleasures: “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.” — Hamdhoon Rashad, December 1, 2010

Nigel Bird: “The plot is as gently layered as a fine choux pastry... The depth of the characters is such that it’s impossible not to feel all of the subtleties of their emotions as things happen to them...” — April 2, 2011

Noir Journal: “Davidson smartly injects the proceedings with a healthy dose of noir. Just like many of her characters, Davidson isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. The result is a mystery that contains more grit than glamour. And while it still has a heart, it’s of the broken variety.” — Todd Ritter, February 6, 2011

Marilyn’s Mystery Reads: “Hilary Davidson has created a very believable heroine in Lily Moore. At the beginning of the novel she appears to be the opposite of her sister, a very successful, put-together professional woman who has endured a life that would have destroyed someone weaker, as it appeared to have done to her sister. But the more one reads, the more Lily’s own demons come out... This is a debut worthy of the three awards for which it has been nominated.” — July 16, 2011

Edward Lazellari: “Davidson's plot moves along at an eight-minute-mile pace with crisp dialogue and efficient prose. I can see this as a movie and found myself even casting parts as I read. A strong debut by a freshman novelist.” — July 10, 2011

Julie Summerell: “Today I finished Hilary Davidson’s debut novel, The Damage Done. Having poked around in her short fiction prior to this novel I’m going to make a statement. Davidson is the new master (Mistress? Feh, no) of the visceral. I haven’t read a single story of hers yet that didn’t leave me gut punched, and when I closed this book today I actually had to go walk it off...” — October 4, 2010

Reading Between the Lines: “Davidson peels back layers to reveal the psyches of these sisters, gradually exposing dark secrets spawned from shared traumas experienced in the girls' childhoods. Lily's determined plight to find her sister eventually forces her to confront her past until she ultimately discovers herself and comes to more fully appreciate the meaning of the verb to love.” — Kathleen Gerard, February 27, 2011

The Outfit: “I love first person. Especially one as well written as the novel I'm reading: The Damage Done, by Hilary Davidson. It feels like you are right there with the protagonist as she moves through the mystery. The immediacy is wonderful, and as the clues unfold the reader experiences the "aha" moment along with the character.” — Jamie Freveletti, May 16, 2011

Night Owl Reviews (THE DAMAGE DONE is noted as a Top Pick): “A dark mystery that follows a woman’s roller coaster pursuit of the truth surrounding her sister’s apparent death... Lily must figure out who her true allies and enemies are before she herself becomes another victim to a mysterious assailant.” — ELF, November 23, 2010

Dan O’Shea: “Davidson’s exploration of familial attachments and the desperation they can lead to features a kick-ass plot, garrote-tight pacing and a how-to class in writing.” — December 11, 2010

Gumshoe Review: The Damage Done is a riveting, Agatha Christie-like mystery from Hilary Davidson. It is a complex, intricate whodunit with numerous subplots and a large assortment of strange, evil characters. The detectives' hands are tied and the distraught heroine, Lily Moore, must take it upon herself to find her missing sister by questioning her friends and neighbors. It seems everyone around her has something to hide and no one is who they pretend to be...” — Joseph B. Hoyos, January 2011

Charlie Stella: “A nifty novel about some seriously mistaken identity, a wealthy entrepreneur used to getting his own way, a good cop with bad people skills and a protagonist torn by her family’s history.” — February 15, 2011

The Drowning Machine: “Here is a crime novel not based on a serial killer nor containing unending pages of stomach-turning violence toward women. The author instead provides an intriguing, complex plot with a company of well-defined characters with dark and varying motives.” — Naomi Johnson, June 19, 2010


“A stunning debut. THE DAMAGE DONE is a smart crime novel, peopled with sinister characters and clever twists you won’t see coming. Davidson grabs you by the throat with her opening, and doesn’t let go till the end.” — Linda Fairstein, New York Times bestselling author of Hell Gate and Lethal Legacy

“Sinking us into the noir New York of Sara Gran and Charlie Huston, Hilary Davidson’s lush novel THE DAMAGE DONE delivers on all counts, offering both slow-burn suspense and creeping pathos. Taking the classic story of hero’s quest to solve the riddle of a wayward sister, it’s ultimately a tale of lost women, victims and victimizers, damaging and perilously damaged. A rich, haunting debut.” — Megan Abbott, Edgar Award-winning author of Bury Me Deep

“THE DAMAGE DONE is truly an astonishing read. Think Hitchcock writing for the hip Manhattan set. If Tess Gerritsen and Laura Lippman collaborated, you’d get a novel as fine as this. Neil Young might have to rewrite the song. The novel is that startling and original.” — Ken Bruen, award-winning author of London Boulevard

“A polished, nuanced thriller driven by sharply-drawn characters and haunted by betrayal and loss. Hilary Davidson’s smart, worldly heroine confronts her own past as well as smooth villains and untrustworthy friends in an accomplished work that brilliantly balances the demands of tightly-plotted noir with a compassionate exploration of family secrets and survivor’s guilt. A superb debut.” — Dennis Tafoya, author of The Wolves of Fairmount Park

“A twisty, unsettling mystery which explores the nature of identity theft and identity itself. A provocative debut.” — Jane Stanton Hitchcock, New York Times bestselling author of Social Crimes

“A sleek, savvy mystery that kept me turning pages and trying to figure out the beautifully constructed plot. Hilary Davidson’s debut is a memorable one.” — Ed Gorman, award-winning author of The Poker Club

“A sharp debut. Smart, dark, and complex, this mystery will keep you turning pages deep into the night. Ms. Davidson’s talent is toe-to-toe with the great Laura Lippman. My favorite new voice in crime fiction.” — Allison Glasgow Robinson, Thuglit

THE DAMAGE DONE is available from independent mystery booksellers across North America, as well as from Macmillan, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, iBookstore, IndieBound, Powell’s, and — in Canada — Indigo/Chapters.

REVIEWS OF THE NEXT ONE TO FALL (Book #2 in the series)


REVIEWS OF BLOOD ALWAYS TELLS (Non-series standalone)

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Photographs: Hardcover and paperback covers, courtesy of Forge; Portrait of Hilary Davidson, no photo credit.

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