Don’t Look Down: Hilary Davidson
Blackmail, threats of exposure and emails that are quite explicit as the sender has high aspirations of getting a big payout. Jo Greaver received several emails telling her she would pay for the bad things she did in the past and at the end he used one word to sum her up plus graphic pictures to drive home the point and a video. Things get out of control when she decides to speak with this person and agrees to pay him 50,000 dollars for the photos and video. A meeting that would cost her more than her freedom as he drew a gun on her and she on him leaving him possibly dead and Jo bleeding and injured from a gunshot wound. Hoping to escape undetected she climbs out of window but not unseen.
Detective Sheryn Sterling and her partner Rafael get the case. But this is just the tip of the iceberg of trouble she must deal with. Her blackmailer was identified as Andray Baxter. But when the police learn about him his mother claims he’s wonderful but recently came into money but was fighting the landlord for building violations that caused the deterioration of where he and others lived.
Jo goes home and faces her boyfriend Cal and his mother who is not feeling up to par but had her own opinion about Jo. She was raised by her drug addicted sister, Lori in New York. Their relationship was tense, and Lori always outshined her. This is about class wars, prejudice, blackmail and pictures of her life as a teenage sex trafficking victim. But hoping to escape and get away does not happen as her wound causes her pain and the police take her into custody. Plus, Sheryn must face her son being arrested for protesting deportations while black. She’s a black cop with a gay partner who walks with a cane but won’t let his disability stand in the way of his job. Blackmail, impersonation, class status and a note in the victim’s pocket: Blackmail Jo Greaver but Jo when questioned states that Andray was not the man she met in his apartment. Ballistics match the bullet on the murder weapon, but Jo’s prints are not on the gun.
Told in four voices Jo, her boyfriend, Cal , Rafael and Sheryn we get to hear their fears, thought processes and inner mist feelings about the case, themselves and relationships.
The gun had no prints on it so why did Jo keep it, and did she really kill her assailant as we hear her voice wondering the same thing and possibly that the killer might still come after her.
Questions asked by the police and then her high-priced lawyer, Jo realizes she might be between a rock and a hard place. Added in the gun found at the scene was not her gun. She threw hers away but because she was shot and did fire a gun, she’s looks suspicious.
Telling Cal about her past did not hold well and tensions rose, and Jo is arrested for the murder and the bail is high but
Rafael has some doubts about her and thinks that the evidence might be too convenient and maybe she’s telling the truth.
Things change and she hopes her bail is paid but never by her primary investor , Annabelle. Added in we hear the venom in Cal’s mother’s voice about Jo and then Zachary whose Annabelle’s son had his own take on the situation, but will Cal step up?
Someone is three steps ahead of the police even though Florian uses a paining to uncover important forensic evidence at the crime scene. At of nowhere there’s an explosion and the building go up in flames and Sheryn manages to go door to door getting almost everyone out. Learning the truth behind who killed Andray and then, Tony we also learn what happens to Westergard, we learn about another body in the buoy. Did someone burn it down to get rid of this body and just who did Jo really meet at Andray’s apartment?
Truths, lies , a mother’s deception, prejudice, class status and family discord plus blackmail are some of the issues in this novel that are front and center.
Meeting the girl who Andray was dating and learning who had him fired and why, the net of suspicion falls off Jo but who paid him 10,000 dollars a month? What part did his mother play? What about Jo’s business investor, Annabelle?
When Jo comes face to face with her blackmailer, unraveling her past, hearing someone’s account of her sister Lori and the cruelty she inflicted on so many almost opened her eyes to a harsh reality about Cal’s mother. A heartless and callus person, a rich man who ruined his daughter’s life, a young man killed in the crossfire and an innocent girl of14 that would pay for what others inflicted on her for very long time.
Author Hilary Davidson takes readers deep inside the world if sex trafficking, money profiting, blackmail, deception, trust, family discord and revenge as Jo, Sheryn and Rafael face off with the mastermind behind the deaths of so many but will they make it out alive?
The tensions rise, the stakes are high, and the ending will shock readers as Detective Sheryn Sterling and partner Rafael Mendoza prove the you should never mess with New York’s finest. An ending that is tragic, heartbreaking and dangerous as a funeral might turn deadly and a young woman named Jo Greaver who created Corvus Alchemy a startup cosmetic company from the bottom up learns the true meaning of strength, self-worth, self-esteem and the danger in situations when you know you should: Don’t Look Down.
Strong scenes, authentic depiction of police and police work this is one murder/mystery that will keep you on edge until you turn the last page.
Fran Lewis: just reviews