A press junket to Acapulco turns deadly.
As she approaches the Hotel Cerón’s reception desk, travel writer Lily Moore has two surprises waiting for her, neither of them pleasant. First, a poisonous snake slithers around her ankle; then she learns that the hotel is part of a chain owned by Martin Sklar, the former boyfriend who had put out a hit on her sister Claudia before she succumbed to heroin addiction. More bad news lurks just down the corridor, where a creepy photographer is trashing his room, and down in the bar, where Skye McDermott, another travel writer also comped at the hotel, disappears after hinting that she’s going to expose a former lover’s evil deeds. Did she mean Sklar? Smarmy hotel manager Gavin Stroud, Sklar’s right-hand man, insists that she’ll return, but Lily doubts it. Skye left her purse with her passport inside at the bar. Where is she, and whom can Lily trust? Certainly not the gun-toting head of hotel security or Gavin, who feeds her tidbits that make her woozy. Then, Skye’s body turns up, Lily is virtually confined incommunicado in her hotel room, and even the PR gal in charge of the press junket lies to her. Worse yet, Sklar, now desiccated from cancer, appears, and a power play for control of the hotel ends in a shootout. The fireworks continue even after Lily returns to New York, where double crosses and nefarious schemes await.
Lily’s best friend Jesse, a sardonic gay man (The Next One to Fall, 2012, etc.), appears all too briefly, and her romance with Bruxton of the NYPD is too contrived, but there are tender glimpses of her failed relationships with Sklar and Claudia.