An attempt to overcome grief with a trip to fascinating Machu Picchu leads to even more wild intrigue.
Three months after her sister Claudia’s heroin-fueled death (The Damage Done, 2010), travel writer Lily Moore accompanies her best friend, the peripatetic, wisecracking gay man Jesse Robb, to Machu Picchu. There, high up on the mountain viewing the ruins, they overhear an argument, then spot a girl plummeting downward while a man runs off. The woman’s last words convince Lily that she’s been murdered. Discovering why and whodunit will thrust Lily into the orbit of Len Wolven, a billionaire’s nutty son, who caused his first wife’s death and may be responsible for his second wife’s disappearance. Now that Wolven’s paid for the fallen woman to join him in Peru and fed her a hallucinogenic, his henchmen are determined to silence Lily, either with bribes, knives or gunplay. In short order, Wolven’s second wife’s sister comes looking for her, and his own half sister appears, remorseful about the chaos he’s caused. Since no one’s version of the events matches anyone else’s, Lily doesn’t know who to trust. Before she can decide, Jesse is shot and she’s kidnapped and assaulted. Then Wolven commits suicide. Or does he? More lies will be told and alliances upended when the sisters, the henchmen and Lily and Jesse wind up at the mercy of Wolven’s wheelchair-bound father.
The mystery is a bit over the top, but Lily’s feelings for her sister ring painfully true, and Davidson’s rendering of Machu Picchu and Cusco would merit a pisco sour toast even from the great Jan Morris.