This first novel from travel writer Davidson came with some high praise -for example see: mysteryreadersinc and http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8111265-the-damage-done. and she has won high praise and awards for her short fiction. The book starts when travel writer Lily Moore is summoned home to New York from Spain with the understanding that her junkie sister, Claudia, has died. Or has she? Lily then is at pains to discover what has really has really happened to her sister. She enlists Claudia's friends, some extremely helpful police detectives, and a number of other people in this quest. She also delves into Claudia's and her abusive past with suicidal alcoholic mother and a father that died on Christmas Eve when Lily was 13.The story takes a while to unfold and it is not easy to figure out "whodunit" or what, in fact, was "dun". The plot is very interesting and the final solution was certainly a surprise. I think it was well-plotted.
I was disappointed with the characters, dialogue, and setting. I found most of the characters unpleasant and unlikable, even, and especially protagonist Lily. I thought perhaps Davidson was doing the unreliable narrator thing with Lily (even though it's in the third person, one is given more insight into Lily's thoughts than any other character) but she wasn't. Lily is described as beautiful, talented, confident, smart, surprisingly together despite her upbringing, caring, wears stunning vintage clothing, has lots of friends, and every man who meets her falls madly in love. Her ex tells her, yes, you're so beautiful but it is your fine mind that I really admire. Frankly, Lily is ...not much fun. Other characters such as her supportive gay best friend, her demanding and rich ex-fiance Martin, and Claudia's Pakistani friend Tariq, are a bit hard to take and not very sympathetic or interesting. Minor characters like the police detectives, Martin's disturbed son, Tariq's cousin,and the apartment super, are more interesting and a bit more sympathetic. The setting in NYC is very flat. Surprising for a travel writer. Other people loved it and gave it super high marks.