Fresh Meat: Evil In All Its Disguises by Hilary Davidson

Evil in All Its Disguises by Hilary DavidsonEvil in All Its Disguises by Hilary Davidson is the third Lily Moore mystery and is set in Acapulco (available March 5, 2013).

Lily Moore has just arrived at the Hotel Cerón in Acapulco on a press junket when one of her fellow journalists, Skye McDermott approaches her, wanting to talk. She’s traveled with Skye before and has always enjoyed her company, but Skye is obviously distraught and needs someone to confide in. After a conversation that confuses, more than enlightens Lily about Skye’s situation, Skye leaves the table to take a phone call, and never returns. Lily is puzzled, especially since Skye not only mentioned Lily’s ex-boyfriend, Martin Sklar, but she also left behind her bag containing her passport. Skye is nowhere to be found and Lily is at a loss. It also seems that the hotel manager, who is connected to Martin, and the person in charge of the press junket aren’t interested in finding Skye at all. Soon, she begins to notice some odd things about the Hotel Cerón, beginning with her own room.

The bedroom wasn’t as aggressively colorful as the living room, but it did boast a bedspread that was the same shade of red as a chili pepper. Lying against a pillow was a white envelope with Miss Lily Moore written in calligraphic style on the front.  As I reached for it, a champagne cork popped, making my head turn, and I noticed a framed photograph on the wall. It was a portrait of Ava Gardner. I stopped suddenly and stared, disconcerted. The other art I’d seen in the suite were bright paintings of Mexican landscapes; this black and white shot seemed very much out of place. I stared around the room, realizing that there was a shot of Ava with Frank Sinatra, and another that was a publicity still of Ava wearing a leopard-print bathing suit and posing on a leopard-skin rug. The presence of the shots didn’t feel accidental; it was hard to imagine that they weren’t deliberate choices made by someone who knew of my admiration for Ava Gardner.

There are other little details about the hotel that remind her of a bygone era, but with plenty of cracks showing through. After all, Acapulco was the destination of choice for the stars of Old Hollywood, especially in the 1950s, and although that Acapulco is long gone, some of the romantic optimism remains, even amid the recent cartel violence and crime. Yet, Lily can’t shake the impression that the hotel is hiding something sinister.

Sheltered in a grove of trees, I stared at the façade of the Hotel Cerón. The sky had turned several shades darker, and instead of sunlight warming the structure’s stark edges and angles, the gray veil of menacing weather made it more grim. It looked as if the life had been sucked out of the place and all that remained was a neat stack of hollow bones. It didn’t help that there wasn’t a soul moving around the hotel.

Upon continuing her tour of the hotel’s grounds, she encounters a series of bungalows that seem half finished and give off a distinctive “ghost town” impression.

The hotel’s windows were like a hundred black eyes on me; once my back was to them, I was filled with the heavy, unshakable sense of being watched. Stop being ridiculous, I told myself, looking around again. There’s no one there.

The pathway on the other side of the hotel was a short one, but it changed styles in the middle, so that the Cerón’s slippery stones were replaced by wide flagstones that made it easier to move forward. The path opened suddenly to a small clearing that was filled with the skeletal remains of three dozen small bungalows. No, not remains, I realized, taking in the scene; there were construction supplies and equipment littering the ground. The bungalows were still in the process of being built.

As Lily explores the bungalows, she soon finds herself confronted by a man holding a gun.

I was about to look into the next one when a hand grabbed my shoulder and pulled me back, off-balance. Turning my head, I saw a man who was about my height. His pie-round face and sparse scraps of beard made him look like a kid starting high school. But he was holding a gun and pointing it at my chest, and once I noticed this, his age didn’t matter.

Once she explains that she’s a guest at the hotel, the gunman—who seems to already know this—follows her back to the entrance. She can understand security over the construction site, but this confrontation only adds to her increasing uneasiness. The claustrophobic feeling of the hotel, coupled with the fact that Lily hasn’t really felt that well since she arrived, create the perfect atmosphere of paranoia. It doesn’t help that the behavior of some of her companions is strange, and at times, downright suspicious.

The feeling of tension gradually increases as Lily tries to get to the bottom of things and the build-up of suspense reminded me very much of some of Alfred Hitchcock’s work such as Dial M For Murder and even Rear Window. The author’s expert application of subtle menace creates a delicious, and at times disconcerting, palette for mystery. Add to that a capable, yet still vulnerable, heroine to root for in Lily Moore, and you’ve got a novel you can sink your teeth into with considerable relish. The devil is in the details in Evil In All Its Disguises, and I should probably warn you, losing sleep in order to finish this one is almost a certainty.

This sweepstakes has ended. Check out our Sweepstakes feature  for current opportunities!

To enter for a chance to win a copy of Evil in All Its Disguises by Hilary Davidson, make sure you’re a registered member of the site, sign in, and then simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at beginning at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) March 2, 2013. Sweepstakes ends at 9:29 a.m. ET on March 9, 2013 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010

Kristin Centorcelli reviews books at, loves a good mystery, and is a huge fan of boxed wine. You can also follow her at @mybookishways.

Read all Kristin Centorcelli’s posts for Criminal Element.


  1. Deborah Lacy

    Sounds like a great book.

  2. Gordon Bingham

    Looks good!

  3. Karen Barnett

    Sounds intriguing!

  4. Norma Johnson

    Wow, this sounds like my kind of book. I am soo excited about this web site that I just recently discovered.

    Please enter me for a chance to win. Thanks and happy writing.

  5. Anne Joyce

    This book looks like a great read…. fingers crossed!

  6. SummerG

    Looks great. Would love to read.

  7. L L

    Sounds intriguing

  8. Christina Oseland

    I want to read this book.

  9. Jeffrey Tretin

    Sounds great. I would love to read it.

  10. MaryC

    I would not want to be a guest at Hotel Ceron but would love to read the book.

  11. Shannon Scott

    Looks like a good read.

  12. Tina Myers

    Looks like a really good read..Thanks!

  13. Johannah Brookwell

    So far, so good. Absolutely love a great mystery!

  14. Phoenix

    Sounds intriguing.

  15. Lori Myers

    Can’t wait to read this one!

  16. Judie McDonald

    Travel and mystery–what could be better!

  17. Linda K.

    Sounds great!

  18. Joanne Mielczarski

    Want to read this!

  19. jeanne sheats

    Thanks for the chance!

  20. Clydia DeFreese

    This is the only way I’ll get to Acapulco! Lead me to it…

  21. Vernon Luckert

    Really interested in getting to read this one!

  22. Joyce Mitchell

    I haven’t read this author before – will have to look for her books. Thanks.

  23. kathleen eddy

    This looks really good.

  24. Cheryl English

    Set in Acapalco. I’m in.

  25. Deborah Blanchard

    This looks like a great story. I love mysteries/crime of almost any kind. Please enter me for a chance to win this book. I was just sent this email about this site and it looks very appealing. Can’t wait to find out more about it! I am an avid reader, am a member of Goodreads and Library Thing. so I love to read and review books! Can’t wait for this one!

  26. Sally Kohlenberg

    wow! this sounds great!


    My spine is tingling…would love to read this book! I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed.

  28. Pam Howell

    Looking forward to reading this. Thanks.

  29. Patricia Nicklas

    Sounds as though losing sleep over this one would be worth it!

  30. Kat Emerick

    Looks good!

  31. Melissa Darwin

    This book sounds like the perfect vacation read! Can’t wait to check it out.

  32. susan beamon

    Lots of atmospheric details, making a delicious sounding mystery. I’d like to have it.

  33. Barbara Bibel

    This sounds like a good read!

  34. Sandie White

    Okay, so now I’m totally obsessed with wanting to read all of these books listed…any suggestions on where to start?

  35. Justine Heredia

    Looks great!

  36. Connie Schultz

    It looks like a fun mystery. I like the descriptions of the windows and buildings.

  37. Reilly

    Sounds intriguing. Would love to read it.

  38. Marie-Louise Molloy

    [b][color=rgb(64, 224, 208)]I want more!!![/color][/b]

  39. Andrew Kuligowski

    So far, I have not been lucky enough to visit Mexico. (Although I’ve seen it in the distance from Organ Pipe national Momument.) I let people like Hilary Davidson take me there via their writings. Thanks for offering the giveaway.

  40. John Maline

    Ready to read this book.

  41. Sherrie

    This sounds like a very interesting book from an author I have not tried – Thank you for a chance to win a copy and read it.

  42. Ginny Horton

    Although I’ve been to Mexico twice it was to resort areas only so I’d love to learn more coupled with a great mystery, my favorite genre.

  43. Lisa Garrett

    Oh I want to know more about this hotel!

  44. sheila True

    Sounds like my kinda read.

  45. Jane Squires

    I would love to be entered to win this book and review it. It sounds interesting.

  46. Wanda hardee

    I haven’t read this author before, but its already got me hooked

  47. Bruce Hamilton

    Another great book to add to my read list. I really need to learn how to build bookshelves.

  48. Benno Kiewe

    Sounds very interesting. Time to give it a try

  49. Linda Rodriguez

    Can’t wait! I love Hilary Davidson’s work!

  50. Pat Murphy

    Sounds like it would be entertaining and suspenseful. Need a copy for my personal library

  51. Shaunterria Owens

    I am willing to lose sleep over this one 🙂

  52. Patrice

    Loved other Lily Moore titles. Would love to read this one.

  53. Patrice Gottfried

    Loved other Lily Moore titles. Would love to read this one.

  54. Cindi Hoppes

    I like how this book begins with the two friends and then the suspense begins!
    Many thanks, Cindi

  55. Allison Moyer

    Creepy hotel, Acapulco, sinister suspicious people, paranoia, mystery….sounds like an all-nighter!

  56. Jeffrey Malis

    A nuanced travel mystery with shades of Hitchcockian suspense? I’m intrigued! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

  57. erin f

    Fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

  58. mosaix

    Corruption, breakups and free trips. Yes!

  59. Jackie Wisherd

    Enjoyed reading about this book. I know I would enjoy reading it. I’ve found a new author.

  60. Desmond Warzel

    Count me in, please!

  61. Alberto Garcia

    Definitely looking forward to this book.

  62. Sharon Shumway

    I am hooked. This is my kind of mystery.

  63. Brenda Tucker

    I enjoyed reading about this book. It sounds super.

  64. Joshua Atkins

    I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while. Congratulations on the release Hilary!

  65. jason fiske

    Need this new read.

  66. Anne Muller

    I love to travel so this sounds like a series that would combine that interest with my enjoyment of mysteries.

  67. Anne Muller

    I love to travel so this sounds like a series that would combine that interest with my enjoyment of mysteries.

  68. Karl Stenger

    I would love to read this novel

  69. Judith Barnes

    I’m ready to visit Acapulco with Lily Moore. Please send me a copy of “Evil in All Its Disguises.”

  70. ravensfan

    Looks like a great read. Would love to win a copy!

  71. Mary Ann Woods

    Thanks for letting me read so much of it! Now I have to finish.

  72. jimbo

    Thanks for this opportunity; would love to read the book and pass along the good word to other educators and readers across Western Ma and regionally

  73. peg nittskoff

    Love this type of book and you are a new author for me. Would love to win this book and find out more on both levels.

  74. vicki wurgler

    love a good mystery book

  75. Julie Earhart

    pick ME!

  76. Marguerite Beal

    Like the shadow of the bygone era in the book. Thanks

  77. Bob Alexander

    This sounds like a good story. I know I’d enjoy it.

  78. Steven Wilber

    Sounds interesting, sign me up 🙂



  80. Taylor Duncan


  81. georgiann

    Sounds like a fantastic read.

  82. Amelia Perkins

    This looks like such a great book!!

  83. lynette barfield

    This a new author for me. Would like a copy.

  84. Melissa Keith

    I am a Hitchcock fan so I know I’d enjoy [b]Evil in All Its Disguises. LET ME LOSE SLEEP!! ALL I WANT TO DO IS READ…THIS BOOK! [/b]

  85. Karen Hester

    A new author for me – sounds promising.

  86. Joanne Mielczarski

    Sounds like another good read!

  87. Suzanne Rorhus

    I love her books!

Comments are closed.