READ ALL OVER — Hilary Davidson


Read All Over celebrates the bookworm in all of us, showcasing readers in Vancouver and the books they love most.
Hilary Davidson spent more than a decade writing travel articles and books, including 11 editions of Frommer’s Toronto and  co-authoring five editions of Frommer’s Canada, before turning to a life of crime. Hilary’s debut novel, The Damage Done, won the 2011 Anthony Award for Best First Novel, and the Crimespree Award for Best First Novel. The sequel, The Next One to Fall, published on February 14, 2012 and the third book in the series, Evil in All Its Disguises, will be published by Forge in 2013. 

While not a Vancouverite, Hilary was recently in town as part of the Crime Tour, a series of readings and events throughout the Lower Mainland, organized by local writer Robin Spano.

What books have changed your life?

I blame the Nancy Drew mysteries for my lifelong love of crime fiction — to me those books are a gateway drug! Another strong influence is William Golding’s Lord of the Flies — I first read it when I was 12 and have re-read it several times. It’s a beautiful book that takes you into the darkest corners of the human mind.

The one book you always recommend is…

I keep recommending books by Megan Abbott. Her latest, Dare Me, comes out in July and I was lucky enough to score an advance copy at Book Expo. I’m telling everyone about it — it’s like Fight Club, but with teenage cheerleaders.

Where is your favourite place to crack open a book in Vancouver?

I’m not sure if this is a “favourite”  place, but I’ve spent a lot of time reading in the lounge at the airport!

What’s next on your reading list?

Linda Fairstein’s latest, Night Watch — I’m a huge fan of her Alex Cooper series.

Which genre do you prefer (fiction/non-fiction/mystery etc.) and why?

I’ve loved crime fiction for as long as I can remember. When I was young, my grandmother bought me all of the Nancy Drew books. Often she found editions from the 1930s, with blue-cloth covers and pen-and-ink drawings inside. My grandmother was also a Barbara Stanwyck fan, which meant I was introduced to some of noir classics, such as Double Indemnity. I started exploring the dark side early.

Do you have a favorite story with Vancouver connections?

I loved Spook Country by William Gibson. I also just discovered an amazing anthology called V6A, which features writing from the Downtown Eastside.

How do you like your books served up best – audio books, graphic novels, used paperbacks, library loaner, e-reader…?

I’m a fan of paperbacks, because I carry books with me everywhere. But if I fall in love with a book, I want to have a hardcover edition of it! I’m a Luddite, so I don’t have an e-reader.

Who is your favorite Vancouver/Lower Mainland writer?

Robin Spano, author of Dead Politician Society and Death Plays Poker. I met her at Bouchercon in San Francisco in 2010, and became a fan of her books after that. I’m really looking forward to her third novel, Death’s Last Run, which will come out in 2013.