Category Archives: Allen Eskens

Review: The Stolen Hours by Allen Eskens

Title: The Stolen Hours by Allen Eskens
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Genre: Contemporary, Legal Thriller
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A woman finds herself in a race not only for justice but for her life in this riveting, hold-your-breath” new mystery from the bestselling author of The Life We Bury (Karin Slaughter, New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Wife).

Lila Nash is on the verge of landing her dream job—working as a prosecutor under the Hennepin County Attorney—and has settled into a happy life with her boyfriend, Joe Talbert. But when a woman is pulled from the Mississippi River, barely alive, things in the office take a personal turn.

The police believe the woman’s assailant is local photographer Gavin Spenser, but the case quickly flounders as the evidence wears thin. It seems Gavin saw this investigation coming—and no one can imagine how carefully he has prepared.

The more determined Lila is to put Gavin behind bars, the more elusive justice becomes. Battling a vindictive new boss and haunted by the ghosts of her own unspeakable attack, which she’s kept a dark secret for eight long years, Lila knows the clock is ticking down. In a race against an evil mastermind, it will take everything Lila’s got to outsmart a killer—and to escape the dark hold of her own past.


The Stolen Hours by Allen Eskens is a riveting legal thriller.

Lila Nash is working with the Hennepin County Attorney as a law clerk while awaiting the results of her bar exam.  After her vindictive boss reassigns her to clerk for Andrea “Andi” Fitch, they are assigned to prosecute the assault and attempted murder of hairstylist Sadie Vauk. Detective Niki Vang and her partner Matty Lopez are also on the case much to accused attacker Gavin Spencer’s dismay.  While he believes he will outsmart the prosecution, Niki suspects Gavin is responsible for the deaths of three other women. Will Lila, Andi and Niki find the evidence they need to convict Gavin? Or will the suspected serial killer be set free to kill again?

Lila’s teenage years were tumultuous and culminated with a horrific attack that continues to haunt her. And yet Lila pulled her life together and now she is on the verge of achieving her dream career. She is also in a happy relationship with rising newspaper reporter Joe Talbert but she is content for them to continue living together. Lila has kept parts of her past from Joe so when she is forced to confront it, she decides to go it alone since he is working an on important assignment. But will her unanticipated reactions and a malicious boss end her chance in seeing justice done for Sadie and Gavin’s other victims?

Gavin is certain he has a foolproof plan to avoid prosecution for his crimes. He also has what he considers infallible fail safes in place to help ensure he will not be convicted of his heinous attacks and murders. With everything falling into place as planned, will Gavin’s arrogance be his downfall?

The Stolen Hours is a fast-paced and engrossing legal thriller with a clever, addictive storyline. Lilia has a keen legal mind with an uncanny ability to accurately predict shortfalls and ingeniously find what seem to impossible solutions. Andi and Niki are strong, smart women who stand out in their chosen professions. Gavin is a vile and reprehensible predator who is no match for Lila once she knows exactly who and what she is up against. With a breathtaking twist, Allen Eskens brings this brilliant thriller to a dramatic conclusion.

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Filed under Allen Eskens, Contemporary, Legal Thriller, Mulholland Books, Rated B+, Review, The Stolen Hours

Review: Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens

Title: Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Genre: Historical (’70s), Fiction, Mystery
Length: 305 pages
Book Rating: A

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


In a small town where loyalty to family and to “your people” carries the weight of a sacred oath, defying those unspoken rules can be a deadly proposition.

After fifteen years of growing up in the Ozark hills with his widowed mother, high-school freshman Boady Sanden is beyond ready to move on. He dreams of glass towers and cityscapes, driven by his desire to be anywhere other than Jessup, Missouri. The new kid at St. Ignatius High School, if he isn’t being pushed around, he is being completely ignored. Even his beloved woods, his playground as a child and his sanctuary as he grew older, seem to be closing in on him, suffocating him.

Then Thomas Elgin moves in across the road, and Boady’s life begins to twist and turn. Coming to know the Elgins-a black family settling into a community where notions of “us” and “them” carry the weight of history-forces Boady to rethink his understanding of the world he’s taken for granted. Secrets hidden in plain sight begin to unfold: the mother who wraps herself in the loss of her husband, the neighbor who carries the wounds of a mysterious past that he holds close, the quiet boss who is fighting his own hidden battle.

But the biggest secret of all is the disappearance of Lida Poe, the African-American woman who keeps the books at the local plastics factory. Word has it that Ms. Poe left town, along with a hundred thousand dollars of company money. Although Boady has never met the missing woman, he discovers that the threads of her life are woven into the deepest fabric of his world.

As the mystery of her fate plays out, Boady begins to see the stark lines of race and class that both bind and divide this small town, and he is forced to choose sides.


Taking place in a rural Missouri town in 1976, Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens is a captivating coming of age novel with a slight mystery element.

Fifteen year old Boady Sanden is desperate to leave the small rural town where he lives with his mother, Emma.  Thrust into the local Catholic high school after running with the wrong crowd, Boady is invisible to his classmates until he catches the attention of school bully Jarvis Halcomb and his pals. Luckily the school year is almost over so he goes to great lengths to stay out of Halcomb’s sight. However, his confidence is misplaced and the last day of class, Jarvis demands Boady spray paint racial slurs on Boady’s new neighbors’ house. Despite his less than impressive first meeting with Thomas Elgin, the two teenagers have become close friends so Boady has no plan to do Halcomb’s bidding. With racial tensions worsening over the course of the summer, Thomas and Boady find themselves in the crosshairs of the local white supremacy group after the teenagers make a shocking discovery.

Until Thomas moves to town, Boady remains friendless and an outsider who is unnoticed until his protective nature puts him at odds with Jarvis.  He yearns for a life away from his small hometown and he has a plan in place to achieve his goal. Boady is saving all of the money he makes working part-time for his mom’s boss, Wally Schenicker, in order to run away.  Jarvis’s uncle Milo and cousin Angus also work for Wally which could possibly complicate his plans to lie low in an attempt to avoid Jarvis.

Thomas is none too pleased with his family’s move to rural Missouri. He has no idea how rampant racism is in the local community and he is stunned when Boady explains some of the ways in which African Americans are targeted. Despite the more serious issues occurring around them, Thomas and Boady spend much of the summer exploring the surrounding woods and camping on their own.

But the Sanden and Elgin families find it impossible to escape the rising tension. Thomas’s dad Charles is the new manager of the local factory where Jarvis’s father works. The disappearance of African American Lida Poe, who is suspected of embezzling from the factory, remains unsolved.  Charles is very aware of the seething resentment and outright hatred directed his way, but he is determined to uncover the truth about Lida’s guilt or innocence. His efforts are stymied by the lack of investigation by the local sheriff. As events play out, Boady’s neighbor and mentor, Hoke Gardner, is instrumental in bringing in the state police but is it too late to protect them from the peril that is heading their way?

Nothing More Dangerous is a fraught novel that delves into serious topics such as racism, police corruption, and  bullying. All of the characters are beautifully rendered and vibrantly three-dimensional. The small town setting vividly springs to life through Thomas and Boady’s adventures and daily activities.  Allen Eskens challenges readers to explore their own unconscious biases as Boady comes to terms with his.  I absolutely loved and highly recommend this spellbinding and thought-provoking novel.

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Review: The Shadows We Hide by Allen Eskens

Title: The Shadows We Hide by Allen Eskens
Publisher: Mullholland Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


In the highly-anticipated sequel to the national bestseller The Life We Bury, Joe Talbert returns to investigate the murder of the father he never knew, and to reckon with his own family’s past.

Joe Talbert, Jr. has never once met his namesake. Now out of college, a cub reporter for the Associated Press in Minneapolis, he stumbles across a story describing the murder of a man named Joseph Talbert in a small town in southern Minnesota.

Full of curiosity about whether this man might be his father, Joe is shocked to find that none of the town’s residents have much to say about the dead man-other than that his death was long overdue. Joe discovers that the dead man was a loathsome lowlife who cheated his neighbors, threatened his daughter, and squandered his wife’s inheritance after she, too, passed away–an inheritance that may now be Joe’s.

Mired in uncertainty and plagued by his own devastated relationship with his mother, who is seeking to get back into her son’s life, Joe must put together the missing pieces of his family history– before his quest for discovery threatens to put him in a grave of his own.


The Shadows We Hide by Allen Eskens is a truly captivating mystery that is suspenseful and compelling.  This  newest release is a sequel to The Life We Bury and while it can be read as a standalone, I HIGHLY  recommend all of Mr. Eskens‘ previous works.

Joe Talbert Jr. is settled into his job with the Associated Press and life with his girlfriend, Lila Nash, and his autistic younger brother, Jeremy.  But his career quickly takes a downward turn when he is notified he is being sued over his story about a politician. On the heels of this discovery, Joe also learns that his father, Joe “Toke” Talbert has recently died and the police suspect foul play. 

Although he never met his father, Joe is taken off guard by his need to find out more information about both his life and death. Lila is less than thrilled when he tells her of his plans to go to Buckley since she is studying for her upcoming bar exam.  Their relationship is further strained when Lila confesses she has been in contact with Joe’s abusive and addict mother, Kathy Nelson.  Needless to say, Joe is in desperate need of a distraction so he sets off for the rural town where many surprises await him.

Joe’s father was universally disliked by everyone in town so Joe is rather shocked to learn the sheriff’s department has already zeroed in on a suspect. But Sheriff J.T. Kimble wants to ensure he and his deputies, Jeb Lewis and Nathan Calder, thoroughly investigate anyone who might have reason to murder Toke. Joe is further astonished by the discovery he is on their suspect list but he complies with their requests.

After learning more about his father’s life in the years since he abandoned him and his mother, Joe decides to do a little digging around on his own. He finds the timing of Toke’s wife Jeannie’s death a little suspicious but the case appears to be open and shut. Joe is also caught up in the manipulations of another member of his family but this person has conned everyone into believing Joe is not to be trusted. 

After setting a plan in motion to flush out the Sheriff’s suspect, Joe gets his chance to hear his version of the events surrounding Toke’s murder. Sheriff Kimble remains convinced of his guilt but Joe continues to harbor serious reservations.  Unable to push aside his misgivings, Joe continues to investigate Toke’s death but will he find the answers he is searching for?

The Shadows We Hide is a riveting mystery with a colorful cast of characters and a perplexing murder to solve. Joe is a flawed yet sympathetic protagonist with a complicated family history. Although Lila remains on the periphery for much of the novel, she is the catalyst for Joe’s most important decisions. The investigation into Toke’s murder is interesting and Joe is instrumental into uncovering the truth about his deceased father’s death.  With some very stunning twists and jaw-dropping turns,  Allen Eskens brings this gripping novel to a very satisfying conclusion.

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Review: The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens

Title: The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 285 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


Homicide Detective Max Rupert never fully accepted his wife’s death, even when he believed that a reckless hit-and-run driver was to blame. Haunted by memories both beautiful and painful, he is plagued by feelings of unfinished business. When Max learns that, in fact, Jenni was murdered, he must come to terms with this new information—and determine what to do with it.

Struggling to balance his impulses as a vengeful husband with his obligations as a law enforcement officer, Max devotes himself to relentlessly hunting down those responsible. For most of his life, he has thought of himself as a decent man. But now he’s so consumed with anguish and thoughts of retribution that he finds himself on the edge, questioning who he is and what he stands for.

On a frozen lake at the US–Canadian border, he wrestles with decisions that could change his life forever, as his rage threatens to turn him into the kind of person he has spent his entire career bringing to justice.


In The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens, homicide Detective Max Rupert is on quest for vengeance for his wife Jenni’s killer but when he has the murderer in his grasp, will he fully exact his revenge?

Max has grieved the hit and run death of Jenni for the past four and a half years and he still keenly feels her loss. When his former friend, defense attorney  Boady Sanden, hands him a file containing a recording of two men plotting her murder, Max leaves no stone unturned as he begins his hunt for her killers. Before he can begin delving into his wife’s case, he and his partner Niki Vang must investigate a vehicle fire in which the remains of Pippi Stafford are discovered after her boyfriend, the Mayor’s Deputy Chief of Staff Dennis Orton, reports the fire. The investigation quickly reveals Pippi was dead before the van was set ablaze so all eyes soon turn to Orton. Max is also rather curious about his boss, Lt. Emil Briggs’ intense interest in the case and with no love lost between him and his superior, Max is determined to uncover the reason why.

With chapters weaving back and forth between a narrow three day window, the narrative flips back and forth between the two investigations in Minneapolis and Max’s efforts to seek vengeance on Jenni’s killers. The case involving Pippi and Orton is somewhat easy to solve. Once Max has a fairly solid hypothesis about what happened to Pippi, he uses the information to leverage answers about why Briggs’ is so curious about the investigation.

The main focus of the storyline is Max’s search for answers about Jenni’s murder. With new details about the reason she was targeted, he is able to glean enough information from the last day of her life to know where to begin his investigation. Just when it seems he has hit a dead end, Niki provides invaluable information that breaks the case wide open.  Once Max knows where to look, he soon zeroes in a suspect which in turn, leads him right to the person he is certain ordered Jenni’s death. After he locates the suspect, Max then has to decide whether or not to carry out his plan to exact his revenge which presents an interesting ethical quandary for a man who has always been on the right side of the law.

The Deep Dark Descending is a riveting mystery that will leave readers on the edge of their seats as Max grapples with an unknown man in the bitter cold in an isolated part of the state. Allen Eskens skillfully presents an intriguing scenario in which Max must decide whether or not he can go through with his plan and if he can live with the aftermath of his decision. A very compelling novel that has plenty of tension as it wends its way to a stunning conclusion.

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