- Post by MysteryPeople Contributor Meike Alana
Allen Eskens wowed us all last year with his first two books, both masterpieces of literary noir. Now he’s back with a third tale of kindness and cruelty, The Heavens May Fall, reviewed below by MysteryPeople’s Meike Alana.
When the naked, mutilated body of socialite and philanthropist Jennavieve Pruitt is found dumped behind a storefront at the start of Allen Eskens’ latest literary noir, The Heavens May Fall, detective Max Rupert is called in to investigate and the victim’s husband Benjamin soon becomes the prime suspect. Although he claims to have an alibi, saying he was out of town at a conference, a neighbor recalls seeing him in the driveway of his home on the night of the murder. When Ben is arrested and formally charged with Jennavieve’s brutal murder, he retains Max’s good friend, defense attorney Boady Sanden, as his counsel. The story of the subsequent investigation and trial are told from opposing viewpoints, coming from vastly different perspectives.
The trial threatens to destroy the longstanding friendship between Max and Boady. Max is firmly convinced that Ben Pruitt killed his wife; Boady is equally certain that his client is innocent. Max is still reeling from the unsolved killing of his wife four years earlier, and the Pruitt case stirs up old memories. Boady hasn’t taken on a defense case since the death of an innocent client, a man Boady believes he should have been able to save. Now Boady is determined that he has to exonerate Ben no matter the cost and from there comes the inspiration for the title—“Fiat Justitia ruat caelum” (“Do justice though the heavens may fall”) becomes Boady’s guiding theme. As the tension builds between Max and Boady, the reader becomes more and more certain of the outcome—but Eskens turns that certainty upside down with a series of satisfying twists.
Allen Eskens is the USA Today bestselling author of The Life We Bury and The Guise of Another. Although each of Eskens’ novels are stand-alone works, the faithful reader will recognize several characters as they make appearances in more than one of his books. Eskens has been a criminal defense attorney for 20 years who honed his creative writing skills through the MFA program at Minnesota State University as well as through classes at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. The Heavens May Fall is the perfect introduction to this author’s exciting body of work.
The Heavens May Fall comes out today! You can find copies on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.