- Interview by MysteryPeople Contributor Meike Alana
Allen Eskens’ latest, The Heavens May Fall, features the return of Minnesota cop Max Rupert. His friendship with Boady Sanden comes to a head when the attorney takes on a client Rupert believes to be guilty. MysteryPeople’s Meike Alana talked to Mr. Eskens about his characters and their shared universe.
Meike Alana: Your novels are stand-alone works that are completely unique from each other, but a handful of significant characters make appearances throughout the books. Can you tell us how you devised that concept?
Allen Eskens: You have asked a very big question, so excuse the long answer.
I write about a community of characters who have connections to one another, some greater some lesser, with different characters taking the lead in different novels. I came to this idea as I was writing my debut novel, The Life We Bury. I like writing stories where the protagonist goes on a personal journey that changes them by the end of the novel. I didn’t think I could do that consistently if I wrote a series that revolved around a single protagonist. Also, my protagonist in The Life We Bury is a college student and I didn’t want to have him tripping over dead bodies in an attempt to create a series.
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- 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.
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- Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery
If there was a common thread through the best books of 2015, it was ambition. Authors stretched themselves by taking on large subjects or writing something much different, or taking their series characters down a different path. All of these authors raised the bar for themselves and leaped over it.
1. Hollow Man by Mark Pryor
Pryor’s smart use of point of view puts us in the head of Dominic – Austin prosecutor, musician, and sociopath – who gets involved with a robbery and to continue to tap into his darker nature when things go bad. One of the freshest and best neo-noirs to come down the pike.
2. The Cartel by Don Winslow
Winslow’s sequel to The Power Of The Dog reignites the blood feud between DEA agent Art Keller and cartel head Adán Barrera in epic fashion to show the disastrous effect of the war on drugs in Mexico. A book that both enrages and entertains.Read More »
In The Guise Of Another, Allen Eskens’ follow-up to his award-winning debut, The Life We Bury, police detective Alexander Rupert (the brother of The Life We Bury‘s cop hero, Max) gets involved in a false identity case that could take his soul as well as his life. Allen was kind enough to talk about the book and the art of character.
MysteryPeople Scott: What prompted the decision to use two of the supporting characters from The Life We Bury in this novel?
Allen Eskens: I am a strong believer that plot moves the reader forward and that character draws the reader in deeper. I believe that a protagonist should undertake a journey over the course of a novel. He/she should be changed in some way by the time the story concludes. While I am a fan of the mystery-series format, I sometimes feel that the storyline can suffer from familiarity (fans of Lee Child will probably disagree).
So to give myself an array of characters with personal journeys to undertake, I decided to move among my secondary characters from The Life We Bury, telling their stories. My hope is to create a small community of people who will interact with each other to varying degrees as the novels branch out. The Guise of Another is the first in a three-book arc for Max Rupert. I have a sequel for The Life We Bury planned, and I have a stand-alone, which is the backstory of Boady Sanden, partially written.
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- Reviewed by Scott Montgomery, Crime Fiction Coordinator
L ast year, Allen Eskens received much praise and an Edgar nomination for his debut novel, The Life We Bury. He showed a talent for providing rich character development within a classic page turner. In his follow-up, The Guise Of Another, he uses that skill for a different kind of book, even though he brings back a couple of familiar folks.
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The Ville Rat by Martin Limón
The latest book to feature Sueño and Bascom, two Army CID detectives in 1970s Korea, has the detectives assigned two cases that put them up against one of the toughest and tightest units stationed on the North-South border. Limón uses an involving mystery to look at race and politics in the military for one of his best. The Ville Rat comes out Tuesday, October 6. You can find copies on our shelves after tomorrow, or order at any time via bookpeople.com.
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