Saturday, October 14, 2017
Book Review: "The Deep Dark Descending" by Allen Eskens
Oh. My. God. I think my breathing has just gotten back to normal. What a fantastic book this was!!
"Your thoughts are dominated by one thing. They have been ever since I came on board here. Sure, it ebbs and flows. Some days are better than others. But your wife's death is always there, just below the surface."
Homicide detective Max Rupert has spent the last several years mourning his wife Jenni's death in a hit-and-run accident. Not only does her loss remain fresh every single day, but he blames himself, as he's sure some case he was working on or a criminal he once helped imprison was somehow responsible for her death. When he is given evidence that proves, in fact, she was murdered, he must decide what to do with this information, since he knows nothing will bring her back to him.
Once he overcomes the shock and emotions this new discovery provokes, Max knows the only option is to hunt down those responsible for Jenni's murder, even if it puts his police career at risk. In trying to find out what Jenni stumbled upon that led to her death, he discovers far more evil closer to home than he even imagined. And he will stop at nothing to make those involved pay, no matter what the need for revenge may do to him.
"I needed a war room, a place where I could immerse myself in Jenni's case with no distractions, a place where I could release my inner Mr. Hyde and indulge in my own form of masochism, like those penitents who flog themselves into religious ecstasy. In this room, I would purge all other thoughts from my head and focus on one taskhunting down the people responsible for my wife's death."
As Max digs for the truth, he and his partner Niki are in the midst of a case in which a young woman was murdered and another man was severely burned. The case is a sensitive one, but they don't realize just how sensitive until they find themselves dodging department politics and old secrets while trying to doand protecttheir jobs. But Max's first priority is meting out his own private justice.
At a frozen lake on the border of the U.S. and Canada, Max must decide what kind of a person he is: the type who will descend into his own private madness on a quest for revenge, even if it destroys him, or does he follow the conscience that has made him a successful police detectiveand a man his wife would be still be proud of. And before he acts, he must decide whether the information that brought him to this point is actually correct, or whether he is being manipulated.
Allen Eskens starts this book off at full throttle and never, ever steps back. Even in quieter, more contemplative moments where Max is alone with his grief and his indecision, Eskens ratchets up the tension until you feel your heart pounding and you cannot stop reading, because you must know how the plot will be resolved. (I stayed up very late to finish the book because I literally could not stop reading.)
I have never read any of Eskens' other books before, although I've always meant to, but now I am completely in awe of his talent. Not only is The Deep Dark Descending a true thriller, but it is an exceptionally told story. Eskens is as comfortable writing action scenes and police procedural scenes as he is describing the frozen environment around Max as he comes to a decision about the path his revenge will take. This is a book that you feel in your gut and your brain, because you appreciate the action and the storytelling simultaneously.
This is definitely one of the best books I've read all year. Do yourself a favor, thriller fans, and pick this up ASAP.