A former Medal of Valor winner, Minnesota detective Alexander Rupert is now under subpoena by a grand jury on suspicion of corruption. So when he's asked to look into the false identity of a car-accident victim named James Putnam, a man who in fact died 15 years earlier, Rupert sees a potentially big case and an opportunity to regain his respectability.
But the investigation puts him in the path of "the Beast", the nom de guerre of Drago Basta, a cunning veteran of the Balkan wars and a sociopath assassin who has been searching for Putnam for years. Putnam had something that Basta still wants. If Rupert's life was in shambles before, it's now also in danger. Threatened by the Beast and suspecting his wife of cheating, Rupert falls for the seductions of the dead man's former girlfriend. As he feels his life spinning out of control, his steadfast brother and fellow police detective Max may be Rupert's last hope.
©2015 Allen Eskens (P)2015 Tantor
"It's a taut, intelligent, heart-ripping story that explores the darkest places in the human psyche." (William Kent Krueger, author of Iron Lake)
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"Cracking Good Noir"
A delicious tale with a complex plot twisting like cream stirred slowly into very ghost coffee. It's got it all: loyal but fallible heroes, femme fatales, deep betrayals reaching up after years to drag down empires and the good and evil both.
My only complaint is that after much foreshadowing one of the villains turned out-I think-to be a random minor character. Then again, I may have misheard.
"Great listen, terrific narrator"
It's been awhile since I've listened to a book where I couldn't predict at least some of what was going to happen. I would have liked a different ending but it was still very enjoyable. The kind of book that keeps me sitting in my car. I haven't listened to this author before nor have I heard this narrator. The narrator was terrific, didn't interfere with the book at all.
"I loved the characters"
Once again Allen Eskens lets his characters evolve. Both of the books by Eskens have been among the most engaging and intellectually gratifying books I have read.
Allen Eskens is one of my new favorite authors! If you've not read "The Life We Bury" do yourself a favor and do so immediately. and 5he read this!
"suspenseful and entertaining"
I'm a new fan of this author and he always tells a good story. this story was a little generic in terms of the crime Etc. but it was still entertaining.
Not nearly as good as Eskens "The Life We Bury". Although the story held my attention and there were several moments of true action and suspense there was just something choppy about the plot. Also, the narrator had a light touch for this type of story that I found distracted from the action.
"Great book - so so narration"
Jonathan Yen does a decent job with the male voices; however, every female sounds like a silly twit. The story would've been better served by a more realistic narrator.
"Failed Noir, Failed Morality"
It was hard at times to distinguish a bad book from bad narration, but I got the consistent sense that our reader was doing an infomercial...or maybe a middle-school educational film. He over-enunciated, had little sense of the "drama" taking place, and seemed out of touch with the purported tradition/genre of the work. To be fair, the book is so bad that our reader might have been more effective with something else, but he didn't help.
I abide by a pretty strict Life’s Too Short to Finish Bad Books policy, but this one slipped through.
Yeah, the opening premise is promising – an accident unravels an old scheme predicated on identity theft – but it goes downhill rapidly.
For a time I thought I might learn something from this as a counter-example, but it is so ineptly done that it doesn’t even have that dubious virtue. The narrative, the voice, and the perspective are all, to put it simply, wrong. It switches from one tone to another in clumsy fashion, seeming to stagger toward a coherent conclusion. It features characters who attempt clever maneuvers to throw others off and then it shows the same characters making stupid, contrived choices. Supposedly insightful characters spend time (through an awkward point-of-view lens) in condescending asides explaining their motives and then, chapters later, act exactly opposite those motives.
If that isn’t bad enough, it has a 1980s slasher film morality, condemning violence at the same time as it revels in it, and punishing everyone for his or her sins with equal glee. It’s a conservative vision married to the amorality of noir, and it fails on both counts.
"What a mess"
Both the plot and the protagonist in this novel are a mess. The plot could have been tighter, with less gaps in reasoning and character inconsistencies. It felt sometimes people were killed off just because the author didn't know where else to go with the character. Why even include them? You draw in the reader with what seem valuable characters but then knock them off. Also, I'm no techie but can a smart phone battery be easily removed and reinstalled? Yet it seems that most of the characters carry a smart phone (references to touch screens, pictures, GPS, passcodes, etc.) and can effortlessly pop batteries in and out. This is one of a few minor, irritating distractions. And then, Alex. A commended cop who has the impulse control and reasoning of a teenager?
Better narration may not have saved this book, but it would have helped. There's nothing wrong with Yen when he was narrating the story but his acting out the different voices and accents annoying.
The only reason this book was “okay” is Max Rupert. He is the sad, slightly tainted hero. If the next Eskens book features Max, I may have a change of heart and read it. I enjoyed Eskens's The Life We Bury and jumped on this one because it had carry over characters. Unfortunately, this was disappointing.
"great story. a bit to vulgar for my imagination"
it's a really great story. keeps your wanting more but some parts are way to much. could have avoided the gruesome description of some scenes and kept the same interest
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