Monday, October 5, 2015

Review: The Guise of Another

Summary: Who was James Putnam? The answer to that question may help Minnesota detective Alexander Rupert salvage the wreck of his career.

A former Medal of Valor winner, 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 fifteen 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. -- Seventh Street Books

A few months ago I reviewed THE LIFE WE BURY by Allen Eskens and loved it! When I learned that he already has another novel coming out called THE GUISE OF ANOTHER, I knew I wanted to read it. I was hoping that Mr. Eskens could followup THE LIFE WE BURY with another great story, and for the most part he did. THE GUISE OF ANOTHER was a solid story with interesting characters, but it didn't have quite the same appeal as THE LIFE WE BURY. (Keep in mind that THE LIFE WE BURY was excellent!)

THE GUISE OF ANOTHER has a great set-up. Detective Alexander Rupert, once a Medal of Valor winner, is now assigned to the Fraud unit after he's under federal investigation for stealing money from a drug dealer. He's miserable in his new job until a freak accident that kills a man named James Putnam comes into the picture. When a lawyer bring to Rupert's attention that Putnam isn't really James Putnam, Rupert begins looking into this complicated crime... in the hopes that by solving this case, he will look better in the eyes of the grand jury.

Rupert finds that "Putnam's" life is extremely complicated. When he gains access to the dead man's hard drive, he discovers a mysterious trail of money. With some solid detective work and a little help from his brother and a policewoman in New York, he uncovers Putnam's real identity and finds that Putnam is really Jericho Pope, a man who supposedly died in a boating accident 15 years ago.

In the meantime Drago Basta, a Balkan who has done his fair share of killing in his lifetime, has been looking for Pope and the information he has had since the boating accident. He's not afraid to take out anyone who gets in his way in his quest for Pope's flash drive. Can Rupert, with the help of Putnam/Pope's girlfriend, discover the flash drive before Basta?

I really enjoyed THE GUISE OF ANOTHER. The story was both intriguing and suspenseful, and I found the characters to be interesting. Once again, Mr. Eskens balanced the mystery aspect of the story with the characters' lives; and I do think he has a talent for bringing his characters to life. Overall, THE GUISE OF ANOTHER was a fun read... it just wasn't quite as good as his first novel.

The main character in THE GUISE OF ANOTHER, Alexander Rupert, was fascinating to me. He had so many complications in his life! He was accused of stealing money from a drug dealer, his ex-partner turned on him, and he was pretty much in denial that he was soon facing a grand jury. In addition, his marriage was in trouble and he was suspicious that his wife was having an affair. Rupert was pretty much down on his luck, and he was hoping against all hope that by solving this crime, he would be redeemed. It was an interesting motivation for a police officer to say the least.

And then, Rupert ends up getting involved with Putnam/Pope's hot girlfriend. His life was such a train wreck and he really didn't seem to have any grasp of what he needed to do to fix it. There were times during this novel that I wanted to shake him, but at the same time, I enjoyed his actions because they made for a good story. In hindsight, I wish he had shared more with his brother Max (another great character that I hope to see again!)

I found the mystery to be a good one. I was intrigued by the secret surrounding the identity of Putnam/Pope, and there were times when I wasn't sure which way this story was going to go. Having said that, by the end of the novel, I could definitely see what was coming. And even though parts of this story had a few twists, I wasn't really shocked by what happened. (I know that sounds vague but I can't go into more detail without giving away the story!) I could see the set-up for how the story was going to end.

I am so excited to discover a new mystery novelist in Mr. Eskens. I have really enjoyed both of his books and look forward to more from this talented author.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read. Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books t

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

Wow, Eskens sounds like an author to keep an eye on.