Monday, October 9, 2017

Review: The Deep Dark Descending

Summary: Homicide Detective Max Rupert never fully accepted his wife’s death, even when he believed that a reckless hit and run driver was the cause.

But when he learns that in fact she was murdered, he devotes himself to hunting down her killers. Most of his life he had thought of himself as a decent man. But now he’s so consumed with thoughts of retribution that he questions whether he will take that last step and enact the vengeance he longs for.

On a frozen lake near the US-Canadian border, he wrestles with a decision that could change his life forever, as his hatred threatens to turn him into the kind of person he has spent a career bringing to justice. -- Seventh Street Books

Allen Eskens is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I've loved every book he's ever written, and his latest novel THE DEEP DARK DESCENDING is no exception. This book is dark and gritty and it's absolutely fabulous. THE DEEP DARK DESCENDING has already received a starred review from Kirkus, and it was featured as a "Best New Book" in this week's Entertainment Weekly.

THE DEEP DARK DESCENDING stars a character you might know from the 2016 novel THE HEAVENS MAY FALL. It's Max Rupert, a homicide detective who learns that his wife's death from a hit and run wasn't an accident. He's already tormented by her death, but when he realizes that someone (or someones) wanted her dead because she knew too much, he's out for revenge.

Max doesn't have any friends, outside of his partner in the police force; and he's determined to solve this crime by himself. In addition to Max's quest to figure out his wife's murder, he and his partner Niki are also working on an unusual case. The mayor's chief of staff appears to be guilty of trying to set his dead girlfriend's body on fire... and in the process, he caught himself on fire too!

As Max gets closer to the truth about his wife's death, his desire for revenge seems to overtake his reason in the matter. Will Max ultimately become a man like the ones he has spent his life putting behind bars?

Wow! I honestly loved this novel so much. It's the fourth book I've read by Allen Eskens, and I think he just keeps getting better. I will admit that THE DEEP DARK DESCENDING was a little darker than I was expecting; however, the story was fast-paced and so well told that I actually appreciated the changes in Max's character. Mr. Eskens brought Max so fully to life that I totally understood his thoughts and actions and even his manic behavior!

THE DEEP DARK DESCENDING takes place over just a few days, with chapters alternating between Max working on the crimes and the fast forwarding to when Max has a man held captive near a frozen lake on the U.S./Canada border. The tension in the story just keeps building to the amazing conclusion, and I will say that I definitely wasn't disappointed in the ending. Maybe a little surprised, but definitely not let down.

Trust me when I say that Mr. Eskens can write characters and mysteries like few authors out there. His books are so darn easy to read -- even this one which was definitely depressing. He creates memorable characters who force their way into your brain and heart, and he makes readers feel their pain. In the case of Max, I could even feel his anguish as he tried to decide what to do with the man who was responsible for his wife's death.

I would love for book clubs to read THE DEEP DARK DESCENDING. It is a mystery and I know some groups shy away from discussing mysteries; however, this novel is really deep. Max is an incredibly complex character, and his actions are worthy of discussion. In addition, there is a reading guide with some very thought-provoking questions.

All in all, THE DEEP DARK DESCENDING is an excellent mystery, and it just might be Mr. Eskens' best one to date. I hope he keeps them coming because I can't get enough of his novels!

I received a copy of this novel at this year's BEA.

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.


bermudaonion said...

I've only read one of Eskens' books and I did love it. I've got to get with it and read more of his work for sure! This sounds fabulous!

The Book Sage said...

I don't know if Kathy read the same one I read. But my solo shot was The Life We Bury. And I thought that was terrific. I guess I'll need to get to this one, as well as maybe the others.