The Deep Dark Descending|Allen Eskens
The Deep Dark Descending
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A homicide detective hunts down his wife's killers while struggling between his thirst for revenge and a twinge of conscience forbidding him to take the law into his own hands. Homicide Detective Max Rupert never fully accepted his wife's death, even when he believed that a reckless hit-and-run driver was to blame. Haunted by memories both beautiful and painful, he is plagued by feelings of unfinished business. When Max learns that, in fact, Jenni was murdered, he must come to terms with this new information--and determine what to do with it. Struggling to balance his impulses as a vengeful husband with his obligations as a law enforcement officer, Max devotes himself to relentlessly hunting down those responsible. For most of his life, he has thought of himself as a decent man. But now he's so consumed with anguish and thoughts of retribution that he finds himself on the edge, questioning who he is and what he stands for. On a frozen lake at the US-Canadian border, he wrestles with decisions that could change his life forever, as his rage threatens to turn him into the kind of person he has spent his entire career bringing to justice.


  • ISBN-13: 9781633883550
  • ISBN-10: 1633883558
  • Publisher: Seventh Street Books
  • Publish Date: October 2017
  • Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.6 pounds
  • Page Count: 285

Whodunit: A winning, cerebral sleuth faces ghosts from his past

Joe Ide, author of the brilliant IQ, returns with Righteous, once again starring off-the-books private investigator Isaiah Quintabe, known as “IQ.” This time out, Isaiah turns up some information suggesting that the hit-and-run death of his beloved brother, Marcus, 10 years ago was anything but an accident. Instead, it appears to have been premeditated murder. The details nag at Isaiah, and if he accepts this narrative, it will mean viewing his brother in an entirely new light—as a thief. Meanwhile, another ghost shows up: Sarita Van, Marcus’ girlfriend at the time of his death and the longtime object of Isaiah’s unrequited fantasies. It seems Sarita’s sister is in some trouble with a Las Vegas loan shark. But there are other forces at play: the Chinese mob; a strange and dapper East African fellow with an exceptionally checkered past; and even one guy who is, in theory at least, on Isaiah’s team. Righteous is action packed, cerebral and altogether engaging, and I predict a long string of follow-up novels in this fine series.

For many years, Martin Limón has been on my short list of authors whose work I read even if it’s not for this column. His books are set in 1970s Korea, where two U.S. military police officers, George Sueño and Ernie Bascom, are serving. The Nine-Tailed Fox follows the pair as they attempt to track down someone pursuing vigilante justice against Army personnel who have perpetrated violence against Korean nationals, particularly women, and gotten away with it. Whispers in back alleys speak of a gumiho, a mythical fox-woman, who lures unsuspecting soldiers to their deaths, but Sueño and Bascom naturally blow off such rumors. Yet the closer they get to the killer, the more truth these rumors seem to hold.

It’s not every day that a suspense novel starts in the Minnesota woods in midwinter, with the good guy about to bash in the skull of someone who may be innocent of any wrongdoing, but that is exactly where The Deep Dark ­Descending, Allen Eskens’ gripping tale of revenge, begins. A few short pages later, we flash back to the events leading up to this showdown, and then for the rest of the book, we jump back and forth between the past and the present moment. Detective Max Rupert, who appeared as a supporting character in Eskens’ previous books, learns that his wife’s murder five years ago was a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and not because of something related to Rupert’s police work, a worry that has caused him relentless insomnia since her death. The narrative covers sex trafficking, political cronyism and police corruption, and Eskens neatly ties it all together with a strong thread of revenge. By the time things resolve, there will be plenty of vengeance to be dealt, by and to several deserving parties.

Picture for a moment Rex Stout’s famous detectives, Nero Wolfe and sidekick Archie Goodwin. Then magically transport them to Victorian England, and render them with a Brit overlay of pedantry and dry humor, plus a dash of Indiana Jones’ flair, just for spice. Finally, give them a convoluted case to solve, and bingo, we’re off to the races. Will Thomas’ characters Cyrus Barker and Thomas Llewellyn have figured in several books together, but the latest, Old Scores, is easily the most intricately plotted to date, pitting the duo against nefarious forces from Japan, China and even within the British government. When the Japanese ambassador to England is found dead from a gunshot wound and Barker is apprehended outside the ambassador’s window with a gun that has one bullet missing, it all looks pretty open and shut. But not everyone is convinced of Barker’s guilt, and one of the people on his side is General Mononobe, the military presence in the Japanese embassy, who takes it upon himself to hire Barker to find out who really killed the ambassador. Apart from Barker’s admittedly suspect presence at the crime scene, he is a natural for the task: He speaks Japanese and Chinese fluently, and he’s spent much of his career attached to the foreign office. And of course Baker has a vested interest in finding the real killer in order to clear his name. Convoluted in a Sherlockian sort of way and redolent of an age gone by, Old Scores is clever, wry and chock-full of period odds and ends—and their somewhat fractious history with one another.


This article was originally published in the October 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.