Allen Eskens is a master of the modern mystery book genre. Crafting puzzles that reveal the truth while exploring themes of guilt, redemption, and the dark side of human nature.
Here’s a complete list of Allen Eskens’ books in reading order, organized by series and stand-alone novels.
Max Rupert and Joe Talbert Series
This series follows two captivating characters: Joe Talbert, a college student, and Max Rupert, a homicide detective who navigate the world of crime and mystery.
1. The Life We Bury (2014)
The first book in the series follows college student, Joe Talbert. For a biography class assignment, Joe interviews Carl Iverson, a dying Vietnam veteran and convicted murderer.
As Joe delves into Carl’s past, he finds inconsistencies in the murder case and begins to believe that Carl may have been wrongfully accused.
The novel explores themes of justice, honesty, and responsibility as Joe seeks to uncover the truth hidden in the past.
2. The Guise of Another (2015)
The second book in the series follows Alexander Rupert, a detective who finds himself under federal investigation and reassigned to the Frauds Unit.
When a man dies in a suspicious car crash, it’s discovered that he was living under a false identity.
Seeing an opportunity to restore his tarnished reputation, Alexander delves into the case, only to find himself in the crosshairs of a trained assassin.
As he navigates this dangerous path, his only hope may be his older brother, Max, who steps in to try to save him from the chaos his investigation has unleashed.
3. The Heavens May Fall (2016)
Detective Max Rupert and attorney Boady Sanden’s friendship is put to the test. Max is convinced that Jennavieve Pruitt was killed by her husband, Ben.
While Boady, who is defending Ben, believes in his client’s innocence. As the case unfolds, both men are forced to confront their personal demons.
4. The Deep Dark Descending (2017)
Detective Max Rupert is haunted by his wife’s death, which he initially believed was caused by a hit-and-run accident.
However he discovers evidence suggesting that her death was premeditated murder and embarks on a relentless hunt for her killers.
As Max grapples with his thirst for revenge and his moral obligations as a law enforcement officer, he finds himself on the brink of becoming the kind of person he has spent his career bringing to justice.
5. The Shadows We Hide (2018)
The story picks up six years later, with Joe Talbert now working as a journalist for the Associated Press in Minneapolis.
When he stumbles upon a story about the murder of a man named Joseph Talbert, Joe is shocked to find that this man might be his father.
As Joe investigates, he discovers that the dead man was a loathsome individual who squandered his wife’s inheritance, which may now be Joe’s.
Amidst this chaos, Joe must also navigate his complicated relationship with his mother, who is seeking to re-enter his life.
Allen Eskens Stand Alone Novels
Nothing More Dangerous (2019) (Related Max Rupert and Joe Talbert)
“Nothing More Dangerous” is a coming-of-age novel set in a small town in the 1970s.
The story is told from the perspective of Boady Sanden, a high school freshman, who takes it upon himself to solve the disappearance of an African-American woman named Lida Poe.
As Boady delves into the mystery, he confronts racial prejudice and its impact on his community.
The Stolen Hours (2021)
“The Stolen Hours” follows Lila Nash, a prosecutor about to start her dream job.
When a woman is pulled from the Mississippi River, barely alive, Lila takes on the case.
As Lila delves deeper into the investigation, she must confront her own past – her own attack that she has kept secret for eight long years.
Forsaken Country (2022) (Related Max Rupert)
The story follows Max Rupert, a former Minneapolis homicide detective who has retreated into solitude after the tragic death of his wife.
His quiet life is disrupted when Lyle Voight, a former local sheriff, seeks his help to find his missing daughter Sandy and grandson Pip.
Max and Lyle suspect Sandy’s ex-husband Reed is behind the disappearance. As they get closer to finding proof, Reed flees into the dangerous Boundary Waters wilderness with Pip.
Saving Emma (2023)
Saving Emma is a legal thriller about Boady Sanden, a law professor who works to exonerate wrongly convicted people.
Boady takes on the case of Elijah Matthews, a man who believes he is a prophet and has been convicted of murdering a pastor.
While investigating Elijah’s case, Boady discovers that it is connected to the death of his friend and colleague, Ben Pruitt.
Ben’s daughter, Emma, who has been living with Boady and his wife since Ben’s death, makes a bad decision and runs away.
Boady must now investigate Elijah’s case, find Emma, and clear Elijah’s name, all while trying to protect the family he loves.