cover image The Guise of Another

The Guise of Another

Allen Eskens. Prometheus Books/Seventh Street, $15.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-63388-076-4

Edgar-finalist Eskens follows his highly praised debut, The Life We Bury (2014), with an equally compelling second novel starring Alexander Rupert, a disgraced Minneapolis police detective. Toiling away in the fraud unit while a grand jury investigates charges that he stole drug money, Rupert happens upon a case that he believes could return him to the department’s good graces: a man who faked his death 15 years earlier in a boat accident off Coney Island has just died for real in a Minnesota car crash. Rupert wants to know who James Putnam really was and why he staged the coverup. While his own life continues to spiral toward the drain, Rupert finds himself increasingly attracted to Putnam’s former live-in girlfriend, a temptress with elusive motivations. Eskens moves his plot along in a spare, sure-handed manner, avoiding clichés and stock situations. Elevating the story further are several unexpected turns down the homestretch, as well as several well-crafted characters who serve as examples of how good people can succumb to weakness. Readers looking for a new voice should pay attention to Eskens. Agent: Amy Cloughley, Kimberley Cameron Agency. (Oct.)