Book Title: The Deep Dark Descending
Author: Allen Eskens
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Series: None (Reoccurring-Max Rupert)
Genres: Mystery, Crime Fiction, Suspense
Pub Date: 10/03/17
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.
I always have trouble writing reviews for books I like to refer to as “follow ups”, meaning sequels or novels containing reoccurring characters with a continuing plot that crosses over multiple stories. That’s exactly what The Deep Dark Descending is, and while you CAN read this as a standalone, there is so much backstory you’ll be missing that I can’t in good faith let you go on without recommending reading all of Eskens’ books in order. You might remember my glowing review for his previous novel The Heavens May Fall last year, and this latest was a fantastic continuation on the tense mystery surrounding the murder of Detective Max Rupert’s wife Jenni. If you absolutely refuse to start with his first novel, then I recommend at a bare minimum beginning with THMF solely for the characterization and backstory surrounding the main events here.
While last years story was a traditional police procedural with a hefty dose of mystery, The Deep Dark Descending is much less mystery and much more action thriller. I would go as far as saying the mystery stops near the beginning of the book, as we find out the who early on, and from there the plot is paced quickly with breath taking action and building suspense. The real showstopper here is this final development in Max; we’ve now seen him grow from a responsible member of law enforcement to a man tortured by the death of his wife who is hellbent on seeking revenge, even at the cost of his own civility and insanity. I won’t say more about the plot, but I am very intrigued to see where Eskens decides to take us next, as the ending of the book was pure perfection and wholly satisfying in my humble opinion.
If you enjoy connected novels that are ever changing in style, structure, and pacing, these crime fiction books are a must read. I cannot recommend all four of Allen Eskens’ novels highly enough; they are short, easy reads that pack a powerful punch, and I have only witnessed him grow further as an author with each story that he writes. If you haven’t had the pleasure of learning his backstory and how he became a writer, I would highly recommend seeking out his biography as it is one of the most interesting I’ve encountered. Eskens is consistently talented and I adore his work so much that I block out a week at the beginning of fall to ensure I have no distractions while reading his latest book. Excellent character building and a plot worthy of gasps and awe, please consider adding The Deep Dark Descending to your fall TBR.
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here!