The Guise of Another by Allen Eskens is the follow up to his award winning debut novel The Life We Bury. And he's crafted another great read!
There's a clever tie in connecting the two books. Detective Max Rupert was the homicide cop in The Life We Bury. But it is his younger brother Alexander who takes the lead role in The Guise of Another. Alexander is also a cop, but one demoted down to the Fraud Squad, pending the outcome of an internal investigation. A possible identity theft case that crosses his desk is much more involved than it appears on first glance.
"That night, James Erkel Putnam - a man who walked in daylight, but lived in shadows, a man who thought he had all the time in the world to seek forgiveness for his many sins - never stood a chance."
Alexander dives in, determined to salvage his reputation and his job by solving the case. And this reader also dived in and didn't look up 'til the wee hours of the morning! I desperately wanted to know who this man was and why he was living under another name. What did he do?
Eskens' first book was lighter in tone with innocent protagonists. This time, it's darker, with a decidedly noir feel to the story that I quite enjoyed. Is Alexander truly the innocent he proclaims? His self destructive behavior leaves the reader wondering.
I was kept on my toes the entire tale, not sure where Eskens was going to take his story. Throw in a nasty hitman, something quite valuable that everyone wants to get their hands on, more than one duplicitous woman and the plot thickens. But amongst all that, Eskens explores the relationships between the two brothers, between Alex and his wife and a few others.
The title is quite apt, applying to the dead man, but also to almost every other character, most who seem to be hiding something. Even 'good' brother Max Rupert, who is hands down my favourite character. I'd love to see him in another book, even in a peripheral role.
Another excellent page turner from Eskens. I highly recommend his books. Eskens is firmly on my must read list - I'll be eagerly awaiting his third novel. Read an excerpt of The Guise of Another.
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