Allen Eskens had a new book coming out. Even more so when I discovered that Joe Talbert would be returning in The Shadows We Hide.
Joe was the protagonist in Eskens' first book, The Life We Bury. I thought there was more to Joe's story. Joe has never known his father. When he comes across a news story about the death of a man named Joe Talbert, he wonders - could it possibly be the father he was named for? He heads to the small town as the reporter he is - and is stunned by the town's animosity towards the dead man.
Esken's characters have depth and significant back stories. Joe's mother is a drug addict, his brother is mentally challenged and Joe himself battles personal demons. I'm really fond of Lila, Joe's girlfriend. She's whip smart, kind, thoughtful and no pushover. She is true to her own beliefs and lives accordingly. All of these relationships resonate with reality.
Now in addition to absolutely fantastic characters is the mystery behind the dead Joe Talbert. And again, Eskens excels. His plotting is intricate and detailed and drew me into the underbelly of the small town. I wasn't able to predict the outcome of the book, which I really appreciate. And the ending was just right. Read an excerpt of The Shadows We Hide.
Eskens is easily one of my favorite authors. I'll be eagerly awaiting the fifth book from this talented writer. Absolutely recommended. But do yourself a favor and start with the first book.
(The cover of The Shadows We Hide features the same barn that was on the cover in The Life We Bury, but in a growing season, instead of the winter.)