Review: The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens

Title: The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 285 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss

Summary:

Homicide Detective Max Rupert never fully accepted his wife’s death, even when he believed that a reckless hit-and-run driver was to blame. Haunted by memories both beautiful and painful, he is plagued by feelings of unfinished business. When Max learns that, in fact, Jenni was murdered, he must come to terms with this new information—and determine what to do with it.

Struggling to balance his impulses as a vengeful husband with his obligations as a law enforcement officer, Max devotes himself to relentlessly hunting down those responsible. For most of his life, he has thought of himself as a decent man. But now he’s so consumed with anguish and thoughts of retribution that he finds himself on the edge, questioning who he is and what he stands for.

On a frozen lake at the US–Canadian border, he wrestles with decisions that could change his life forever, as his rage threatens to turn him into the kind of person he has spent his entire career bringing to justice.

Review:

In The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens, homicide Detective Max Rupert is on quest for vengeance for his wife Jenni’s killer but when he has the murderer in his grasp, will he fully exact his revenge?

Max has grieved the hit and run death of Jenni for the past four and a half years and he still keenly feels her loss. When his former friend, defense attorney  Boady Sanden, hands him a file containing a recording of two men plotting her murder, Max leaves no stone unturned as he begins his hunt for her killers. Before he can begin delving into his wife’s case, he and his partner Niki Vang must investigate a vehicle fire in which the remains of Pippi Stafford are discovered after her boyfriend, the Mayor’s Deputy Chief of Staff Dennis Orton, reports the fire. The investigation quickly reveals Pippi was dead before the van was set ablaze so all eyes soon turn to Orton. Max is also rather curious about his boss, Lt. Emil Briggs’ intense interest in the case and with no love lost between him and his superior, Max is determined to uncover the reason why.

With chapters weaving back and forth between a narrow three day window, the narrative flips back and forth between the two investigations in Minneapolis and Max’s efforts to seek vengeance on Jenni’s killers. The case involving Pippi and Orton is somewhat easy to solve. Once Max has a fairly solid hypothesis about what happened to Pippi, he uses the information to leverage answers about why Briggs’ is so curious about the investigation.

The main focus of the storyline is Max’s search for answers about Jenni’s murder. With new details about the reason she was targeted, he is able to glean enough information from the last day of her life to know where to begin his investigation. Just when it seems he has hit a dead end, Niki provides invaluable information that breaks the case wide open.  Once Max knows where to look, he soon zeroes in a suspect which in turn, leads him right to the person he is certain ordered Jenni’s death. After he locates the suspect, Max then has to decide whether or not to carry out his plan to exact his revenge which presents an interesting ethical quandary for a man who has always been on the right side of the law.

The Deep Dark Descending is a riveting mystery that will leave readers on the edge of their seats as Max grapples with an unknown man in the bitter cold in an isolated part of the state. Allen Eskens skillfully presents an intriguing scenario in which Max must decide whether or not he can go through with his plan and if he can live with the aftermath of his decision. A very compelling novel that has plenty of tension as it wends its way to a stunning conclusion.

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