Who was James Putnam? The answer to that question may help Minnesota detective Alexander Rupert salvage the wreck of his career.
A former Medal of Valor winner, Rupert is now under subpoena by a grand jury on suspicion of corruption. So when he’s asked to look into the false identity of a car-accident victim named James Putnam, a man who in fact died fifteen years earlier, Rupert sees a potentially big case and an opportunity to regain his respectability.
But the investigation puts him in the path of “the Beast,” the nom de guerre of Drago Basta, a cunning veteran of the Balkan wars and a sociopath assassin who has been searching for Putnam for years. Putnam had something that Basta still wants.
If Rupert’s life was in shambles before, it’s now also in danger. Threatened by the Beast and suspecting his wife of cheating, Rupert falls for the seductions of the dead man’s former girlfriend. As he feels his life spinning out of control, his steadfast brother and fellow police detective Max may be Rupert’s last hope.
“Eskens’s elegant but chilly prose, like winter in the blood, is well suited to this fiercely told morality tale (and its deeply cynical ending), which is sure to send all of us wretched sinners straight to hell.”
—NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
“Readers looking for a new voice should pay attention to Eskens.”
—Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW
”With just two books to his name, I have put [Eskens] on my ‘must read’ list.”
“Eskens has conjured up a marvelously black spirit of a novel. It’s a taut, intelligent, heart-ripping story that explores the darkest places in the human psyche. After each unexpected twist, you’ll tell yourself things can’t get any worse. And then they do.”
—WILLIAM KENT KRUEGER, New York Times–bestselling author of the Edgar® Award–winning Ordinary Grace
“The talented Allen Eskens fulfills the rich promise of his Edgar®-nominated debut with this chilling, dark, and sinister thriller. With precision and authority, Eskens’s determined cop hero takes one intriguing clue—and pursues it into spiraling disaster. With a deadly surprise around every corner and a bleak undercurrent of noir-like dread, this book will haunt you.”
—HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN, Agatha, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark Award–winning author of Truth Be Told
“Another great, dark, and brooding page-turner from Allen Eskens, with a tragic protagonist who will break your heart. Eskens’s characters will haunt you long after you finish reading.”
—MICHAEL SEARS, award-winning author of the bestselling Jason Stafford series
AWARD RECOGNITION FOR ESKENS’ DEBUT,
THE LIFE WE BURY:
WINNER! Left Coast Crime Rosebud Award, BEST DEBUT MYSTERY
WINNER! Barry Award, BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
WINNER! Silver Falchion Award, BEST FIRST NOVEL: traditional
2015 Edgar® Award Finalist, BEST FIRST NOVEL
Minnesota Book Award Finalist, BEST GENRE NOVEL
Anthony Award Finalist, BEST FIRST NOVEL
ITW Thriller Awards Finalist, BEST FIRST NOVEL
MysteryPeople 2014 BEST DEBUT NOVEL
Suspense Magazine BEST BOOKS OF 2014/DEBUT AUTHOR
PRAISE FOR THE LIFE WE BURY:
“Thriller fans should keep their eyes on Eskens; he’s a comer.
“[A] masterful debut….”
—PW STARRED REVIEW
“An intelligent and compelling story with characters that will capture you from the start…. This debut novel never lets the reader off the edge of the seat—the mark of a great story.”
—THE BIG THRILL
“Set against the backdrop of a brutal Minnesota winter, The Life We Bury is much more than a satisfying, suspenseful novel…. This story kept me turning the pages, and it touched my heart. The characters are as real as my next-door neighbors, the story compelling, and the writing superb.”
“Eskens delivers interesting puzzles, clever problem-solving, and plenty of stay-up-all-night-reading suspense.”
—REVIEWING THE EVIDENCE
“Grabs the reader and never relinquishes its hold.”
—LIBRARY JOURNAL EDITOR’S FALL PICK
“A solid and thoughtful tale of a young man used to taking on burdens beyond his years—none more dangerous than championing a bitter old man convicted of a horrific crime.”
“A mesmerizing debut, unfolding decades of secrets in a rewarding tale of redemption.”
—JULIE KRAMER, Minnesota Book Award winner