Book of the Day
The Deep Dark Descending
If you have somewhere to be or need to get 8 hours of sleep, don’t begin reading this book. Allen Eskens’ The Deep Dark Descending (Seventh Street Books, Amherst NY) starts out intense and never slows down. This is not one to read for a half hour before bedtime, not because of its content, but because of its pace. Finding a stopping place is difficult.
Max Rupert is a police detective who is haunted by his wife’s death, some 4-plus years earlier. That it was simply a hit-and-run accident has never set well with him, and her memory is still fresh and constant, even after a half-decade. When presented with proof in the form of a taped recording planning her murder he becomes single-minded, determined to find and deal with her murderer.
Set in the dead of winter in northern Minnesota, the chilling cold becomes as much a part of the plot as an additional character. Eskens toggles back and forth from present tense to the three days leading up to the final chapter in a skillful fashion, melding investigative work into the culmination. Told in the first person, that POV actually works in this scenario.
He also manages to weave a believable sub-plot into the narrative, which is used to enable his single-minded albeit short-term quest for justice. Throughout, the reader is left to guess whether the result will be vengeance or lawful justice. A reminder of who he is and should be is sprinkled throughout, courtesy of Nancy, the woman who raised him as her own. The phrase “vengeance is not justice” echoes in his mind, even as he wrestles with whether he is detective or avenger.
The pace, the style, and the ending will leave readers breathless, not really wanting more, but fully satisfied that the tale has been well told, and has ended appropriately. Eskens has a knack of engaging his audience immediately and holding them hostage until the end.
Danny Lindsey keeps trying to retire. After a 20-year Army career and a 25-year second one in the private sector, he’s finally settled down. His current gig is as the Veteran Employment Services Manager for a Huntsville, A.L. based non-profit, Still Serving Veterans. Both full careers were characterized by numerous writing assignments, from war plans to operating policies and procedures, then on to white papers, analyses of alternatives and competitive contract and grant proposals. Now his writing consists of blogs for the website www.ssv.org, podcasts for the local NPR affiliate, and a half dozen Pulitzer-worthy, albeit unpublished novels.
Update: Danny won the 2017 Killer Nashville Claymore Award with his manuscript Serial Justice – so he will not be unpublished for long!