Book Review: The Guise of Another, by Allen Eskens

The Guise of Another is the second novel by Allen Eskens. I am just going to come right out of the gate to announce that I hope this novel is obtained for the action thriller movie. Just make sure that Matt Damon is not chosen to play Detective Alexander Rupert.

The Guise of AnotherIf you read, The Life We Bury, by Allen Eskens (if you haven’t you should – see my review The Life We Bury), police detective, Max Rupert is the older broker of detective, Alexander Rupert. The story as in the previous novel is set in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Little brother, Alex is trying to salvage his police career on the suspicion of police corruption while seeing the opportunity to rehabilitate his reputation in solving a case of identity theft.

Crime Mystery ripe for a movie thriller

The story is perfect for an action thriller movie with all the elements of a crime mystery involving big business, international intrigue, betrayal, soured marriage, and murder. This novel is a one-sitting read with short chapters that keep you wanting more and more right up to the ending. It is everything a reader wants in a crime mystery – it is chilling, filled with suspense, and loaded with surprises.

Besides Drago Basta a fascinating character, I found the women characters to be almost as villainous as Drago in their own right.

Favorite sentences can turn into favorite movie lines

My favorite sentence in the book is, “It fascinated Drago the way that people could believe the unbelievable. He had entered her home, pointed a gun at her face, tied up in a chair, and now straddled her lap. Yet she had stopped screaming because she believed him when he said he wouldn’t hurt her.”

And another sentence, “People about to die will bargain away the world for one more breath of life. They will lie and cheat and betray their own mothers in order to live.”

Questions begging to be asked

What is the chance of not being killed if she follows his demands?

Would I lie, cheat and betray even my own mother in order to live?

A must-read book!

Allen Eskens second novel, The Guise of Another cements Allen Eskens as one of my new favorite authors. Will his third book, The Heavens May Fall make this a lasting feeling?
The Blogging Owl gives, The Guise of Another by Allen Eskens a definite 5-Hoot Rating.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale

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Book Review: The Billy Battles Trilogy

This review covers the first two books in the Billy Battles trilogy written by Ronald E. Yates. The first book is Finding Billy Battles, An Account of Peril, Transgression and Redemption.

Finding Billy Battles

I usually shy away from investing my reading time with a trilogy. One, I feel obligated to finish the series even if I am uninterested in the story or how the story is written. And two, if I am really interested in the series, I impatiently wait for each installment to be written.

However, the Prologue: Ted Sayles hooked me.

As a prolific journal writer, I was intrigued with Ted Sayle’s inheritance of journals and memoirs written by his Great-Grandfather, William Battles. Mr. Sayles had inherited “a historian’s treasure – firsthand accounts of some of the most significant events and people in the nineteenth-century and early-twentieth century.” He also had inherited other personal artifacts from this great-grandfather.

How cool is that?

The Preface of the book states it is a work of “faction. That is, the story it tells based partly on fact, but has been augmented with narrative fiction.”  It further goes on to qualify that many of the protagonists were actual persons.

Faction or not, this first installment of the Billy Battles trilogy captivated my attention with Billy Battle’s acquaintances with the likes of Wyatt Earp and others. Throughout reading this book, I kept daydreaming about all those journals and how I would love to read them, touch the handwriting in hopes of being transported back in time. With the help of Mr. Yates excellent writing of the first third of Billy Battle’s life, the reader is easily transported back to that era.

Sidebar: When I read other book reviews, I skip the reviews that practically give the story away or go into a lot of editorial comment. It takes away the fun of reading the book myself. I try to give you enough about the book and why I liked it to make your own decision.

Perhaps it is my limited attention span because of modern technology that I found the chapters too long for my liking. Mr. Yates provides so much information and detail that at times the reading was a tad daunting, but I couldn’t wait to read the second installment, The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles.

This first installment of the Billy Battles trilogy, Finding Billy Battles, An Account of Peril, Transgression and Redemption, I gave 4 out of 5 hoots.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale - 4 hoots

The Improbably Journeys of Billy Battles

The second book picks up in 1984 on board of the SS China headed for the Orient. It’s a wild ride on the sea and in the jungles, a vast difference than Billy’s beginnings in Kansas and the wild west, but no less thrilling. Billy Battles finds love and heartache.


Side Bar: Okay guys, don’t let the love and heartache part stop you from reading this fascinating journey of Billy Battles. There is so much history action written on these pages that I doubt you will find much of it in history books.  Yes, it is a work of faction, but remember this story is based on personally written journals from one who lived it.

I enjoyed the second installment of the Billy Battles trilogy even more – not because of the love and heartache, but because of the era in which it was set. Today, we think nothing of getting on an airplane and traveling the world because we know it won’t take us long to get to our destination. Plus, we are instantly connected to our family and friends through our electronic devices. Yet, the book reminded me of how harrowing traveling around the world to parts personally unknown could not only be thrilling but exceptionally scary at the same time.

As a mother, I identified with Billy Battle’s mother. As a woman, I loved the intelligence, wit and moxie of Katharina. I wondered what it must have been like for Billy’s daughter, Anna Marie to have been separated from her father for such long periods of time.

The second book of the Billy Battles trilogy, The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles is given five out of five hoots.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale

My recommendation:

The first two books of the Billy Battles trilogy must be on the summer reading list. The final book in this trilogy is due out in late summer. I can hardly wait!







Review: The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

I was looking for a new author to love (new meaning an author whose novels I had not yet read or a newly published author) when I came upon the novel, The Life We Bury by Allen Eskins.

the-life-we-bury-front.jpgThe Life We Bury back


Kudos, to Mr. Eskens for being a finalist and award winner for his debut novel, The Life We Bury. However, I have been duped before into investing my time and book budget by these types of accolades only to be disappointed in the reviews.

It’s always a gamble investigating a new author. Again, new being someone’s novel I have not read before or new to the book scene. In my humble reader’s opinion, there is no guarantee an established author will have a great new novel, and by the same token, a green author’s novel isn’t necessarily a work in process.

Side bar: The Life We Bury was published by Seventh Street Books in Amherst, New York; but whether the book is self-published or by a publishing house is irrelevant to me.

Ultimately, three things about this novel convinced me to invest in it. Firstly, the title, The Life We Bury intrigued me and it is what drew me into investigating further the purchase of this book.  Who doesn’t have a few secrets in their closet?

Secondly, the premise of a college student completing a writing assignment for an English class that sounded familiar to anyone who as ever taken an English course but never had a subject as interesting as Carl Iverson. Throw in a dysfunctional family and I wondered if the author could really pull off well developed characters without losing sight of the assignment.

And lastly, I told myself I should at least give this new author an opportunity to convince me that all the accolades were worthy indeed. As a criminal defense attorney, Mr. Eskens is no doubt adept at presenting cases and leading juries to his desired conclusion. Yet many juries have been overwhelmed with too many details, and could the author write this story as thrilling and suspenseful as quoted on the back cover of the book without putting me to sleep?

Not only were the accolades accurate, Mr. Eskens has a captivating writing style and well developed characters. I felt I was there within the story. I also enjoyed the short chapters which I felt kept with the suspense of the story moving it to a thrilling ending.

The Life We Bury is a debut winner! So much so I went out and simultaneously purchased his second novel, The Guise of Another, and his latest novel, The Heavens May Fall.  

Did I have find my find a new author to love?  Stay tuned for my reviews of Mr. Esken’s follow up novels on The Blogging Owl.

Hoot Rating:

Genre: Mystery, Crime

On a scale of 1 to 5 Hoots, the novel, The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens earned 4 hoots.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale - 4 hoots