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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Available on Amazon

Available at Barnes & Noble Bookstore


Book Review: Safe from the Sea, by Peter Geye

I was between books for about 15 minutes and I was desperately searching for a book in my personal library that I had not yet read. Nothing was appealing to me so off to the local Barnes Noble bookstore, I dashed to quickly find a new author.

When I arrived, I asked the sales associate for their list of new authors. With a dazed look, he said they didn’t have one, but pointed me to a section and one new author he had recently had read exclaiming it was excellent. I quickly reviewed the back cover and put it back as quickly as I had picked it up.

I knew better.

Safe from the SeaWhipping out my trusty iPhone and Googled first time authors, and lo and behold, what popped up? Barnes and Noble’s list of new authors. A few rows over on an endcap was the book from the new author list, Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye.

My attraction to the book.

Anything about the sea captivates my attention since I was a little girl and my love of the Great Lakes. I read the short paragraph about the author of the back cover and discovered a Michigan connection (Peter Geye received is PhD from Western Michigan University) and this was his first novel. I was intrigued by the brief description of the author and the story.

Perfect!  In and out of the bookstore in 15 minutes.

This cannot be a first novel!

The story of a son returning to his home in Minnesota to reconnect with this dying father after years of estrangement since marrying his wife is so beautifully written, I cannot believe this is his first novel.

The author’s ability to see his characters as people we may know in our own lives and to feel the same feelings as these characters is remarkable. If you have never literally been to Minnesota in the bitter cold, you don’t have to now because the author knows how to transport you there in his words.

“Against the dramatic Northern Minnesota lakeshore, a son and his father reconnect thirty-five years after the father has survived the tragic wreck of a Great Lakes boat.”

This story had me thinking of my own difficult family relationships from my relationship with my own father to my in-laws. In doing so, I found myself thrust into this story asking myself the same questions as Noah and his sister, Solveig. I even could relate to Noah’s annoyance with this wife, Natalie in the beginning of the story and then found myself identifying with her by the end of the story. I found myself sobbing as Noah’s father, Olaf finishes telling his story to Noah. Such excellent writing for this to be a first novel.

Five enthusiastic hoots!

I am following author, Peter Geye on Twitter as I anxiously await his second novel. I highly recommend his first novel, Safe from the Sea and The Blogging Owl enthusiastically gives it a 5-Hoot Rating.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale

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Amazon:  Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye

Barnes and Noble: Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye

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.

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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!