The Heavens May Fall: A Novel by Allen Eskins (Seventh Street Books, $15.95, 270 pages)
Relative newcomer Allen Eskins has come into his own with The Heavens Must Fall. It is the third in a series of books that take place in Minnesota, following his highly acclaimed debut, The Life We Bury, and the follow up, The Guise of Another. In Heavens, detective Max Rupert takes a more prominent role.
Eskins writes lines for Rupert with complete ease. The other main characters, partner Niki Vang and defense attorney Broady Sanden, are well defined and the pacing of the story is perfect. The dialogue between and among the characters is natural and feels real. Nothing is forced and the reader is eager to find out what will happen next.
Jennavieve Pruitt is murdered, presumably by her husband, Ben, a former law partner of Sanden. But is he guilty or is the District Attorney rushing for a conviction to further his pursuit of a judgeship? Rupert and Vang are meticulous in their investigation; however, Sanden is steadfast in his defense of Pruitt, his former partner.
In the meantime, the mystery of Rupert’s wife’s death/murder, which haunts the detective from the outset, teases and unexpectedly comes closer to being solved. Max’s moral center drives this book, and – with a twist or two, the ending satisfies. All of this fairly screams for a fourth book. Based on the positive quality of Heavens, this series is far from being tired or retired.
A future romance is not out of the question as Max avenges his wife’s death. It would not be a stretch to assume that Sanden and the current D.A./future judge, Frank Dovey, will play a role somehow as Rupert’s adventures continue. Eskens is worth paying attention to, and Rupert is prominent as a fictional, favorite crime fighting hero.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
Dave Moyer is the superintendent of a public school district north of Chicago. He is the author of Life and Life Only: A Novel.