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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Shadows We Hide

(Joe Talbert #2)

ISBN: 978-0316509787

Publisher: Mulholland Books

Publication Date: 11/13/2018

My Rating: 5 Stars

Top Books of 2018 In the highly-anticipated sequel to the national bestseller The Life We Bury, Joe Talbert returns to investigate the murder of the father he never knew, and to reckon with his own family's past. Joe Talbert, Jr. has never once met his namesake. Now out of college, a cub reporter for the Associated Press in Minneapolis, he stumbles across a story describing the murder of a man named Joseph Talbert in a small town in southern Minnesota.

Full of childhood dreams about who his father might have been, Joe is shocked to find that none of the town's residents have much to say about his father's murder-other than that it was long overdue. Joe discovers that his father was a loathsome man who cheated his neighbors, threatened his daughter, and squandered his wife's meager inheritance after she, too, passed away--an inheritance that may now be his.

Mired in uncertainty and plagued by his own tenuous relationship with his mother, whose sobriety has led her to seek reconciliation with her distant son, Joe must put together the missing pieces of his family history-- before his quest for discovery threatens to put him in a grave of his own.

My Review

5 Glowing Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Deceit, Lies, and Secrets with plenty of Twists!

A powerful sequel and a page-turner that will hook you from page one to the explosive ending. A journey of self-discovery and redemption. 🙌

Talented storyteller and bestselling author, Allen Eskens wowed up with his debut (Joe Talbert #1) The Life We Bury, and he is back with a killer follow-up! I could not imagine a follow-up, but he does it again!

Picking up from Joe Talbert #1, Joe and Lila are still living together in a small apartment, and they have custody of Jeremy, his autistic brother. Lila is in law school and preparing for the bar. She is stressed.

Joe is a reporter for the Associated Press in Minneapolis, but he is on leave due to a story from the last book, that is up in the air regarding the Senator.

In the meantime, he learns of a man named Joseph Talbert that has been murdered in a small town in southern Minnesota. Could it be his loser dad that he has never met?

He decides to take off to see what is going on. It appears his father had remarried. His wife inherited some money, and she died (or was murdered or committed suicide), and now Joe has been killed, and if Joe is his son, he may inherit millions. Plus, he learns he may have a step-sister, which is now in a coma. What has his dad done now?

Lila and Joe's relationship is strained because she needs to study, and Joe takes off and leaves Jeremy with her. Then Jeremy has an accident at his job and no way Lila can do everything.

So Joe takes Jeremy along to stay at the motel with him, back to his hometown where they grew up. Also, Lila tells him about a letter from his mother, which was sent to them months ago, but she did not tell Joe. They have a deal, never talk about his mother after the hell she had put them through. It was not pretty!

Of course, if you are familiar with Allen Eskens' books and Joe Talbert, there is always something complex and multi-layered. And this is a doozie!

Things start unraveling. Joe senior's brother Charlie is also a deadbeat like Joe. He wants to get his hands on the inheritance. He wants the daughter even though she is in a coma.

The cops are after the daughter's boyfriend for murder because they think he did it. However, Joe believes it was not him, so he puts his reporter hat on and his investigative skills to work.

The plot thickens when another girl at a bar becomes involved, and others who wanted Joseph dead. The local cops are not very cooperative. Then there is the will, the paternity test, and is this girl April Joe Talbert's step-sister. Then there is a secret affair that changes everything. Who will inherit the millions?

While in town, Jeremy starts talking about his mom, and Joe finally reads the letter he swore he would never read. He runs into her landlord and appears his mom has been clean for many years and has a real job and has cleaned up her act and living back in the same apartment.

Does he dare take Jeremy to visit her? Can he trust her ever again? Tension mounts, and Lila and Joe's relationship becomes strained. He is worried about his job, and if he will inherit the money, plus Lila is concerned about money.

However, the investigation may be more complicated than they imagined, and things may turn out positive on one end, but the other not so much.

Eskens keeps the emotions, tension, and suspense at a nail-biting pace. As always, the character development is superb and non-stop action.

Joe is one of my favorite characters, and he is put through the test tenfold with his relationships: Jeremy, Lila, his mom and the business with his father he never met and possibly a sister to care for, all while trying to help solve a murder than may not provide him with the outcome he intended.

However, in the long run, he will get his reward. Not maybe in money but love and happiness. I am still rooting for these two, so hopefully, they will receive some pleasure if there is Joe Talbert #3.

If you have not read this author, I highly recommend all his books. He has a winning style, which makes his characters come alive on the pages.

I enjoy how the author skillfully weaves his characters in and out books similar to Michael Connelly, but he also has the literary human interest angle going on, reminiscent of William Kent Krueger and Randall Silvis—two other favorites.

Better get this one on your list! You must also read NOTHING MORE DANGEROUS, coming Nov 12, 2019. His best YET! Look for my elevator interview ride with Allen Eskens coming Nov 12. It is going to be awesome!

I purchased the audio and e-book - a nice combo. Zach Villa (Narrator) always gives an outstanding performance!


* Publishers Weekly Picks: Books of the Week * Barnes and Noble Reads November's Best Mysteries * Best Books of the Month by Amazon * Pick of the Month by Mystery People * Top 21 New Releases by BookClubbish

"[A] brilliant sequel full of deeply developed characters.... Eskens keeps readers guessing until the last pages in this darkly lyrical and brutally intimate story of one man’s journey of self-discovery. —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review (read the full review)

"Part personal journey, part grim mystery, Joe learns as much about himself as he does about the man who might be his father as the mystery takes a few delirious twists before the surprising, satisfying ending." —B&N Reads (read the full review)

"Whether you like mysteries with surprise endings and terrific twists or you are a reader who never reads a mystery, but loves literary novels that explore the emotions that bring families together or tear them apart, you will want to read Allen Eskens's excellent novel, The Shadows We Hide." —Phillip Margolin, New York Times bestselling author of The Third Victim

"The Shadows We Hide is a riveting novel about one man's search for his father that becomes a perilous journey into a labyrinth of deceit and lies. Eskens vividly renders how small towns try to keep their secrets, and how sometimes they cannot." —Ron Rash, author of Serena

"Murder, arson, betrayal, and reconciliation will keep pages turning and leave readers eager for more of Joe Talbert." —Booklist

"Full of don't want to miss this one from a talented writer." —New Hanover County Public Library

About the Author

Allen Eskens

Allen Eskens is the USA Today bestselling author of The Life We Bury, The Guise of Another, The Heavens May Fall, and The Deep Dark Descending. He is the recipient of the Barry Award, the Rosebud Award, and the Silver Falchion Award, and has been a finalist for the Edgar Award, the Thriller Award, the Anthony Award, and the Minnesota Book Award. His debut novel, The Life We Bury, has been published in 16 languages and is being developed for a feature film.

Eskens lives with his wife, Joely, in out-state Minnesota, where he has been a practicing criminal defense attorney for 25 years. WEBSITE






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