Sunday, 5 November 2017
ALLEN ESKENS - THE HEAVENS MAY FALL (2016)
Detective Max Rupert's and attorney Boady Sanden's friendship is being pushed to the breaking point. Max is convinced that Jennavieve Pruitt was killed by her husband, Ben. Boady is equally convinced that Ben, his client, is innocent. As the case unfolds, the two are forced to confront their own personal demons.
Max is still struggling with the death of his wife four years earlier, and the Pruitt case stirs up old memories. Boady hasn't taken on a defense case since the death of an innocent client, a man Boady believes he could have saved but didn't. Now he is back in court, with student Lila Nash at his side, and he's determined to redeem himself for having failed in the past.
Vividly told from two opposing perspectives, the truth about the stunning death of Jennavieve Pruitt remains a mystery until the very end.
"A mature and sophisticated cops-and-lawyers story, satisfying in every way. I loved it." - Lee Child
Another satisfying mystery from Allen Eskens.
The Heavens May Fall is an intriguing blend of police procedural as Max Rupert and his partner investigate the murder of Jennavieve Pruitt, and legal thriller as husband Ben Pruitt is defended in court, once the politically ambitious DA insists on pushing the case forward, despite the lack of physical evidence tying Pruitt to the crime.
We have two conflicting viewpoints as to whether or not Ben Pruitt could have murdered his wife. His friend, former business partner and defending lawyer, Boady Sanden says no and investigating cop Max Rupert says yes. Eskens had me on tenterhooks throughout.
There's a lot going on here...... extended family tensions, a custody battle, friendships under pressure, a bit of history and bad blood between the lead cop Rupert and the defendant Ben Pruitt. I found myself trying to second guess the case, switching between yes he did and no he didn't. Secondary characters play an important part in the back drop to the investigation - was Jennavieve having an affair, what was Ben's motive. Interesting legal angles as to evidence that can be admitted and what has to be excluded and how that can be played to the advantage of both sides.
In addition, the lead cop, Max Rupert has his own demons to battle. His wife was killed in a hit and run four years previously and he's still grieving her loss. An added burden is the fact that no-one was held to account over her death. Despite Rupert being explicitly warned by his superiors to leave things alone, you just know that isn't going to happen.
Inevitably towards the end there is a massive twist which informs the reader as to what actually happened. A simple statement, presented as a truth and unquestioned turns out to be false. It was one I didn't see coming, an even with the benefit of hindsight was something I wouldn't have necessarily questioned if I read this again. He's a bit sneaky is Mr Eskens, hats off to him. Even as the facts of the murder are revealed, there's still plenty of drama to be played out.
Compelling and fast-paced - or at least it seemed that way as I was hooked and kind of wanted to read another page, another chapter. Not many books have that pull that keeps you going.
Setting, characters, plot, resolution - all massive ticks in the box. I don't think there was anything that jarred.
4.5 from 5
I've read Allen Eskens previously - The Life We Bury and have a couple more sitting on the pile from him - The Guise of Another and The Deep Dark Descending.
Allen Eskens has his website here.
He's previously featured on the blog, answering a few questions here.
Read in October, 2017
Published - 2016
Page count - 304
Source - review copy from publisher, Seventh Street Books
Format - paperback