By Kalan Bavinck

At The Book Store, we carry mostly used books, but some authors get the honor of coming in to our store new. Allen Eskens is one of those authors and we keep all six of his books in stock. I’ve read them all and pretty much throw them at people and tell them “YOU HAVE TO READ THIS”.  I have yet to have a customer not come back for the next one.

His first book, The Life We Bury, has everything you need in a good book–lots of mystery, a little bit of history, and a small pinch of romance. Joe Talbert must write a biography of an older person for a class in college. Joe’s life is not an easy one and since he has no grandparents to go to, he ends up at a nursing home. He interviews a Vietnam veteran from the local prison on hospice and the story explodes from there.  You do not want to start The Life We Bury if you have plans later in the day or even a busy day the next day, because you will not be able to put it down. To quote my partner, “I haven’t read a book this good in a long time.”

All of Eskens’ books are loosely related in some way, almost set up like a romance series, in that the series follows a group of people rather than just one singular person as detective books do.  Each book goes into a different character more in depth and features one or more reoccurring characters from the series.  I recommend reading them in order, as you are in for some spoilers if you do not.

His latest book, Nothing More Dangerous, has some serious To Kill a Mockingbird vibes. It is a coming-of-age story about Boady Sanden, who is the lawyer/professor in the rest of the series. In this one, Boady is 15 and unwrapping some of the hidden secrets of his small town in Missouri.  It is a fast-paced novel about murder, racism, prejudice, privilege, and friendship. Again, you do not want to start it if you have plans later in the day, because you not be able to put it down.

I am super excited to welcome Allen Eskens to the 2020 Fox Cities Book Festival.  I am hopeful that he will let us know that he is working on book seven. Register now to attend “A Reading with Author Allen Eskens” on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 10:30 AM.

Kalan Bavinck is the owner of The Book Store in Appleton and a board member of the Fox Cities Book Festival.