Allen Eskens has written a really good crime novel. The Guise of Another proves the writer’s talent, only his second published work. Eskens effectively weaves together plot with subplots, and I completely bought in.
The Guise of Another protagonist is Minnesota police detective, Alexander Rupert. He’s a decorated officer with much success as an undercover operative. We find Alexander in a pretty rough patch. He’s been subpoenaed by a grand jury under suspicion of corruption, and because of this, he’s been transferred to the Fraud Department. His marriage seems to be falling apart, and he’s garnered the attention of an international killer. Things can crumble more quickly than you can put them together, apparently.
While bored in the Fraud Unit, an ambulance chaser reports a potential scam. As the intake officer, Alexander gets stuck with the case. But it turns out to be much more than fraud. Alexander must discover the real identity of recently deceased James Putnam, and now chases clue upon mysterious clue in a case that winds through Minnesota and New York to find answers.
The backdrop to the immediate case are the accusations of corruption Alexander is facing. His partner is under investigation and ready to spill the beans. Was Alexander, so squeaky clean, guilty? His brother, Max, also a decorated cop, is doing everything possible to protect and back his brother. And his wife, Desi, has been sleeping in a separate bedroom as he suspects her of having an affair. There is Ianna, James Putnam’s girlfriend. She’s beautiful and not entirely grieving over her boyfriend’s death. And Drago Basta, a professional killer from the Balkans who is in search of James Putnam’s well hidden secret, removing anything that gets in his way.
There are other characters that are carefully included and add to the drama, each playing an important part. Quite frankly, Drago’s role disturbed me - his methods of getting what he wants are shockingly cold. Throughout though, we are rewarded with surprising outcomes. And we sometime question who we’re rooting for.
The Guise of Another is certainly a page turner - gripping through to the end.
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Vickie's rating: 4 stars