Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Guise Of Another - Allen Eskens

The Guise Of Another
Allen Eskens
Prometheus/Seventh Street Books, Oct 6 2015, $15.95
ISBN: 9781633880764

Minneapolis Police Detective Alexander Rupert wonders how much deeper into the cesspool he can fall.  Once a highly regarded and decorated cop, Rupert faces potential corruption charges as a Grand Jury looks into whether he stole confiscated drug money.  Transferred to the Frauds Unit while waiting for the outcome of the investigation, his peers treat him as a pariah who may taint them.  Even his personal life seems flushed down the toilet as Rupert believes his wife, instead of commiserating and supporting him, has turned to someone else.

Rupert comes across the recent vehicular death of James Putnam on a Minneapolis highway.  He knows people die in car accidents, but Putnam officially died fifteen years ago in a boating accident off the Coney Island spit.  As he ponders who the second coming of Putnam really is and why he stole a dead man’s identity, Rupert struggles with his wife’s abandonment and the apparent end of his career.  To make matters exponentially worse for him, Rupert is attracted to the deceased’s non grieving girlfriend and worse has the attention of ruthless soulless killer Drago Basta.  While he works the case to resurrect his career and reputation that instead may bury him, Rupert’s well-regarded detective older brother tries to help him.

This exhilarating police procedural for the most stays focused on the imploding world of a cop facing corruption charges while working an investigation he believes is his Hail Mary redemption.  The storyline engages the audience whether looking at Rupert’s devastated marriage, the Grand Jury corruption probe or the case.  Only caricature Basta feels out of place in this stark storyline; as he belongs in the Big Hit as the fifth wheel.

Harriet Klausner

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