The Guise of Another by Allen Eskens
My grandmother likes to support local authors. Allen Eskens is a Minnesotan, so she included his book in the pile she loaned to me. Another of Grandma’s favorite authors, William Kent Krueger, wrote a blurb for it, so I thought I’d give it a read.
After plummeting from his Medal of Valor to his punishment in the Frauds unit, Alexander Rupert doesn’t feel like a cop anymore. His fellow detectives spurn him for allegedly taking money from a drug lord, and a grand jury holds the ax over what remains of his career. To top it off, his wife may be having an affair, but Alexander distracts himself with a single question: Who was James Putnam?
The complex identity theft case rekindles his passion for investigation and gives him hope for redeeming himself, but when the truth puts him in the path of a trained assassin, his last hope may be the older brother whose help he’s rejected since his demotion.
Observant, single-minded, and a tad stubborn, Alexander fits the typical detective profile. While heroic enough to earn the reader’s sympathy, his character flaws engender credibility. The other characters are distinct enough to carry the story but not especially memorable. The villain’s backstory and motives are clear.
The plot centers the larger case rather than the stolen identity, which is solved quickly. Alexander’s personal problems add pressure as the case builds tension and raises the stakes. The twists at the end weren’t entirely unforeseeable, but I liked them nonetheless. Overall, the pace matches the genre. I finished the book in two days.
I admit, I liked the ending. I found it refreshing, but I could see how some readers would hate it.
Eskens alternated perspectives between the two brothers and the villain, which didn’t seem necessary until the end. He writes with sufficient detail, but at times adds extraneous notes that are unnecessary when writing in close third person point of view.
Eskens is not afraid to kill off characters I thought would play a larger role in the story, which I also liked. No plot armor here, folks.
The cover only makes sense once you reach the ending.
The Guise of Another tells the story of a detective pursuing redemption. His flaws hinder him as much as the antagonist does, and the competing motives create intrigue. The mystery’s high stakes keep readers engaged even as Alexander’s personal life dissolves. Overall, a good, quick read for fans of police procedural thrillers.
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