At a Glance
- New Allen Eskens Books
- Joe Talbert Books in Publication Order and Reading Order
- Detective Max Rupert Books in Publication Order and Reading Order
- Lila Nash Books in Publication Order and Reading Order
- Standalone Allen Eskens Books In Publication Order
- Allen Eskens Biography – About the Author
- Allen Eskens Awards
Allen Eskens is a bestselling author known for his Joe Talbert and homicide detective Max Rupert crime mystery series. Reading his books in order means picking up this relatively new but popular series. While the two series seem separate, Allen Eskens’s books should be read in order from The Life We Bury to the latest one published, The Deep Dark Descending, as they are related. The author has also written two standalone novels.
Here are the Allen Eskens books in order of publication and chronological order.
New Allen Eskens Books
Joe Talbert Books in Publication Order and Reading Order
Detective Max Rupert Books in Publication Order and Reading Order
- The Life We Bury, 2014
- The Guise of Another, 2015
- The Heavens May Fall, 2016
- The Deep Dark Descending, 2017
- The Shadows We Hide, 2018
- Forsaken Country, 2022
Lila Nash Books in Publication Order and Reading Order
- The Stolen Hours, 2021
Standalone Allen Eskens Books In Publication Order
Allen Eskens Biography – About the Author
Allen Eskens was born to blue-collar farming parents and was raised in central Missouri. When he was young, Allen helped his dad clean tools and worked at the warehouse (his father owned a drywall company at the time).
After high school, he attended the University of Iowa in Iowa City and part-time he worked for a drywall contractor.
In 1986 he moved north to Minnesota to study further. Allen enrolled at the University of Minnesota from where he got his BA in journalism.
Next, after graduating from the university, he enrolled at Minnesota State University to get his Master’s degree. Next was Hamline University, where he pursued law from where he got his Juris Doctorate degree in 1991.
He has a journalism degree from the University of Minnesota and a law degree from Hamline University.
After leaving school, Allen Eskens got a job working for a judge in St. Peter, and then he started taking classes and study creative writing at a few prominent schools: he took the M.F.A. program at Minnesota State University-Mankato, and then took further classes at the Loft Literary Center and the Iowa Summer Writer’s Festival.
After working as a practicing criminal defense attorney for 27 years, Allen Eskens left his law career at the beginning of 2017 to write novels full-time.
His debut novel, The Life We Bury, published in 2014, features Joe Talbert, a University of Minnesota student, who decides to interview a murderer who was released from prison as he now has a very short time to live due to cancer.
During an interview, the author revealed that he had a similar assignment to the one given to Joe in his book while in college. The task involved interviewing someone and writing a story about them. The author ended up visiting a nearby nursing home, which inspired the setting for Joe’s assignment in Allen Eskens’s book. This experience ultimately sparked the idea for the author’s debut novel.
The next Allen Eskens’s books feature Max Rupert, although the books are not officially part of a book series. One of the books also includes Alexander Rupert, a Minnesota detective and Max’s older brother.
While the author doesn’t officially consider his novels as part of a series, I still suggest you read the Allen Eskens books in order, as at least books 3-5 are all about Max. You will get to learn about him, his brother Alex, and some of his friends and partners. And you find out what drives Max to do what he does in the latest book.
In The Life We Bury, Max Rupert only appears towards the end of the book. At the time I thought Joe Talbert was the main character. And he was, but only in that very first novel.
Another important character was Max’s brother, Alexander, who appeared in the next novel as well. However, the longer I read the book series, the more Max became the focus on the next books.
The book where Alexander’s story was told was The Guise of Another. Here he was the center focal point, although detective Max Rupert appeared as well. I started reading the series with The Deep Dark Descending, where Max has the center stage in the book, so I was convinced that Max would feature equally in the author’s previous books as well. I was wrong, however, because if I had started the series with The Guise of Another, I would have believed that Alexander was the cop the series was about.
That’s why reading the Allen Eskens books in order is important because you will get to learn about several characters through each book. Every single book has a separate character as the focal point, although each book also features the other main protagonists to a lesser degree.
The characters are interrelated, and the bit you pick up about each in the previous novels will be greatly expanded in the next book.
Allen Eskens Awards
The Life We Bury
- winner of the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original novel in 2015
- winner of the Left Coast Crime Award (Rosebud Award) for Best Debut Novel in 2015
- nominated for the Anthony Award for Best First Novel in 2015
- nominated for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 2015
- nominated for the Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction in 2015
- nominated for the Thriller Award for Best First Novel in 2015
The Heavens May Fall
- nominated for the Barry Awards Best Paperback Original novel in 2017
- nominated for the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original in 2017
The Deep Dark Descending
- winner of the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original in 2018
The Shadows We Hide
- nominated for the Barry Award for Best Novel in 2019
Allen Eskens is also the recipient of the Silver Falchion Award for Best First Novel.