Allen Eskens Books in Order – Complete List

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.

Latest Allen Eskens Books

Joe Talbert Books in Publication Order and Reading Order

  1. The Life We Bury, 2014
  2. The Shadows We Hide, 2018
  3. The Stolen Hours, 2021

Detective Max Rupert Books in Publication Order and Reading Order

  1. The Life We Bury, 2014
  2. The Guise of Another, 2015
  3. The Heavens May Fall, 2016
  4. The Deep Dark Descending, 2017
  5. The Shadows We Hide, 2018
  6. Forsaken Country, 2022

Lila Nash Books in Publication Order and Reading Order

  1. The Stolen Hours, 2021

Standalone Allen Eskens Books in Publication Order

Allen Eskens Biography – About the Author

Allen Eskens 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.


  1. I just finished reading a ‘SAMPLE’ of the first book “The Life We Bury” on my IPad, and it very much captured my interest and Allen Eskens style of writing, I was hoping to read it as an e-book, but could only find it in paperback to purchase. I have read books growing up and started reading at a young age to avoid my life. Now I read for the pure pleasure of it. I’ve always read hard cover or paperback books, but since I’m elderly, it’s much easier for me to read books on my IPad. Will there ever come a time where Mr Eskens books will be published electronically? I see a movie of this book is available on Netflix, although I prefer reading a book. I hope Mr Eskens will consider it. Till then, I hope the movie follows the book closely, as I’m dying to know what happens and how it ends. I’m sure I will be reading all his books. They seem very captivating. Also, I read my books several times, especially my favorites. Thank you, I hope he will consider it.

    1. Cheryl Burns- use your library card with the app called Libby. The app & audiobooks are free! The library can help you do this also. Thats how I’m listening to The Life We Bury now. 🙂

  2. Your books are my favorite, and I can’t wait until your next new release. I have read Baldacci, LL Abbott, Patterson, Grisham, Louise Penny, Ruth Ware, Lisa Jewell, Grippando and your stories are intriguing, suspenseful and and heart warming you have the touch on that. Bravo keep it going and again can’t wait until your next release, just finishing “Forsaken Country.” Wow!! Another winner.

  3. Better than Kellerman, Cornwall and Child combined. The new kid on the block, Allen Eskens, transcends them all. The intelligent, flawless plots, great characterisation and edginess left me wanting more from this author. Keep ’em coming please Allen.

  4. I grew up in a small town in Minnesota (population 200) where there was not much to do but go to school and study and pass the time by reading. Much has changed in my life in 90 plus years bu tI still love to read (my favorite passtime) and a year or so ago reading that you were now living in Minnesota I read The Life We Bury and The Shadows We Hide. I
    am now going to order your other five books; they all sound equally interesting. Please do more as I am a fan for two reasons you live in Minnesota and you are an excellent author. I am envious, I have not lived in Minn. for over 60 years but still consider it home and I cannot write.

  5. @David Hanson The Path of the Beast was a tentative title. The actual released title became The Guise of Another, the author’s second book.
    You can read more about it here:

  6. What happened to the book “The Path of the Beast”? I can’t find it on Mr. Eskens list of books on his web site and it due out in the fall of 2015. Please advise. Thank you.

    1. I just finished reading The Life We Bury which I got from a ‘little library’ on a street in my neighborhood. I thought it was very well written and kept my interest. I am ready to read more of his novels.

      I too wondered about the ‘follow up novel tentatively titled In the Path of the Beast’ which was ‘slated for publication in the fall of 2015’.

  7. Just finished “The Life we Bury”. Can’t wait to read the other four. Took me a day and a half to rip through the first…
    spellbinding.. literally couldn’t put it down, except to sleep Keep them coming.

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