Nothing More Dangerous (Hardcover)
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A coming-of-age novel in the tradition of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: In a small town where loyalty to family and to "your people" carries the weight of a sacred oath, defying those unspoken rules can be a deadly proposition.
After fifteen years of growing up in the Ozark hills with his widowed mother, high-school freshman Boady Sanden is beyond ready to move on. He dreams of glass towers and cityscapes, driven by his desire to be anywhere other than Jessup, Missouri. The new kid at St. Ignatius High School, if he isn't being pushed around, he is being completely ignored. Even his beloved woods, his playground as a child and his sanctuary as he grew older, seem to be closing in on him, suffocating him.
Then Thomas Elgin moves in across the road, and Boady's life begins to twist and turn. Coming to know the Elgins -- a black family settling into a community where notions of "us" and "them" carry the weight of history -- forces Boady to rethink his understanding of the world he's taken for granted. Secrets hidden in plain sight begin to unfold: the mother who wraps herself in the loss of her husband, the neighbor who carries the wounds of a mysterious past that he holds close, the quiet boss who is fighting his own hidden battle.
But the biggest secret of all is the disappearance of Lida Poe, the African-American woman who keeps the books at the local plastics factory. Word has it that Ms. Poe left town, along with a hundred thousand dollars of company money. Although Boady has never met the missing woman, he discovers that the threads of her life are woven into the deepest fabric of his world.
As the mystery of her fate plays out, Boady begins to see the stark lines of race and class that both bind and divide this small town -- and he will be forced to choose sides.
About the Author
Allen Eskens is the USA Today-bestselling author of The Life We Bury, The Guise of Another and The Heavens May Fall. His debut novel, The Life We Bury, has been published in 16 languages and is being developed for a feature film.
He now lives with his wife, Joely, in out-state Minnesota where he has been a practicing criminal defense attorney for 25 years.
"Brilliant... full of deeply developed characters.... [A] darkly lyrical and brutally intimate story."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Eskens does an excellent job of weaving [the] disparate threads together into a fine blend of mystery and coming-of-age novel. The setting is spot-on, the characters are empathetic and well realized, and the plot is clever and compelling, building suspense until a harrowing denouement reveals all."—Booklist
"Both heartwarming and hard-nosed, Nothing More Dangerous is a coming-of-age page-turner that probes the dark heart of small towns and the resilient strength that keeps families together."—Thomas Mullen, author of Darktown
ACCLAIM FOR ALLEN ESKENS
"A mature and sophisticated cops-and-lawyers story, satisfying in every way. I loved it."—Lee Child
"Eskens vividly renders how small towns try to keep their secrets, and how sometimes they cannot."—Ron Rash, author of Serena