Cover Image: Forsaken Country

Forsaken Country

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Member Reviews

This was a great book. I loved every paragraph, every sentence and every word of this masterpiece! I read it in 12 hours, which is a lot for me to do! It had everything and more laid out in the novel! I sure hope There is more to come from this author! I am totally hooked!

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Gritty, dark, a spine-tinglingly-creepy detective tale, wonderful writing. Allen Eskens' stories take top honors in my book world. I loved the dark, twisting trails that this book took me down, with the slightest hint of a romantic detail buoying the final moments of the book. Highly recommend this one, and can't wait to read more of Allen's work!

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Well this one was a non-stop suspense! I love a good suspense/mystery and this has got to be one of my favorites of 2022. This had fabulous character development and good solid writing. The story was sad, but engrossing.
The story revolves around the disappearance of a woman and her son. Her parents think its foul play involving her ex-husband, and so the father asks Max Rupert, an old friend, to help him find his daughter and young grandson.
The story is full of twists and turns, and from beginning to end, held my attention (I couldn’t put it down!). This book is part of the Max Rupert series (#6), but can be read as a stand-alone. I highly recommend you read the series in order to understand the character as he develops. They are all fabulous, and Allen Eskens is my go to author for mysteries. He never lets me down and always enjoyable.
I would like to thank the publishers Mulholland Books and the author Alene Eskens via NetGalley for this advanced readers copy (kindle version), in exchange for my honest review. I wished for it and is was so generously granted. I also purchased the audiobook version myself, so when I couldn’t read I could listen to the audio version. Great narration by Brian Troxell on the audio version.

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Arc from Netgalley and Mulholland books. Eskens is a great writer and I have enjoyed all his books. This one was a little drawn and slogging but still enjoyable. 3 stars

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In Forsaken Country (Max Rupert, 6) by Allen Eskens that came out in September, former Minneapolis homicide detective Max Rupert has left the job, secluding himself from the rest of the world as a self-imposed punishment about how he wrapped up his last case.

He continually mourns the loss of his wife while getting through just one day at a time in his isolated cabin near Grand Rapids, Minnesota. When former local sheriff Lyle Voight’s daughter Sandy and grandson Pip disappear, Voight summons Rupert back into the role of detective. Voight knows the kidnapper has to be Sandy’s ex-husband and former deputy Reed Harris who lost custody of Pip after beating both Sandy and Pip and went to jail. The current sheriff, a friend of the ex-con’s, refuses to accept Voight’s theory, doing nothing to investigate.

Knowing his son-in-law’s patterns, Voight is convinced Harris has taken the two north to the Boundary Waters wilderness to escape into Canada. Rupert and Voight prepare to follow the trail to find the captives. What they don’t know is that Harris has an accomplice who begins to rebel against Harris as he sees more and more that the father is not good to the son. Risking their own lives in this treacherous terrain, the forbidden country, Rupert and Voight track the outlaw and his captives.

I became a fan of Allen Eskens’ writing with his unforgettable debut novel, The Life We Bury, which may have a future in film. Eskens grew up in the hills of central Missouri. He lives with his wife in Cleveland, Minnesota, where he retired after practicing criminal law for 25 years.

My review will be posted on Goodreads starting December 3, 2022.

I would like to thank Mulholland Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in return for an objective review.

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Allen Eskens just keeps getting better. This thriller takes place in the deep woods of Northern MN. Forsaken Country features Max Rupert, a secondary character in a couple of Eskens' other books and the main character in A Deep, Dark Descending. You can read Eskens' books in any order, but my suggestion is to read The Heavens May Fall and then A Deep, Dark Descending and then Forsaken Country. If you like William Kent Krueger, C.J. Box or the Longmire or Yellowstone series, grab a copy of this book!

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Allen Eskens is one of my favorite authors and, I've read everything he has written since his first book, The Life We Bury (2013). Forsaken Country is his latest release and, the story held me captive even though at times I had wished for a different outcome. I thought it was truly deserving of a 5 star rating.

Max Rupert is a former homicide detective in Minneapolis, MN. He is mourning the loss of his wife and, he is also haunted by an incident triggered by her loss. Lyle Voight is the former sheriff who is desperate to find his daughter, Sandy, and his six year old grandson, Pip, who have gone missing. Lyle believes his former son-in-law, Reed, is responsible for their disappearance and, he pleads with Max to help him investigate and locate them. What follows is an intense thrill ride with both nail-biting and tender moments.

Esken's characters have so much depth and, even some of the bad guys, men who have done terrible things show us that they have a soft side in this story. I love the way the author has a way of drawing you in and making you feel invested in the characters and their outcomes. While reading this one, I quickly. forgot everything I had planned to do as I just had to keeping reading/listening.

BTW - For readers new to Allen Eskens, Max Rupert is a character that has appeared in other novels yet this book can be easily read as a standalone.

Rating - 5/5 stars

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Another fabulous entry in Allen Askens' series of novels. Well written, character driven suspense doesn't get much better than this. This book grabbed me from the first page and never let go. I read it in one sitting. This is the second book I've read by this author but will be reading every book in the series. They're that good. Highly recommended

Thanks to NetGalley and Mulholland books for an advanced reader copy.

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Bestselling author Allen Eskens returns following The Stolen Hours with his highly anticipated Max Rupert follow-up, FORSAKEN COUNTRY —Richly drawn, a powerful story of one man's ghosts of the past as he comes out of hiding seeking justice for a young boy. A road of darkness, love, and redemption.

We first met Max, the former homicide detective in The Guise of Another, The Heavens May Fall, The Deep Dark Descending, and the most recent, Forsaken Country.

Following, The Deep Dark Descending, we find Max living like a recluse in the woods in a rustic A-frame cabin in the mountains of Minnesota. With his hair grown out, and little interaction with the outside world except to go into Grand Rapids for supplies.

It has been three and half years since that hole in the ice on the frozen lake with Mikhail. Max has many ghosts floating around —his wife Jenni, his brother, and his unborn child.

Now 45- years old, he had shut himself away from the world to face his reckoning, willing to accept forgiveness or retribution in equal measure but had found neither. He came here to accept his punishment.

He had run into Lyle Voight earlier when he was buying supplies, a man he met five years earlier when he was sheriff of Itasca County, back when Max's brother Alexander passed away at the cabin. In the parking lot, he met the daughter and grandson Pip.

Later, he receives a call from Lyle, frantic and needs his help. Lyle says that his daughter Sandy and his six-year-old-grandson, Pip, had been kidnapped and are missing. He suspects Reed, the ex-husband and father, which is a former criminal.

The current Sheriff is unreliable and has a connection and past with Reed, therefore not taking it seriously. He needs Max's help.

At first, Max is hesitant but agrees to help. Lyle and Max get together and plan to try and stay one step ahead of Reed. Reed Harris also has a partner in crime, Spud. Max finds himself alive for the first time in years on the hunt and also has to hold back Lyle, who is ready to kill Reed as he suspects his daughter is already dead. Lyle reminds Max a little of himself.

However, without a badge from Max or Lyle, it is challenging to get into doors and get the critical info they need to track down Pip before it is too late.

Max turns to Niki Vang, his former partner in Homicide. They have a complex history, as he mailed in his badge and left the department. Giving up his badge was the price he would pay for exacting his revenge.

Niki had tried to contact him, but he ignored her efforts. She was better off without him. Now he has to beg her for help. She is not happy about this but, of course, offers her help.

In a race against time, Max and Lyle are desperate to track down Reed, Spud, and Pip before they go on the run. Once they enter the Boundary Waters wilderness, it is much more challenging to figure out which path they will take as they enter Canada.

Two men are on a mission to find a missing boy and two evil men who will stop at nothing to escape. Heart-pounding and high adrenaline action to the satisfying conclusion.

Heartfelt, a multi-layered intense and suspenseful exploration of fatherhood, a desperate search for a missing child, and one man's redemption.

I loved this book! Beautiful metaphors and contrasts with characters as relates to the wilderness, its beauty, and dangers. A blend of crime fiction, psychological suspense, thriller, and literary fiction.

One of my favorite authors, Classic Eskens, FORSAKEN COUNTRY is full of heart, superb characters, an intricate plot, and riveting suspense.

Having the fortunate opportunity of reading all of Allen's books, FORSAKEN COUNTRY is one of my favorites.

Character-driven, the author delves deep into fatherhood with Max, who missed the chance with the loss of his child, Lyle (father and grandfather), Reed, an abusive father, and Spud as he remembers his relationship with his father fondly. I enjoyed how Spud (a murderer) shows his softer caring side with the care of Pip, taking him under his wing.

Eskens showcases his fine storytelling qualities as we see a man struggling with moral ethics where often there are gray areas and not as simple as black and white.

I also LOVED catching up with Niki, and let me say the ending was perfect! Please, I hope we see more of Max and Niki!

Highly recommend! Eskens is at the top of his game. One of his best! For fans of authors John Hart, David Baldacci, and William Kent Krueger. Prime for the big or small screen!

UPCOMING INTERVIEW: Stay tuned for my #AuthorElevatorSeries Interview with Allen as we go behind the scenes of the book and the author on Pub day (9/20),

A special thank you to #MulhollandBooks and #NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Blog Review Posted @
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
My Rating: 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐++
Pub Date: Sept 20, 2022
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Former cop Max searches for a kidnapped boy in this tense thriller. Thank you Little Brown and Co for the ARC.

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This is my third Eskens novel and it’s my favorite so far. This is a fast moving thriller without skimping on the character development. Our main protagonist, Max, is a complicated figure with plenty of flaws, but with a good heart underneath. To be able to make us root for someone with such a dark past says something about Eskens’ skill as a story teller.
My only gripe is that the description of the book gave so much away that there weren’t any real surprises until the last quarter of the book. I think folks would give it a read without giving so many plot points away on the jacket.

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Susp-Max Rupert-Minnesota-Contemp
By Allen Eskens - 2nd in series
Mulholland Books, Sept 2022, 352 pp.
Rating: VG+/A

First Sentence: Max Rupert laced his fingers behind his head and settled into his pillow to await the ghosts.

Max Rupert was a top-notch cop until three years ago after his wife’s death. As self-imposed punishment for a critical decision he made, Max lives as a virtual hermit until Lyle Voight, a former sheriff and friend, begs Max’s help. Lyle’s daughter Sandy, and her son Pip have disappeared. Lyle believes Reed Harris is involved, but the new sheriff refuses to investigate. Max, with some help from his former partner in Homicide, Niki Vang, agrees with Lyle culminating in a race to stop reed before he escapes through the Boundary Waters into Canada.
Be cautioned: an early scene is grim, yet not as descriptive as could have been. It reaches in and grabs at one’s heart and, for some, their greatest fear. Eskens draws us into Max’s reluctance at being drawn in, yet his still-present instinct to help. The characters, good and bad, are vivid and well-developed. One appreciates Max’s discomfort at asking Niki for help, and is relieved there is mention of their mutual attraction is mentioned early in the story. Their dialogue, something at which Eskens excels, provides humor and relief to a desperate situation.
Esken’s ability to convey the emotions of each of the characters is remarkable, particularly as the story progresses. The sense of desperation and fear is palpable. He establishes a clear sense of place, particularly when he takes the story into the Boundary Waters. One feels the cold and senses the danger from both man and nature on the flight to Canada.
In this follow-on to “Deep Dark Descending,” witnessing Max’s internal battle is painful. Max’s attempt at penance is something at which he fails. yet compelling and causes one to ask hard questions. Has not everyone done something, big or small, for which they are guilty? Can one truly escape even if no one, or only one person, knows? For his sin, his crime, his humanity is still there. Is that enough? How does one weigh one person’s crime against another’s? Can one person achieve grace while another does not? It is fascinating for an author to stretch to such a level while telling a fast-action, gritty crime novel. Even more so, when the questions are left unanswered.
FORSAKEN COUNTRY is a first-rate book of personal introspection offset by drama and suspense. It is a study in shades of grey. Are there any circumstances in which murder is justified? Can one/should one be forgiven for such an act? It makes one question whether anyone is all good or all evil. What is the price of redemption? Not even Eskens provides an answer, but does leave one wondering where Max goes from here.

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Max Rupert was a highly respected detective in Minnesota. Then he gave it all up to live as a recluse, off the grid. His personal choice as a form of both therapy and repentance.

There is only one man who knows where Max calls home. Lyle, the former local Sheriff. Right now he’s in desperate need of Max’s help. His daughter and grandson are missing and Lyle is convinced they’ve been kidnapped. He’s frustrated because the current sheriff disagrees and doesn’t feel their disappearance was a crime.

Can Max be coaxed out of isolation? If so, can he put aside his own demons and help Lyle track down his family before it’s too late?

Max Rupert has been a shining, recurring character in Allen Eskens' books. So even if you haven’t read his previous, (and you really should – they’re outstanding) there’s enough backstory so you won’t feel lost.

I adore Max’s character. He’s driven by emotion, love and loyalty and his character carries the air of authenticity. And the profound pain over his past remains deep and raw.

Once again, Allen Eskens delivers a gripping and suspenseful read that you’ll devour in no time! Can’t wait to see what’s in Max’s future!

A buddy read with Susanne that we both loved!

Thank you to NetGalley and Mulholland Books

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Max Rupert is a man who hasn't been able to escape his past. How could he? He endured years of pain and suffering, due to the actions of others, and then, he got his revenge.

In the years since Max has been in a self-imposed exile.

Now, however, the former Minneapolis detective is asked to help his old friend Lyle, whose daughter and grandson, Pip, are missing. Though hesitant at first, Max agrees. Without a badge, however, finding clues proves to be difficult. Good thing Max still has friends in high places. Soon, Max & Lyle are desperately searching Minnesota's Boundary Waters, their lives in danger.

A novel with mystery, heart, and danger, Forsaken Country has it all. My heart was beating in my throat for much of this read, though frankly, the best part of this book was, of course, Max Rupert. What can I say except that I love him and that I felt his pain greatly? Ever since I read The Deep Dark Descending, I've been waiting for Allen Eskens to return to Max's story. Many tears have been shed over Max Rupert over the years, a few of which fell while reading this book. I admit that I went into this novel hoping for something, for Max to end up in a specific place. While I can't divulge whether that happened, what I will say is that this book was well worth the wait.

A buddy read with Kaceey that we both absolutely loved.

A huge thank you goes out to Allen Eskens for writing a continuation to Max Rupert's story. My cup runneth over.

Thank you also to Mullholland Books and NetGalley for the arc.

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