Nothing More Dangerous

Nothing More DangerousIn 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 PropositionAfter 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 HimThen 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 BattleBut 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 WorldAs 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 Is Forced To Choose Sides Traveling Friends January Pick The title here draws from the quote, Nothing in all the world is dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity by Rev Martin Luther King Jr Allen Eskens draws on that ignorance and explores prejudice and racism as a way to explore his own failing regarding notions of prejudice and racism Taken from his author notes Nothing More Dangerous is a prequel to Allen Eskens other books Boady Sanden is a law professor in The Life We Bury, and we see of his character in The Heavens May Fall In Nothing More Dangerous Boady is 15 years old and we follow his coming of age story Ellen Eskens creates a thought provoking part coming of age story here with interesting characters, each with a journey of their own He weaves a mystery here in the story while layering racial thoughts and feelings along with the racial themes that had me thinking deep into the story I loved the dynamics here between the characters and their relationships A few different relationships are explored here so well and each had me feeling different emotions Eskens has some moves here with those well layered themes and character dynamics and like a DJ he rolls them right into the next one and we see how dangerous ignorance can be Ok, I took that phrase with the DJ from Eskens here in this story He weaves some cliches phrases in the story that had me laughing and cringing at the same time I love cliches phrases and I have been known to use them myself I sometimes spend hours looking them up and making notes on them Nothing More Dangerous would make for a fascinating book club chat I read this one with Lindsay and we chatted about it and I will be making a suggestion for it in our Goodreads Traveling Friends Group I do feel this one would make a better in person discussion as there is a lot to talk about I often, after reading a book, will hold my own discussion in my head and will search out the discussion questions and answer them on pen and paper Is that odd or do other people do that The discussion questions on Allen Eskens website are excellent I highly recommend.I received a copy from the publisher. 5 stars 2019 Favourites List Boady love that name is a fifteen year old boy who lives with his widowed mother on a remote dirt road in their small town Hoke, an older man, lives next door and spends many hours with Boady having front porch chats and teaching life lessons Boady finds himself caught up in a local missing woman s case where he stumbles upon evidence that no child should be witness to.Boady stole my heart I loved everything about him and was fully invested in his journey from start to finish I adored his relationship with Hoke it was one of my favourite parts of this novel I loved watching the dynamics of each of Boady s relationships change and develop with his mother, Hoke, his friends and himself I enjoyed everything about this book The gritty, back roads storyline The enticing and endearing characters The engrossing, suspenseful mystery The writing that drew me in from the first word and didn t let go of my mind until the very last The way this had my emotions flying around love, anger, hope, frustration, disgust, comfort I felt it all This is my third Allen Eskens book I continue to be amazed by his writing the words seem to easily make their way off of the page and into my heart I have a strong connection to his writing style and look forward to picking up his other novels.Thank you to Hachette Book Group for sending me a physical copy to read and review with The Traveling Sisters. I have to tell you a little secretAllen Eskens is one of my favorite authors for mystery thrillers He is top notch, friends I read and then listened to The Life We Bury, and I have kept going from there.Nothing More Dangerous is his most recent book, and it s a standalone It s set in a small town in the Ozarks and has characters who completely draw you in to the story from the start Boady, a high school freshman, gets new neighbors across the road, including Thomas, another teen.And then a woman disappears, and somehow she is connected to Boady even though he s never met her.Nothing More Dangerous is so much than your casual mystery with thrilling elements It addresses race, privilege, and class It has three dimensional characters I cared for and great tension throughout There s also great atmosphere with the insular small town, and it made for the perfect fall read I received a complimentary copy from the publisher.Many of my reviews can also be found on Instagram www.instagram.com tarheelreader 5 Gut Wrenching, Profound, Impactful and Incredibly Moving Stars.Some novels immediately grab your attention by their thought provoking storylines Some have incredible character development Some have impact Some make you smile and some are so moving that they bring you to tears Allen Eskens new novel Nothing More Dangerous does all of the above Over the years, Allen Eskens has become one of my favorite authors I have read all of his books I love his characters and the way he writes With Nothing More Dangerous Eskens takes us back in time, to when Boady Sanden an Attorney and Law Professor in a few of his prior novels The Life We Bury and The Heavens May Fall is a fifteen year old at St Ignatius High School in Jessup, Missouri Boady has never had it easy Losing his dad when he was young Being raised by a single mother Being bullied at his new school Boady quickly learns to stand up for himself and when all else fails, to evade He spends most of his days reading and fishing and hanging out with Hoke, the old man who lives next door, that is, until an African American family moves around the corner and Boady eventually becomes friends with their son Thomas Weaved into the storyline of family, friendship, bullying and racial discrimination, is the disappearance of a woman named Lidia Poe, who went missing with a lot of cash from the factory where she worked Did Lidia take off with the cash or did something happen to her Searching for answers can only lead to one thing danger.Allen Eskens intertwines these storylines together brilliantly and gives the readers oh so much than we ever could have imagined.The character development in this novel is stellar The characters of Boady and Hoke are my absolute favorites I love their friendship with each other and I adore their consideration for others This is a novel that brought me to tears on than one occasion and I was wholly unprepared for it When I started this, I was sure I knew what it was about and felt like I knew what would happen in the end and I was so very wrong which is a fabulous thing Nothing More Dangerous will be at the top of my favorites list for 2019 It is definitely one of my favorite novels by Allen Eskens I love Max Rupert so I can t say that it beats out Deep Dark Descending but it s pretty close For those of you who haven t read a novel by Allen Eskens yet, what are you waiting for This was an incredible buddy read with Kaceey of course So glad I got to share this with you Kaceey Thank you to NetGalley, Mulholland Books and Allen Eskens for the arc Published on Goodreads and NetGalley on 11.24.19.Excerpt to be published on Instagram. I don t often cry at movies or while reading books, but I did with this one Also stayed up until 2 00 a.m., I had to finish it This is the third book that I ve read by Mr Eskens and every one has been a 5 , I wish I could give it This book gets everything right, the plot, the mystery, the character development, the quick and smooth flow of the prose, just WOW I felt so many emotions while reading this book At times I laughed, cried, felt afraid, felt ashamed at how evil and prejudiced some people can be, the pain that they can inflict on others, verbally and physically Wonderfully, to balance the evil there was the incredible kindness and caring of people, young and older, who do everything to help others I don t want to let go of these characters, I feel like they have found a place in my heart.15 year old Broady is a very inquisitive, kind and caring young teen but that doesn t mean that he doesn t get himself in lots of dangerous, dubious adventures He has just finished his freshman year at a Christian high school which he is definitely not happy about His mother, widowed for about ten years, is quite strict with Broady and when he was caught stealing and smoking cigarettes in 8th grade she wanted him in a private school Problem is, at this school he doesn t fit in anywhere He handles it pretty well and spends lots of time reading, exploring in the woods, fishing, swimming and talking with his next door neighbor, Hoke, a retired lawyer who spends long afternoons on his porch These two have a great relationship and it eases Broady s heart a little since his father died.New neighbors on Broady s small neighborhood street is big news When it turns out that the dad is the next manager at the local company, Ryke Manufacturing, and an African American things start to happen, first slowly and then very quickly spiral out of control The bright light in all of this is the wonderful friendship that blossoms between Broady and Thomas Elgin, the new neighbor boy, same age as Broady.We begin to be introduced to an array of amazing characters Broady s mother who has been quiet and quite withdrawn seems to come out of her loneliness when Jenny Elgin engages her in talks and teas The sheriff, Vaughan, is a tough one to figure out, is he really a good guy Bad guy Somewhere in between There had been a big story in town a few months previously about a young black woman, Ms Lida Poe, who supposedly embezzled money from the company and no one has seen her since The general belief is that she has fled the country, has she The really frightening group of guys are a part of the CORPS, a secret white supremacist group, they include boys named Jarvis, Bob and Brad There are not at all happy with the new African American manager of Ryke and the demotion of their father.I don t want to give away any of the plot so I will stop with this quote from Hoke when trying to explain the racial prejudices in town In a perfect world, ignorant notions should die a quick death A thing like racism, if it can t find a kindred spiritit s like a dog barking at a stone But if you can find just one other person who thinks like you.well even the most irrational belief can grow roots Small minded people feed off each other and before you know it, you have mobs, and you have burning crosses, and lynchings.If you haven t read this author I highly recommend that you pick up this book It has already published so it can also make a great holiday gift Obviously I loved this book I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher Mulholland Books, through NetGalley. A haunting yet deeply moving coming of age story swirled in prejudice, guilt and grief SUMMARYBoady Sanden is a freshman at St Ignatius High School in Jessup, Missouri For the most part Boady is invisible, that is until he became a target of bullies, because he stuck up for an African American girl in his class When he is not at school or at work Boady loves to escape in the woods near his home on Frog Hollow Road fishing and exploring Boady has no real friends, until Thomas Elgin and his family move in across the road and his life is changed forever Boady soon come to realize the stark lines of race and class that divide his community and he is force to choose sides REVIEWNOTHING MORE DANGEROUS is part murder mystery, part coming of age story swirled in prejudice, guilt, grief and self discovery in the mid 1970 s The story is haunting yet deeply moving It s a perfect blend of characters, setting and story The main characters were delightful and totally drive the narrative You will fall in love with Boady and want to protect him, you will cheer when his friendship with Thomas develops, you will wonder about his elusive next door neighbor Hoke, and you will despise the bully s that taunt him My favorite part was when Boady and Thomas dropped through a pine tree Not exactly sure exactly how that worked but that exhilarating escapade should come with a warning folks do not try this at home This is the third Allen Eskens book I have read and they have all been wonderfully descriptive and fabulously written Eskens is the best selling author of six novels including The Shadows We Hide 2018 and The Life We Bury, 2014 which is being developed into a feature film Eskens lives in Joely, Minnesota where he has practiced criminal defense law for 25 years Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review Publisher Mulholland BooksPublished November 12, 2019Review www.bluestockingreviews.com Check out my fascinating QA with Allen Eskens and get exclusive behind the scenes from NOTHING MORE DANGEROUS, plus fun facts about the author Brilliantly told, a stunning literary, mystery, suspense, historical fiction, and coming of age combo that will blow you away His best yet My Top Books of 2019 If you read only one book this year, choose NOTHING MORE DANGEROUS I wish I could give this 10 STARS Movie Worthy or better a TV series The author hits a home run and checks ALL the boxes Eskens is at the TOP of his game More, please Did you know this book has been in the making for twenty some years Trust me the timing is perfect and worth the wait Character driven Lyrical, heartbreaking, and haunting, this eloquent novel will warm your heart and confirm Allen Eskens place among our nation s FINEST writers Evocative A resonant coming of age tale of discrimination, guilt, grief, and redemption.I have read all of Allen Esken s books a master storyteller and trust me you will fall in love with these characters the good ones Good and evil You will shed a tear or two If you loved his debut, you are assured to devour this one It can be read as a standalone however if you have the time go back and start with 1 You will love Thomas and Boady and their friendship The setting and time for the novel 1976 Jessup, Missouri, a small rural town on Frog Hollow Road As most small towns go, most residents want to escape for better things or a fulfilled life The town holds dark secrets People tend to know everyone s business They can be narrow minded and either pull you down with them or provide you the strength to press onward to strive for something broader In NOTHING MORE DANGEROUS, the author tackles some highly charged tough and emotional subjects From injustice, white supremacy, prejudice, racism, murder, class, privilege, police corruption, politics, bullying, discrimination, friendship, family redemption, guilt, grief, self discovery, plus A timely and compelling coming of age tale that could be ripped from today s headlines From fear, grief, loss, and tragedy To love, faith, resilience, and redemption At the heart of the novel is family and the ties that bind Unforgettable characters that jump off the page You are drawn into every scene with vivid descriptions and lyrical prose This is a classic Every teen and adult should read this book Follow 15 year old Boady we met in book 1, an attorney and his new neighbor same age Thomas African American Their entire street is targeted They become best friends and come face to face with bullies and white supremacy groups Not only the sons are part of the organization, but their father and uncle are the leaders It is a matter of survival Boady is forced to go up against bullies Jarvis and the Boob Brothers both at school and away from school They seem to follow him wherever he goes It is tough being a freshman at the Catholic private school, and a teen trying to escape their wrath Angus, the cousin, seemed to be ok But still, Thomas and Boady must even contend with Jarvis horrible father and uncle He and Thomas are targeted as well as others on their street An African woman goes missing years earlier Lida Poe kept the books at the local plastics factory They say she left town and embezzled thousands of dollars However, is there something bigger at play and did someone murder her to take the fall Thomas s family moves across the street from Boady s family His dad is the new boss at the factory However, the bad white men at the factory do not like him meddling in the affairs since he may overturn their misdeeds They want him out Plus they do not Boady befriending Thomas and the black girl at school Boady and Thomas do some sleuthing on their own and begin uncovering things, but when they report it to the local Sherriff he brushes them off and covers his tracks How far does the corruption go and who can they trust Everywhere they go they are followed and tortured However, will the strength of family and neighbors and friends win in the end In the novel, the author explores a group called CORPS Crusaders of Racial Purity and Strength White supremacism has been depicted in music videos, feature films, documentaries, journal entries, and social media It is front and center every day in the news We see the destruction it can cause and the damage to our youth when parents, leaders, and elders recruit their followers What an incredible and poignant story I could not put this book down I adored the relationship between the two moms and the friendship between Boady and Thomas The best surprise, the mysterious next door neighbor older man Hoke Gardner LOVE is than he appears think Clint Eastwood Walt neighbor in Gran Torino 2008 movie A lot of parallels here NOTHING MORE DANGEROUS is rich in character and place From the Dixon Pond, fishing, the old oak tree, the woods, and nature They also provide metaphors and symbolism I can only hope we see a series both book and TV series NOTHING MORE DANGEROUS is a This is US TV series in the making More Hoke letters and Boady and Thomas, please A continuation from high school, college, their relationships, and beyond I want to see where these families go What a journey If you are a fan of William Kent Krueger s Ordinary Grace or This Tender Land Tom Franklin s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, John Grisham s The Guardians, Delia Owens s Where the Crawdads Sing, or Diane Chamberlain s Necessary Lies and authors Dennis Lehane, Randall Silvis, Tim Johnston, and Thomas Mullen this book is for you Order it NOW and move to the top of your list My Reviews The Life We Bury Joe Talbert, 1 Max Rupert, 1 The Shadows We Hide Joe Talbert, 2 The Guise of Another Detective Max Rupert, 2 The Heavens May Fall Detective Max Rupert 3 The Deep Dark Descending Detective Max Rupert, 4 PS It appears we get Lila next Likely sounds good enough for me She deserves a book of her own, right From Allen s website Lila Nash a supporting character in novels 1, 3 and 5, will likely be the protagonist of novel number 7. A special thank you to Little Brown Co and Mulholland Books for a print ARC and Netgalley for digital. JDCMustReadBooks Impactful, atmospheric, and hauntingly realistic In this latest novel by Eskens, Nothing More Dangerous, he transports us to Jessup, Missouri, a small, midwestern town that suddenly finds itself turned upside down when an unsolved case of embezzlement, a missing, young, African American employee, depressing economics, and a strong underlying racist mentality tests and unearths all the hidden, longstanding alliances, relationships, and friendships within it.The prose is gritty and descriptive The characters are vulnerable, raw, and impulsive And the plot is an immersive journey of life, loss, poverty, coming of age, familial drama, friendship, courage, morality, loyalty, community, self preservation, racism, and violence.Overall, Nothing More Dangerous is a sincere, pensive, ominous tale that not only highlights the ugliness and weakness of group mentality and the ease with which it allows one to behave with ignorance, intolerance, and even participate in the most unforgivable of crimes, but also reminds us that kindness and compassion is the base of humanity that should ultimately always transcend skin colour and socioeconomic status.Thank you to HBG Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, HBG Canada for my copy of Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens, in exchange for my honest review This title releases November 12, 2019.This was my first book by Allen Eskens and when I finished the first thing I asked myself was why hadn t I read anything by this author until now A powerful book that addressed some pretty sensitive topics race, privilege and class, bullying during the late 70s a time when many of these topics were not only taboo but the associated behaviours almost accepted.Set in a small town in the Ozarks, Nothing More Dangerous follows the story of Boady Sanden, a high school freshman who flew under the radar of school bullies until one day when he stood up for a fellow classmate an African American girl named Diana Boady s courage to stand up to these bullies not only put a mark on his back but it also set the stage for his coming of age story.Boady learns some hard life lessons as he navigates his way through his freshman year and the alliances he makes seem to go against the grain of what is expected of him He truly surpasses societal norms and expectations when he continues to fight for what he believes in, even though it turns him into a target for danger.A character driven story, Nothing More Dangerous truly exemplifies the importance of kindness and compassion during a time when racism was at its peak and immorally accepted I loved the rawness of the characters and the manner in which Eskens weaves each of their vulnerabilities throughout the story.I devoured this book in one day as I was completely drawn into this story from page 1 I highly recommend picking up this book if you are looking for a meaningful tale that will pull at your heart strings while keeping you at the edge of your seat from suspense Perfect for fans of the classic To Kill A Mockingbird, which I personally loved. This was my first book by Allen Eskens and I was blown away Wow, what an emotional book with so much depth and a many serious topics racism, bullying, hate crimes, assault, death, grief This is a coming of age story set at a time when racism was at it s peak I loved the main character Boady and felt SO sad for the things he went through But through it all, he was a strong character He was such an endearing boy, and I loved the relationship he had with his neighbor Hoke, and I loved watching his friendship with Thomas build The mystery, the suspense, I loved it all This book really just pulled at my heartstrings This book is most definitely one of my favorites of 2019 Pick this book up, you will not be sorry I can t wait to read by Allen Eskens I love his writing