Review: “The Shadows We Hide” by Allen Eskens

By Emily Wymore

Another book I picked up at Ollie’s that was a good read.


Our main character, Joe, is trying to learn a bit more about his father after he passes away. This leads him to the center of a mystery. I know this might sound kind of plain but it’s honestly a great read. The plights of Joe are very human. He is taking time off work because he is being sued for slander after publishing a story about a senator that hits his wife (or is it the mayor? It’s been a while). So, he’s already got this weight on him, when he takes it upon himself to find out more about his dad and his newfound sister. Before he leaves, Lila, his girlfriend, talks to him about a letter she received from his mother. This is tender ground. Joe wants nothing to do with his literal crack-head mother.

And that’s just how this book starts.

Let’s talk about some of the nitty-gritty. MAJOR SPOILERS

The book has a good ‘A’ and ‘B’ story. The ‘A’ story is the stuff that surrounds his father. The ‘B’ story is about learning to forgive his mother. It’s wonderfully written and almost plays out like a television show series or a movie. The stories mix well, and it doesn’t ever feel like there is too much deviation from one story.

Speaking of the mom story I also want to talk about it. I like it a lot. Being estranged from my father and wanting no contact I can share the feelings of the main character and understand the conflicting feelings that come with even thinking about inviting them back into one’s life. It’s so well-written and believable. I never felt like the situation was ignored or ‘under-sold’. The author either did his research or has experience with it because it was super well done.

Something else that is well-written is the main villain. I can always tell if a villain is well-written if it makes me want to hop in the book and personally stick my foot up his ass. Uncle Charlie does that for me. He is cunning and knows how to manipulate things in his favor. This pisses me off as Charlie is a money-hungry scum bag. But that’s the whole point. (These things don’t actually make me angry by the way. If anything, they just irk me, but again that’s the point. Like being scared by a horror game).

I don’t know if this is good writing, but it is something that I enjoyed which was Jeremy. He is the autistic brother of Joe. He is semi-verbal but can be somewhat self-sufficient because he is in a program that gives him a job. Anyway, he likes kids’ movies, and a lot of his sentences start with ‘maybe’ and that just melts my heart. Like when Joe is stressed about something Jeremy says, “Maybe it will be okay.” It makes the happy ending and healing the relationship with their mother that much sweeter.

Another praise I have for this book is the ending. While it does fall victim to the “chapter wrap-up” that most thriller books have, this book does it nicely. Joe gets back to town and makes up with his girlfriend and he’s like, “I’ve got a lot to tell you.” Honestly, a cheesy wrap-up but I liked how it was done. All the ends were tied nicely.

One last praise, parts 1 and 2 start the same way and I’m a sucker for details like that.

An unexpected find in a bargain store but I enjoyed it. 11/10.

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