Skip to:Content
|
Bottom
Cover image for Nothing more dangerous : a novel
Title:
Nothing more dangerous : a novel
ISBN:
9780316509725
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
vii, 293 pages ; 25 cm.
Geographic Term:
Summary:
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 is forced to choose sides. --
Holds:

Available:*

Library
Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Copies
Status
Searching...
Book FICTION ESK 0 1
Searching...
Searching...
Book FICTION ESK 0 1
Searching...
Searching...
Book FICTION ESK 0 1
Searching...
Searching...
Book FICTION ESK 0 1
Searching...
Searching...
Book FICTION ESK 0 2
Searching...
Searching...
Book FICTION ESK 0 1
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

Missouri native Allen Eskens' "stunning small-town mystery" ( New York Times Book Review ) is "a coming-of-age book to rival some of the best, such as Ordinary Grace. " ( Library Journal , starred review)
FINALIST FOR THE MINNESOTA BOOK AWARD
Best Book of the Year: Florida Sun-Sentinel * Library Journal
In a small Southern 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.


Author Notes

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 26 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.


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in Jessup, Mo., in 1976, this tepid coming-of-age story, with a mystery element, from Edgar-finalist Eskens (The Life We Bury) centers on the relationship between Boady Sanden, an unhappy 15-year-old white boy, and Thomas Elgin, a black boy his own age who moves in with his family next door. Boady and Thomas hit it off after some initial awkwardness when Boady thoughtlessly uses the N-word. The boys' unremarkable escapades include encounters with the opposite sex. Meanwhile, Lida Poe, an African-American woman who worked in the purchasing department of Jessup's largest employer, a plastics producer, goes missing. Rumors circulate that Lida was involved in some financial chicanery and Thomas's father was brought in from Minnesota to try to straighten the business out. Eventually, Boady and Thomas run across a corpse and start playing detectives themselves. The action builds to a climax heavy on clichés. This is no To Kill a Mockingbird. Hopefully, Eskens will return to form next time. Agent: Amy Cloughley, Kimberley Cameron & Assoc. (Nov.)


Kirkus Review

Eskens' latest novel is a warmhearted story of a white teenager's awakening to the racial tensions that run through his Missouri town in 1976.Years before he'll become a successful attorney (The Shadows We Hide, 2018, etc.), Boady Sanden struggles to navigate all the usual high school ordeals in small-town Jessup, including boring subjects and bullying by the likes of all-state wrestler and prom king Jarvis Halcomb. In Boady's case, these everyday problems are aggravated by his outsider status as a non-Catholic freshman at St. Ignatius High School, his home life with his widowed, introverted mother, Emma, and, most recently, the arrival of some new neighbors, the Elgins. Charles Elgin is definitely an improvement on indolent Cecil Halcomb, Jarvis' father, whom he replaces as manager of the local manufacturing plant after bookkeeper Lida Poe disappears with more than $100,000 of the plant's money. Jenna Elgin is excellent company for Emma Sanden, whom she helps draw out of her shell. And after a comically unfortunate first encounter, Boady quickly takes to their son, Thomas, who's exactly his age. But the Elgins, like Lida Poe, are African American, and the combination of an unsolved embezzlement, good old boy Cecil's displacement by an outsider, and the town's incipient racism works slowly but inexorably to put Boady, recruited by the Crusaders of Racial Purity and Strength, under pressure to betray his new friendship. Declining to join the racists but repeatedly running away rather than refusing their demands point blank, Boady must navigate a perilous route to supporting his community and claiming his own adult identity.Perfect for readers who wish To Kill a Mockingbird had been presented from a slightly older, male point of view. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

For 15-year-old Boady, it begins when Lida Poe absconds with $168,000 in embezzled cash. No one knows where she has gone until Boady discovers her body with a bullet hole in its forehead. One mystery solved, but another looms: Who killed her? Meanwhile, an African American family, the Elgins, moves in across the road. Mr. Elgin has been sent to manage the local plastics plant, dislodging the former manager, an incompetent good old boy. It being 1976 in a small Ozarks town, the shadow of Jim Crow still looms, and the Elgins are less than welcome. Nevertheless, their son, Thomas, becomes Boady's best friend. Other mysteries soon present themselves, some endangering Boady and Thomas, who land in the thick of the various intrigues. Eskens does an excellent job of weaving these 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.--Michael Cart Copyright 2010 Booklist


Library Journal Review

In 1976, Boady Sanden is 15 when African American bookkeeper Lida Poe goes missing from Jessup, MO. Lida worked at Ryke Manufacturing, the largest employer in Jessup. When she disappeared, so did a large sum of money. White teen Boady is more concerned with surviving his first year of high school. A trio of seniors, led by Jarvis Halcomb, plan to pick on the only black girl in school, but Boady trips them up. The Halcombs don't forget, so when Boady befriends Thomas, the son of his new black neighbors, both boys become targets. In a summer of terror, a small group of men from the CORPS (Crusaders of Racial Purity and Strength), led by the Halcombs, set their sights on the families on Boady's country road. VERDICT This powerful, unforgettable crime novel is a coming-of-age book to rival some of the best, such as William Kent Krueger's Ordinary Grace or Larry Watson's Montana 1948. While Eskens's books are not part of a series, his readers will recognize Boady as an adult character in two of his earlier books, including the award-winning The Life We Bury. This timely stand-alone is a must-read for followers of the best in crime fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 4/22/19.]--Lesa Holstine, Evansville Vanderburgh P.L., IN


Go to:Top of Page