Allen Eskens is able to quietly create characters and stories that sneak up on you, get under your skin and make you think. His latest release, The Stolen Hours, is no exception. Set in his home state of Minnesota, it combines his personal knowledge of the legal system with an outstanding redemption tale ... What transpires throughout the book is some brilliant plotting by Allen Eskens. Every time it seems that things are going to work out for Lila, something in the form of a fancy plot twist spoils that optimism. You cannot help but feel for her and the pain she has gone through. A near-perfect thriller, The Stolen Hours is a true nail-biter that will have you reading long into the night.
... dramatic ... an especially interesting antagonist: intensely organized, fixated on the small details, arrogant, ruthless, and a stone-cold killer. In chapters written from Gavin’s point of view, Eskens really gets into the man’s head; he’s no standard-issue villain. Lila’s relentless pursuit of the man, driven by her own personal motives as much as by a search for justice, is gripping, as we ponder just how far is she is prepared to go. Intense and satisfying.
Even readers who predict the tale’s biggest twist before it arrives will still have the breath knocked out of them by the surprises that follow. And they’ll all cheer when fragile Lila finally gains the strength to stand up to the oppressors in her life and wrestle it back from them. A rousing legal thriller that’s also an acute study of female victimization and male privilege.
In the end, readers may wish Gavin had proven to be a more formidable adversary than he turns out to be, but the plot provides satisfying twists and poses thought-provoking questions about gender. Eskens reliably entertains.