Review: The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens

The Heaven's May Fall by Allen Eskens is a riveting murder case told from two different perspectives.

Read Janet Webb's review of The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens, and then make sure you're signed in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of all 3 of Allen Eskens's thrillers!

The Heavens May Fall is an intriguing title—what do those four words have to do with the murder of a lawyer’s wife? It can be traced back to a Latin quotation, Fiat justitia, ruat coelum: translated, “Let Justice Be Done, Though the Heavens May Fall.” Thought to have been said by Julius Caesar’s father-in-law, it crystallizes a view of justice that transcends the outcome of any specific inquiry or investigation. A colloquial version of this quotation is to “let the chips fall where they may.”

Detective Max Rupert is called in when Jennavieve Pruitt’s body is discovered. Who is the prime suspect when a wife is found dead? Inevitably, one thinks, “Cherchez the spouse!” While that may be, Rupert’s longtime friend, attorney Boady Sanden, decides to defend Jennavieve’s husband Ben, convinced that he is innocent.

Attorney Boady Sanden and Detective Max Rupert are antagonists given the murder investigation. The longtime friends share a core of judicial, investigatory integrity—they want to know, above all, who committed the crime. That tension is what makes the story come alive.

Also, four years earlier, Max Rupert’s wife Jenni was murdered. Her death remains unsolved. Try as he might, Rupert cannot put it behind him. Sanden is also affected by a case from his past—years earlier, a client died that he is convinced was innocent. Two deaths, two men haunted by what might have been.

Allen Eskens has a talent for bringing disparate police officers, law clerks, investigators, and medical examiners to life, as when Dr. Margaret Hightower joins the crime scene.

Behind them came the shuffle of tired feet and they both turned to see Dr. Margaret Hightower making her way down the alley—the grand dame of the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office. In her mid-sixties, Margaret moved with the gait of an eighty-year-old woman, carrying her hard life on her shoulders and in her face. For the past six years now, she wore a sobriety necklace, a silver dog tag with the inscription “one day at a time” etched on its face, and she no longer came to crime scenes with a hint of single-malt scotch on her breath.

Descriptions of post-mortems can be difficult to read—Max Rupert stands in for us when he thinks of how he learned to handle the smell of formaldehyde and the pulling of organs from a dead body. He hearkens back to a childhood memory.

It reminded Max of a day when he was a child and he watched his father replace the carburetor on their Dodge Dart. No wasted movements. Every part set aside on the garage floor in orderly formation. It was nothing to get emotional about—just a task that needed doing.

Perhaps in a post-mortem it helps to think bodies not people, but what makes The Heavens May Fall compelling is the humanity of the victim, her husband and daughter, and the cast of characters trying to solve the crime. Step by step, a fuller picture emerges of the married life of Pruitts. Jennavieve’s sister, Anna Alder-King, visits Max Rupert, suggesting that her sister’s prenuptial agreement might shed light on her death.

“You can get me copies of that prenup?”

“I’ll have it delivered,” she said. Then she turned to face him one last time. “I like you Detective Rupert, and that’s not something I say to many people. I get the feeling that, like myself, you know full well my sister was killed by her husband. I have complete faith that you won’t let me down.”

You can have complete faith that this complex story will hold your interest, from the first page to the complicated, creative ending.

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of The Life We Bury, The Guise of Another, and The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens!

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TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

Allen Eskens Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at beginning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) November 2, 2016. Sweepstakes ends 10:59 a.m. ET November 16, 2016. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


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Janet Webb aka @janetnorcal has unpredictable opinions on books. Season ticket holder of the Oakland Athletics baseball team. Social media devotee. Stories on royals and politics catch my eye. Ottawa born. Grew up on the books of Helen MacInnes, Mary Stewart, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Anne Perry … I'm always looking for a great new mystery series.

Read all of Janet Webb's articles for Criminal Element!


  1. Gordon Bingham

    Look to be excellent traditional murder mysteries!

  2. MaryC

    Eager to read how the investigation impacts the friendship of the two antagonists.

  3. Zara Garcia-Alvarez

    “The Heavens May Fall” if I DON’T win this contest! (Or I could just lose.)

    Thanks for an entry in the draw.

  4. Jean Dickinson

    “Heavens May Fall” seems to be my cuppa T. Thanx for the chance to win otherwise I’ll be ordering!!

  5. Daniel Morrell

    sounds like a good one!

  6. Lisa Kaiser

    This sounds like a terrific read. Would welcome a book with a creative ending.

  7. Pam Carmichael

    Oh my this one looks so good, I love a story that has so many differant elements in it, I would love to read this and any others by this author. I am most interested. Thank you for the chance to enter!!!

  8. Clydia DeFreese

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    sounds interesting

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    I will win! Yes!

  11. Mary Lorenz

    I would love to win! His books are great!

  12. Rachel Loboda

    I’m such a big fan of Allen Esken’s books. I would to win the giveaway and have a copy of all three! =) Rachel

  13. Laurence Coven

    Eskins is part of the Seventh
    Street Press stable and they are publishing some of the best new authors in the field—Top Notch All the Way.

  14. Thomas Walker

    Sounds great! Would be wonderfult to win all three.

  15. Andrew Gordon

    im in

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    Please enter me


    Sounds like a winner!!

  18. Barbara Lima

    I sounds like we have interesting personalities and histories other than the crime.

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    Would love to read both of these books!

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  25. Ann Muth

    sounds like a good book

  26. Tarah Manning

    I love books that tell the same story from different view points! Must read!

  27. Mary Cloud

    Sounds like a great book

  28. Rachel Bolly

    I really need to read this!

  29. Charlee Griffith

    Thanks for the sweepstakes!

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    looking forward to reading this

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  34. Carolyn

    Sounds like it will be a good read!

  35. Carolyn

    Sounds like it will be a good read!

  36. Julie Campbell

    The Life We Bury made my top five list two years ago. I expect The Heavens May Fall to be just as good.

  37. Deborah Dumm

    This sounds like a great book. Can’t wait to read it!

  38. Rick B

    I read the first Eskens novel, “The Life We Bury,” and it was really good — well written, and an interesting plot and characters. I’m looking forward to reading his next two (so I hope I win the contest!). But I agree with the other commenter … the Seventh Street Press is publishing some very good authors right now.

  39. Rick Barnes

    I read the first Eskens novel, “The Life We Bury,” and it was really good — well written, with an interesting plot and characters. I’m looking forward to reading his next two (so I hope I win the contest!). But I agree with the earlier commenter … the Seventh Street Press is publishing some very good authors and books these days.

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    I would love to read it

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    I love murder mysteries.

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  46. Jeffrey Malis

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  69. Joyce Redman

    I like what I read about Allen Eskins books with their creative endings. Would love to have a chance to read them.

  70. Janet Nuss

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  72. Rena

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  73. Sally Schmidt

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  75. Linda Peters

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  76. Deb Philippon

    I’d love to read this. It’s my sort of mystery. Wish me luck!


    Intriguing. I like the two different perspectives. My turn to WIN!!!!

  78. Sally

    I like having both sides of the story to consider and form my own opinion. I hope to win this set, sure I would be up late every night til I found out who the killer is.

  79. L

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  82. Susan Smoaks

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  84. Ed Nemmers

    I would like to read the work of Allen Eskens.

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  86. Christal Mormann

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  89. Jerry Marquardt

    I can barely wiat to read. The Heavens May Fall. I would like to thank you for giving us a chance to win this today.

  90. Susan Pertierra

    I’d love to compare the writing style to other thriller/murder mystery writers. Sounds like a good book!

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  93. Daniel Vice

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  94. Buddy Garrett

    They sound like great reads. Thanks.

  95. Kat Emerick

    I am looking forward to reading this.

  96. Lily

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  97. trish mckee

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  98. Karen Gonyea

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  99. Elizabeth

    A woman in my book club has recommended this author’s books. I’m really anxious to read them.

Comments are closed.

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