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Nothing More Dangerous

Narrated by: Kevin Stillwell
Length: 10 hrs and 27 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (168 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"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.... A must-read." (Library Journal, starred review)

A Library Journal Mystery Pick of the Month

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 15 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.

©2019 Allen Eskens (P)2019 Mulholland Books

Critic Reviews

"Both heartwarming and hard-nosed, Nothing More Dangerous is a coming-of-age page-turner that probes the dark heart of small towns and the resilient strength that keeps families together." (Thomas Mullen, author of Darktown)

"Eskens does an excellent job of weaving [the] 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." (Booklist

"Eskens vividly renders how small towns try to keep their secrets, and how sometimes they cannot." (Ron Rash, author of Serena)  

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Eskens writes another solid coming of age...

This is a coming of age story that takes place in 1975. It’s about a fifteen year old boy, Broady Sanden. Growing up in a small town in Missouri his life experiences are few. When a black family moves in across the street from him he doesn’t understand what is politically correct and what’s taboo. He offers to n rig a fishing pole for the 15 year old Thomas and doesn’t understand why the boy went home insulted. After spending time with an older neighborhood man he finally starts to understand. Broady and Thomas become best of friends and it’s obvious when Broady think this while camping with Thomas: “You know you’re truly comfortable with someone when you can sit with them in total silence and not feel weird about it. “
Then Broady and his widowed mother and the family across the street and the older neighbor all become targets of the CORP (a group very much like the KKK). At this point many secrets are revealed. Sorry, I cannot tell what they are.
This is a very good book. The characters (the good guys) are all likable and believable. The story is both frustrating and heartwarming. This is another one of those books that stays with you long after you’ve finished. It makes you wonder if things will ever really change.
Kevin Stillwell does an outstanding job narrating.
This book has my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.
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27 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • kathy
  • jasper, GA, United States
  • 11-22-19

ALLEN ESKENS IS THE BOMB!!!!!

I have read all of the authors books. They are thought provoking and entertaining. What I like most is his ability to bring all of his characters to life. The settings are real and you can not help feeling like you are in the scenes with them.

Someone has been pilfering money from a large company in town. The company relocates a new boss to the small town to figure out who is doing it. This small town appears to be prejudice and does not like the fact that a black man is the new boss. Problems and threats, friendships, and family secrets keep the story alive, making the listener not able to hit the off button. The narrator is perfect for this book.If you liked Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, I believe you would like this story.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Best audio tape ever!!!!

Could not stop listening to this audiobook. Eskens has done it again! You know a book is amazing when you are sad and feel kind of empty when it ends and you’re not sure how you will find a book to take its place.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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WOW. . . Awesome. . . Powerful

I love it! I love the cadence of the speaker. It's perfect for the voice of the boy in the story. Without giving too much away this book was powerful, suspenseful and I shed a few tears, especially by the end. . .

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Another Great Read!

Allen Eskens is by far and away my favorite author. He brings to life the history of one of his most beloved characters, Bodi Sanden. I was hooked from the beginning and could hardly stop listening. I can't wait for Allen's next book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Yes

Yes! Yes! This may be fiction, but there are real moments that I can relate

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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His best one yet.

Allen Eskens absolutely nailed it. Small town living in the 70’s and all that it entails. One of my favorites.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Just wow!

I don’t usually write reviews but had to for this book. The book pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. I was very invested in the outcomes for the characters and lost sleep to finish. Amazing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great book about a difficult subject

This book is the fast-paced and absorbing story we’ve come to expect from Allen Eskens. It articulates the uncertainty of growing up in a small rural town with understanding and sensitivity. Some of the characters are somewhat stereotypical bad guys, but they serve their purpose. Main characters were terrific, good trajectory of growth and maturation. Narration was good as well. Well worth the credit.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Just read it...

As I sit crying and sobbing, I would’ve known the tears would come, I would’ve never read the book and what I would’ve missed out on. For some reason I feel needed to hear the messages in it. Never judge a book by its cover, Whether literally or figuratively..

2 of 2 people found this review helpful