The Shadows We Hide by Allen Eskins is the second book about Joe Talbert, Jr. I enjoyed the first novel, The Life We Bury which takes place while Joe is in college. It is not necessary to read the first novel before this one. In this story, Joe is now a college graduate working as a journalist for The Associated Press in Minneapolis. He lives with his girlfriend Lila, who is studying for her bar exam. He is the guardian over his autistic brother, Jeremy, after their meth-addicted mother, Kathy proved unfit.
One day at work Joe gets served with a defamation lawsuit by a politician over an unfavorable story. That same day his editor shows him a picture of a man named Joe Talbert who has been murdered in a small town about 2 hours away. Joe Junior had never met his birth father and decides to find out if the dead man could possibly have been his father. The issues surrounding the lawsuit give Joe a reason to take some time off work. At first, Lila is able to watch Jeremy but when the bar exam is just a few days away, Joe must try to do his investigation while caring for his special needs brother.
As soon as Joe arrives in town, things take many twists and turns. First, Joe “Toke” Talbert has a teenaged daughter, Angel,who is now in a coma. It appears she tried to commit suicide the night Toke is murdered. Angel’s boyfriend, who has disappeared, is the prime suspect in Toke’s murder. Second, everyone in town despised Toke, which makes for a large number of suspects. Third, Toke’s late wife had inherited a property worth around six million dollars. Could Joe be in line to inherit this money, along with Angel? Fourth, Toke’s brother, Charlie, is trying to get guardianship of Angel so he can manage the fortune. Charlie wants to make sure Joe is out of the picture, by whatever means. Fifth, Joe and Lila’s relationship has taken a bad turn after they had a fight about whether Kathy deserves a second chance. Joe must decide whether to seek reconciliation with his mother.
The first half of the novel plodded along slowly. The second half was much better. I was not able to figure out whodunit, nor did I see the major plot twist at the very end.
3.5-stars rounded up to 4. This book was published on November 13, 2018. I listened to the Audible audio which was 9 hours and 4 minutes long. The hardcover is 352 pages.
Check out my review of Nothing More Dangerous, which another book by Allen Eskins.