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Nothing More Dangerous

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  42 reviews
A coming-of-age novel in the tradition of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: In a small 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 ofLetter:
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published November 12th 2019 by Mulholland Books
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
I have to tell you a little secret...Allen Eskens is one of my favorite authors for mystery thrillers. He is top notch, friends. I read and then listened to The Life We Bury, and I have kept going from there.

Nothing More Dangerous is his most recent book, and it’s a standalone. It’s set in a small town in the Ozarks and has characters who completely draw you in to the story from the start. Boady, a high school freshman, gets new neighbors across the road, including Thomas, another te
Lindsay - Traveling Sister
5+ stars! 2019 Favourites List!

Boady (love that name!) is a fifteen-year-old boy who lives with his widowed mother on a remote dirt road in their small town. Hoke, an older man, lives next door and spends many hours with Boady having front porch chats and teaching life lessons. Boady finds himself caught up in a local missing woman’s case where he stumbles upon evidence that no child should be witness to.

Boady stole my heart! I loved everything about him and was fully inv
Judy Collins
Check out my fascinating Q&A with Allen Eskens and get exclusive behind the scenes from NOTHING MORE DANGEROUS, plus fun facts about the author.

Brilliantly told, a stunning literary, mystery, suspense, historical fiction, and coming-of-age combo that will blow you away. His best yet! My Top Books of 2019. 📚🙌 If you read only one book this year, choose NOTHING MORE DANGEROUS!

I wish I could give this 10 STARS. 🌟 Movie-Worthy. 🎬 (or better a TV series). The author hits a home
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A haunting yet deeply moving coming-of-age story swirled in prejudice, guilt and grief.

Boady Sanden is a freshman at St. Ignatius High School in Jessup, Missouri. For the most part Boady is invisible, that is until he became a target of bullies, because he stuck up for an African-American girl in his class. When he is not at school or at work Boady loves to escape in the woods near his home on Frog Hollow Road fishing and exploring. Boady has no real friends, until Thomas Elgin and
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you, HBG Canada for my copy of Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens, in exchange for my honest review. This title releases November 12, 2019.

This was my first book by Allen Eskens and when I finished the first thing I asked myself was: why hadn’t I read anything by this author until now?!

A powerful book that addressed some pretty sensitive topics (race, privilege and class, bullying) during the late 70s – a time when many of these topics were not only taboo but th
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Impactful, atmospheric, and hauntingly realistic!

In this latest novel by Eskens, Nothing More Dangerous, he transports us to Jessup, Missouri, a small, midwestern town that suddenly finds itself turned upside down when an unsolved case of embezzlement, a missing, young, African-American employee, depressing economics, and a strong underlying racist mentality tests and unearths all the hidden, longstanding alliances, relationships, and friendships within it.

The prose is gr
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
3.0 Stars
Allen Eskens is one of my favourite crime fiction authors so I was incredibly excited to check out his latest published work. I’ve often said that I appreciate his range as an author because each of his books is so different than all his previous work. This was certainly the case here. This book was actually the first novel he wrote (before The Life We Bury), but it certainly did not read like a debut novel.

Eskens continues to show his talent for the writing craft with well developed cha
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Allen Eskens has fast become one of my favorite authors and he enthralls once again in his latest standalone.

Set in the Missouri Ozarks where racism and old ways of doing things abound, Boady Sanden comes of age and questions what is right and wrong and fights, to the point of putting is life in jeopardy, for the former.

Every word of Eskens’ writing is an absolute pleasure to read and his characters are phenomenal. Many heartfelt and difficult topics are delved into with ease and ri
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fifteen year-old Boady Sanden is the first person narrator of this novel, set in Jessup, Missouri in 1976. The artistry in details in this novel is what makes it so memorable. The entire time I was reading it, I was comparing Boady, the first person narrator of the novel, to both Scout and Jem in To Kill a Mockingbird. Hoke, Boady’s neighbor and father figure, was a cross between Atticus Finch and Boo Radley.

I appreciated how the author created a dissonance between Boady’s older narrative voice
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"But memories aren’t like photographs; they can’t halt the passing of time. Instead, they lay like steps along a path, each one determined by the step that came before and colored by the steps to follow."
Kim McGee
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Boady lives in a small town in Missouri where people are slow to change their behavior and their minds and their loyalty rests with the town's bully. When a black family moves into town and has a prominent position at "the plant", tensions run high and violence is on the rise. Missing money and a missing woman who had access to that money are causing everyone to move carefully and not ruffle any feathers. There is just too much hatred to ignore and racial tension to avoid violence. A coming of a ...more
Aimee Dars
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Esken, Allen - Nothing More Dangerous (4)

𝗛𝗮𝗽𝗽𝘆 𝗽𝘂𝗯𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝙉𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙈𝙤𝙧𝙚 𝘿𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙚𝙧𝙤𝙪𝙨 𝗯𝘆 𝗔𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻 𝗘𝘀𝗸𝗲𝗻!

In 1976, freshman Boady Sanden’s widowed, depressed, and overwhelmed mother sends him to St. Ignacius high school, a private Catholic school, after getting into trouble with the wrong crowd. He is friendless and awkward, drawing band logos in a notebook to avoid the attention of the popular boys who enjoy tormenting him. With only his dog and his next-door neighbor, Hoke, as company, Boady dreams of leaving Jessup, Missouri behind and is onl
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Allen Eskens' Nothing More Dangerous currently tops my list of favorites for 2019. For me, it's this year's November Road. That means I'm recommending it to everyone who reads crime fiction or coming-of-age novels. Loved William Kent Krueger's Ordinary Grace? Remember Larry Watson's Montana 1948? You must read Nothing More Dangerous. Eskens has been writing it since 1991. Surely you have a couple days to read it.

Boady Sanden is just a fifteen-year-old boy longing to escape his home i
Brenda -Traveling Sister host of The Traveling Friends
The title here draws from the quote, "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Allen Eskens draws on that ignorance and explores prejudice and racism as a way to explore his "own failing regarding notions of prejudice and racism" Taken from his author notes.

Nothing More Dangerous is a prequel to Allen Eskens other books. Boady Sanden is a law professor in The Life We Bury, and we see more of his character in T
Monique Lahaie
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
⭐⭐⭐⭐💫 (4.5 Stars) Nothing More Dangerous - Allen Eskens (Available November 12, 2019)

Thank you to @hbgcanada & @grandcentralpublishing for this gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.


“But sometimes when you look down at the surface of the pond, all you can see is your own reflection, not the depth of what’s on the other side.”


As long as he can remember, Boady has been dreaming of escaping his small town of Jessup. That is until the
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Taking place in a rural Missouri town in 1976, Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens is a captivating coming of age novel with a slight mystery element.

Fifteen year old Boady Sanden is desperate to leave the small rural town where he lives with his mother, Emma.  Thrust into the local Catholic high school after running with the wrong crowd, Boady is invisible to his classmates until he catches the attention of school bully Jarvis Halcomb and his pals. Luckily the school year is almost over s
Susan Campton
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Good Evening, My Fellow Book Dragons. It’s Mystery Monday and our Gem this evening is deceiving, it is large, about the size of a baseball. It looks almost like a Diamond, but instead is a more of a rock, with crystal white striations across it. If you hold it close it smells like burning wood, dead leaves and a creek bed. This Gem is “Nothing More Dangerous” by Allen Eskens.
It is the story of Boady Sanden, a 15 year old boy from the Missouri Ozarks, a small town called Jessup. Boady has b
4.5/5 Stars

In Nothing More Dangerous, Allen Eskens explores the racial tensions that exist in the Ozark Hills of Mississippi during the summer of 1976 through the lens of Boady Sanden, a 15 year old white teen with plenty of problems of his own when a black woman disappears and is accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from the manufacturing company she works for, which also happens to be the largest employer in the small town of Jessup. Through some odd twists of fate Boady beco
Dustin Hood
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Allen Eskens has proven himself to be one of my favorite authors. You probably know him from The Life We Bury. His latest novel is a stand-alone novel about Boady Sanden, a fifteen-year-old boy who finds himself in the crossfires of CORPS (Crusaders Of Racial Purity and Strength), a white supremacy group and his black neighbors who have moved to Jessup, Missouti to straighten up the local factory after an embezzlement scandal.

This story isn’t just another story about racial injustice, it’s much
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Boady Sanden is a 15 year old boy stuck in Jessup, Missouri in 1976. He has been raised in a community infused with racism, much of which he doesn't even recognize. What he does recognize is that he is an outsider. Put into a private Catholic school after getting in trouble in public school, he has no friends until a prominent black family moves in across the street and the local KKK knock-off group wants him to spy and torment them. From here, Boady starts to see the problems that plague his sm ...more
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A mystery tale that pulls the heart strings with a great bond of friendship with two young men amidst a fierce pull of injustice and murder.

There will be problem solving and things that make the heart move with this fine small town poignant mystery with at its core people in a web of good and evil.

There is a life buried within the story with the likable and memorable character Hoke, Boady, our young main protagonist of fifteen years of age, is set upon on a task in findin
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
99% of the books I read are mysteries. I have read several other books by this author & enjoyed them. This book I won in a Goodreads giveaway & when I read the subject of the book I wasn't sure it would be one I would enjoy. I was so wrong. I loved this book. Not really a mystery, just a great piece of fiction. It put me in mind of the Penn Cage novels by Greg Iles. The author did a fantastic job of setting the scene & making you feel like you were there. I cared for the main charact ...more
Mary Reagan  Richardson (mary_reagans_books)
This book was magical. I give it a big 5 stars any day. This book was the epitome of coming of age meets mystery meets small town south. I loved the main character, Boady, so much. I laughed, I cried, I hurt. What was so masterful about this work to me was the way that I felt for all the characters. Coming from small town Mississippi, I understood a lot about the setting of this book in small town Missouri. The things that happened through the course of the story had you moved but also made you ...more
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Allen Elkens has become one of my favorite writers. He began writing Nothing More Dangerous, a crime novel, in 1991 and worked on it for 20 years, put it away and brought it back out after writing The Life We Bury and The Shadows We Hide, two excellent books. The story is set in a small town and is filled with prejudice and racism. You will despise some of the characters and fall in love with others. Boady and Tom, fifteen year old boys and neighbors form an inseparable bond in a community fille ...more
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
In a departure from his usual contemporary mysteries, Eskens tries his hand at a historical thriller and creates a novel that is his best yet.
A young man finds himself tangled in a drama that unearths hate, crime, and deeply hidden secrets in what his formally predictable hometown.

(Loved this unfortunately spot-on quote from p. 59: "You put enough like-minded idiots in a room, and pretty soon their backward way of thinking starts to take on an air of legitimacy.")

This ARC/>This
Cecil Huston
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having just read “Summer of Night” by Dan Simmons, this was another engrossing coming-of-age story, from a different perspective. While Dan Simmons book brings the drama of young friends surviving evil from a mostly supernatural source, this book reminds us there is enough real evil in men to make supernatural forces pale in comparison. It also gives some background to Brady Sanden from the Detective Rupert series, which opens more options to sequels. Glad Mr. Eskens finally decided to finish th ...more
Timothy M. Gorman
In my opinion, one of the best thinks Eskens' ever written.
While some language may be considered shockingly politically incorrect, its inclusion closely reflects the widely accepted norms of the mid 1970's and helps promote an understanding of the period's norms.
The story follows the journey of a 15 year old white child who's initial view on race relations might be summed up as "give those people a break, they're doing the best they can considering their limitations."
During the cour
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Allen Eskens, I have read every book you have written, and again you did not disappoint me. I read this cover to cover. I felt I was along for the journey as Boady and Thomas break racial barriers and form a beautiful friendship. As different as they are in their upbringings, together they are unstoppable as they dodge danger and help solve a murder. A "must read" for anyone who loves a good mystery. I hope there will be a sequel to this story. I want to know what becomes of these high schoolers ...more
Karen Wright
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I've read by this author and found the book to be hard-to-put down, well written, entertaining and I highly recommend it!

The characters were well-developed and likable. It was easy to follow along It dealt with issues of bullying, racism and issues which were prevalent in the mid-1970s when the book was set, and today. I think this book would make an excellent movie with interesting characters and a mention of Minnesota.
Karin Snortland
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another OUTSTANDING book by Allen Eskens! I simply couldn't put this book down. Everyone, regardless of race, sexual orientation, age, or political affiliation, should read "Nothing More Dangerous". Thank you for this thought-provoking, dramatic mystery, Mr. Eskens. I anxiously await your next creation!
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Allen Eskens is the USA Today-bestselling author of The Life We Bury, The Guise of Another, The Heavens May Fall, the Deep Dark Descending and The Shadows We Hide. He is the recipient of the Barry Award, Rosebud Award, Minnesota Book Award, and the Silver Falchion Award and has been a finalist for the Edgar Award, Thriller Award, and Anthony Award. His work had been published in 21 languages and h ...more
“You put enough like-minded idiots in a room, and pretty soon their backward way of thinking starts to take on an air of legitimacy.” 0 likes
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