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Saving Emma

Review

Saving Emma

An attorney is faced with both the case of a lifetime and a family crisis that threatens to tear his life apart in SAVING EMMA. Allen Eskens has always been a great thriller writer with a bent towards literary fiction, and those talents are on full display here.

Boady Sanden is a law professor who works for the Innocence Project, an organization devoted to looking at previously tried cases in which the convicted person may indeed be innocent. One day, a strange woman named Ruth Matthews darkens his doorway. She discusses the plight of her brother, Elijah, who was accused of murdering Jalen Bale, the pastor from his church. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was placed in psychiatric care instead of prison. Elijah considers himself a prophet with a direct line to God. Ruth believes this and feels that it is God’s will for Boady to step in to prove his innocence.

"SAVING EMMA is a great book that pulls no punches and shows off Eskens’ ability to toe that line between literary fiction and page-turning thriller."

When Boady looks up the original case, he learns something startling. Elijah’s attorney was the late Ben Pruitt, a one-time best friend of Boady’s who took his own life in Boady’s home. With Pruitt’s wife also gone, their young daughter Emma was immediately made an orphan. Boady and his wife, Dee, chose to take her in as their ward, which made sense as Boady was her Christian godfather.

The connection between the two situations is a dynamic one, made that much more fiery when the now-teenage Emma’s Aunt Anna --- an extremely wealthy and driven woman --- steps in and takes Emma from Boady and Dee without notice. Boady is now an attorney with the Elijah case and the client of a former student of his who specializes in custody cases like the one involving Emma. The bottom line is that he will forego his commitments to the Innocence Project if it means he can bring Emma back safe and sound.

Throughout this ordeal, Boady also must face the wrath of his wife. Dee, who cannot conceive after several miscarriages, feels that he helped push Emma away from them by treating her as a ward of their home and not a member of the family. You can imagine the inner turmoil that Boady must be going through as he is caught between this rock and a hard place. Eskens wrings out this turmoil for all that it’s worth.

Boady begins to have some success with the Elijah case, which includes a possible alibi putting him far away from the time and place of the murder. On the other hand, the Emma case becomes much more complicated than he ever expected as Anna has both deep pockets and no soul.

SAVING EMMA is a great book that pulls no punches and shows off Eskens’ ability to toe that line between literary fiction and page-turning thriller.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on October 13, 2023

Saving Emma
by Allen Eskens

  • Publication Date: September 19, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books
  • ISBN-10: 0316566357
  • ISBN-13: 9780316566353