July 23, 2024

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Five Reasons Not To Read Saving Emma By Allen Eskens

Saving Emma By Allen Eskens-Summary

Goodreads summary of Saving Emma by Allen Eskens (Non-Spoiler review below):

A lawyer’s race to reveal a wrongful conviction collides with the dark shadow of a murder in his own home in this propulsive and perfectly plotted new thriller from award-winning writer Allen Eskens.

When Boady Sanden first receives the case of Elijah Matthews, he’s certain there’s not much he can do. Elijah, who believes himself to be a prophet, has been locked up in a psychiatric hospital for the past four years, convicted of brutally murdering the pastor of a megachurch. But as a law professor working for the Innocence Project, Boady agrees to look into Elijah’s file. When he does, he is alarmed to find threads that lead back to the death of his colleague and friend, Ben Pruitt, a man shot to death four years earlier in Boady’s own home.

Ben’s daughter, Emma, has lived with Boady and Boady’s wife, Dee, ever since that awful night. Now fourteen years old, Emma has been growing distant and soon makes a fateful choice that takes her far from the safety of her godparents. Desperate to bring her home and to free an innocent man, Boady must do all he can to investigate Elijah’s case while fighting to save the family he has deeply come to love.

Written with energy, propulsion, and his characteristic pathos and insight, Eskens delivers another pitch-perfect legal thriller that reveals a twisted murder and explores faith, love, family, and redemption along the way.

This is not a reason, but I have to say this summary is way off base. Perfectly plotted? Yeah. We’ll get to that.

Allen Eskens

Also, admittedly, this will be a short review because… boring. And with boring, you can’t get blood from a rock, or whatever that saying is.

Reason #1- Pacing

Holy shit. You know, some books just need time to get off the runway. Saving Emma didn’t even have the airport for the airplane to get off the runway. Listening to Saving Emma was like watching the airport being built and the runways paved, just to see the airplane try to take off and explode into a fireball instead. The pacing never picked up, and in the end? It crashed and burned.

Reviews Spoilers

Reason #2- “Legal Thriller”

Yes. Legal Thriller is in quotes. Why, you ask? GOOD QUESTION! Because somewhere along the way, the thriller was left out of the Legal Thriller. Actually, it wasn’t lost. It was just never there. Maybe it is a Legal Drama? But it isn’t a Legal Thriller. Perhaps even Legal Literary. Before anything else, I would market this book as Literary (in which case I wouldn’t have bothered with it). Outside of a bunch of regurgitated legal mumbo-jumbo, there really isn’t anything legal or thriller about it. Ok. Legal. Fine. But Legal Thriller? That’s a farce.

Reason #3- Bible/Religion

You know, there are a lot of books that beat a thematical dead horse. But when I agree with the theme and am still rolling my eyes because of how the horse was beaten, resuscitated, and then just beaten again? That’s a problem. The point is valid. People utilize the bible and religion to justify anything/everything they want to get out of it. But my God (pun intended), what the actual fuck. Not only is this beaten to death? But I swear certain scriptures and dialogue were used repeatedly, word for word, throughout the book.

Review Summary Allen Eskens

Thank you to Mulholland Books and Hachette Audio for the advance audio of Saving Emma by Allen Eskens, which releases on September 19th

Reason #4- Characters

It is one thing to have flat, bland, one-dimensional characters. But Allen Eskens developed these characters. He created three-dimensional people that you get to know. The problem is I didn’t want to know them. I would have rathered he didn’t put in the time to develop the characters. It just made them more flat and dull, annoying, even. It isn’t that they are likable or unlikable. They are just kind of there. It is a problem.

Reason #5- Writing/Plot

This goes back to what I said about the summary. My cats’ daily activities are better plotted than Saving Emma. First, as I mentioned before, there are whole conversations/dialogues repeated word for word in Saving Emma (no, not flashbacks). Additionally, the number of convenient plot points is just laughable. First, he writes that Character A can’t get on the elevators because they are locked down. Character B says he won’t help him because he’ll lose his job. Then, somehow, in the next paragraph, Character B has, in fact, helped Character A get to the top floor without getting caught. Now if there was some backtracking of information to explain how this feat was accomplished, fine. But nothing. Nada. Just bing bang boom, problem solved.


*So far, Saving Emma is rated over four stars on Goodreads, with 28 reviews. Now, either I’m the minority, or not enough people have reviewed it yet. Either way? It was a waste of a day I could’ve spent scrubbing the grout in my bathtub.

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