Nothing mysterious happens to Boady Sanden in Jessup, Missouri, and he wants out. He's a high school freshman living with his dog and his struggling mom, ten years after his dad's accidental death. He knows he shouldn't leave them, but he's saving to do just that. Then, along with the 1976 Presidential politics of Ford running against Reagan, he reads the name Lida Poe in the local newspaper during a dull Current Events class. He's drawn to the story of this black woman who disappeared from Jessup, where race matters far too much, and for the wrong reasons. They say Lida Poe stole a lot of money from her company and ran. Boady doesn't understand any of it yet. He doesn't even recognize the ingrained racism that comes naturally from his own mouth, but his instinct to protect a classmate from racist bullying draws him into a new world. New neighbors and a new understanding of a very familiar man next door leads to a year of growing up quickly. This is a strong mystery, written with a straightforward style in a teenage voice that I found totally believable and very enjoyable. It's an important take on racial hatred, as a young man starts to see the disturbing truth all around him. Powerful and satisfying.
— Tim McCarthy
About the Author
"Nothing More Dangerous works well as a mystery, a dissection of hatred and racial prejudice, and a coming-of-age novel. . . . Eskens gracefully moves the novel through the little moments that help to shape people and see the world with a different attitude."—Oline H. Cogdill, Associated Press
"Mystery Pick of the Month: 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.... This timely stand-alone is a must-read for followers of the best in crime fiction."—Library Journal (starred review)
"Allen Eskens doesn't just tap into the experience of growing up in a rural Southern town; Nothing More Dangerous dissects the inner life of a teen forced to confront prejudice and persecution.... Eskens has the skill to make readers cry... and then cheer."—Shelf Awareness
"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