The Life We Bury

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The Life We Bury

The Life We Bury, by Allen Eskens, was a page gripper for me. There are so many layers to this story. Once you think you have one layer figured out, it blends into the next. Good storytelling is what this is. I felt empathy for Joe Talbert who always did what he thought he was supposed to, but I also felt for the convicted murdered from the beginning. The autistic brother and girl across the hall were great additions to his story. They had complex mini-stories of their own. The frequent appearance of his mother helped understand why Joe does the things he does. Reading about a moment that changes someone’s life is monumental. A great bond was formed and this novel was truly about the journey. Best ending I’ve read in a long time. I hope to find more books by Mr. Eskens in the near future.

Book Blurb for The Life We Bury

College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same.

Iverson is a dying Vietnam veteran--and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.

As Joe writes about Carl's life, especially Carl's valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory. 

Thread by thread, Joe unravels the tapestry of Carl’s conviction. But as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it’s too late to escape the fallout?

Night Owl Reviews Oct, 2014 4.50