The Life We Bury; Allen Eskens
Seventh Street Books – 2014
The Life We Bury is an addictive debut novel that hooked me from the very first paragraph and never let go:
The story begins with 21 year-old Joe Talbert, a college student who is struggling financially. He has an irresponsible, alcoholic mother and an autistic brother named Jeremy at home.
As part of a college English assignment, Joe must meet with a senior citizen, and write about that person's life. Joe sets out to interview, Carl Iverson, a Vietnam Vet and convicted murdered who was sent to prison after being found guilty of raping and murdering a 14-year old girl who lived next door to him. Carl is dying and no longer in prison, instead spending the remaining weeks in a nursing home since his pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
Throughout his arrest and confinement, Carl has maintained his innocence. Joe along with Lila, a romantic interest, and Joe's brother Jeremy, set out see whether what Carl professes just may be true. Is it possoble that the real murderer is still running free?
Part thriller, part mystery, part coming of age story, The Life We Bury, is fast paced and well written. Most of the characters have depth and substance, and the story line keeps you engaged, with some edge of moments, making this one hard to put down. It's a story that has some controversial threads - child abuse, sexual abuse, alcoholism, and a sometimes failed justice system. The author does a terrific job tying it all together. After finishing the book, I now see just how perfect the title the author chose for this one is as well.
Readers who enjoy well written mysteries and stories about justice and redemption are likely to enjoy this one as well. The author has a second book coming out in October called, The Guise of Another, that sounds very good as well.