June 12, 2015

Review: The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

Title: The Life We Bury
Author: Allen Eskens
Published: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Seventh Street Books

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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. Carl 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. 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?

I read this book in just under four hours -- no kidding. Not because it was short, but because it was absolutely incredible. It's been a while since a book has had me so engrossed and completely captured within its pages. Trust me, this is one you won't want to put down.

The fascinating aspect of this book is its simplicity. The basic premise: a college student, Joe, needs to write a biography about anyone of his choosing and he just so happens to choose a convicted murderer living in a nursing home and dying of cancer. That's it -- that's all there is too it. You wouldn't think you could write an entire book on that, right? But what happens turns out to be a life-and-death mystery mixed with a dying man's deepest memories and a 30-year-old criminal case.
I loved the way the plot thickened, the mystery deepened, and the twists hidden in ways that you could never see coming.

I would be remiss if I left out another aspect of this fabulous novel -- and that is Joe's relationship with his brother, Jeremy. Jeremy suffers from autism and you can immediately tell that Joe feels a deep and fierce protectiveness for his brother. Joe struggles so much between doing what's right for Jeremy or doing what's right for himself -- it's such a real part of life that you can't help but sympathize with him in every way. The bond between brothers is so strong that you start to feel like Joe too -- putting yourself in his shoes -- thinking about what you'd do in his situation.

Is there an actual right or wrong way to deal with life? It's an incredibly powerful question. The Life We Bury tells the story we all share -- a story about those skeletons hidden in our closets, those secrets we want to take to our grave, those moments in time we bury so deep we hope they never breathe life into our consciousness again. This novel unravels all of its characters secrets and leaves no stone unturned. It's like a train wreck you know is going to happen, but can't pull your eyes away from -- and yet somehow, in the end, all have survived and everyone is the better for it. Pick up this book today!

6 out of 5 stars!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Loved the Novel, The Life We Bury. I can hardly wait to share this with my Facebook friends. Best novel I've read this year. Couldn't put it down. Well written...a real nail biter. Allen Eskens was incredible, He unveiled the story eloquently. If you like a moving mystery you will love "The Life We Bury" by Allen Eskens. I will be in line for his next book. Thank you Mr. Eskens for sharing your, "Day Dreams".


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