Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

by:  Allen Eskens
published by:  Seventh Street Books
publish date:  October 14, 2014

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. Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson.  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.

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. 

I read The Guise of Another, also by  Allen Eskens, and I was expecting a little bit more involvement by the detective in this story.  The Guise of Another is like a companion book to The Life We Bury.  Each book has a different detective in it, but the two detectives are brothers.  Anyway, the first book I read was all about the detective, so I figured he would play a bigger role in this book.

This book isn't so much about Joe Talbert writing the biography of Carl Iverson.  It turned out to be more of Joe's investigation into Carl's murder conviction.  He becomes obsessed with proving Carl is innocent.  Joe is also dealing with an alcoholic mother who is determined to ruin everyone's life.  He also has to keep an eye out on his autistic brother.  All this going on while he is falling in love with his next door neighbor.  

This was a great story.  It was well written and the clues were handed out at just the right pace.  The mystery lovers will enjoy this book.

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