January 14, 2017
The Life We Bury
The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
2015 Tantor Audio
Read by Zach Villa
Finished on July 26, 2016
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)
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.
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?
The Life We Bury is a well-written mystery that held my interest and kept me guessing. It’s been a long time since I’ve read such an intelligent and compelling mystery and this particular book reminded me a little bit of William Kent Krueger's stand-alone, Ordinary Grace, which I loved. Zach Villa is a new reader for me and I was very impressed with his performance. All in all, a great listening experience. I'm anxious to try more by Eskens and I'm pleased to see he has two more for me to read. Kind of nice to discover a writer before he's written two or three dozen books!