This post contains affiliate links. I’m always up for a good who-dunnit, so I happily dove into The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens.
About The Life We Bury
Joe Talbert is a student at the University of Minnesota faced with a daunting assignment–interview a stranger and write a brief biography of that person. He heads to the nursing home thinking someone older likely has a good life story. He ends up meeting Carl Iverson, a Vietnam vet who was let out of prison early to go to the nursing home where he is expected to die shortly thanks to pancreatic cancer.
Joe is repulsed by Carl’s crime–the rape and murder of a 14 year old girl 30 years ago. However, his feelings start to change when he orders Carl’s court case records and delves into the files.
Joe can’t put all of his time into this project though, because he’s busy juggling so many other things in his life. His mother is an alcoholic who is constantly running off and leaving for days despite having an 18 year old autistic son, Jeremy, at home. Throughout the semester, Joe has to rescue his brother from his mother or her abusive boyfriend several times.
Then there is Lila, the next door neighbor that Joe would love to date.
And he’s also preoccupied with his other classes and his job as a bouncer at the local bar.
Still, Joe and Lila dig deep into Carl’s case, and they discover, quite coincidentally, that Carl may not be guilty. But if he’s not the culprit, who is?
My Thoughts on This Book
The Life We Bury is 300 pages long, and the first 200 pages were phenomenal. I loved this book! But then, the last 100 pages got a bit unrealistic, in my opinion, and I liked it less. Overall, the book was good, and I enjoyed delving deeply into Carl’s time in Vietnam, but I wish Eskens would have kept the same tone and story line for the last 100 pages as he did for the first 200 pages.
Still, this was a good murder mystery.
I give The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens 4 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.