Monday, 13 October 2014
Review: The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
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.
Iverson 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?
Paperback, 300 pages
Expected publication date: October 14, 2014 by Seventh Street Books
**I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Seventh Street Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. The expected publication date is October 14 2014**
This is one of those stories that will appeal to reader of various genres. It has a little bit of everything in it. A touch of mystery, a dash of romance, some suspense and a heartwarming story of family and it's struggles.
To me the highlight was the discovery of Carl's story as Joe uncovers the events that led up to the night of the murder. I love when you learn bits and pieces of a character and it all builds to a completed package. This story delivers in that aspect.
While some of the actions Joe takes throughout the story are a little bit unbelievable it does not diminish the fact that this is a good read. I could have done without the suspense aspect myself however I can see how many may have found the story to dull without it. I thought that the story of Carl and the backstory of Joe's dysfunctional mother and autistic brother was enough to carry the story.
Altogether I will be recommending this story as an entertaining read that can be appreciated across the genres lines.
About the Author
Allen Eskens grew up in the wooded hills of Missouri and, after high school, migrated north to pursue his education. He acquired a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Minnesota, and a Juris Doctorate from Hamline University School of Law. While he toiled as a practicing attorney in Mankato, Minnesota he spent his spare time honing his creative writing skills in the M.F.A. program at Minnesota State University and took numerous classes at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. The Life We Bury is Allen's debut offering.