The Life We Bury
by Allen Eskens
2014/ 303 pages
read by Zack Villa 8h 24m
rating – A / crime – amateur detective
When Joe Talbert is given a biographical writing assignment for a college class he chooses Carl Iverson, an old man in a nursing home as his subject. As it turns out Carl is on parol from a life sentence in prison because he’s in the final stages of cancer. He was convicted of the rape of a child and murder.
As Joe and Carl get to know each other they each have other issues. Joe’s mother is an alcoholic and now that Joe has moved out his teenage brother Jeremy has no protection from Mom and her boyfriend. Meanwhile, Carl is still trying to cope with the hell of living with Vietnam War memories.
A third character is Lila, another student and Joe’s neighbor in his very small apartment. Lila becomes Joe’s brains in several ways.
I’m impressed with this debut novel because although it doesn’t quite have the polish of a previously published author, it does have an enormous amount of energy and creativity. The writing is nice, the characters are well developed, the plot is compelling and the tension is excellent. The only thing which bothered me, maybe, is the set-up in which a college student gets really involved with an old crime case – get past that and it’s an incredible book.