The Life We Bury

I don’t know who it was who recommended this book, but I’d like to thank them. I found “The Life We Bury” at a secondhand store and bought it just based on the recommendation. I thought about taking my time with it, savoring the story, but I couldn’t. I had to rush through it to solve the mystery. And that’s one of the best indications of a good book.

Author Allen Eskens tells the story of a college student, Joe Talbert, who must interview someone for a biography class. He meets Carl Iverson, a convicted murderer who’s been released to a nursing home because he’s dying of pancreatic cancer. Both Joe and Carl have complicated lives. Joe is from a dysfunctional family, and Carl maintains that he’s innocent of the murder.

Joe meets his neighbor, Lila, and the two team up to solve the mystery of who really murdered a 14-year-old girl 30 years ago. The deadline is literally a deadline — they want to prove Carl’s innocence before he dies. And the beauty of the story is that the real murderer is not immediately the person a reader will guess.

What sets this story apart is the prose; Eskens knows how to create suspense. He knows how to create believable characters with credible lives. And he knows how to set up a great plot. I won’t spoil the suspense; and I’m not going to give this book to a secondhand store. I want to read it again and THIS time, I swear I’ll go slowly and savor it.