The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens 3


“I thought that by going to prison, I might silence my ghosts – bury that part of my life, those things I did in Vietnam. But in the end, there’s no hole deep enough.” He looked up at me. “No matter how hard you try, there are some things you just can’t run away from.”

Joe Talbert is doing his best to get away from a bad situation. His mother is bipolar and his little brother has autism. By working hard and hiding money, he has been able to escape away to college, although he worries about his now 18-year-old brother’s welfare living with his mom and her sometimes-abusive boyfriends. Soon after starting a school assignment to write a biography, he receives a call that his mom has been arrested and he has to take care of his brother.

A friend from book club recommended this book and it has been on my to-read list for a while. I’ve waited a few months for it to be available to borrow from my library through Overdrive. A lot of people want to read this book and I can see why.

Joe’s assignment leads him to interviewing a convicted murderer who is in hospice from jail at a local nursing home. Carl Iverson is a Vietnam veteran with a friend who is convinced he was innocent of the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl. As Carl tells Joe his story, Joe begins to see holes in the evidence used to convict Carl. Could Carl be innocent? Joe digs into the old case, but not before having to face things in his past he has buried and if he can trust his mother to be his brother’s caretaker.

While the book has a few plotlines going on, it doesn’t feel busy like some do. It seems very realistic in the sense that the characters seem plausible. I enjoyed reading the story and seeing how all the characters would end up. The book is for adults as it does talk about the crime committed and horrors Carl sees in Vietnam. If you like books that combine drama and mystery, you will probably like this book. I will be reading more of this author.

Buy the book here (affiliate link).

About Sarah Anne Carter

Sarah Anne Carter is a writer and reader. She grew up all over the world as a military brat and is now putting down roots with her family in Ohio. Family life keeps her busy, but any spare moment is spent reading, writing or thinking about plots for novels.