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October 31, 2016

The Life We Bury

captureThe Life We Bury

By: Allen Eskens

This is the time of year to curl up with a great mystery while sipping apple cider.  Allen Eskens’ The Life We Bury is the perfect book for a lazy Sunday afternoon.  It’s gritty, well-written, and has a cast of complicated characters.

The Life We Bury follows the present day story of Joe Talbert, a college kid with his share of problems.  Joe’s first person narrative really draws you into the story.  He shares his family and personal struggles, and it’s hard not to root for him after page one.  He’s a loner with an alcoholic mother and autistic brother, but he’s trying to make it on his own.  When a college writing assignment requires Joe to interview someone, he turns in the most unlikely direction – a local nursing home housing convicted murderer, Carl Iverson.

Carl served a life sentence for the murder of a 14-year-old girl thirty years ago.  He’s living his final days in a nursing home, suffering from terminal cancer.  Joe is intrigued by the opportunity to interview Carl, but after a while he doubts the guilt of this Vietnam veteran.  With help from his neighbor, brother and Detective Max Rupert, Joe begins to unravel Carl’s case, proving everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt – and maybe a second chance.

Eskens keeps the suspense levels high throughout the book, and his descriptions of the Minnesota winter had me reaching for a sweater.   This is a fast read, albeit not a light one, the descriptions of Vietnam and the murder are chilling, but the mystery and plot are well developed.  It is the first book in the Max Rupert series, but can certainly be read as a standalone novel.

Looking for more suspenseful mysteries?  Check out some of these popular authors:  Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Tana French, and Elizabeth George.

Review By:  Kirsten Edwards