Series: Joe Talbert #1
Published by Seventh Street Books on October 14, 2014
Genres/Lists: Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Read synopsis on Goodreads
Buy the book: Amazon/Audible (this post includes affiliate links)
Life is hard, but it’s harder for some. Take Joe Talbert, for example. He’s a college student from a poor and toxic home environment who works harder than most to get an education and build a better life for himself. But no matter how hard he tries to win his race against the past, it keeps catching up with him.
Carl Iverson also had a hard life, but of a different nature. Carl spent most of his adult life in prison for the murder of a teenage girl 30 years earlier. Battling cancer and released on medical leave, Carl’s hope for the future is dimmed, for his future is short.
These unlikely characters cross paths when Joe is assigned a school project that requires interviewing someone more, shall we say, senior to him in The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens. Heading to the nearest nursing home, Hillview Manor, to find someone to interview, Joe ends up meeting Carl and writing his. But the more Joe (and his new friend Lila) gets to know Carl, the more he begins to question everything he knows about his past and, even, the story Carl is telling about himself. What happens next is an action-packed story that culminates in a surprising ending.
The Life We Bury is a good, quick read – the story, characters, and action make it easy to enjoy. It’s not perfect (there were a few unbelievable outcomes and an awkward love scene that reminded me why most romance writers are women) but it’s worth picking up.It may not have been on purpose, but the blending of mystery and philosophy in #TheLifeWeBury by @aeskens works. Click To Tweet
What makes it stand out are the questions it raises about guilt, life, and the impact of the past on the present. It touches upon the themes, such as overcoming a difficult past, responsibility over protecting those who can’t protect themselves, and how to disentangle the past to create a freer future, but it was the questions surrounding guilt that were the most intriguing to me and kept me pondering.
What exactly is guilt, anyway? Is it something the government imposes on us or is it self-imposed? Does the imposition of guilt require a person to accept that guilt, or can one accept guilt without it being imposed on them by others? What is the role of guilt in the life we choose, and how does it impact our future choices? Is it better to run from guilt or to accept it and use it to create change?
The Life We Bury is a solid book because it does two things: it grabs the reader and plants them firmly into the world of Joe and Carl; and it raises moral and philosophical questions about life that reach far beyond the book.
Recommended for: Mystery fans who want some philosophical pondering with their reading.