Monday, November 9, 2015

The Life We Bury (Allen Eskens)

When I began Allen Eskens’s The Life We Bury, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.  The premise was exciting, the characters interesting, and the writing superb.  As the events started racing to the climax, however, everything seemed to slow down, with the main characters making dumb decisions that would, of course, put their lives in extreme danger.

Joe Talpert hasn’t had the easiest life co-existing with his mother, who has been abusive to both him and his autistic brother, Jeremy.  Trying to better himself, he attends college and needs to obtain a subject for his biographical paper.  Thinking outside the box, he decides to go with Carl Iverson, a convicted murderer who has served decades in prison, but is now dying of cancer in a nursing home.  As he interviews Carl (and his friend), and unravels his story, he doubts whether Carl ever committed this grisly murder after all.

As Joe and his eventual girlfriend, Lila, piece together the puzzle, they begin to do things over and over again that aren’t exactly smart.  This brings The Life We Bury down, as I spent more time mentally yelling at the characters instead of being engrossed in their story. This results in a predictable ending, but getting there was somewhat fun.