“The Life We Bury” by Allen Eskens, ★★★★★

Audio narrated by Zach Villa (excellent).

This was fantastic. Interesting characters and plot, both which are revealed slowly bit by bit and circle around to create a satisfying ending. Great story and storytelling.

Joe Talbert is a young college student with an assignment to write a biography about an elderly person. He meets an older Vietnam vet at a nursing home who agrees to speak with him. Joe quickly learns that he’s no ordinary man. He was recently paroled after 30 years in prison because he is dying of pancreatic cancer and now needs hospice care.

Carl Iverson was convicted of the rape and murder of a 14yo girl, but after interviewing Carl and a number of others, Joe starts to wonder if Carl’s protestations of innocence at the time of the girl’s death may have a ring of truth. His heroic actions in Vietnam don’t coincide with the actions of the monster who killed his young neighbor.

While Joe and his new neighbor, Lila, work to put all the pieces together about the crime, their friendship becomes stronger as they help each other get through their own personal battles. They both have regrets from their past, and Joe has a current decision to make about how to rescue his younger autistic brother from his mother’s negligent and abusive care and still be able to attend college.

As the mystery unfolds, the story turns suspenseful, but there are also touching and revelatory moments as well.

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

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