The Life We Bury (Paperback)
College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same. Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran--and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder. As Joe writes about Carl's life, especially Carl's valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory. Thread by thread, Joe unravels the tapestry of Carl’s conviction. But as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it’s too late to escape the fallout?
AWARD RECOGNITION FOR THE LIFE WE BURY:
WINNER! Left Coast Crime Rosebud Award, BEST DEBUT MYSTERY
WINNER! Barry Award, BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
WINNER! Silver Falchion Award, BEST FIRST NOVEL: traditional
2015 Edgar® Award Finalist, BEST FIRST NOVEL
Minnesota Book Award Finalist, BEST GENRE NOVEL
Anthony Award Finalist, BEST FIRST NOVEL
ITW Thriller Awards Finalist, BEST FIRST NOVEL
MysteryPeople 2014 BEST DEBUT NOVEL
Suspense Magazine BEST BOOKS OF 2014/DEBUT AUTHOR
PRAISE FOR THE LIFE WE BURY:
"Thriller fans should keep their eyes on Eskens; he's a comer." --BOOKLIST
"Compulsively suspenseful." --BOOKPAGE
"[A] masterful debut...." --PW STARRED REVIEW
"An intelligent and compelling story with characters that will capture you from the start.... This debut novel never lets the reader off the edge of the seat--the mark of a great story."
--THE BIG THRILL
"Set against the backdrop of a brutal Minnesota winter, The Life We Bury is much more than a satisfying, suspenseful novel.... This story kept me turning the pages, and it touched my heart. The characters are as real as my next-door neighbors, the story compelling, and the writing superb." --SUSPENSE MAGAZINE
"Eskens delivers interesting puzzles, clever problem-solving, and plenty of stay-up-all-night-reading suspense." --REVIEWING THE EVIDENCE
"Eskens's first-person narration grabs the reader and never relinquishes its hold."
--LIBRARY JOURNAL EDITOR'S FALL PICK
"Eskens' debut is a solid and thoughtful tale of a young man used to taking on burdens beyond his years--none more dangerous than championing a bitter old man convicted of a horrific crime." --KIRKUS REVIEWS
"A mesmerizing debut, unfolding decades of secrets in a rewarding tale of redemption."
--JULIE KRAMER, Minnesota Book Award winner