Monday, September 5, 2016


Rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Life We Bury is the award-winning first novel written by criminal defense attorney, Allen Eskens. It tells the story of young college student, Joe Talbert, who is tasked with a biography writing assignment for his English class. Coming from a dysfunctional family, Joe decides to secure the subject of his assignment from a nursing home. There he meets, Carl Iverson, who was convicted of raping and murdering 14-year old Crystal Hagen.

From page one, Eskens jumps right into the story providing poignant details and clues through the book's entirety to help fill in the holes that the summary on the back cover doesn't provide. The book is thoughtfully written. You can certainly tell that Eskens is an attorney by the legal detail he provides; however, the information is presented in such a way that it is easily consumed by any lay person.

My my main issue with the story, resulting in four stars rather than five is that it is tied up very nicely with a bow at the end. Everyone is happy and all is well. I think that provides satisfaction to a lot of readers, but it seems very unrealistic to me.

While the story is about an eager college student seeking truth and justice, the book also carries other themes such as forgiveness, healing, and the purpose of life. I think that's what makes the book so great. It's more than just a story for the reader; it creates a bit of introspection.

My favorite part of the book is when Carl shares his idea of religion and spirituality with Joe.

"...Then one day, I was lying on my bunk, contemplating Pascal's gambit." ... "This philosopher named Blaise Pascal said that if you have a choice of believing in God or not believing in God, it's a better gamble to believe." 

Carl then explains that if there isn't a God then "this is our heaven," basically explaining to Joe the importance of making best of what you have while you're here. You can tell this made an impact on Joe.

Recommendation: I would definitely recommend the book for a quick read on a quiet night at home. It's a fast read that tugs at the heart.

Until next time ... Read on!


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