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The Life We Bury - Allen Eskens

I've always enjoyed a good mystery novel, and I found this one to be enjoyable on many levels. It's a heart-pounding page-turner, with complex, fully-developed main characters, and Eskens has moments of stunning prose. I knew I would like this book from the well-crafted opening paragraph in which Eskens so fittingly translates a feeling of dread into words that paint a picture and perfectly evoke the feeling.


The narrator, Joe Talbert, is a college kid with a disfunctional family background, trying to set a different path for his own life. And yet his family situation enmeshes him in ways he cannot escape. We all have dreams of who we want to be and how we want to live, and sometimes our family obligations are the clamorous alarms that interrupt our lovely dreams, day after day. How we deal with this challenge defines who we are, as Joe discovers.


The plot is engaging, as we watch Joe encounter situations that could only be arranged by the Fates, and wince as Joe makes decisions that only a 20-something guy could think were good ideas.


The Life we Bury is about letting the snow of secrets cover and conceal our worst actions, and how futile this concealment is. Sooner or later, the heat of truth melts away our deceptions and we must come to terms with what we have concealed.