The Life We Bury

The Life We Bury

A Novel

Book - 2014
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"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. Iverson 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 by the time Joe discovers the truth, it is too late to escape the fallout"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Amherst, NY :, Seventh Street Books, an imprint of Prometheus Books,, 2014
ISBN: 9781616149987
Characteristics: 303 pages ; 21 cm


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Apr 25, 2018

The reviewer for Book List said, above, that the premise of this book is forced when a college student becomes a super sleuth. That premise bothered me throughout the book. These 2 college students break open a mystery that no trained investigators could over 30 years? I liked the relationship between the young man and the old man he is interviewing. However, the rest of the book just didn't work for me.

Apr 22, 2018

A good mystery. Suspenseful and moves right along. Led me to read all his other books. Rewarding.

Apr 18, 2018

A college student's class assignment to write a brief bio on an interviewee leads to an unexpectedly compelling relationship and investigation of a dying heroic veteran's conviction for a rape/murder decades earlier. As the assignment quickly accelerates into a compelling mission to untangle the truth; the student, Joe Talbot, has to parry his own minefields: his responsibility to his younger autistic brother in the vulnerable care of their alcoholic, destructive mother. A real page-turner!

Mar 22, 2018

A wonderful hero on a journey of redemption in a story that gradually builds in its tempo and discovery. The pace quickens to an exciting final resolution. Joe Talbert is heroic but without superhero capabilities, a young man who has to manage and overcome his own personal challenges. He might not be wearing a cape, but he moves to a strong sense of True North with a superhero heart. This story has cinematic potential and deserves to be given life on the big screen.

Mar 06, 2018

A real page-turner! Easy reading, hard to put down. I am a slow reader, but this was very easy to read. Great development of characters, many twists and turns and sweet ending. My kind of book.

Jan 23, 2018

I enjoyed the characters and how they developed. A comfortable, easy read. Good suspense, although maybe a little unrealistic in parts, with a fairy tale ending.

Oct 11, 2017

A decent thriller with easy-to-understand prose. Fairly predictable, but I enjoyed the character development and the story as a whole.

Oct 09, 2017

An engrossing story of investigation -- of a 30 year old crime and of a developing relationship between an aging, dying convict and a young student who sets out to tell the old man's story. Well developed secondary characters and a briskly moving bit of suspense in the later pages. The book starts slowly and gains momentum as it goes.

Aug 28, 2017

Today my book club discussed this book; we all liked it, could hardly put it down. I grew up in Minnesota and, like the protagonist, went to the University of Minnesota. When I read in the book about the cold walk on the bridge across the Mississippi, I have cold memories. Weather is almost a character in the novel, as mentioned in the publisher's website, Yes, Minnesota has long, cold, brutal winters. It also has beautiful lakes and mild summers, not mentioned in this book.

The book has several fortunate, unrealistic episodes, but, after all, we like fiction to be kinder than life.

The author's website is interesting:

Take away thoughts: the Vietnam War was bad. Alcoholism is bad. Loving relationships are good. Education is good.

Aug 25, 2017

Joe Talbert is a deeply developed and likeable character struggling to get through college while the odds are stacked heavily against him. An English class assignment takes him to Carl, a murderer dying of cancer in a rest home, and as Joe becomes engrossed in the details of Carl's crime his dysfunctional alcoholic mother and autistic brother add tension that keeps this novel fast paced and engrossing. His growing relationship with a troubled fellow student and the convicted killer brings the story to a satisfying conclusion after delivering plenty of page-turning action. I highly recommend it.

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