The Life We Bury
"'He's an old man,' I said. 'He's's sick and weak and thin as a
whip. It's hard to see him in that stuff you read.'
'When you write about him, make sure you tell the whole story.
Don't just write about the weak old man dying of cancer. Tell them
about the drunken degenerate who burned a fourteen-year-old girl.'
'I made a promise to write the truth,' I said. 'And I will.'"
It turns out that the adult literary world is full of mystery
novels. I assume there's a hefty demand behind this bounteous
supply. Well if you are one of the many coveting well crafted
suspense stories, Allen Eskens' The Life We Bury is a fine selection.
Joe, Eskens' protagonist, has more on his plate than most
undergraduate college students. In addition to keeping up with
classwork and working to pay tuition and keep a roof over his head and
food on the table, he has to monitor his birth family. His younger
brother is on the autism spectrum. His mother, a habitual drunk, is
often unable to properly care for him. As the book opens, she's been
arrested. Although his life doesn't have room for a very frail young
man with a low tolerance for change, often Joe is Jeremy's only hope.
Now Joe has acquired a most unusual major homework assignment.
He has to interview an older person and write her/his biography.
Instead of talking to a grandparent, long time family friend, or a
pillar of the community he has selected a convicted felon who was
released from prison to a nursing home because of terminal pancreatic
cancer. He's very much behind on the assignment, which gives him no
option to choose another subject.
Carl Iverson was convicted of murder in 1980. Allegedly he'd
raped and murdered a teen age neighbor and burned down a shed to
destroy the evidence of his crime. All the evidence seems to point
toward his guilt. Or does it? Additionally he was also a Vietman Vet
who risked his life to save a friend. It's hard for Joe to reconcile
war hero with heartless psychpath.
Perhaps Joe and his friend, Lila, can exonerate Carl before he
dies. There are only two problems:
Late stage cancer doesn't give them an awful lot of time.
Someone is aware of their investigation and willing to use any
means necessary to stop it.
Suspense fans: we've got ourselves a winner.
On a personal note, I got a flu shot last week. Maybe carrying around
a heavy backpack was not such a good idea. That night my arm hurt so
much I hardly got any sleep.
A great big shout out goes out to all who work against sometimes
formidable odds to exonerate innocent people. Thumbs down to the
Supreme Court for deciding that potential proof of innocence should
not stand in the way of the death penalty.
Sent from my iPod