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The Buried Life

(Recoletta #1)

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  545 ratings  ·  129 reviews
The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation – Recoletta’s top-secret historical research facility.
When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society,
Mass Market Paperback, 359 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Angry Robot
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Average rating 3.29  · 
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Robin (Bridge Four)
May 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Steampunk and Mystery
Shelves: sci-fi
3.5 Stars

The Buried Life is a murder mystery set in a Victorianesk dystopia. Told mostly from the perspectives of a detective Malone and a laundress Jane, because who knows more about the dirty laundry of the rich the reader is given the luxury of discovering the story from a few different angles. As the world and the story unfolds it becomes clear that the murders are all leading to a specific event and the cover up might go all the way to the top of the society.

Malone is all logic and business
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
The Buried Life takes place sometime in our distant future. In fact, it's so distant that everything we know today is forgotten. People had destroyed everything.
There was some kind of Catastrophe and the ruling body of Recolleta restricted the serious study of antebellum history. 'Most historical records had been lost or destroyed in the period immediately following the Catastrophe.' The city has two things it values above anything else: security and privacy. Of course, that is twisted to ser
Althea Ann
Apr 28, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm not sure the cover is aiming at the correct audience for this book... I expected something dark and dystopian. While I can't deny that, technically, this is a dystopian world, the story itself is a light and breezy murder-mystery/romance. The decaying underground city of Recoletta, which serves as backdrop to the story, comes off almost as an afterthought. The feel of the setting is one that will be familiar to any reader of contemporary Victorianesque fantasy - I'd recommend it for fans of ...more
Stephanie Swint
May 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this book. In my earlier post I categorized it as Steam punk but it doesn't really belong there. It is dystopian fantasy. 'The Buried Life' is in an alternate Victorian timeline but does not focus on scientific and mechanical development.

Carrie Patel has us explore the city of Recoletta with a Laundress, a Reporter, two municipal investigators whose jurisdiction is part of an independent contract agency, and a bureaucrat whose functions are important but distasteful to his peers
**Thank you Angry Robot and Netgalley for providing this in exchange for an honest review**

DNF @ 37%

Its not very often I rate a DNF above 1 Star. While this book isn't bad, its not holding my interest. I've been picking it up and putting it down for a month or so now. The mystery itself is ok, but I ordered this for the steampunk/gaslight aspect of it. Sadly, its doesn't have a strong enough presence. The mystery just isn't strong enough on its own to keep my attention.
Jul 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three Stars: A book with great potential that falters with shaky world building.

Malone hurries through the darkened streets, her mind racing over what she has just encountered. A quiet, historian murdered in his own home while surrounded by valuable banned books. Who killed him and why? Meanwhile on the other side of town, an unassuming laundress frantically searches for a missing button amongst her washing. The small pearl button likely cost a fortune and could mean the end of her career. She h
Inspector Malone’s day isn’t starting out well. Not only has she been landed with a new partner--a flamboyant ex-actor, no less-- but she’s just been called in on a perplexing new murder case. Homicides may be everyday fare for the Metropolitan police force of Recoletta, but this case is something of an anomaly. For one thing, the victim is a mild-mannered historian, and it is hard to imagine a less high-risk career. For another, the victim was a whitenail--a member of Recoletta’s upper-class--a ...more
Feb 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Fantasy Review Barn

The City of Recoletta is an underground metropolis that comes with a common The Buried Life steampunk feel; though it runs completely without the steam. I suppose that would mean it has a Victorian feel but that doesn’t really feel right either. Recoletta is one of many buries cities that sit beneath Earth after some unknown event knocked humanity out of the modern age. Unlike many post-apocalyptic tales life carried on in a fairly normal fashion – only with less technology an
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted on Avid Reviews:

Release Date: July 29, 2014

The Buried Life, the debut novel of author Carrie Patel, is the first book in a new series from one of my favorite publishers, Angry Robot Books. It is a mystery novel set in a dystopian future with a bit of a steampunk vibe thrown into its setting. Unlike many dystopian novels, the dystopian element of the story remains in the background, and the murder mystery is the main aspect t
Did the editor fall asleep and miss the first part of this book? The writing has a lot of errors and things that don't make sense. The action isn't always coherent and descriptions often felt awkward. Conversations aren't logical in that it's like the characters aren't replying to each other but to something that's going on in their heads we haven't seen.

Then suddenly, about 120 pages in, it gets so much better it's like a different book. There's still the odd thing that doesn't quite fit and ma
Mar 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ron by: John Scalzi
Almost flunked the “fifty page test.” The story starts slow—-skip the Prologue—-and exhibits many logical and storytelling gaffs. But the hook finally sets and the reader is pulled along by the inner urgency of several characters, if not the story itself.

Needs a serious editor. “Half a mile underground”? “stumbled and nearly tripped”? “slid the gun to her feet” thirty yards away? Investigating a murder and never checks the pile of books at the body’s feet? My favorite: “guards gripping bayonets
Full disclosure, I also voted for Angry Robot to publish Carrie (you can read about my day at their HQ here), and she’s swung by The Bibliophibian on her blog tour for this book. I’ve owed this review for ages; I’m sorry!

I had really high hopes for this based on the first chapters I read way back, and as with most Angry Robot books, I found the ideas really fascinating. The whole set-up of the world, the mystery behind the way it’s got there (because it’s quickly obvious it’s a post-catastrophe
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
I hate to knock an author's debut but this book misses on a number of levels. The world building is virtually non-existent. There are people living above and below ground which makes for a potentially interesting story line but the author never expands upon it. The setting purports to be Victorian London but it might as well be modern day Yucca Flats. There's supposed to be steampunk elements but there isn't a dirigible or a gear in sight. Too much time is spent on the mundane. There's a ballroo ...more
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-books, 2015-reads
It is not my book of the year 2015 but this crime noir novel in a fantasy settings is an entertaining one.

Most part of the story takees place in the subterranean city Recoletta which has a link between underground and surface. The political system has a huge impact of the story with twits and turns.
I really appreciated the two female main characters in person of Inspectoe Liesl Malon and the laundress Jane.
The Review: http://thefictionalhangout.blogspot.c....

The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation – Recoletta’s top-secret historical research facility.

When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, lest they fa
☼Book her,   Danno☼
THE BURIED LIFE showed lots of potential, but for me the writing was too uneven for me to fully enjoy it.

There are two main characters in THE BURIED LIFE: hard-boiled detective Liesl Malone, and laundress, Jane. Malone comes off paper thin and overly familiar. She wears all black, has short blond hair, and is a badass. Jane the laundress, on the other hand, is a wonderful character with a background and friends. She works hard and is diligent. She touches other characters and has motiv
Frank Errington
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Review copy

The Buried Life is an enjoyable first novel by Carrie Patel. Set in a future where many have chosen to live below the Earth's surface. The fictional city of Recoletta, like all modern cities, had been constructed around the two values that society prized most, security and privacy.

It's important to note, most historical records were destroyed in the period immediately following The Catastrophe and any that did survive are severely restricted as to who can access them.

The story begins
Sidsel Pedersen
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk, 2016
Read my full review:

Love the setting and the two protagonists. The book actually had me thinking about real world politics and power dynamics. At the same time it was entertaining and a page turner... I don't often read books in less than two days.
Well plotted and it kept me guessing, without any of the renewals feeling like it wasn't earned.
If you are in the mood for a political steampunk thriller, I recommend this.
TL;DR Review:

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3 stars. A for effort, my friend.

Long Review:

Hundreds of years ago, something happened that changed the course of humanity. An event, the Cataclysm, that isn’t talked about has driven humanity underground. They’ve regressed to a more Victorian style setting where modern technology no longer exists. History prior to the event has either been destroyed or is closely guarded by one of its directorates. People have become intensely private and secretive about their affairs. This s
2.5 stars

It took me a while to get into the book. I found it dense. But when all the characters (and there are a lot) were defined and I kept track of them, I could enjoy the murder-mystery story.

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.
May 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, steampunk, arc
The Buried Life is an interesting blend of steampunk and mystery, set in a post-apocalypse world. It's a combination of elements that really works for me, and the serial murders that masked an even greater mystery kept me riveted throughout most of the book. Yes, most of the book, and therein lies the problem: By the final third, it becomes quite obvious that there are a few issues here and there with the characterization, the realization of the mystery and the world-building that had snowballed ...more
All Things Urban Fantasy
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
***Review Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy***

In a future where bureaucracy and totalitarianism have supplanted capitalism as our national language, the city of Recoletta’s own police force has a hard time getting permission to do its job. In Carrie Patel’s THE BURIED LIFE everything is compartmentalized and strictly need-to-know, which makes solving a series of murders amongst the elite very difficult. Not that that would stop a couple of investigators looking for the truth.

Recoletta is pred
Alysa H.
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This novel has some fantastic ideas, but unfortunately its overall execution is lacking. I had been excited to read this, intrigued by the setting which I expected to be a kind of steampunk/gaslight/post-ap dystopia. Which it is, but not a very good one.

I would put it like this: it's quite difficult to see the forest for the trees. The world-building is not very good, for we get many little details focusing on the wrong things. Just bits and pieces rather than a complete picture or atmosphere.
Fantasy Literature
Aug 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Carrie Patel’s The Buried Life is one of those amiable novels that you keep reading because, well, you picked it up, and if this bit here feels a bit clunky, and that bit there even more so, and sure, that’s a little implausible, and yes, wouldn’t it be nice if the prose were livelier, the world richer, but it’s, you know, nice enough, and maybe it’ll get better than nice — sharper, or edgier, or “grabbier” — but no, it stays nice all the way through. And there of course isn’t anything wrong wit ...more
Peter Tieryas
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Patel is etching out traces of our own civilization from a future perspective, a cultural excavator carving out the recesses, digging up fossils that reveal both the geography of a collapsed United States as well as the intellectual debris of censorship."
I tried to get into this book on numerous occasions and while I don't have any problem with the writing, it's just not for me.

Thank you NetGalley and Angry Robot for a review copy of this book.
8/6/15 Kindle Daily Deal $1.99
Michael Caveney
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This story ultimately didn't grab me, but this was clearly well-written. Carrie Patel has a strong grasp on fully-formed, realistic characters. ...more
*I'm giving away a copy of this book in conjunction with Angry Robot from 26/2/15-3/3/15 - http://justaguythatlikes2read.blogspo...

There is a surrealist steampunk dystopian feel to THE BURIED LIFE. Cover quotes like the book to Cherie Priest (BONESHAKER) and it definitely has that vibe.

Set predominantly underground, THE BURIED LIFE evokes feelings of the tightly cobbled Victorian streets at night time. Fully embodying that omnipresent dread prevalent with the unknown lurking around the corner,
Jul 06, 2014 rated it liked it

*Received in exchange for an honest review*
*Thank you Angry Robot Books*


I was so, so excited for this book. During my time at Angry Robot Books, Carrie's book was one of the ones that were up for acquisitions and I backed it 100%. Having read the first five chapters I had to know more about Malone and Jane. I had to find out what was going on in Ricoletta and what the hell the project Prometheus was. Gaslight novels
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Carrie Patel was born and raised in Houston, Texas. An avid traveller, she studied abroad in Granada, Spain and Buenos Aires, Argentina. She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas A&M University and worked in transfer pricing at Ernst & Young for two years. She now works as a narrative designer at Obsidian Entertainment in Irvine, California, where the only season is Always Perfect ...more

Other books in the series

Recoletta (3 books)
  • Cities and Thrones (Recoletta, #2)
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