Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Life We Bury (Joe Talbert, #1; Max Rupert, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Life We Bury (Joe Talbert, #1; Max Rupert, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Life We Bury

(Joe Talbert #1)

by
3.96  ·  Rating details ·  68,603 ratings  ·  7,734 reviews
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.

Carl is a dying Vietnam vete
...more
Paperback, 303 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Seventh Street Books (first published 2014)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  68,603 ratings  ·  7,734 reviews


Filter
 | 
Sort order
Jennifer Masterson
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Let me just say that the narrator of this book is awesome! I mean 5 Star! This book is excellent in audio!

Really good debut novel. Fun mystery with likeable characters and some good twists and turns. I loved Lila and Joe! You need to be able to suspend disbelief for this one.

Recommended for mystery/thriller lovers!
Mischenko
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is featured on Throwback @
https://readrantrockandroll.com/2018/...

Loved it from beginning to end...

Joe, a college student, has an English assignment to complete that requires him to interview someone for a biography. He chooses a man named Carl, a Vietnam veteran who’s also a convicted rapist and murderer. Carl has an interesting background including some secrets. He’s been released from prison only because he’s dying of cancer. Everyone already knows his story–or do they? As Joe disc
...more
Annet
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a great book! Highly recommended: 4.5 rating. Note: just upgraded to 5 stars. Just really enjoyed this book, unusual and great story.

What drew me to this book was the unusual story of a student, Joe, who has a biography assignment for his studies and decides to interview Carl Iverson, a dying Vietnam veteran and convicted murderer and rapist in a nursing home. Carl has been released from prison because he is dying from cancer. Joe has just left his home to live near college and try an
...more
Brenda - Traveling Sister
I listened to the audio version of The Life We Bury after a tip from a Goodreads friend who also listened to it while doing chores. While listening to this I was mostly shoveling snow which made that task a little bit more tolerable. This book was an excellent choice for listening to as the pacing of the narrative kept my attention throughout and my mind didn’t wander.

The Life We Bury is a rewarding tale of two characters, Joe and Carl that are bonded together by buried secrets and the burdens
...more
Susanne Strong
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars
An Intense Novel that Makes Your Blood Pressure Rise and Your Heart Beat Out of Your Chest. Highly Recommended!

Joe Talbert hasn't had an easy life. He is a college student whose mother is a drunk and whose younger brother is autistic. He never met his father and unfortunately, he lost his grandfather years ago. He only recently transferred to the University after taking classes at the Community College. He has worked like crazy ever since he could remember, supporting his alcoholic moth
...more
Jaline
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx2018-completed
” . . . . maybe [the high-school guidance counselor] knew who my mother was and figured that no one can change the sound of an echo.”

College material or not, that’s where Joe is. Neither Joe nor his autistic younger brother Jeremy have ever met their fathers. Their mother is an alcoholic who also has a mental health disorder and refuses to seek out or accept help. At ages 11 and 9, the death of Joe and Jeremy’s grandfather was also the end of mitigation in their mother’s behaviors. Although Joe
...more
Larry H
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

It's been said you should never think you know everything about a person's struggles because they may be struggling in ways you could never imagine. There's also the old saying that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Both of those concepts get healthy exploration in Allen Eskens' bleak yet wonderful The Life We Bury .

Joe Talbert is struggling to get by on a day-to-day basis. He can barely afford college yet he's determined to stay there as long as he can, but he has to deal with
...more
j e w e l s [Books Bejeweled]
This book has been in my Audible wish list for at least three years. From the summary, it looks like a book I would enjoy: mystery, suspense, rave reviews for the storytelling. The only thing holding me back was the Vietnam War veteran as a character. How ridiculously picky is that? I was secretly afraid it would be too graphic in retelling old war stories. And it was a bit graphic, but thankfully very brief. As it turns out, Carl Iverson the paroled convict and war veteran, is a major reason th ...more
PorshaJo
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rating 4.5

The Life We Bury is a book that took me by surprise. I knew a bit about it, saw some reviews, but didn't rush to get it. I put it in my audio queue awhile back and again, didn't think much when it arrived in my inbox. Then I started listening and was immediately hooked.

Joe Talbert is a young college student who you can say, is struggling to keep it together. His mother is a drunk, frequently arrested, or off gambling someplace. His brother, is autistic, and needs supervision, which he
...more
Linda
Nov 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
"His dying declaration......that's what he called it. It's a statement that's true because you don't want to die with a lie on your lips."

Joe Talbert is a struggling Minnesota college student just trying to get by. An English class assignment is handed off to him to write a biography of a stranger. Easy stuff? Oh, not hardly.

The minute that Joe's car pulls into the parking lot of a local nursing home, it becomes a trajectory into a different time, place, and circle of life. Joe is assigned to Ca
...more
Elyse Walters
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook... narrated by *Zack Villa*.....WAS TERRIFIC! Zack was a flawless voice!!!Something about the way Mr. Zack Villa read this novel, was absolutely the perfect combination of real - calm - not too phony or hyped - but always held my attention. I felt like I was in the same room with him while he was talking to me. AND I liked the story AND characters - equally. ( maybe the characters a little more).

This was a ‘daily deal’ chance-buy - knowing nothing about it except what the Goodreads bl
...more
karen
Jun 10, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 stars!

this is a very good mystery debut, with memorable characters and a fairly standard/familiar plot, but it's got enough promise in it that i am very confident his second book will be remarkable.

joe talbert is a 21-year-old college student tasked with writing a biographical piece on an elderly individual for his writing class. having no family members fitting the bill, he goes to a nursing home to find a willing participant. the only resident with enough cognitive capacity to take part is
...more
Starjustin
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book and author. Great reading! A real page turner to the end. Looking forward to this authors latest novel.
Holly  B
3.5

A homework assignment turned murder investigation! 30 year old murder investigation!

I loved the plot and the character of Joe Talbert. He is a 21 year old college student and he has not had an easy life growing up in Minnesota. His mom is an alcoholic and can barely care for his younger autistic brother, Jeremy(adored this character).

Joe has an English assignment and ends up interviewing Carl, a man convicted of murder 30 years prior. Carl went to Vietnam and was awarded a silver cross and a
...more
*TANYA*
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-time-fav, own-it
I cannot believe this book gets anything less than 5 stars!!! It was FANTASTIC from beginning to end. A must read and I have so much to say but don't want to give anything away either. I'm casting Jeremy Irons as Carl and Logan Lerman as Joe.
Cathrine ☯️
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: group-challenge
2★
Based on the reception by most, lucky for some new authors I’m not the one approving their debut manuscripts or on the nominating panel for Anthony Award books. Maybe I’m just a jaded, hard to please reader? It’s true my mother would sometimes refer to me as a spoilsport. Perhaps there should be a warning label on my thoughts: Readers under a certain age should just ignore Cathrine’s opinions. Well, I liked the cover and it was on sale at Amazon for $1.99 so on my e-reader it went.

Initially w
...more
Zoeytron
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-library
The sound of an echo cannot be changed, and what's done cannot be undone.  An attempt to put one man's nightmare to rest may result in finally silencing another.  There are myriad meanings to be taken from the title.  Good story by a talented storyteller.  This is the second book I've read from this author, and I mean to pursue his others.
Lindsay - Traveling Sister
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
4 stars!

This story follows Joe Talbert, a college student given an English course assignment to write a brief biography on a stranger. At a local nursing home, Joe meets Carl Iverson, a dying Vietnam veteran who spent thirty years in prison for a brutal rape and murder. Iverson only has weeks left to live and agrees to give Joe his honest life story down to the gritty details – his dying declaration. As pieces of Joe’s personal life crumble around him, he investigates and uncovers answers to Iv
...more
Vanessa
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I started with the audiobook version but got so into this book I switched over to the ebook version just so I could read it faster. I was that absorbed! Loved this book! Perfectly executed, the setting and the writing were top notch to keep me reading well into the night. I’m so glad I took notice of the positive reviews for this book as it was even better than expected! I even teared up at the end. A great and fitting ending to match a thoroughly enjoyable and riveting story. Will definitely be ...more
Kasey
Feb 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
The literary equivalent of having Cheetos and Diet Coke for breakfast.
Myrna
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
The Life We Bury was an intense book that kept me on the edge of my seat. It was well written and clever. Plus, I was instantly drawn into the gripping plot and the well crafted and compelling characters. If you like thriller/suspense books, you will enjoy this fantastic debut. 4.75+ stars
Casey
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is basically a 2.5. The blurb makes it sound like most of the book has to do with a Vietnam veteran coming clean about a rape/murder conviction and whether he is guilty or innocent. That's really a small chunk of the plot, and I think that we can all use our adult judgment to figure out that there wouldn't be a book here if he confessed guilt. Brush that away, and you have a generic detective novel with a college student in the place of the usual grizzled cop. Rather than being your st ...more
Carol
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

Joe Talbert is a young college student and part time bouncer, (with some great moves) but most importantly a caring big brother to Jeremy who definitely needs his support and protection from time to time. Joe comes from a family with issues and carries a big secret of his own. He sometimes shows naïveté, but big time resourcefulness when it counts.

When an English class assignment requires him to write a biography, Joe visits a local nursing home to interview a complete stranger leading

...more
Diane S ☔
Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Joe Talbert is a young man, who had to assume many responsibilities a young age, one for his autistic brother and also for his alcoholic and partying mother. Finally moving away, getting a job and paying his own way through college, he just might now be able to have a life of his own. Until a school assignment threatens to overturn all for which he has worked.

A solid debut novel, part legal story, part mystery with the right mixture of family intrigue and a rapid moving plot. Loved his autistic
...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
When trouble comes, it tends to come in bucket-loads. Just ask Joe Talbot.

Joe has an unreliable, alcoholic mother and an autistic brother whom his mother tends to abandon unthinkingly. Joe is away at college, struggling to pay his tuition fees, working more than studying, looking out for his brother Jeremy, and admiring the girl next door.

An assignment to write the biography of someone leads Joe to a residential home for the elderly, and to Carl Iverson, a dying Vietnam Vet and a murderer. Carl
...more
Julie
The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens is a 2014 Seventh Street Books publication.

The Life We Bury is a compelling debut mystery thriller which explores various forms and levels of guilt while at the same time, providing hope and redemption.
Joe is doing a paper for his college biography class, prompting him to visit a nursing home in hopes of interviewing someone who has lived a long life, who might be willing to share their experiences, which will hopefully leave an inspirational impression. Howeve
...more
Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)
Wow, this book was such a great listen, the story was fantastic! I love strong character driven novels and they don't get much better than Allen Eskens books.

Joe is a young man who is about as good as they come. Struggling to stay in college with no help from his alcoholic mother, and keep an eye on his autistic brother. He is strongly bonded to his brother and cares greatly about his welfare even when it disrupts his own young life.

An English assignment takes him to a nursing home and one of th
...more
Kelli
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
Excellent audio of this sometimes touching story of a college student's search for justice, love and release from his own demons. Given the subject matter, it is surprising how much this feels like a light read. There were a few places where the story could've ended and it would be received higher marks from me but given the numerous implausible happenings that piled up at the end, this is a 3.5 for me. I'm rounding up because of the narration and because I enjoyed it more than most I've come ac ...more
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-thriller
4.5 Stars - Fantastic Debut Mystery

The Life We Bury is a fast paced mystery with an engaging narrative. From the very first chapter, I was completely hooked. This novel completely held my attention from start to finish, threatening to leave me with a nasty book hangover.

I absolutely loved the characters in this novel, who were well-round and complex. In this relatively short novel, Eskens skillfully develops flawed characters with realistic relationships. I particularly adored the interactions b
...more
Victoria
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I grew up on a steady diet of Nancy Drew and played endless games of Clue, but it’s become increasingly difficult to find good mysteries as an adult. Thin plots, cookie-cutter characters and don’t even get me started on the writing and dialogue. John Hart entered my life last year and I’ve been meting out his books like I’m in a fallout shelter and his books are the last few cans of beans left to this starving mystery lover.

So I’m thrilled to have been introduced to Eskens’ writing recently, a
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Thriller Thursday...: My January pick 2 6 Feb 02, 2019 05:52AM  
2019 Reading Chal...: This topic has been closed to new comments. The Life We Bury 3 46 May 09, 2018 07:28AM  
Forsyth County Pu...: February 2018 - The Life We Bury 4 24 Mar 01, 2018 11:00AM  
Fiction Fanatics: January 2017 - The Life We Bury 15 51 Feb 21, 2017 09:01PM  
  • Beartown (Beartown, #1)
  • The Underground Railroad
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette
  • The Pecan Man
  • Tamarack County (Cork O'Connor, #13)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • December Dread (Murder-by-Month Mystery #8)
  • The Mourning Hours
  • The Cape Ann (Contemporary American Fiction)
  • The Substitute
  • Lyrebird Hill
  • A Cold and Lonely Place (Troy Chance, #2)
  • The Bullet
  • The Lighthouse Road (Eide Family, #1)
  • The Wild Inside (Glacier Mystery #1)
  • Faces of the Gone (Carter Ross Mystery #1)
  • Tin City (Mac McKenzie, #2)
  • Redemption Road
1,607 followers
Allen Eskens is the USA Today-bestselling author of The Life We Bury, The Guise of Another, The Heavens May Fall, the Deep Dark Descending and The Shadows We Hide. He is the recipient of the Barry Award, Rosebud Award, Minnesota Book Award, and the Silver Falchion Award and has been a finalist for the Edgar Award, Thriller Award, and Anthony Award. His work had been published in 21 languages and h ...more

Other books in the series

Joe Talbert (2 books)
  • The Shadows We Hide (Joe Talbert, #2)
“no one can change the sound of an echo.” 25 likes
“What if I was wrong? What if there was no other side. What if, in all the eons of eternity, this was the one and only time that I would be alive. How would I live my life if that were the case?” 19 likes
More quotes…