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)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  92,893 ratings  ·  10,099 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 vet ...more
Audible Audio, Unabridged, 9 pages
Published June 9th 2015 by Tantor Audio (first published October 14th 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

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

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  92,893 ratings  ·  10,099 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Life We Bury (Joe Talbert, #1; Max Rupert, #1)
Jennifer Masterson
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
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!
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is featured on Throwback @

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 dis
Dec 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Life We Bury (Joe Talbert #1) by Allen Eskens (Author), Zach Villa (Narrator)

Listening to Nothing More Dangerous, by Allen Eskens, led me to the earlier book The LIfe We Bury. Over time, I'm going to try to listen to all of Eskens books because I've enjoyed these first two so much. Boady Sanden was fifteen years old Nothing More Dangerous and he's a college professor in The Life We Bury, although he plays only a small part in the second book.  

The Life We Bury features twenty year old colleg
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
Brenda ~Traveling Sister Book Reviews
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
j e w e l s
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
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Larry H
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 wi
Elyse  Walters
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
Susanne  Strong
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
Nov 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
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
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
Cathrine ☯️
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
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
**Reading a Second Time for Book Club, we all loved it!! ***

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.

Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Nope. I'm still not sure how this has garnered some good reviews. This is in my "what the hell was I thinking" list. Just fucking awful. ...more
Holly  B

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
Feb 04, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The literary equivalent of having Cheetos and Diet Coke for breakfast.
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
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 I
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book and author. Great reading! A real page turner to the end. Looking forward to this authors latest novel.
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Life We Bury Minnesota college student Joe Talbert is assigned to write a biography for one of his classes. With few relatives nearby, he goes to a local nursing home and meets Carl Iverson, a terminally ill man who’s biding his remaining time there after being moved from prison. Carl was convicted of murder of a young girl 30 years ago who was his neighbor. He claims his innocence in that crime but feels resigned to his fate, based on other events from his past. Joe isn’t convinced and d ...more
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
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Diane S ☔
Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
May 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was the perfect audiobook to listen to on a recent road trip. The story is an unusual one, of a college student getting caught up in investigating a murder and the narrator Zach Villa does a terrific job in reading the book.

Joe Talbert, a college student has an English assignment to write a brief biography of an elderly person. Not having any older family members himself, he contacts his local Nursing Home and a Vietnam vet and convicted murderer named Carl agrees to be interviewed by Joe.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Four Winds
  • The Life We Bury: by Allen Eskins | Chapter Compilation
  • Ordinary Grace
  • The Last Thing He Told Me
  • This Tender Land
  • Local Woman Missing
  • The Book of Lost Friends
  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
  • We Begin at the End
  • The Push
  • The Guest List
  • Then She Was Gone
  • Anxious People
  • The Things We Cannot Say
  • Dear Edward
  • The Book of Lost Names
  • American Dirt
  • The Giver of Stars
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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 (3 books)
  • The Shadows We Hide (Joe Talbert, #2; Max Rupert #5))
  • The Stolen Hours (Joe Talbert, #3)

Articles featuring this book

This year, we've all got more reason than usual to hunker down inside during the coldest months. Thankfully, those teetering WTR stacks can...
106 likes · 59 comments
“no one can change the sound of an echo.” 32 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?” 21 likes
More quotes…