The Life We Bury was a stunner. It had everything a great book should have: characters with depth, a subplot that aided the main plot line, clear and brilliant writing, a good pace, and a story that kept me turning the pages. The book followed Joe Talbert as he decided to complete his English assignment by interviewing Carl, a man serving out the rest of his prison sentence for murder in a retirement home. Not only was this a murder mystery, this was a look at the human soul. It examined humanity in a variety of forms, giving this book a depth that I didn’t expect, but absolutely loved!
Joe was a fantastic protagonist because he appeared so realistic. He had a history, a personality, wants, and fears. Joe was dorky, nervous, confident, and powerful. Each of these features made him seem human. He wasn’t perfect, but he was honest and that made me like him even when he made bad decisions. A subplot regarding Joe’s reaction to his autistic brother helped to show who Joe really was as a person, and also impacted solving the mystery of whether Carl was actually a murdered. The characters here were made different from each other by their mannerisms, their way of speaking, and their actions. Each person had a back story that was complex and creative. The story moved along so well. Every interaction was important and not only revealed the truth behind Carl’s crime, but portrayed different facets of each character’s personality. For example, Carl’s stint in Vietnam helped Joe understand who he was as a person, just as Joe’s family drama showed his strength of character. Even though this was written by a lawyer, this was not a legal thriller, but it certainly was thrilling to read!
This was one of those books that is absolutely perfect! I cannot wait to read more by this author.