Friday, November 10, 2017

The Life We Bury

As I start the final lap on my 12 books in 2017 challenge, I made great pace with The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens.

The 2014 debut novel by Eskens is in the thriller/suspense category (my library put a sticker that said "mystery" on the spine, but the category certainly doesn't seem right).

I wasn't sure what I thought of this book when I started it. It begins with a McGuffin involving a college student with limited connections going to an old folks home to find someone to interview for an English project and being connected to a criminal who's spending his last days before his death in the care of the nursing home.

Part of what allowed me to get over the set up is that I thought it was funny because my six year old son is doing a school project where they're writing the biography of an elderly person at a nursing home with a series of field trip visits to learn about the person (they call them "Grand Friends"). I told my son I was reading a book about a college student with a "Grand Friend" and frankly it made the McGuffin more believable. I was tempted, but did not tell my son, that in my book the "Grand Friend" was imprisoned for raping and killing a 14-year old girl.

So, about a third of the way into the book, you can see some of where this book is going, and I went along.

The middle third of the book though (don't worry, no spoilers here), really did seem to do something special. Eskens created a good layer of intrigue and then told a surprising series of stories that developed every character in the story in a compelling way. There was a layer added to each of their stories that rally delivered.

In the last third of the book, the plot accelerates, the drama, the thrills, and everything that make this book movie worthy (surely, there will be a movie).

Speaking of the non-existent film adaptation I'm envisioning... I'm sure there's a lot of ways this could go, but with the bleak Minnesota climate portrayed here, I'd love to see a film version here by Debra Granik who's film Winter's Bone staring Jennifer Hudson presented a bleak and hostile Ozarks.

Classic literature here? Nah. But enjoyable, compelling, and good story telling -- why of course.

1 comment:

ig viewer said...

Sounds like a nice book to read. I like mystery books. Gonna add the book to my list. Thank you for sharing the review!