The Joe Talbert Series, at this writing, consists of three books: The Life We Bury, The Shadows We Hide, and The Stolen Hours; the first two are narrated by Zack Villa, the last by MacLeod Andrews, Christine Lakin, and Tina Huang. Totaling about thirty hours of listening released by Hachette Audio.
The series begins with a college student, Joe Talbert, struggling through college. Joe has a mentally challenged brother and a self-indulgent alcoholic mother. A biography writing assignment brings him to a nursing facility and the mysterious life of a veteran paroled from prison because he is dying of cancer. The guy was doing 30 years for murder. You guessed it … the man is innocent. In the second story, Joe is an AP reporter investigating the death of a father he never met. In the third story, the main protagonist is no longer Joe, and it’s his girlfriend – a new lawyer determined to lock up a serial-killing-rapist.
The stories are page-turning adventures. Not great literature and not intended to be, but engaging mysteries nonetheless. The lead characters get into a few hair-raising situations, often making some naive choices. Narration is fine, and you’ll have no trouble discerning who-says-what-to-who, albeit a little slow for my taste … bumped the speed to 1.5. You may find it just right. Very creative thinking on the part of Allen Eskers; the characters and story arcs are lovely, and I look forward to reading other works.