Burying the Lede
by Joseph Levalley
BookPress Publishing

"It was simple. The couple had to die. The killer didn’t know why and didn’t care."

Don’t be surprised if reading this novel puts you in mind of others that have come before it—novels such as Pete Dexter’s The Paperboy, or Robert Traver’s Anatomy of a Murder. The resemblance has less to do with the fact that the aforementioned novels include a journalistic protagonist in one and a big trial in a small town in another. No, the similarities have more to do with the exceptional level of writing that author Levalley achieves. He’s confident enough to let his story tell itself and in so doing displays an admirable lack of pretense often missing in current crime tales.

Tony is a newspaper reporter in a small Iowa town. When a double murder rocks the citizenry and is soon followed by a high-profile trial, it falls to Tony to be the eyes and ears of those unable to gain entrance to an overflowing courtroom. The evidence against the accused is overwhelming, though it is totally circumstantial. When the verdict is returned, rather than being an end, it is only the beginning of a yarn that will shed its layers like an onion being slowly peeled.

In this narrative, the pace is measured without feeling slow. The plot expands organically and doesn’t feel contrived. Characters are pleasantly recognizable. They seem like real individuals, not simply caricatures. Emotions are also presented realistically rather than being mined for effect. Suspense is handled adroitly. It bobs and weaves its way toward an exciting climax. While you’ll definitely want to know what happens next, you’ll savor the telling of this tale as much as you’ll enjoy its revelations. Don’t miss it.

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