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Joseph LeValley
Burying the Lede

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

A horrific double murder in small town Iowa leads to the arrest and trial of a young man who owned the murder weapon. Tony Harrington, a reporter for the local daily paper, doesn’t believe the man is guilty. His search for the truth sparks a chain of events with tragic consequences. Undaunted, Tony pushes on, risking everything to uncover the most important facts – the story’s true “lede.” But even Tony can’t imagine the magnitude of the evil he’s facing or the true purpose behind the crimes that have besieged this quiet Iowa town. Throughout the book, Joe LeValley draws on his real-life experiences as a newspaper reporter to create a narrative with compelling details about the worlds of newspapers and criminal justice. Reviewers have said the novel is as entertaining as it is shocking, and.once you pick up Burying the Lede, you won’t want to put it down. Each time Tony Harrington gets called out in the middle of the night, you will find yourself wanting to go along for the ride. ISBN-13: 978-0-9967616-7-3
Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 9.00 out of 10


Plot: The tension of this legal suspense story is strong at the start, and the character descriptions—for example, during courtroom battles and while in threatening circumstances—keep the pace. The reporter's detailed observations, and his own investigation of the case, will keep readers' attention.

Prose/Style: There is tight clarity in the prose here. The journalistic and legal topics are easy to read about and understand, and the emotional scenes are sympathetic without feeling contrived.

Originality: It is a fairly common theme to have a reporter's interest in a defendant who is assumed guilty, but is not. Tony as a savvy observer and reporter, and his approach to his investigation and emotional investment, contribute to the originality of this story.

Character Development: This book boasts high-level construction of characters and their relationships. Tony is smart but modest, Nelson is smart but obnoxious. The defendant Wells is stereotypical at times, but it works in the story. The book includes believable romance and friendships.

Blurb: This book is filled with suspense that begins in the courtroom, and keeps readers on edge through a reporter's emotional investigation of a double-homicide.

Date Submitted: June 10, 2019

In the chilling opening chapter of LeValley’s promising debut, an unnamed hired killer breaks into an isolated farmhouse in Orney, Iowa, and shoots to death Jerry and Anne Ennis in their bedroom. The hit man plants a bag containing methamphetamine in the kitchen, and leaves the couple’s two young daughters to find their parents’ corpses. Hints suggest that the murderer may be one of the first responders called to the crime scene. The authorities are stymied, until a check of firearms owned by locals connects the bullets that killed the Ennises with a rifle owned by Ralph Wells, whose own sister says that he’d threatened Jerry for having cheated him in a drug deal. Wells is convicted, but enterprising journalist Tony Harrington isn’t satisfied, and pursues the case to get to the bottom of what really happened. LeValley draws on his own experience as a newspaper reporter to give the mystery an authentic feel. Fans of reporter sleuths such as Bruce DeSilva’s Liam Mulligan will be pleased. (Self-published)
Midwest Book Reviews

"Burying the Lede's ability to craft an involving, compelling story based on reporter Tony's personal involvements, connections, and challenges in the case creates a particularly moving story that operates on both emotional and investigative levels, proving nearly impossible to put down and more than satisfying in its surprising conclusion.”

The Honorable Thomas Vilsack, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former Go

Joe LeValley takes you on a guided tour of iconic Iowa places while weaving a mystery thriller that takes you on more twists and turns than an Iowa county gravel road. Make sure you start the book with nothing else to do because you may not be able to put it down.”

U.S. Review of Books

"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. RECOMMENDED"