Safely Buried by John Pesta

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Set in the low hills of southern Indiana, "Safely Buried" is a riveting mystery featuring newspaper reporter Phil Larrison, whose well-intended act of kindness soon lands him in a tangled web of murder and corruption. Author John Pesta gracefully balances strong character and plot development with an action-packed storyline. Though a first-time author, Pesta's background in journalism is readily apparent through his immense storytelling ability that rivals that of seasoned mystery writers.

While we would recommend this book to mystery enthusiasts, it is also a great book for novices due to its well-developed characters and swift, suspenseful pace. It is the ideal choice for the 2012 Best Fiction Book of Indiana award due to the book's entertaining, compelling, and suspenseful storytelling, as well as its setting in southern Indiana.

--Judges' Statement


It was ten at night. I had just come off I-65, and my high beams lit her up from behind. She was walking along the road between dark, endless cornfields, and her right leg was in a cast. She wore denim shorts and a yellow tank top that didn't quite reach the shorts. Without crutches, she moved as fast as she could on the gravelly shoulder. She would take a long step with her good leg, stiffly swing the cast forward the same distance, and immediately start the next step. Tilting jerkily, she looked as if she would fall with every stride. I crossed the centerline to give her more room to fall. Just as I was about to pass her, she glanced over her shoulder and stuck out a thumb.

When Phil Larrison, editor of a small-town newspaper in southern Indiana, picks up the hitchhiker, this chance encounter plunges him into a deadly mystery that he struggles to solve because he wants a big story for the paper. But the story turns out to be much bigger than he expects--and far more painful.

About John Pesta

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Safely Buried is set in the low steep hills, or knobs, of south-central Indiana, where for seventeen years Pesta served as editor and publisher of The Brownstown Banner. During those years he wrote bushels of articles for the paper, from obituaries to editorials, from town-meeting news to high-school sports, from features about readers' favorite recipes to captions for photos of such things as dead rattlesnakes, giant pumpkins, and the first tomato of the year. . . . Born and raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Pesta received degrees from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Virginia and spent a year at the University of London on a Fulbright fellowship. His short stories have appeared in various literary journals, among them Souâwester, The Florida Review, Four Quarters, and Prairie Schooner. Still writing, he lives near Brownstown with his wife, Maureen, whose pastel painting on the cover illustrates a scene from the novel.
Published February 20, 2011 by CreateSpace. 388 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Small-town newspaper editor Phil Larrison knows better than to pick up a young female hitchhiker late at night, but he can’t leave the broken-legged woman limping down the road.

Jun 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Safely Buried

Publishers Weekly

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Smalltown newspaper editor Phil Larrison picks up a hitchhiker and agrees to drive to her friends’ house, where they soon find a pair of corpses rotting in a bathroom.

Jan 02 2012 | Read Full Review of Safely Buried

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