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Please note: These are the entries for the Pitch Wars season beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2022. Please note that our Agent Showcase ends at 9:00 p.m. ET on Monday, February 14, 2022. Agents will not be able to leave comments requesting material after that time.
Adult #36: THE MINER’S HYMNAL (Literary Mystery)
Trevor Barnes
Mentored by:
Katrina Carrasco
Book Title:
The Miner's Hymnal
2018 Adult Entries
Literary Mystery
Word Count:


VERONICA MARS meets WILD WILD COUNTRY. At a California college built atop a flooded 1850s mine, music major Lou Bancroft and novice PI Jimmy Tsang investigate the bizarre gold-worshiping cult that runs the school as they track a killer.



The notes growl and click around the mandolin’s wooden scroll, a cool throatiness slicing through the air. Lou rakes the pick downward across the strings, over and over, her eyes finally drooping shut. Come on, sleep. She switches to the bare pad of her thumb, softer and softer, the clustered chords receding like a faraway harp—

—until an angry electric buzz zaps her out of it.

It takes her a second to recognize the sound as the vibration of her phone on the end table next to her bed. Someone’s calling her from an unknown number. The clock on her phone says 5:46am.

She answers and mutters something unintelligible.

“Lou? It’s Myra.”

“Dude, it’s like zero o’clock,” she says. “What’s wrong?”

“Someone died,” Myra says, her breath coming in ragged huffs. “In the dorms. A boy.”

Lou is deeply confused. Myra and Lou share an apartment on campus. She’s calling from just down the hall?

“Where are you?” she asks as she places the mandolin gently into its case on the floor.

“I, uh, stayed over with a sophomore last night,” Myra says. “I’m in Barks, on the 100 floor? My shitty phone died and I left my charger at home.”

“Okay,” Lou says. She’s still slightly music-drunk.

Myra talks quickly, in a fierce whisper. “I got up hella early to slip out before the RA catches me and tells the quarryman. Mama’s got a scholarship to keep, right? I was pulling on my boots and peeking out the blinds, and there was a… a body. In the mineyard.”

4 responses to “Adult #36: THE MINER’S HYMNAL (Literary Mystery)”

  1. Sharon Pelletier says:

    Hi Trevor, wondering if this is a new revision from the last version I saw? If so, I’d like to see the first 50 pages! Please send with a query to spelletier@dystel.com with “Pitch Wars Request” and your name in the subject line.


  2. Samantha Fingerhut says:

    Hi Trevor,

    I’d love to read more! Please send your full manuscript to sfingerhut@compasstalent.com.

    All the best,


  3. Ayesha Pande says:

    Dear Trevor Barnes,

    I’m most intrigued by the description of your novel, THE MINER’S HYMNAL. Could you please send me the full manuscript as an e-mail attachment? I can be reached at queries@pandeliterary.com.

    Thank you very much. I look forward to reading your work.

    Yours truly,
    Ayesha Pande

  4. Penelope Burns says:

    Hi Trevor,

    I’d love to see this! Can you send your full manuscript to penelope@gelfmanschneider.com with #PitchWars in the subject line? Thanks so much!

    All best,