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Pitch Wars Showcase

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.
PW2019 Adult #09: WALKING THROUGH NEEDLES (Crime Fiction)
Heather L. Levy
Mentored by:
Layne Fargo and Halley Sutton
Book Title:
2019 Adult Entries
Crime Fiction
Word Count:


MY DARK VANESSA meets DARK PLACES in this lyrical, unsettling crime novel about forbidden desires and family secrets that won’t stay buried. Sam thinks she’s come to terms with her past trauma and the masochistic sexuality it sparked. But when her stepbrother is accused of murdering their mutual abuser, her obsession with clearing his name plunges her back into her hellish Oklahoma childhood.



Sam, 1994

Sam twisted her old yellow ducky blanket, the one her grandma said she was swathed in at birth, and wrapped it tight around her throat until she couldn’t breathe.

Slowly, she counted. She thought of Arrow’s lanky body stretched out in the next bedroom, the one that had been the untouched guest room for so many years. She moved her fingers between her legs, found the spot until the familiar tickle grew. She made it to seventy-three, but the May evening was too warm and muggy, the covers clammy beneath her. She couldn’t concentrate enough for the tickle to explode heat throughout her body, so she removed her blanket from her neck and nuzzled it instead, trying not to cry again.

Sam wished for rain and thunder, for the windows of the decaying farmhouse to shake from it, the glass rattling in tune to her pulse. She wasn’t scared of storms, but Arrow was. He’d make any excuse to come to her room if there was the tiniest burst of lightning. She’d see his little jump after each flash outside her window and smile knowing she’d always have that over him, no matter how tall he got. He might be almost sixteen, but she was a year older and taller than most guys at her school. Sometimes she’d forget his age because he was strong and hard like a grown man. Like his father, Isaac.

15 responses to “PW2019 Adult #09: WALKING THROUGH NEEDLES (Crime Fiction)”

  1. Ann Leslie Tuttle says:

    Dear Ms. Levy,

    WALKING THROUGH NEEDLES sounds intriguing. I would like to read further and appreciate the opportunity to see your complete. In the meantime, I wish you much success with Pitch Wars.


    Ann Leslie Tuttle

  2. Lauren Spieller says:

    Congratulations on completing Pitch Wars, Heather! I was immediately pulled in by this sample (plus I’m a sucker for those comp titles), so I’d love to keep reading. May I please see the full manuscript + synopsis? It would also be great if you could include ‘Pitch Wars Request’ in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you! 

    Lauren Spieller, TriadaUS Literary Agency

  3. Samantha Fabien says:

    Hi Heather,

    It’s so nice to e-meet you and congratulations on completing PitchWars! You must be thrilled to be at this stage after so much hard work. My name is Samantha Fabien and I’m an agent at the Laura Dail Literary Agency. This manuscript really caught my attention! The idea of siblings battling with the same trauma and reacting so differently drew me in. I’m dying to read more! With that in mind, I’d love to read the full. Please send the manuscript with your WALKING THROUGH NEEDLES + PitchWars for SAMANTHA to queries@LDLAinc.com. I hope to hear from you! 🙂

    If more than one LDLA agent requests your book, you are welcome to send to as many or few of us as you like. Just tell us in the query, and we’ll chat amongst ourselves.

  4. Adriann Ranta Zurhellen says:

    Hi Heather,

    Am loving what I’ve read so far! Please submit [the first 50 pages/the full manuscript] to arsubmissions@foundrymedia.com, cc’ing in flmasst@foundrymedia.com, with the subject line “Pitch Wars: WALKING THROUGH NEEDLES.” Thanks so much, and looking forward to diving in more!


  5. Jim McCarthy says:

    I’d be happy to take a look! When you can, I’d love to see the full manuscript. You can send to jmccarthy@dystel.com.


  6. Sabrina Taitz says:

    Would love to read more. Please send your query letter + full manuscript in PDF format to staitz@wmeagency.com – thank you! – Sabrina Taitz @ WME

  7. Hi Heather. I love how dark and eerie this is. I am a huge fan of character who have to confront their demons to move on. There is a great Gillian Flynn vide here. I’d love to read the full manuscript. Could you email it to me at QueryMe.online/1353/PW20192020

  8. Penelope Burns says:

    Hi Heather,

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

    All best,

  9. Suzie Townsend says:

    Oh this sounds so good. Can’t wait to see what happens. Please send me your full manuscript with your query pasted into the first page (a word .doc is best but an .rtf will also work). Send to suzie@newleafliterary.com. You can put PITCH WARS REQUEST in the subject line.

  10. Sharon Pelletier says:

    Hi Heather, I think I’ve seen this before? But I’d like to take a look at the revision! This opening is certainly striking. Could you send along the query (in the body of the email) and first 50 pages (as a Word doc)? spelletier@dystel.com

    Sharon Pelletier
    Dystel, Goderich & Bourret

  11. Carlisle Webber says:

    I’d like to see this! Please send a query letter and 10 pages to carlisle @ fuseliterary .com with the subject PitchWars: TITLE. Thanks!

  12. Sandy Lu says:

    Hi Heather,

    I love your writing! Please send the full manuscript with bio and complete synopsis (all in one Word document) to sandy@lperkinsagency.com. I look forward to read more.

    Sandy Lu
    L. Perkins Agency

  13. Laura Bradford says:

    This one really snagged me and pulled me in. I’m really dying to know what this character is like as an adult. Please email me the full ms + synopsis and make a note in the subject line that this is a Pitch Wars entry. laura at bradfordlit dot com. Thanks!

    Laura Bradford
    Bradford Literary Agency

  14. Cortney Radocaj says:

    Hi Heather,

    I adore your premise and your first pages and would love to see more!!

    Please submit the first 50 pages of WALKING THROUGH NEEDLES, along with your query and synopsis, here:


    Please also make sure to put “Pitch Wars” in the referral line or mention that I requested here in your query.

    I look forward to reading! 😊

    Warm Regards,

    Cortney Radocaj
    Associate Agent
    Belcastro Agency

  15. Diana Fox says:

    I’d love to read more! Please email me the full manuscript at diana at foxliterary dot com. (Including “Pitch Wars Request” in the subject line is also helpful but not required.)