Book Reviews

From Amazon Kindle Reviewer “slands”

True Crime at its Best!  As a professional in the field of Criminal Justice, I can tell you that the book regarding Jodi Huisentruit’s disappearance is a true masterpiece.  There are several detailed theories of the crime that are offered, and several persons of interest who are considered.  This author did not miss a single angle to Huisentruit’s case.  Fantastic reading and intriguing case.


From G. Smith (Iowa)

Dead Air is “very engaging, insightful, and a thought-provoking read.  I devoured it with interest!”


From Craig Hansen (Oregon)

I came into the book Dead Air with some personal touchstones.  First, I grew up in the KAAL/KIMT broadcast area.  Further complicating matters were some personal connections in Long Prairie, Minnesota.  Finally, the author of this book, Beth Bednar, was the primary news anchor at KAAL during most of my childhood.  So there was a feeling of this crime hitting a bit too close to home for comfort.

Beth Bednar came from an older school of journalism, when delivering the news in an unbiased way was more than a marketing catchphrase.  I am pleased to report that, upon reading Dead Air, Beth Bednar has not changed that style.

Bednar relates facts and theories of Jodi’s disappearance without really developing a pet theory of her own, an approach that does justice to this unsolved cold case.  She relates some of the rumors and innuendo surrounding the case without buying into it herself as a writer, nor utilizing it to titillate the reader in an exploitative manner.

Although some true crime fans may prefer more sensationalism and the proffering of a personal theory, Bednar adroitly avoides such potential pitfalls to simply relate all that is known, and the important bits about what is suspected, in this tragic disappearance.

One longs for the day when Bednar’s “it is what it is” approach was the journalistic fashion of the day.  While bombast and opinions [may] draw more viewers, they get us no closer to the truth.  Well-written!


From Esme Murphy, WCCO Radio and Television (CBS), Minneapolis:

Dead Air is the definitive book on the Jodi Huisentruit case!


From Patricia Wallace, North Dakota:

Dead Air is fascinating and very well-written.  I remember your warmth and professionalism [during your time] at KAAL and those qualities shine in your book.  The chapter near the end with scenarios is brilliant!  Thanks for writing one of the best crime books I’ve read.


From the “Crime Kittehs” website:

There’s a quote from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh preceding one of the chapters in Dead Air:  The Disappearance of Jodi Huisentruit that easily defines what the whole book is about or why it was written:  ‘Life, struck sharp on death, makes such awful lightning.’  It makes me think of musical instruments and it’s like Jodi’s disappearance strummed this giant guitar really hard.  I feel like Dead Air is one of the best books I ever read.

Beth Bednar’s writing style is awesome.

As familiar as I was with the case of Jodi Huisentruit, I felt like Dead Air really brought her to life.  I found myself wishing the book would never end, like while you were reading it Jodi was alive again and wasn’t just some person on an Unsolved Mysteries episode but really there.  I’d have to give Dead Air five kittehs in a basket full of biscuits because Beth Bednar has done an amazing job here, a truly touching piece of writing.


From Lucy Keen (Minnesota)

Jodi Huisentruit was a vibrant, ambitious, and popular young woman when she vanished from the parking lot of her apartment building in Mason City, Iowa in 1995. It is a disappearance which still haunts many who live along the eastern end of the Minnesota/Iowa border. As news anchor for the local television station, Jodi had a “high profile” in her town. She was also a member of a small, family-like professional group—that of local on-air television personalities.

Myself a resident of this area who remembers these events clearly, I had always assumed that Jodi had been the victim of a stranger abduction. Although the author provides no definitive answers to the mystery of what happened to Jodi, she does build an extremely credible case for other scenarios, one in particular perhaps more likely than the others.

A great strength of this book is the wide variety of source material Beth Bednar uses, including interviews with some of Jodi’s colleagues, some of her friends and acquaintences in Mason City, friends and family members from Jodi’s home state of Minnesota, local investigator files, law enforcement—even a few psychics. These sources provided a plethora of threads which Beth Bednar pulls together in a logical fashion and weaves into a coherent scenario.

The story of Jodi’s abduction is set against the work-a-day world of small market television news production; a world with which the author has first hand experience, herself having been a well-known and loved television news anchor in a neighboring market for more than twenty years. The book is written with an even hand and is carefully reasoned in true news reporter style. However, it is anything but a sterile read. Clearly Beth Bednar considers Jodi to have been a professional colleague, and in that sense, family.

Without falsity, sentimentality, or titilation, this book is clearly written from the heart. May it achieve its stated purpose: to generate new leads and information about what happened to Jodi Huisentruit that early summer’s morning, now so long ago.


From David Kenney (Mississippi)-  a former coworker of Jodi’s:

I enjoyed reading the vast details that weren’t readily available to the media at that time. I believe the way Jodi was portrayed in the book was spot on, exactly how I remember her. Thank you for taking on such a challenge as writing this touchy subject matter, but even more so by doing it in a way that was easy to read and understand.


From Mike Levy (Minnesota):

I was impressed with your tight style, persistence, objectivity, sidebar detail, overall ability to entertain and maintain attention. Well done! You’re a marvelous writer!


From Brian Mastre (Nebraska) – another former coworker of Jodi’s:

I know sludging through countless notes and interviews and then weaving it into a collective story that is still readable and true to itself is a difficult climb. I thought the tone and tenor was spot on.