Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for October 2019

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month
It’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some September books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, dark fantasy, Asian fantasy, paranormal fantasy, paranormal mystery, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, time travel romance, science fiction romance, space opera both gritty and cozy, military science fiction, dystopian fiction, Cyberpunk, sword and sorcery, fairytales, Renaissance magic, reality show demons, space pirates, space marines, bounty hunters, mercenaries, intergalactic cops, undead cops, crime-busting witches, tyrant slayers, literary characters come to life and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog run by Jessica Rydill and myself, which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Star Pirate II: The Wrath of the Queen by Mia ArcherStar Pirate II: The Wrath of the Queen by Mia Archer:

Get the loot. Save the day. Get the girl.

That should’ve been Flynn’s happily ever after. It should’ve been a simple matter of selling off the haul from the greatest heist ever pulled in the civilized galaxies.

If only it were that easy.

It turns out selling off a stash of gems stolen from the most powerful and homicidal royal family in the civilized galaxies isn’t as easy as she’d thought. Sure there are plenty of fleets out there looking to take them off her hands, but they’re paying in turbolaser blasts and Flynn isn’t interested in selling at that price.

Her only hope is to get in touch with the mysterious Selevas Separtists and hope they’re stupid enough to buy her gems and paint the target on their back. The only problem? This is one rebel alliance that seems more comfy hiding out than they are in blowing shit up. What’s the most notorious pirate in the civilized galaxies to do?

Escape her mother. Strike out on her own. Get the girl.

That should’ve been Seleya’s happily ever after. All she wanted was to fade into obscurity and live her life far from the center of galactic power with the girl of her dreams.

Too bad the girl of her dreams is now the most notorious pirate the civilized galaxies has ever known!

Now she’s having the time of her life, but that life is always on the edge of ending thanks to the never ending battle fleets her mother is sending at them. Not to mention she’s discovering it’s a big adjustment going from the Selevas palace to a dingy modified pirate freighter where their idea of room service is fixing the food replicator!

A notorious pirate on the run. An exiled princess trying to find her place in this strange new world. All they have is each other, but that might just be enough to conquer galaxies!

Mementos and Memories by Cora BuhlertMementos and Memories by Cora Buhlert:

Once, Anjali Patel and Mikhail Grikov were soldiers on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. They met, fell in love and decided to go on the run together.

Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eke out a living on the independent worlds of the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.

At a market on the tropical ocean world of Sentosa, Anjali and Mikhail come across a dagger for sale. This dagger is the signature weapon of the Imperial Shakyri Corps, and Anjali knows that no Shakyri warrior would ever willingly part with their dagger. So Anjali and Mikhail go in search of the lawful owner of the dagger and come across a long forgotten tale of forbidden love…

This is a story of 7300 words or approximately 25 print pages in the In Love and War series, but may be read as a standalone.

Forever, Lately by Linore Rose BurkardForever, Lately by Linore Rose Burkard:

1816, England
Julian St. John needs a wife. An oath to a deceased guardian must be kept. Miss Clarissa Andrews, a vexatious beauty, has dangled after him all season but he has no intention of choosing such a she-devil.

Maine, Present Day
Author Claire Channing is desperate to write a bestseller to save her failing career. She moves into her grandmother?s abandoned cottage to write the book, but a local resort baron wants to raze the place. Without the deed, the clock is ticking on how long she can stay. She thinks she’s writing St. John?s story. But when she discovers an old prayer shawl and finds herself in his Regency world, she falls in love with him, a man she thought she invented! Miss Andrews, however, is also real—and she’d rather see Julian dead than in another woman?s arms!

Claire must beat the clock to prevent a deadly tragedy, but can love beat the limits of time itself?

Half a Dream by E.P. ClarkHalf a Dream by E.P. Clark:

Magic meets mystery in a Renaissance fantasy!

The dark gods of battle are cruel and capricious, and require sacrifices worse than blood.

It’s been four years since Giacomo, bodyguard to Prince Luca of Fiori, followed his charge down into the shadowy world of forbidden magic. When Luca disappears once again, Giaco must cast aside his disbelief and delve into the world of fortune-telling and shadow-walking in order to find Luca and bring him back to safety.

And beyond that, he must face up to his own worst fears. Everyone considers Giaco to be a hero, but he is about to learn the true meaning of heroism. More than his own life depends on it.

Set in a magical world inspired by Renaissance Florence, this fantasy thriller will appeal to fans of dark and urban fantasy, as well as paranormal and occult suspense. This 35,000-word novella is the second book in the Giaco & Luca series, but can be read as a standalone.

Return to Kapteyn's Star by M.D. CooperReturn to Kapteyn’s Star by M.D. Cooper:

Tangel has decided the time is ripe for the ISF to strike out against the Hegemony. Given its significance, there is no better place to start than Kapteyn’s Star. With the Lantzer repaired, she gives the mission to Jessica and Sera. It should be a walk in the park….

 

 

 

Blink by David DelaneyBlink by David Delaney:

A thrilling prequel to the unputdownable Paragon Society Series

Fireball blasting battle-mages, shapeshifting soccer moms and a best friend who is more than happy to throw punches now and ask questions later—Wyatt Murphy is in for a supernatural thrill ride of reality-bending proportions.

If he can just avoid the school bully, survive the big dance and outrun blood-magic wielding bad guys, his night may turn out great.

Slaying a Tyrant by Mel DunaySlaying a Tyrant by Mel Dunay:

Journey to the country of Jaiya, in a world not quite like ours. Here the humans wield magical powers and fight against an Empire which seeks to enslave them, but they share their world with insect people and trollfolk, and stranger things lurk in the shadows…

Vanti would be happy to spend her life in dance and choreography, but her family chooses her as their champion in a deadly gladiators’ tournament. To save her country from enslavement, she must defeat King Obiar the Conqueror and his magical powers. But will the brooding trainer named Gurion be her guide in the battle to come…or a dangerously handsome distraction?

Note: Tyrant is meant as a standalone with a “happily ever after” ending. However, the heroes in the later books in this series are descended from Vanti and Gurion, who are also the ancestors of some of the characters in the original Jaiya series. The romance is on the sweet side, but there is some violence due to the villains’ actions and the tournament in which the main characters fight.

Humanity's Fight by J.J. GreenHumanity’s Fight by J.J. Green:

Fighting for freedom from galactic tyranny

General Cherry Lindstrom is responsible for the defense of the colony world, Concordia. This last outpost of human civilization lives under constant threat of attack from hostile aliens who claim the planet as their own.

But decades have passed since the last assault, and the colonists have grown complacent. Thanks to the effects of time dilation, only Cherry and a handful of others remember the devastation wreaked on Concordia previously.

The Concordians don’t understand the danger the colony is in. Cherry must find a way to convince them and to build effective fighting force—before it’s too late.

Two galactic civilizations. One planet. Who will win?

Kiss of Eon by Anna HackettKiss of Eon by Anna Hackett:

When the vital alliance between Earth and the Eon Empire depends on her playing war games with an arrogant, infuriating Eon warrior, what could go wrong?

Terran Captain Allie Borden has her orders. Take her ship, the Divergent, and strengthen the alliance with the Eon by carrying out training exercises with the Eon warship, the Desteron. The only problem…one annoying warrior who gets on her nerves like nobody else. Forced to work with Second Commander Brack Thann-Felis, Allie finds her diplomacy skills stretched to the limit…and her body betraying her with a white-hot desire that’s getting hard to ignore.

Brack Thann-Felis is dedicated to his ship, his warriors, and his job. Watching his parents’ disastrous marriage has ensured that he will never mate or fall in love. Working with feisty, opinionated Allie tests his patience, but the more time he spends with the dedicated captain, the more he finds he can’t stay away from her.

As mysterious, dangerous sabotage events strike their ships, it becomes evident that someone wants their alliance to fail. They might have traitors among their crew and they both know it has to lead back to their enemy—the ravenous insectoid Kantos. Soon, Brack and Allie find themselves in a fight for their lives, with only each other to depend on, and a growing desire that will not be denied.

A Fistful of Demons by Lily Harper HartA Fistful of Demons by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok is slipping into her new life as owner of Casper Creek – a cosplay western town – and newly-minted witch. She thinks she has everything under control … until demons come calling.At first, she’s not even certain what she’s dealing with. A freak accident claims the life of a father, leaving him exposed during a sudden sandstorm, and his son’s reaction (complete with glowing red eyes) leaves a lot to be desired.Cooper Wyatt, head of security for the resort, wants to believe her when she explains what she saw but it’s not exactly easy for him. As the evidence starts to mount, though, demon possession becomes the name of the game.As a new witch, Hannah has no idea what she’s supposed to do. That doesn’t stop her from wanting to be proactive. Unfortunately for her, the emergence of new powers – coupled with the realization that something beyond a simple demon possession is going on – quickly becomes overwhelming.The workers at Casper Creek are going to have to join together – maybe even enlist some outside help – to figure out all the answers and solve the ultimate dilemma.A young boy’s life hangs in the balance and Hannah is determined to make sure she doesn’t lose an innocent soul so early in her reign as Casper Creek’s head witch. All she has to do is survive until the end and then everything will be revealed.That’s easier said than done.

Shadow Magic by Jayne HawkeShadow Magic by Jayne Hawke:

Looking for a kick-ass bounty hunter? You found her.

I’m the best at what I do. If a shifter goes feral, or a fae kills the wrong innocent, then I’ll be the one to hunt them down. It’s a dangerous gig, but I do what’s necessary to keep the roof over our heads.

Unfortunately, I’m at the bottom of the bounty hunter pay scale thanks to the need to keep my heritage hidden. If anyone ever found out what I am, and what I can do, the entire fae territories would be coming for my head. That means we live from pay cheque to pay cheque. So when the most dangerous fae in the country chooses me to help him with a case, I have no choice but to say yes.

Ethan Hale is a cu sith, one of the finest assassins in the fae territories. If he finds out what I am, he’ll have me begging for death. And yet, I accepted the job to work with him so I can figure out who’s stealing god magic and selling it. People are dying, and it’s down to us to put at end to it.

Now, I have to work alongside the sinfully-sexy fae while trying to keep my secrets under wraps. The closer we get to unravelling this mystery, the closer I am to losing everything. One wrong step and it’ll all be over.

Crown of the Sundered Empire by J.C. KangCrown of the Sundered Empire by J.C. Kang:

Only the demon in Tomas’ glass eye can save his village.

It might cost him his soul.

In a broken land where conquerors dream of empires, Tomas dreams of a day when the townsfolk won’t taunt him. After all, he’s the fishing village kid with a misshapen face.

Only the Rune vendor’s daughter treats him well. To win her heart, he relies on a quick wit and local superstitions to convince her he has Diviner’s Sight.

But if he did, he would’ve foreseen magic-fearing invaders plucking out his mismatched eye.

Or the demon trapped in the glass replacement. It reveals a world beyond human vision, while whispering temptations in his mind.

Now, with his village caught between the advancing armies of the Sun God’s mortal descendants and His Chosen People, Tomas must use a combination of calculation, cunning, and demonic insight to maneuver the forces of his world against each other—prince against prince, princess against princess, army against army—or see his home crushed forever beneath the wheels of war.

But to do so carries a dire risk.

Because using a demon could condemn your soul.

Only the Lost by Amanda M. LeeOnly the Lost by Amanda M. Lee:

Izzy Sage is settling into her new job, enjoying her new romance, and only has one thing on her mind: Choosing a new assistant to help her at Belle Isle’s death gate. All of that changes when the gate malfunctions. Instead of dragging someone over, though, it sends five people back.Years ago, a group of trainees disappeared while on a tour of the facility. There was no rhyme or reason to what happened and the higher-ups assumed they died during the malfunction. Five of them have returned though, and they haven’t aged a day.Naturally, the reaper world is buzzing with the news. Izzy, however, thinks something bigger might be going on. Her belief only becomes stronger when another creature shows up in the middle of the night and attacks.The malfunctioning gate is hiding a sinister secret, and it might just have something to do with what happened to Izzy’s parents so many years ago. Oliver has ties to the initial incident, too, and even though he knew the men way back then, he’s discombobulated by what’s happening now. When you add to that the arrival of Paris Princeton, Izzy has her hands full.Thankfully she’s not alone on the job. She has the Grimlocks to back her play … and serve as emotional sounding boards. Together, Izzy and the Grimlocks are neck deep in trouble and searching for answers. They need to find them before the unthinkable happens and they lose one of their own, because when the gate starts acting weird again, someone is going to have to cross over to the other side – face death itself – and reclaim the most valuable prize imaginable.Izzy’s life is about to take a turn. Somehow, she needs to stay on her feet to see it through. That’s easier said than done when death is your business but if anyone can make it to the other side and live to tell the tale, it’s Izzy.It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Blood Harvest by Russ LintonBlood Harvest by Russ Linton:

Hunted by Death, one man will face the forces of Hell to get back home.

Former Baltimore cop Eustace “Ace” Grant is on a quest to find lost sorcery. An apprentice shaman, Ace walks the spirit realm in search of a cure for his terminal illness.

When asked to recover a Civil War sword, Ace finds traces of a magic more potent than he’s ever experienced. Forged in England by a smith in possession of the Primal Flame, the blade had been intended for a different battle entirely – the one at the end of time.

That battle upon us, it’s up to Ace to recover the sword. Without it, the world as we know it will be plunged into a nightmare. He’ll find the sword or die trying. That is if his ghostly mentor, Atofo, will only let go of his soul…

Unfinished Business by Catherine LundoffUnfinished Business: Tales of the Dark Fantastic by Catherine Lundoff:

Haunted houses. Vengeful spirits. Wronged women. A glimpse of a grim future and a visit to a terrifying past. Step inside for a taste of nightmare, a bit of the unexpected and a touch of the weird. 12 stories by award-winning author Catherine Lundoff including:

The Mask and the Amontillado
A Splash of Crimson
Bluebeard’s Wife
Duchess
Medium Méchanique
Miss Lucy’s Glass
Cherubim
Preserves
Haunted
Home Staging, with Phantasm
Firebird
The Temporary

Unfinished Business marks the launch of Queen of Swords Press “Mini” series. These books will be shorter books that feature single author short story collections or novella length works, each grouped around a single theme or shared set of characters. Essentially, they will function like a tasting menu to introduce authors to new audiences. This particular volume represents a sample of award-winning author Catherine Lundoff’s short horror, dark fantasy and weird stories in a mix of reprint and new work.

Once Upon a Rose by Lorri MoultonOnce Upon a Rose by Lorri Mouton:

In this clean/sweet fairytale, a princess uncovers a plot against her kingdom and tries to stop it with the help of her friends.

 

 

 

 

The Brothers of Redemption by D.E. MurrayThe Brothers of Redemption by D.E. Murray:

The Journey You Start Isn’t The One You Finish

It’s 2165. The family is gone. The world is ruled by the ferociously competitive, hierarchical Council of the Brotherhood Orders. Sons are bred in cohorts created by Alphas and surrogates.

Half-brothers Jed and Max Kleer are middle-aged burnouts who share little except an Alpha and a mysterious, unbreakable bond.

When an abducted girl drops into Jed’s life, the brothers resolve to guide her home.

What could possibly go wrong?

Everything.

The journey they start won’t be the one they finish.

The Sundering by Vanessa NelsonThe Sundering by Vanessa Nelson:

Nowhere and no one is safe.

Stripped of her rank and her calling by some of her most trusted friends, Yvonne is left shocked and bleeding.

Worse is to come. Not only are children still going missing, but she learns that the death of an old friend might not have been natural.

With old friendships torn apart, Yvonne must work out who she can trust if she is to find the truth.

The Sundering continues the story started in The Gathering. If you like your fantasy with plenty of mystery and magic, and a strong heroine, you’ll want to continue this fantasy series by Vanessa Nelson.

Unseen Voices by Christine PopeUnseen Voices by Christine Pope:

Project Demon Hunters is canceled…but apparently no one told the demons.

Knowing how the horrifying events that took place while filming Project Demon Hunters shook his friend Michael Covenant to the core, Will Gordon readily says yes to Michael’s request to be ready — as a friend and as an Episcopal priest — in case psychic Rosemary McGuire calls for help.

Rosemary doesn’t know exactly why the show was canceled…other than a demon murdered the show’s producer, and the network buried every scrap of harrowing footage under a ton of hacker-proof security.

When an independent filmmaker shows up at Rosemary’s metaphysical bookshop with tantalizing clues that a backup copy of the missing footage exists, she promises Michael she’ll call some crusty old priest “in a pinch,” and begins following a trail of impossibly tiny bread crumbs.

But that trail doesn’t just lead her somewhere. It leads something to Rosemary, alarming enough that she calls Michael’s priest friend…who turns out to be way younger and heroically handsome than she could have ever anticipated. But the heat between them may be no match for the demonic fire that grows hotter and more dangerous the closer they get to the truth.

Carpe Glitter by Cat RamboCarpe Glitter by Cat Rambo:

A novelette from Cat Rambo, author of The Tabat Quartet. What do you do when someone else’s past forces itself on your own life? Sorting through the piles left behind by a grandmother who was both a stage magician and a hoarder, Persephone Aim finds a magical artifact from World War II that has shaped her family history. Faced with her mother’s desperate attempt to take the artifact for herself, Persephone must decide whether to hold onto the past–or use it to reshape her future.

 

Tetrach's Dilemma by Jaxon ReedTetrarch’s Dilemma by Jaxon Reed:

Raleigh and his crew are tasked with guarding an outlying planet from enemy incursions, when they capture an old friend off a smuggler’s ship. The possibilities for an enormous sum of gold prove tantalizing . . . if they can survive the League Navy’s attempts at eradication.

Meanwhile the frontier planet of Halcyon stretches its wings, and pulls in support from Lute to begin a new planetary alliance. And Sergeant Wilcox teams up with Julia Thrall to help soften up the Republic’s next target . . . if the Ultima Mule can successfully port them in without detection.

Don’t miss the latest installment of this action-packed space opera serial!

The Frontier by Chris TurnerThe Frontier by Chris Turner:

Two space mercenaries face down crooks and corruption in the frontier worlds of the far future.

Yul Vrean visits his home world only to get embroiled in a corporate conspiracy to cheat a ranch owner out of his estate. Regers gets caught in the crossfires of a gang war over deadly alien contraband. Two unlikely allies on a much greater mission…

 

 

Chalenge of Steel by James David VictorChallenge of Steel by James David Victor:

In a world of genetic engineering, fantastic aliens, and faster than light travel, conspiracies and the quest for unlimited power can still tear the galaxy apart.

Anders Corsigon has spent his life bringing galactic criminals to justice. When a bizarre murder turns into a string of assassinations, he has to run an off-books investigation to try and find a killer who is protected from the highest levels of the empire. In a world where genetic engineering and clones are real, he must find a truth that could cost him his life.

Challenge of Steel is the first book in the Memories of Earth space opera series. If you enjoy stories in fantastic worlds of aliens, space travel, and genetic engineering, the Memories of Earth series will be right up your alley.

The Collected A.E. WilliamsThe Collected A.E. Williams: Volume 1 by A.E. Williams:

For the first time, all A.E. Williams’ published works are available as one single volume!

This is the perfect gift for the science fiction reader, science nerd or irascible curmudgeon in your life!

Terminal Reset – The Coming of the Wave

The breakout science fiction novel that explores an alternate history where everyone one earth regresses forty years in age! Dr. David Harding and Dr. Tatania Golovonov must find a way to survive in a world gone mad! Regressed to teenagers, the two fight to find a way to reverse the effects of The Wave, a force from out of Time and Space. Filled with excitement and action, Terminal Reset will have you on the edge of your seat!

Terminal Reset – Return of the Wanderers
A strange spaceship enters the outer boundaries of the Solar System, returning from an eons long mission. But, who are the inhabitants and what do they want with Earth?

Taking place in the same universe as Terminal Reset, this story explores the implications of ancient civilizations and how they have affected our evolution. Mars isn’t just our neighbor in space! Another exciting tale for your science fiction enjoyment!

Rocket Surgeon
A.E. Williams essays on AGW, the Space Race, Hollywood and other tales to entertain and fascinate you! Get a behind the curtains peek at Relativity, rocket science, jet engine testing and other cool nerdy things that A.E. has done! Find out why the world probably won’t end tomorrow, but is sure to do so in the distant future! Travel in space and time and maybe learn a thing or two about our Universe. Climb aboard for another wild ride from the redoubtable A.E. Williams!

The Unholy Trinity Series
The infamous trilogy of cutting, biting satires that lampoon today’s headlines!

Second Coming – Jesus bets His half-brother, Lucifer that the bet God made with him regarding Job can be done, again, and better. The implications are breathtaking! Does the Big J wind up the victor? Or, does the Devil get his due?

Anno Domini – Jesus and Lucifer’s betting is getting out of hand! This time, Jesus bets that the souls of the most outstanding humans ever born can redeem Mankind from original Sin. But, there’s a catch! A Virgin Birth is part of the scheme, but maybe Jesus didn’t think everything through?

Imperius Wrecks – A satirical and humorous look at one possible future! A nightmare or a dream – you get to decide.
In the far distant future, a nun is tasked with ancient rituals descended from one man’s egotistical grasp for power and immortality. Could this really happen?

Filled with religious references, popular concerns of the day, and a cast of totally fictional characters, this satire puts a spin on current events that will have you spitting coffee all over yourself in shock, from laughing or pure unadulterated rage. You’ll be aghast at the content, the implications and the mirror held up to our world.

Come along as A.E. Williams once more pulls no punches as he slams the One Percent, Religion and Political parties of all stripes!

BLUB by Bradley WindBULB by Bradley Wind:

If light records everything we do, can even shadows hide our secrets?

Imagine your entire life is available for review.
Imagine each day any event can be watched over and over again – your birth, your first kiss, your recent shower, that private itch – all replayable from any angle. Now imagine these can be viewed by anyone at any time.

Is a world where there is far less ego, little crime, and even the smallest moments are recorded and available publicly through the ‘Grand Archive’ a Utopia or a Dystopia? Traumatized by memories he does not want to recall, artist Ben Tinthawin is recruited by the enigmatic, Grand Archive creator Dr. Mamon, who seeks help for his nextgen designs to enhance the world. Ben stumbles across a secret revealing the doctor’s true scheme in all its surreal splendor and questions whether the doctor really is the benevolent soul he claims to be.As the paths of a broken man and a brilliant revolutionary cross, the world shifts and cracks start to appear. Even our most fundamental codes can be encrypted – or corrupted. If the wrong information is discovered, more than Ben’s life will be in danger of total shut down.

Prepare yourself for full exposure.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for October 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some September books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have  harboiled mysteries, cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, Victorian mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, action thrillers, psychological thrillers, spy thrillers, legal thrillers, disaster thrillers, police procedurals, romantic suspense, police officers, private investigators, amateur sleuths, lawyers, spies, thieves, assassins, cults, kidappings, heists, forbidden love, pregnant vigilantes, murderd Santas, crime-busting witches, crime-busting clock repairers, crime-busting hotel managers, crime-busting Jane Rochester nee Eyre, murders in small towns and big cities, in country manors and the circus, in New Orleans, Miami, Alaska, California, the Cotswolds and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Crime Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Indie Crime Scene, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things crime fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Sand, Sea and a Skeleton by Cindy BellSand, Sea and a Skeleton by Cindy Bell:

Best friends, Suzie and Mary, love running Dune House, the majestic bed and breakfast on the beach, with their adorable, yellow Labrador, Pilot, by their side. They are enjoying living and working together and are looking forward to hosting a national walking group in Garber for a few days.

But when they stumble across a skeleton, they find themselves right in the middle of a baffling mystery. Who is the victim? Who is the murderer? And why? Then something from the crime scene disappears.

Suzie and Mary have to traverse a maze of clues and suspects in order to unravel the mystery. But will the trail lead the sleuths down the wrong path. They find themselves juggling running the bed and breakfast, their developing romances and helping crack the mystery.

Suzie and Mary walk straight towards danger. Will they be able to stay alive long enough to solve this perplexing whodunit?

What I Did For Love by Mickey J. CorriganWhat I Did For Love by Mickey J. Corrigan:

What happens when a teacher falls for her student?

After her seventeen-year-old student fails to live up to his potential in class, Cathriona O’Hale conducts a parent-teacher meeting with the boy’s widowed father. He is attractive, intelligent, and exceedingly wealthy, everything an unmarried middle-aged woman would normally find appealing. But O’Hale is not your average forty-something. She’s a wild card who has a crush on the man’s teenage son.

As the relationship between O’Hale and the man blossoms, she finds herself juggling father and son while battling the true source of her lust and forbidden love.

So when the father proposes, O’Hale has a choice to make –

Love or crime?

And when her decision is made, the consequences might just be deadly…

Swamp Santa by Jana DeLeonSwamp Santa by Jana DeLeon:

It’s Christmas in Sinful and Fortune is set to participate in all the local hoopla. A Christmas gala, caroling, and a sleigh ride are on the agenda. Murder is not. But when someone bumps off Santa, Fortune is aware a killer is lurking among the holiday cheer. But with no client and no reason to interfere with a police investigation, it looks as if Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie will have to sit this one out.Big and Little Hebert might be criminals, but they prefer no competition in their territory, especially someone brazen enough to kill a man at the Christmas gala. When they hire Fortune to investigate the man’s death, she gets her Christmas wish and Swamp Team 3 sets out to solve their final case of the year.

Guest from Hell by Mike FaricyGuest From Hell by Mike Faricy:

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished!
Roxy LaRue is in deep weeds…

She’s on the hook for 1.2 million.
Some not very nice guys want their money NOW!

Ever the gentleman, Dev Haskell offers to help.

The police are pounding on his door at two in the morning!
There’s a drive-by shooting on his front porch!
Someone firebombs his house!

Things quickly go downhill from there.

A Fistful of Demons by Lily Harper HartA Fistful of Demons by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok is slipping into her new life as owner of Casper Creek – a cosplay western town – and newly-minted witch. She thinks she has everything under control … until demons come calling.At first, she’s not even certain what she’s dealing with. A freak accident claims the life of a father, leaving him exposed during a sudden sandstorm, and his son’s reaction (complete with glowing red eyes) leaves a lot to be desired.Cooper Wyatt, head of security for the resort, wants to believe her when she explains what she saw but it’s not exactly easy for him. As the evidence starts to mount, though, demon possession becomes the name of the game.As a new witch, Hannah has no idea what she’s supposed to do. That doesn’t stop her from wanting to be proactive. Unfortunately for her, the emergence of new powers – coupled with the realization that something beyond a simple demon possession is going on – quickly becomes overwhelming.The workers at Casper Creek are going to have to join together – maybe even enlist some outside help – to figure out all the answers and solve the ultimate dilemma.A young boy’s life hangs in the balance and Hannah is determined to make sure she doesn’t lose an innocent soul so early in her reign as Casper Creek’s head witch. All she has to do is survive until the end and then everything will be revealed.That’s easier said than done.

Letter of the Law by Cynthia E. HurstLetter of the Law by Cynthia E. Hurst:

Alfred Sutton’s past is catching up with him – in the form of the wife he thought he’d left behind twenty years earlier. But now she stands between him and the wealthy woman he wants to marry, and no one will emerge unscathed from this legal and marital triangle, least of all Sutton.

When Sutton collapses and dies on the street of a Cotswold market town, one of the eyewitnesses is clock repairer Jacob Silver. But what exactly did he see? Jacob and his wife Sarah join forces with the police to probe Sutton’s tangled love life and discover who has managed to commit a murder without leaving a clue behind.

Agent Assassin by Ethan JonesAgent Assassin by Ethan Jones:

Can an assassin have a conscience?

While hunting for the truth about his past, former Russian FSB agent Max Thorne has lost any sense of innocence or hope. But striving for redemption, he joins the Special Operations Team, an elite international assassins team so secret even top level FSB brass doesn’t know it exists and so deadly that few leave alive.

Reeling from inexcusable mistakes and now working with even darker forces, Max is confronted with insidious choices and inescapable scenarios. With no way out, will Max be able to suppress his conscience to execute his harrowing assignments? Or, will he fail, putting his family in peril and betraying his own?

Join Max as he faces the darkness that is the secret service the only way he knows how … head on.

Savage Grace by Emily KimelmanSavage Grace by Emily Kimelman:

The only thing more terrifying than taking a life is creating one.

The positive pregnancy test rocks my world harder than any bomb or bullet. Like the hurricane bearing down on Miami, it threatens total destruction.

I’m confident I can escape Miami, evade the mercenaries intent on killing me, and uncover the people who hired them. But telling the father I’m pregnant… raising a child…

I’m not cut out for motherhood.

I know I’ll survive. It’s everyone I love who dies.

That changes now.

The Hour of Fatality: A Jane Rochester MysteryThe Hour of Fatality: A Jane Rochester Mystery by LeAnne McKinley:

Thornfield Hall is not the only mansion hiding a perilous secret.

Charlotte Brontë’s literary heroine, Jane Eyre, is newly married to Mr. Rochester, but her honeymoon bliss is marred when a dangerous outbreak of typhoid fever threatens her life. To escape their disease-ridden house, Mr. Rochester departs with her to the nearest refuge open to them: Ingram Park, home of the haughty and beautiful Blanche Ingram.

Jane isn’t expecting a warm reception from her aristocratic hosts, but she hardly anticipates a stranger on the garden path with a bullet wound in his chest—and an inexplicable confession on his lips. The residents of Ingram Park are concealing a secret, and at least one of them is willing to sacrifice a man’s life in order to hide the truth.

Aided by Mr. Rochester’s long experience, Jane must rely on her courage, wit, and intuition if she is to identify the vindictive shooter, or the next attack will surely prove to be fatal.

Snow Laughing Matter by Wendy MeadowsSnow Laughing Matter by Wendy Meadows:

Will Sarah fall victim to a deadly killer set on destroying her life? Or will she force herself to use her cop instincts to outsmart the riddles of a clown who turns laughter into screams?

While Conrad is away helping a friend in New York, Sarah and Amanda go see a circus that is visiting the small town of Snow Falls. Even though Sarah is sad because her attempts to become pregnant have yet to bear fruit, she decides to enjoy the circus show. After the show, Sarah and Amanda find a pie in Sarah’s jeep, and another one waiting at Sarah’s cabin door. Suddenly the fun night turns mysterious and dangerous. A killer has left a deadly message for Sarah to find.

Events turn worse when a circus worker is murdered. The killer’s style of murder tells Sarah exactly who he is. Sarah is torn, caught between the desire to walk away from being a cop and the need to catch a killer. The hunger to become a mother blocks her skill to think clearly. But after having a talk with Pete, Sarah gets back on track and begins to track down the killer. Only the killer has a new face and a completely new identity—along with a secret trick up his sleeve.

Dangerous Stakes by G.K. ParksDangerous Stakes by G.K. Parks:

After three months undercover, Detective Liv DeMarco isn’t any closer to closing her case. Her target, Axel Kincaid, is smart and ruthless. His forte – stealing cars. His temperament- violent. And his legitimate business keeps half the judges and city officials entertained, so collecting enough evidence to put him behind bars is nearly impossible.

But when a parking attendant is murdered and two exotic sports cars are stolen, all bets are off. There’s just one problem. Axel claims to have an airtight alibi, but there are more than a few holes in his story.

The only thing Liv knows for sure is someone is determined to get away with murder, and now the killer has set his sights on her.

Will she stop the murderous thief before he strikes again? Or will she become his next victim?

Murder in the Rain by Stephen RandorfMurder in the Rain by Stephen Randorf

Baseball was not a sport Detective Bass understood, nor was he familiar with the fine art of the fashion industry, but when a small-time hoodlum’s body was pulled from a frozen river on a cold February morning, that he understood.

In this unsettling case of a murdered informant, one murder led to another, and passions heightened as Detective Bass closed in on kidnappers, gamblers, and a love-obsessed baseball player.

 

Men Like Us by Hollis ShilohMen Like Us by Hollis Shiloh:

Ollie Boyd enjoys Jack Finley’s company, likes to make him laugh, and wants to work with him…and maybe something more than that. It sure is confusing to have these feelings for another guy, and in the homophobic 1950s, it’s not really safe.

Jack Finley finds time for Ollie, sure, but he’s just humoring a friend. He’s a tough private eye. He’s certainly not indulging secretly in a crush, no matter how attractive or charming Ollie might be. Jack’s smart and careful, and he’s been around the block. It’s hard enough to be who he is without taking on extra trouble.

But now Jack needs some help, after a botched Good Samaritan act leaves him broken in body and spirit. Ollie wants to be the one who’s there for him. He also wants to figure out these feelings—even if they mean he’s in pretty deep trouble.

A whole lot of bumps in the road—including blackmail and murder—might take these two down more dangerous streets than they’d guess…together.

The Trial by Rachel SinclairThe Trial by Rachel Sinclair:

A young boy dying of a lethal disease…

A corporation’s greed is the cause…

Avery Collins must get justice and possibly find the person who can save his life…

Avery Collins, social justice warrior, has a new case, only it’s not a criminal case.

Not yet, anyway.

12 year old Frankie Jamison is dying, and nobody quite knows why. Avery knows Frankie through Regina, as Frankie is the son of Lorinda, one of Regina’s best friends from the street. Lorinda has nothing in her life, nothing but her young son, and now she’s losing even that.

With nobody to turn to, Lorinda tells Avery her story, and Avery at first dismisses it. It’s a sad story, but what can she do?

But, with Regina’s persistence, Avery decides to look a little deeper. And what she finds is corruption and greed at the highest level. Not to mention a cover-up that goes higher than Avery could ever imagine.

Is there a chance that this young kid can find justice and a cure? Avery becomes determined to find out, while also being determined that the bastards who are behind this kid’s illness are brought to justice.

And Avery always gets justice, no matter how she has to do it.

The Big Crazy by Julie SmithThe Big Crazy by Julie Smith:

August 29, 2005 – Doomsday: New Orleans is eighty per cent under water—no electricity, no phones, no 911 service, no rules. Facing the complete breakdown of systems and normality, New Orleans homicide Detective Skip Langdon is on her own to interpret and execute the only direction she’s given: Get out there and keep the peace.

With communications down and all emergency services on search and rescue, all Skip can hope to accomplish is helping the person right in front of her. More than once that person turns out to be Billy, a gutsy 15-year-old from Treme who’s in greater danger of being swamped by his chaotic home life than the Cat 5 hurricane Skip shelters him from.

When she escorts him home and discovers the scene of a possible homicide, homicide detecting must take a back seat to maintaining order—if not peace. Outrageous rumors are swirling, stirring up unrest, but what really bothers her is the one about a police department order to use the chaos as a cover for “cleaning up” by rounding up criminals and assassinating them. Now that just can’t be true. Can it?

But after she hears it for the third time, Skip teams up with the only cop in the city she’s positive she can trust, her former partner, movie-star handsome, kickass, praline-sweet Adam Abasolo. They may not be able to fix everything, but, as the bodies pile up, they are damn sure going to hit back at the guys who’re giving their department a black eye.

On any regular weekday, New Orleans lives up to its billing as The Big Crazy. In post-Katrina New Orleans, where the dirty cops and lunatics are running the asylum, author Julie Smith also takes us inside the actual asylum, Charity Hospital emergency psych unit, an unexpected oasis of comfort in stark contrast to endless amounts of ever-present filthy water and hordes of half-drowned people.

ill-fated by Jody Wennerill-fated by Jody Wenner:

When Shana’s father joins a cult, she tries to find someone, anyone who will help her. Unsuccessful, she takes on the monumental task of fixing it herself. Eventually, she gets some support from the families of the other followers. Adding to her problems, the person she connects with the most is the leader’s son. She figures that’s the worst of it, until the rest of the group is found dead, and her dad is charged with eleven counts of first-degree murder and arson. With the trial looming, everything starts to nosedive as new revelations about the cult and their bizarre philosophies come to light. Shana’s confidence in her dad begins to waver. Maybe he isn’t a victim after all?

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for September 2019

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month
It’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some August books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, military fantasy, dark fantasy, Arthurian fantasy, Asian fantasy, Wuxia, paranormal mystery, space opera, military science fiction, time travel romance, Steampunk, LitRPG, horror, ghosts, fae, pirates, space marines, conscientious objectors, traffickers, trailblazers, time travel, crime-busting witches, crime-busting werewolves, literary characters come to life, Arthur and Merlin, defiant empires and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog run by Jessica Rydill and myself, which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Courting Darkness by L.R. BradenCourting Darkness by L.R. Braden:

Deeper into the shadows. . .

The paranatural community isn’t done with Alex. She’s been summoned to the fae court, and she’s got her hands full trying to prepare. But her date with the fae will have to wait. There’s been a death at the gallery, and the man she hoped would be a part of her future is the prime suspect.

Bitter enemies pull her into the middle of a paranatural war for territory that has her dodging police, swords, teeth, and claws—not to mention the truth. The deeper she digs, the more secrets she uncovers, and the less certain she is about the innocence of the one man she wanted to trust.

She thought she was done with murder and monsters, but she’ll have to enter the belly of the beast if she hopes to save her friend.

Conscientious Objector by Jonathan P. BrazeeConscientious Objector by Jonathan P. Brazee:

Capernica is invaded.

Locals are conscripted into the militia.

How can a conscientious objector carry a rifle and still uphold his convictions?

Capernica has welcomed the Taymon family, refugees who follow the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi. First and foremost is that Assisians will not take another life.

When the planet is invaded, Harris Taymon is conscripted into the planetary militia against his will. He knows he owes a deep sense of loyalty to the planet, but can he bear arms against the enemy with intent to kill?

And if he doesn’t, can he survive his own side where desertion and cowardice are punished by execution?

Download this novella and read how he deals with this internal conflict.

How to Hex a Halo by Elena BryceHow to Hex a Halo by Elena Bryce:

Being a witch can make friendships rather fraught!

One best friend attacked by a werewolf and now howling at the moon, while the other has joined a cult and thinks she’s an angel.

Except she actually might be…

When Verity suddenly gets powers and starts targeting paranormals, I know it’s only a matter of time before she figures out that I’m more supernatural than super normal.

I need to stop her before she hurts anyone else. Or worse, before something retaliates. Divine intervention I’m not, and my help is more hex than heavenly, but sometimes a witch has got to wade in before things get hotter than spell.

Gate Quest by Lindsay BurokerGate Quest by Lindsay Buroker:

Roboticist extraordinaire Casmir Dabrowski has a new nemesis: astroshaman leader Kyla Moonrazor.

She’s stolen the ancient wormhole gate the king ordered Casmir to retrieve, and she’s entrenched in an underwater base on a forsaken moon. Moonrazor is more educated and more experienced than Casmir, and she has legions of killer robots and cyborg defenders on her side. Casmir has his friends and… a submarine named the Waddler.

As if his task wasn’t daunting enough, his old competitor, mercenary Captain Tenebris Rache, is on the same quest, and he’ll do anything to keep the Kingdom from getting that gate.

If Casmir can’t find a way to defeat them, the king will never let him return to his home, his family, and the career he loves.

Between the Teeth by Jeff C. CarterBetween the Teeth by Jeff C. Carter:

Between the Teeth collects 16 tales of horror and science fiction from author Jeff C. Carter that will sink their fangs into you and won’t let go.

– A serial killer ends up in an emergency room, but a heart attack may be the least of his problems.

– A researcher hunts a rare spider in the jungles of Myanmar.

– A greedy dentist gets the most interesting client of his life.

Witness soldiers trapped in a crocodile infested swamp, a preacher hunting demon outlaws, and karma catching up to a Bangkok body snatcher. Whatever flavor of the macabre you crave, you will find it Between the Teeth. Buy it now!

Engines of Empire by Max CarverEngines of Empire by Max Carver:

In the future, humanity has colonized hundreds of star systems. The upstart colony Carthage has conquered most of the human-settled worlds–including Earth itself–with fleets of autonomous, AI-driven warships and armies of robotic infantry. Freedom from their empire is found only in rough outer worlds on the distant fringes of settled space.

On Galapagos, a free world, newly elected Minister-General Reginald Ellison had hoped he’d seen the end of war. He spent his youth fighting in battles across his planet’s vast oceans and small islands, and his later years working to build a coalition of peace among the world’s fragmented nations. Now the arrival of an unnerving android ambassador from the distant imperial planet of Carthage threatens his world’s hopes for a free and peaceful future.

On Earth, the machines patrol the post-apocalyptic ruins of bombed-out megacities, left over from Earth’s war with Carthage. In the fallen megalopolis of Chicago, a young scavenger makes a discovery that could empower Earthlings to finally fight back, but could also endanger everyone he loves.

On Carthage, the rulers of humanity enjoy extreme wealth and luxury, while machines carry out all forms of labor and provide for their every whim. Audrey Caracala, daughter of Carthage’s top political leader, has led a protected existence, groomed to help her family rule the known galaxy. Now her family’s enemies hunt her as she searches for her missing brother in the dangerous, unfamiliar territory of the Carthaginian underworld, where she begins to face hard truths about the machines and about her own family’s legacy.

Three people, on three very different worlds, must confront alternate faces of the ever-evolving machines, which spin their own designs beyond the vision of their human masters, forging a new kind of empire that will be ruled by no man.

Amythea: Rise of Wingtar by Aaron CoatesAmythea: Rise of Wingtar by Aaron Coates:

Once in every thousand years, a hero is born who is destined to save the world.

The inhabitants of Almytheans, are forced to act as slaves, mining rare refractive crystals for the malevolent Lost One. The Almytheans are comprised of both humanoid and non-humanoid species, many having been brought to Almythea by the Lost One’s reptilian, thug-like armies of Latchers. They live simple, oppressed lives as most have had their memories wiped before commencing their enslaved existence. However, they still possess an abiding belief that their prophesized savior, known as The Astra, will one day rescue them.

Banished from the community for a crime he did not commit, as Little Hawk approaches his twenty-first birthday a mysterious shaman warrior, Grey Paw, rescues him from depression, self-doubt and the deadly addictive bittercups in the Badlands before preparing him for a secret tournament. The winner will be named The Astra and sent on a quest to find the fabled Arrow of Truth, the only weapon capable of ending the Lost One’s rule. All Almytheans expect the self-serving and duplicitous Gyeder to be named The Astra. This honor and responsibility includes the hand of a headstrong, capable young woman (and last of the pure blood Accipitridae race) named Broken Arrows, the woman Little Hawk has secretly loved.

It’s a race against time. Little Hawk feels the weight of his destiny to destroy the Lost One, his reptilian Latcher army and his curiously beautiful yet sinister lieutenant Raven Weaver, before they destroy him. With the help of Grey Paw, his best friend, the wise-cracking Laughing Eyes, and a curious pixie-like, mess-up creature called a fleaf, Little Hawk must not only save Almythea but also rescue Broken Arrows from a terrible fate.

Raven's Moon by J.B. DaneRaven’s Moon by J.B. Dane:

Otherworld evil is loose in the real world. Bram Farrell, Private Investigator, must track it down and destroy it before it destroys him.

Bram Farrell has starred in twenty bestselling novels by writer—and witch—Calista Amberson. Her fans love the tall, dark, and handsome PI who vanquishes supernatural bad guys using his magical powers. So, when Calista uses her magic to pull Bram from his fictional world into real-world, modern-day Detroit, she rocks both worlds.

Every supernatural being on Earth felt his arrival in this dimension. They don’t trust Calie’s intentions and Bram doesn’t either. When the supernatural community hands him the job of discovering who killed the beings in the real world that match those he killed in each volume of The Raven Tales, he takes on the task. It’s a job he’s done in twenty books—he’s up to the familiar challenge.

Bram’s investigation turns up a lot of suspicious characters grouchy bar-owning trolls, a thirsty vampire godfather, a couple of murderous x-cage fighters, a suspicious minister¬¬—and the Devil himself. Things are getting dicey: Bram could use some help with this job—but whom can he trust?

Fans of Jim Butcher will fall hard for Bram and Raven’s Moon.

J.B. Dane is a recovering romance writer with over two dozen titles under her belt. So when “Bram Farrell” walked into her office, she hired him on the spot. Together they kick Otherworlders’, er, nether regions, and write the second book in the Raven Tales series.

Trailblazer by Zen DiPietroTrailblazer by Zen DiPietro:

Equip new adventurers. Send them out to find their way in Everternia. Sally’s purpose had always been clear.

Newly awakened from that repetitive existence, she now sees her world from a new perspective. Life has become a puzzle, and there’s nothing she loves more than a good puzzle.

The two people responsible for her awakening are as fascinated by Sally as she is with Everternia. She’s not sure why that is, but she’s giving the pair the benefit of the doubt, for now. Their foreign ways can be confounding, but with time, she’ll figure out what makes them tick.

She has so much to learn about Everternia and about herself that she barely knows where to start. She wants to do it all, immediately, with great enthusiasm, and maybe even while wearing a pair of really nice pants. Her new curiosity and sense of adventure are growing by the minute, like cogs fitting together to transmit torque.

With nothing but her bravery, two natural-born adventurers, and her unusual skills as a streetmonger, her future is anything but certain.

That’s okay. She’s ready to leave behind her old life and certainty to out what she’s made of. She’s got her goggles, so she’ll be looking at what everything else is made of, too.

She’ll be a brand-new type of adventurer, like nothing Everternia has ever seen.

Troubled Waters by Rachel FordTroubled Waters by Rachel Ford:

No good deed goes unpunished.

Kay Ellis is looking forward to returning from a six-month supply run. She’s looking forward to being back in the safety of Union space. And she’s looking forward to her wedding with Captain Magdalene Landon.

But when the Black Flag receives a distress signal from a scuttled alien transport, their return is temporarily postponed. The mission of mercy enters troubled waters as a mysterious pursuer appears.

The longer the new guests stay onboard, the more Kay begins to question their hard luck story. And the more she wonders if the Black Flag will survive to see Union space again.

Mila's Shift by Danielle ForrestMila’s Shift by Danielle Forrest:

Nothing’s as Deadly as a Secret…

Mila has suffered frigid winters, starvation, and soul-crushing loneliness, but she’s safe and free. The government would have stolen that from her if she’d stayed, all for an accident of birth.

Then after ten years on the run, an old friend calls. Now, her friend is dead, and she’s taken her place as pilot of a decrepit space ship. But the ones who murdered her friend think she’s still alive, and now they’re gunning for Mila.

She escapes each attack by the skin of her teeth, her life and secrets on the line. But with a Captain increasingly suspicious, security dogging her every move, and a shape-shifting assassin lurking somewhere on board, will she survive long enough to discover why someone killed her friend?

Gripping and action-packed, Mila’s Shift is a story of loyalty and friendship that crosses all boundaries, including the law, to uphold what’s right.

Ghostly Fears by Lily Harper HartGhostly Fears by Lily Harper Hart:

Ten years ago, Harper Harlow lost a classmate. Jennifer Jessup was sweet, nice, and seemingly aimless in life. She came from a good family, lived on an island, and was spoiled with every material gift that could possibly be bestowed upon her.She was still unhappy.Now, a decade later, her father Byron Jessup has approached Harper with a business opportunity. He wants her – and the rest of her operation, of course – to spend a long weekend on his island. Other psychics and ghost hunters will be there, as will his family. The goal? To find out what happened to Jennifer.Harper feels weighed down with guilt, enough so that she can’t see straight. She feels bad about not reaching out to Jennifer when she was still alive and even worse about not looking for her once she went missing.Harper is out of her element. The other psychics are driving her crazy … and making her nervous. She can’t even decide if she believes Jennifer is missing or dead. When another woman on the island disappears, Harper is left with nothing but endless questions.She’s determined to find the answers, even if she has to delve into the past to do it. Someone doesn’t want her getting those answers, however, and it’s going to be a fight to the death to see who comes out the other side.

Three Days by Travis HillThree Days by Travis Hill:

His future will be her past, three days at a time…

Once every nine years, Chase Matthews and Patricia Wellesley find themselves compelled to step out of their normal lives and into each other’s for three days of passion, desire, and curiosity at the strange phenomenon that binds them together. Outside of those three days, each has a normal life: a career, a family, love, loss, trials and triumphs, yet the universe seems determined to conceal them from one another.

Neither understands what is happening, only that as one of them moves forward through time, growing nine years older, the other moves backward, somehow becoming nine years younger, forcing them to question the potential pitfalls of revealing each other’s futures–futures that might not be set in stone, but could potentially cause the collapse of reality itself if the unknown rules they are bound by are broken.

Rare Birds by L.S. JohnsonRare Birds by L.S. Johnson:

From 2017 World Fantasy Award finalist L.S. Johnson, the eight short stories in this collection look at the ties that bind and the transformations they provoke. Whether bound by love, blood, or violent circumstance, the characters in these tales are fundamentally altered by those closest to them … and not always for the better.

Two mothers become entwined in revenge against a violent man, with unexpected consequences. A roving gang of sirens finds themselves challenged from without and within. In a last, desperate act of love, a young surgeon goes under the knife. And in a distant territory, a mother and daughter struggle to survive—but the aid they summon is far more dangerous.

At turns brutal and tender, subtle and shocking, these stories blend realism, fantasy, and horror to create an unsettling—and unforgettable—experience.

The School for Humans by Vanessa KittleThe School for Humans by Vanessa Kittle:

Our epic journey begins in Bronze Age Ireland.

Ellene is a servant to one of the great Calean leaders.
The Caleans are opening a school for the young from Ellene’s village, but not all of the Caleans want to teach the humans.
Some have much darker plans, and the school may be the last chance for peace between the two peoples.

 

 

No Crones About It by Amanda M. LeeNo Crones About It by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall is settling in with the northern Lower Michigan branch of Spell’s Angels. She’s feeling bold, brash … and just a little bit flirty thanks to her burgeoning relationship with Gunner Stratton, a shifter whose father happens to serve as the chief of police in Hawthorne Hollow.

Things are going well … until they’re not.

A group of shifters who used to live in the area have returned and they’re up to something. Right from the start, Scout is suspicious but she can’t quite explain why. Then, when a local homeless man is found dead – with Scout’s name literally carved into him – she starts to believe that she’s being set up to take a fall.

Gunner is determined to help. His history with the shifters in question makes things difficult, though. On top of everything else, it becomes apparent that the dead guy’s ties to Scout run deep … like genetically deep. He’s related to her, and for a woman who was abandoned as a child, it’s a hard blow to absorb.

Gunner is determined to stick close as the warring wolves close ranks and start issuing threats. It’s going to take everybody working together to find the answers Scout desperately needs, including uncovering the secret of her past. When one of their own is taken, Scout has no choice but to put her full cache of magic on display.

It’s going to be a fight to the finish, rival gangs going at one another, and only one side will be victorious.

Which one will it be?

Street Cultivation by Sarah LinStreet Cultivation by Sarah Lin:

In the modern world, qi is money.

The days of traveling martial artists and mountaintop masters are over. Power is controlled by corporations, modernized martial arts sects, and governments. Those at the bottom of society struggle as second class citizens in a world in which power is a commodity.

Rick is a young fighter in this world. He doesn’t dream of immortality or becoming the strongest, just of building a better life for himself and his sister, who suffers from a spiritual illness. Unfortunately, life isn’t that easy…

The Pale White by Chad LutzkeThe Pale White by Chad Lutzke:

After being held against their will in a house used for trafficking, three girls plan their escape.

Alex: A hardened goth-punk who’s convinced she’s a vampire with a penchant for blood.
Stacia: A seventeen-year-old raised by an alcoholic mother, her fellow captives the only family she’s ever truly had.
Kammie: The youngest of the three—a mute who finds solace in a houseplant.

But does life outside the house offer the freedom they’d envisioned? Or is it too late, the scars too deep?

A coming-of-age tale of revenge and survival that explores a friendship and the desperate measures taken to ensure they stay united, held together by the scars that bind them.

This contemporary Suspense Thriller / Horror novella with an all-female cast is the perfect read for fans of Robert R. McCammon, Stephen King, and Jack Ketchum.

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

Shields in Shadow by Andy PeloquinShields in Shadow by Andy Peloquin:

Burdened with legend. Hardened by battle scars. Hellbent on bloody revenge.

As the son of a famous general, Aravon is proud to captain his own company against his people’s enemy. But the experienced veteran’s march toward glory dissolves into pain as ruthless barbarians massacre every last one of his soldiers. Burning for vengeance, he leaps at the chance to spearhead a specially-trained company and pay back his tragic defeat with blood.

Desperate to not repeat his tragic past, Aravon trains his new warriors relentlessly. But the captain fears that all the tactical drills in the world may not matter when they’re forced to defend a helpless village against overwhelming odds. As his quick raids sow chaos amongst the enemy, the bloodthirsty savages threaten to make Aravon’s nightmarish history repeat itself…

Can the captain take command of his fighting spirit before the kingdom falls to barbarous invaders?

Shields in Shadow is the first book in the action-packed Silent Champions military fantasy series. If you like square-jawed heroes, well-oiled military action, and epic world-building, then you’ll love Andy Peloquin’s gripping novel.

Choices of Honor by Joyce Reynolds-WardChoices of Honor by Joyce Reynolds-Ward:

SOMETIMES VENGEANCE BECOMES MORE COMPLICATED THAN EXPECTED.

Avenging the death of co-Leader Inharise of the Two Nations appears straightforward at first for Katerin Leader and Rekaré Kinslayer. The curse that killed her points directly to the Witches Council of Waykemin. Therefore, they’re responsible. But as Katerin and Rekaré lead a small avenging force to Waykemin’s capital city of Formis, they discover that things are not quite as they seem.

At the same time, Waykemin’s overseas ally, Chatain, Emperor of Daran, sends an invading force that Katerin’s daughter Witmara must counter. But is Chatain’s sortie a distraction from the attack on Waykemin, or does it serve a deeper purpose? Katerin must choose between her daughter and the challenge that Waykemin presents—and hope she made the right choice.

Sword in the Throne by Helen SavoreSword in the Throne by Helen Savore:

Merlin knew Arthur would return, but at what cost?

Jamie, a med school drop out, discovers his hallucinations are fae spirits stealing life. His childhood friend has spent her life in a quest to summon the Phoenix in order to banish the fae. He joins her, but along the way accidentally unlocks a traitor’s healing ability, who in turn uses it as a sign to prove he is King Arthur returned.

In order to oppose this false Arthur, and still hunting the Phoenix, they ally with a sect of Faerie Smiths. Amid navigating an unfamiliar world of new creatures and capabilities Jamie must learn to craft his own healing magic into a weapon. But can they stop the impostor Arthur’s crusade when the one thing they need most to stop the fae is the most sure sign of Arthur’s return itself… to draw the Sword from the Throne.

Sundered Soul by Rick ScottSundered Soul by Rick Scott:

Not all fates are created equal…

Kenji’s only dream in life is to become a great rebirther like his father. But with no talent for the mystic arts, the age-old tradition of cultivating essence by returning things to their newborn state, to grow a second and third time, is far beyond his grasp.

Worse still, he is yet to be rebirthed himself and stands a dullard of a giant among his diminutive peers. Relegated to working the orchards as a common laborer, Kenji settles into a life of lowered expectations; with no chance for advancement and no chance of pursuing the woman he loves.

But when a mystic warrior from a distant land enters his village, pursued by a powerful demon, Kenji discovers a truth about himself that will not only question who he is, but perhaps everything he can become.

With a chance to make his dreams come true, Kenji must choose between following the fate laid out before him…or defying the heavens to forge his own path.

Doing so will mean finding a way to cultivate and fighting powerful enemies to protect the ones he loves, but failure could mean the very fall of the heavens themselves.

Join Kenji as he uncovers the fate of the Sundered Soul…

Imperium Defiant by Glynn StewartImperium Defiant by Glynn Stewart:

The enemy promises conflict and annihilation
Their allies threaten betrayal and devastation
A daughter of Earth raises the call of defiance
And the Imperium has never knelt!

When the Taljzi’s genocidal invasion brought promises of aid from the oldest and greatest of the Core Powers, humanity and the Imperium looked to the Mesharom for salvation. But that salvation turns to ash as the Mesharom demand the surrender of the very weapons that saved the Imperium.

Defiance leaves the Imperium facing the Taljzi without the aide of the galaxy’s wisest race, but with their old enemies the Kanzi at their side, they have no choice but to end this war at any cost.

But Mesharom and Taljzi alike have scattered fire and death across the stars. The Imperial forces under Fleet Lord Harriet Tanaka will need every scrap of firepower and cleverness not only to defeat their enemies…but to find them in the first place.

Betrayal by James David VictorBetrayal by James David Victor:

Just when you thought you could trust your enemies.

Jack and Sam have again found themselves with their backs against the wall with enemies on every side. With the alliance with the Devex crumbles, they find themselves alone and unsure of who to trust. And that’s before an enemy from within returns to exact her revenge on Jack. Can Jack escape from the belly of the beast that seeks to destroy all of humanity or will he be the next in a long line of vanquished humans?

Betrayal is the fifth book in the Jack Forge, Lost Marine series. If you like fast-paced military science fiction, you will love watching Jack fight for the freedom of all.

100 Word Horror Book 3, edited by Brandy Yassa100 Word Horrors Book 3: An Anthology of Horror Drabbles, edited by Brandy Yassa:

Book 3 of the 100 Word Horrors Series

Over 100 drabbles by some of the finest horror authors writing today.

Edited by Brandy Yassa

T.O.C.
Andrew Lennon – Enter Night
P. Mattern – The Fungus Among Us
RJ Meldrum – Invasion
RJ Meldrum – One Night Stand
C.A. Verstraete – A Mother’s Love
Valerie Lioudis – Too Many
Steve Stred – Click
Steve Stred – Cursed
D.E. McCluskey – Work
Mark Matthews – A Vampire and Her Jar Full of Leeches
Dennis Mombauer – The Rusted Island
Theresa Jacobs – The Muse
Michael D. Davis – June Bug
Michael D. Davis – The Doctor’s Hobbies
Chad Lutzke – Nothing
J.C. Michael – True Potential
DS Ullery – Number Thirteen
Scott Paul Hallam – The Crate
Anthony Giordano – La Lamentación
Kevin Cathy – The Tree
Kevin Cathy – Narrative
Kevin Cathy – Admitted
Ellen A. Easton – Into the Woods
Sheldon Woodbury – The Altar of Bones
Sheldon Woodbury – Halloween Ride
Sheldon Woodbury – The Midnight Circus
P.J. Blakey-Novis – Stray
Chris Hall – The Evacuation
Larry Hinkle – Three Wishes
J.C. Michael – The Dead that Lived
Joe X. Young – Black Light
Terry Miller – Dollface
Evans Light – That’ll Show Her
C.S. Anderson – The Difference
Alyson Faye – The Necklace
RJ Roles – Tits to Die for
RJ Roles – Passing the Torch
RJ Roles – Delicious
RJ Meldrum – The Apocalypse Will Be Televised
Kerry E.B. Black – Blood and Ashes
Ron Davis – Crimson and Clover
Rhys Hughes – The Special Day
Tristan Drue Rogers – Flightless
John Boden – A Fleeting Thing
John Boden – After
Ryan Colley – Masks
Ryan Colley – Operation
Kerry E.B. Black – Flames
Kerry E.B. Black – As He Was
Toneye Eyenot – Sleep, My Darling
David Owain Hughes – The Rich Get Richer
Simon Cluett – Bait
Toneye Eyenot – Dirt Nap
John T. M. Herres – A Place I Know
Ryan Woods – The Room Upstairs
Howard Carlyle – Painting the Walls
James Matthew Byers – A Penny’s Penance
Andrew Lennon – Possessed
Terry Miller – Death Rattles
Dean M. King – Too Late
Terry Miller – Dead Girl Speak
Jason M. Light – Gun Control
Justin M. Woodward – Gravemakers and Gunslingers
Aron Beauregard – Hot Car
Matthew Cash – My God Lives on the Mountain Top
David Owain Hughes – Tribal Beard
Hazel Lennon – Picnic
Martin P. Fuller – Die, Die, Dead
Howard Carlyle – The Tools of His Trade
Duncan Thompson – A Bedtime Story
Jim Goforth – Hack
Stuart Conover – Be Careful What You Wish For
S P Oldham – Noisy Neighbours
Ron Davis – Machines of War
Becky Narron – Mistaken Identity
Chris Miller – The Thing Beyond the Veil
Norbert Góra – Houston, I Have a Circus Here
Leigha Desmond – The Call
Patrick Winters – The Dolmen of Austburg
Paul Wennersberg-Løvholen – The Dead Don’t Die
Paul Wennersberg-Løvholen – 158 Days Later
Andrew Lennon – Honey, I’m Home
C.M. Saunders – Naughty Step
Zoey Xolton – The Arena
Theresa Derwin – Used Parts
Martin Zeigler – Blackout
Andrew Lennon – Dreams
Robin Braid – Loch
Robin Braid – Next Door
Suzanne Fox – Sweet Dreams
Essel Pratt – Somniphobia
Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason – Wooden Suit
Veronica Smith – Post Halloween
Cindar Harrell – Sea Foam Blood
Justin Hunter – Mine
Michael Anthony Lee – The Lost Ones
G. Allen Wilbanks – Webs
Amber M. Simpson – Show Time
Kevin J. Kennedy – Karma Monsters
Kevin J. Kennedy – The Apocalypse Bar
Eric J. Guignard – Three O’Clock a.m.
Julian J. Guignard – Dog Lover Doom
Josh Darling – The Sword Swallower
Brandy Yassa – Happy Birthday
Ryan Colley – Masks
Ryan Colley – Operation

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for September 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some August books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have noir, harboiled mysteries, cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, culinary mysteries, historical mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, action thrillers, horror thrillers, police procedurals, private investigators, amateur sleuths, forensic specialists, FBI agents, reporters, stalkers, serial killers, human trafficking, organised crime, cold cases, crime-busting witches, crime-busting werewolves, crime-busting dogs, kidnapped teens, missing mothers, murdered techies, murders in small towns and big cities, in New Zealand, Minnesota, Las Vegas, Boston, Florida, India and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Crime Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Indie Crime Scene, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things crime fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

A Missing Mom and Mutt Munchies by Aleksa BaxterA Missing Mom and Mutt Munchies by Aleksa Baxter:

Maggie May Carver is done with murder. She’s sworn that if she finds another dead body she’s just going to step right over it and continue on her merry little way. But when a little boy with sad eyes and freckles shows up asking her to find his mom, she just can’t say no.

Once more Maggie is in the thick of things, this time trying to find a little boy’s mom in time for his birthday with the help of her cranky grandpa, the handsome local cop, and his charming but criminally-inclined brother. Oh, and of course, her incorrigible Newfoundland, Miss Fancypants.

Chestnuts, Camping and Culprits by Cindy BellChestnuts, Camping and Culprits by Cindy Bell:

Kerri was looking forward to camping with her grandfather. Too bad their campsite just became a crime scene.

Kerri Gale is excited to be going camping with her grandfather, George, and her cute Yorkshire Terrier, Cashew. She is looking forward to a relaxing break and is leaving her nut shop, Nuts about Nuts, in the capable hands of her best friend and employee, Natalie. But when there are protesters and loggers at loggerheads in the Cascade Grove State Park, their idyllic camping trip isn’t as drama free as she had hoped.

Then things go from bad to worse when someone is found murdered on the mountain. Foul play is suspected, and her grandfather is one of the main suspects. With George having many secrets he can’t reveal and his nemesis, Detective Colleen Carver, on the case, Kerri knows that she must do everything she can to keep her grandfather out of jail. But when the murderer has their eyes on another victim, George and Kerri know that there is far more at stake than George’s freedom.

Will Kerri find the murderer before her grandfather lands up behind bars? Or there is another victim?

Recipe included: Ginger Chestnut Cookies

Danger Zone by Stacy ClaflinDanger Zone by Stacy Claflin:

Someone is going to great lengths to destroy Alex Mercer’s life.

On the surface, the Mercers are finally settling into a comfortable routine—Alex’s job is going great, he’s accepted his unusual family dynamics, and they’re even planning a dream vacation. Things couldn’t be better.

Or could they?

Dig a little deeper, and the problems are growing out of control. Someone is threatening to ruin Alex, his wife is harboring a shocking secret, and their daughter is hiding a dangerous new relationship.

If Alex’s cyber-stalker doesn’t get him first, his family could implode on its own. If he can’t unravel the tangled mess in time, he might lose everything—and everyone—he holds dear.

Bright Lights by Mark DawsonBright Lights by Mark Dawson:

Is John Milton on the path to redemption or the road to revenge?

John Milton has done some bad things in his life. Very bad things. Now he’s looking for ways to make amends. But trouble always seems to be looking for him.
Heading from San Francisco to Las Vegas, Milton’s solo road trip takes an unexpected turn when he picks up Jessica Russo, a young woman in distress at the side of the road. She urgently needs a ride and he’s happy to help her out.

But what starts out as a simple favour quickly becomes something more sinister. Once they get to their destination, it’s clear something isn’t right. Working for the Vegas casinos has got Jessica’s father wrapped up with the wrong people. A mistake that could prove fatal for him and his family.

This is just the beginning of a dangerous journey that will take Milton from Sin City to Siena and beyond. As Milton goes deeper into a world of violence, ruthlessness and revenge, will he finally put his demons to rest? Or is he about to awaken the devil he’s been trying to smother for so long?

Ghostly Fears by Lily Harper HartGhostly Fears by Lily Harper Hart:

Ten years ago, Harper Harlow lost a classmate. Jennifer Jessup was sweet, nice, and seemingly aimless in life. She came from a good family, lived on an island, and was spoiled with every material gift that could possibly be bestowed upon her.She was still unhappy.Now, a decade later, her father Byron Jessup has approached Harper with a business opportunity. He wants her – and the rest of her operation, of course – to spend a long weekend on his island. Other psychics and ghost hunters will be there, as will his family. The goal? To find out what happened to Jennifer.Harper feels weighed down with guilt, enough so that she can’t see straight. She feels bad about not reaching out to Jennifer when she was still alive and even worse about not looking for her once she went missing.Harper is out of her element. The other psychics are driving her crazy … and making her nervous. She can’t even decide if she believes Jennifer is missing or dead. When another woman on the island disappears, Harper is left with nothing but endless questions.She’s determined to find the answers, even if she has to delve into the past to do it. Someone doesn’t want her getting those answers, however, and it’s going to be a fight to the death to see who comes out the other side.

The Mystery of a Techie's Murder by Vijay KerjiThe Mystery of a Techie’s Murder by Vijay Kerji:

Priya, a software engineer, is found dead in her apartment when her flatmate Julia is away on a weekend. Detective Mayur finds a Pizza Hut cap with the strand of hair in it at the crime scene along with a cigarette butt and shoe prints. Krishna Raj, Priya’s manager, says Priya became close to her colleague, Praful, who has been sacked by his previous employer because of the sexual harassment charges. Mayur also learns that Priya’s fiance loves someone else and is forced to marry Priya by his parents. He also comes across Priya’s ex-friend and her uncle, who were also interested in Priya. He finds that her younger sister has a motive to become a sole proprietor of their father’s assets. Will Detective Mayur find the murderer in spite of hitting the dead end?

Oracles and Obituaries by Amanda M. LeeOracles and Obituaries by Amanda M. Lee:

Halloween is Avery Shaw’s favorite time of year. What’s not to love? Slasher movies, hot chocolate and corn mazes. She’s addicted to them all.

During a visit to one of those mazes, she runs across several men trying to kidnap a teenage girl. In true Avery fashion, she intervenes … resulting in a severe injury. While she’s on the mend, she starts tracking information on a group of people working in the area.

Avery can’t decide if she’s on to something or imagining things. The attack leaves her weaker than she would like, something she refuses to acknowledge, and questioning her investigative mind.

Eliot Kane, her live-in love, decides to help. As much as he wants her safe, he understands she needs to take control. Together, they’re going to dig until they find the information they need. Unfortunately for both of them, the deeper they get, the more they start to wonder just how big of an operation they’re dealing with.
Information pours in, leading to questions about missing girls from years before … and an odd woman serving as an oracle for the Halloween fans in the present. She’s keeping a secret, too, and Avery is determined to figure out what it is.

As she’s proven her entire life, Avery won’t quit until she wins. This time, however, the battle is going to be long, dark and deadly.

She won’t ever give up … even if the search for the truth ultimately kills her.

No Crones About It by Amanda M. LeeNo Crones About It by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall is settling in with the northern Lower Michigan branch of Spell’s Angels. She’s feeling bold, brash … and just a little bit flirty thanks to her burgeoning relationship with Gunner Stratton, a shifter whose father happens to serve as the chief of police in Hawthorne Hollow.

Things are going well … until they’re not.

A group of shifters who used to live in the area have returned and they’re up to something. Right from the start, Scout is suspicious but she can’t quite explain why. Then, when a local homeless man is found dead – with Scout’s name literally carved into him – she starts to believe that she’s being set up to take a fall.

Gunner is determined to help. His history with the shifters in question makes things difficult, though. On top of everything else, it becomes apparent that the dead guy’s ties to Scout run deep … like genetically deep. He’s related to her, and for a woman who was abandoned as a child, it’s a hard blow to absorb.

Gunner is determined to stick close as the warring wolves close ranks and start issuing threats. It’s going to take everybody working together to find the answers Scout desperately needs, including uncovering the secret of her past. When one of their own is taken, Scout has no choice but to put her full cache of magic on display.

It’s going to be a fight to the finish, rival gangs going at one another, and only one side will be victorious.

Which one will it be?

The Pale White by Chad LutzkeThe Pale White by Chad Lutzke:

After being held against their will in a house used for trafficking, three girls plan their escape.

Alex: A hardened goth-punk who’s convinced she’s a vampire with a penchant for blood.
Stacia: A seventeen-year-old raised by an alcoholic mother, her fellow captives the only family she’s ever truly had.
Kammie: The youngest of the three—a mute who finds solace in a houseplant.

But does life outside the house offer the freedom they’d envisioned? Or is it too late, the scars too deep?

A coming-of-age tale of revenge and survival that explores a friendship and the desperate measures taken to ensure they stay united, held together by the scars that bind them.

This contemporary Suspense Thriller / Horror novella with an all-female cast is the perfect read for fans of Robert R. McCammon, Stephen King, and Jack Ketchum.

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

Deception by Jason RichardsDeception by Jason Richards:

It started as a simple case . . . then the bodies started piling up.

Elizabeth Barlow hires private investigator Drew Patrick to gather evidence of her husband’s affair. But the truth is even more devastating. Nevin Barlow is entangled with some of Boston’s most dangerous figures, and Drew’s investigation leads deep into a shadowy world of money-laundering and murder.

When an informant is run down in the streets of Boston, Drew realizes just how far Nevin Barlow and his associates will go to keep their secrets from coming to light. But in a world of lies and deception, nothing stays secret forever. A surprise twist will either help Drew prove his case or get him killed.

Witty and tough hard-boiled detective Drew Patrick returns in this gripping crime thriller novel that keeps the pages turning.

Say You Love Me by Willow RoseSay You Love Me by Willow Rose:

Former FBI-profiler Eva Rae Thomas is back and embedded in a true nightmare reaching deep into her own family.

What would you do if your brother was accused of a horrible crime, and you were certain he didn’t do it?

Life is not done throwing Eva Rae Thomas curveballs.

A phone call turns her life upside down – once again. The call is from her father, the man she hasn’t seen in thirty-six years, not since he kidnapped her sister in a supermarket.

Now, he is back in Florida, and he needs her help. Her younger brother – who she didn’t know existed – has been arrested on Amelia Island. The boy is in a coma after being shot by an officer during the incident. But his father doesn’t believe the police, and he asks for Eva Rae’s help to prove it.

At the same time, a serial killer is planning one of the most horrific mass killings in history.

Will Eva Rae find it in her heart to help her father after what he did to her? Will facing him again set her free or pull her under?

Dead Cat Bounce by Robert WhiteDead Cat Bounce by Robert White:

Old Mrs Bello lived above the family grocery store all her life, she worked hard, was frugal and lived an ordinary life. There was one thing that people knew about Mrs B though – she absolutely didn’t trust banks.

When she died at the age of 88 there was only one question on everyone’s lips – what happened to the family money?

Despite frantic searching from her surviving relatives, not a single cent was ever found and the missing family fortune passed into local legend.

Butchie Parmenter doesn’t believe in legends.

Experience has taught Butchie not to believe in anything except himself, so when good fortune unexpectedly lands at his feet he grabs the opportunity with both hands, determined not to let go. No matter what.

Butchie should have figured that nothing worth having ever comes easy and if something looks too good to be true, it usually is.

A Dark and Painful Mystery by Wendy M. WilsonA Dark and Painful Mystery by Wendy M. Wilson:

NEW ZEALAND, 1878: Has the missing man been murdered in the dense bush, or has he simply abandoned his wife and children for another woman?

Sergeant Frank Hardy and his new wife Mette attempt to solve two real mysteries from nineteenth century New Zealand: the whereabouts of Peter Kane, who left his home to look for work and did not return, and the brutal murder of an accommodation house owner who was splitting palings in the bush. Were they connected? If so, how?

As one newspaper said at the time about the Peter Kane disappearance:

“…the fate of the poor fellow may be cleared up, and the state of horrible suspense in which his unfortunate wife has been kept in for months brought to an end; and we would ask not only the people of Woodville, but of the other districts he may have visited, to take all possible steps to throw light upon what at present appears to be a dark and painful mystery.” The Manawatu Times, Volume III, Issue 81, 20 July 1878

This engaging novella is perfect for readers who have enjoyed the other three Sergeant Frank Mysteries. For readers who have not read the series already, the novella includes a backstory/history of the two main characters.

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A no longer quite so new Thurvok story available: The Night Court

Before we get back to photos, con reports and genre commentary, here is a not quite new release announcement. Because I just realised that I never officially announced the latest Thurvok story, which came out just before I left for WorldCon.

Like most of the previous Thurvok stories, The Night Court was written during the July Short Story Challenge, where the aim is to write a story per day during the month of July. And in fact, The Night Court is the first 2019 July Short Story Challenge stories to be published.

Like many July short story challenge stories, The Night Court was inspired by fantasy art. The initial inspiration was this piece by Nele Diel. So I started writing the first scene, where Meldom walks through the city by night, only to be attacked and taken. However, I had no idea what would happened next. And so looked through my folder of inspirational images again and came upon this piece by Joseph Vargo. This image of a dungeon, complete with unfortunate prisoners and a grim looking inquisitioner, sparked an idea. What if whoever had captured Meldom was not a kidnapper, bandit or old enemy, but the law or what passes for it? Especially since the law has plenty of reasons to be after Meldom, given his past. And so the Night Court was born.

The titular Night Court is loosely based upon the Vehmic courts of medieval Germany or rather the legends surrounding said courts. Now I had long planned to write a story about someone innocently accused by a Vehmic Court someday, though I had intended it to be a historical along the lines of The Kiss of the Executioner’s Blade or Hangman’s Wages (and indeed, I may still write that story someday).

The roots for that particular idea go back to being made to read Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s historical drama Götz von Berlichingen in high school. Nowadays, the play Götz von Berlichingen is mainly famous for one rather rude line, which regularly causes giggles in high school classes. Otherwise, Götz von Berlichingen is yet another classic German play about a man (the titular Götz) who is so determined to defend his principles (usually something about liberty and autonomy) that he doesn’t care who gets hurt by his obstinate behaviour. There were a lot of plays like that, all dating from the late 18th century and all written by a group of male authors who all knew each other, which we were made to read in high school. And the teachers inevitably expected us to side with the obstinate jerk protagonist and were always very surprised when we didn’t. “Nope, Wilhelm Tell having weird hang-ups about greeting a hat does not give him the right to endanger his kid, no matter how good an archer he is. Just greet the damn hat, no matter how silly the whole thing is.” – “Nope, Odoardo Galotti being pissed off at the aristocracy in general and this one Prince in particular does not give him the right to honour-kill his daughter. What the hell is wrong with that guy?”

Götz von Berlichingen at least offers plenty of excitement, as Götz’s obstinate behaviour comes back to bite him in the arse and the bishop he pissed off sends an army of killers after him. It also has more female characters than usual. Two of them are the loyal wife/girlfriend/sister type who only exists to support our hero in being obstinate, but the third, Adelheid von Walldorf, a Milady de Winter prototype, who seduces and poison men on behalf of the main antagonist, is much more interesting. And in the final act, there is a scene of a Vehmic Court with masked judges who sentence Adelheid to death for her crimes and then dispatch an executioner to kill her. This short scene is a complete non sequitur, it just pops up in the middle of a bunch of scenes of various male characters of the play dying, while maintaining their principles. Nor does Goethe ever follow up on the scene again. Does the executioner ever catch up with Adelheid? Goethe doesn’t tell us. Much to the frustration of my high school German teacher, I was not at all satisfied with that and kept asking what had happened to Adelheid, whether she’d been killed or escaped, and what was the matter with that spooky court with masked judges anyway, cause that story was obviously a lot more interesting than Götz and his principles.

That one scene with the Vehmic Court stuck in my head, as did the vague idea that someone should write that much more exciting story that Goethe failed to tell. And that someone might just as well be me. In the end, the Vehmic Court idea languished with all the other half-baked ideas for historical adventure stories somewhere at the edge of my consciousness. But while I was writing The Night Court, I thought, “What if Meldom hasn’t been captured by an official court after all, but by his world’s equivalent of a Vehmic Court?” The rest of the story largely told itself.

Now the Thurvok stories are credited to Richard Blakemore, hardworking pulp writer by day and masked crimefighter by night, who is the hero of my Silencer series. And though I wasn’t aware of it when I was writing the story, there are certain parallels between The Night Court and the Silencer story Countdown to Death, because in both stories, the protagonist finds himself accused, convicted and almost executed. And though both the Silencer and Meldom may be guilty of many other things (and compared to the pulp vigilantes from the actual 1930s, the Silencer is remarkably restrained and only rarely kills someone), they are innocent of this particular crime. So did Richard Blakemore’s experience in Countdown to Death influence his sword and sorcery story The Night Court, via me who was actually typing the story? Or do I simply keep returning to certain tropes and themes.

Whenever you have a court – even one of such dubious legality as the Night Court – you of course also have courtroom scenes. And so I have half-jokingly referred to The Night Court as a sword and sorcery courtroom drama, which it absolutely is.

So prepare to accompany Meldom, Thurvok, Sharenna and Lysha, as they face…

The Night Court
The city of Vanadur suffers under the thumb of the Night Court, whose bailiffs snatch random people off the streets and whose masked judges know only one verdict: guilty.

Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, is one of those who are snatched off the streets and put on trial by the Night Court. The accusation: murder. But while Meldom may have done many questionable things in the past, he knows that he did not commit this particular murder.

However, the Night Court is not inclined to believe him and so it’s up to Thurvok, Sharenna and Lysha to save him from the gallows.

This is a short story of 7100 words or 25 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

More information.
Length: 7100 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for August 2019

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month
It’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some July books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, YA fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, science fiction romance, science fiction mystery, space opera, military science fiction, feminist science fiction, vintage science fiction, humorous science fiction, dystopian fiction, Steampunk, gaslamp fantasy, time travel, witches, mermaids, shapeshifters, pirates, space marines, crime-busting witches, grim reapers, arranged marriages, time travelling taxmen, cyborg gladiators, sword and sorcery courtroom dramas, rediscoverey women authors of the Silver Age and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog run by Jessica Rydill and myself, which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Buy and Spell by Stacey AlabasterBuy and Spell by Stacey Alabaster:

Sometimes you just need to solve a mystery because you’re the main suspect

Ruby Swift is settling into her life as a private investigator while protecting her secret magical life. When her new, unwanted neighbor turns up dead, she must find the real killer to clear her own name. Can Ruby come up with a spell to buy her way out of trouble?

Buy and Spell is part of the Private Eye Witch Cozy Mystery series. If you like fun paranormal mysteries, you will love Ruby Swift and her magical adventures.

Get Buy and Spell and start solving your next supernatural mystery today!

Claiming T-Mo by Eugen BaconClaiming T-Mo by Eugen Bacon:

In this lush interplanetary tale, Novic is an immortal Sayneth priest who flouts the conventions of a matriarchal society by choosing a name for his child. This act initiates chaos that splits the boy in two, unleashing a Jekyll-and-Hyde child upon the universe. Named T-Mo by his mother and Odysseus by his father, the story spans the boy’s lifetime — from his early years with his mother Silhouette on planet Grovea to his travels to Earth where he meets and marries Salem, and together they bear a hybrid named Myra. The story unfolds through the eyes of these three distinctive women: Silhouette, Salem and Myra. As they confront their fears and navigate the treacherous paths to love and accept T-Mo/Odysseus and themselves, the darkness in Odysseus urges them to unbearable choices that threaten their very existence.

The Night Court by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Night Court by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

The city of Vanadur suffers under the thumb of the Night Court, whose bailiffs snatch random people off the streets and whose masked judges know only one verdict: guilty.

Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, is one of those who are snatched off the streets and put on trial by the Night Court. The accusation: murder. But while Meldom may have done many questionable things in the past, he knows that he did not commit this particular murder.

However, the Night Court is not inclined to believe him and so it’s up to Thurvok, Sharenna and Lysha to save him from the gallows.

This is a short story of 7100 words or 25 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

Knight Protector by Lindsay BurokerKnight Protector by Lindsay Buroker:

An arranged marriage she can’t escape.
A sexy bodyguard who will protect her at all cost.
A forbidden love she can’t give in to…

As one of the sultan’s fourteen daughters, and a successful businesswoman who puts money in the family’s coffers, Princess Nalini thought she would escape an arranged marriage.

She thought wrong.

Her father insists that an alliance with the savage and ambitious Star Kingdom is the only way to avoid a war at home, and for some reason, Prince Jorg—a man she’s never met—wants to marry her.

As if that weren’t bad enough, her father believes the betrothal may make her a target and is assigning her a bodyguard, the victor of one of his odious gladiator matches. She doesn’t want some brutish stranger intruding on her privacy.

But her new protector—Tristan—is not the brute she expected. He has a quick wit, a sexy smile, and even sexier things under the smile.

Unfortunately, Nalini can’t let herself fall in love with Tristan, not when she’s soon to be betrothed to another man. As her father’s daughter, it’s her duty to help her people by cementing this alliance. No matter how much she wishes otherwise…

~

As Tristan grew up on the streets, his father a convict and his mother a drug addict, all he ever wanted was to become one of the Star Kingdom’s elite knights, something that very few commoners ever achieve. After Tristan labors for years as a squire, the king is ready to appoint him a knight… if he accomplishes one simple task. He must infiltrate the sultan’s palace, gain the trust of Princess Nalini, and make sure she doesn’t run away from her marriage with Prince Jorg.

There’s just one problem.

Nalini isn’t the spoiled rich brat he expected—she spends her days working as hard as he does—and he soon develops feelings for her. With her betrothal looming, and the career he’s worked his whole life for at stake, Tristan can’t let himself act on those feelings.

But can he stand back while a man who doesn’t deserve her claims her for his wife?

Mermaid's Wish by Stacy ClaflinMermaid’s Wish by Stacy Claflin:

Every other princess prepares to rule her kingdom after her father’s death. Me? I have to get ready to rule all underwater kingdoms—after killing my father.

I already fulfilled the prophecy once. Kind of. I have no interest in killing again.

But no one asked what I want.

It’s this stupid Queen Sirena prophecy. My father—my real, biological father—is obsessed. And he’s the king, so he gets what he wants. Namely me, embracing a destiny I fear.

As I come to terms with my new reality, I find myself alone, cut off from my best friend and boyfriend and unable to convince my parents this is all a terrible idea.

My father, the king, wants me to kill him. He’s set plans in motion to make it happen.

I’m too weak to refuse. And hopefully too strong to succeed.

Peavley Manor by Robert DahlenPeavley Manor (Or, Introducing Macalley) by Robert Dahlen:

Alice Peavley was a sales clerk in a book shop, until her rich uncle left her his estate in his will. She moves to the manor, meets her new tenants and neighbors, and adjusts to life in the eccentric town of Darbyfield with the help of her valet, a sardonic gnome named Macalley. Alice gets mixed up in misadventures involving a concert gone askew, a chaotic baking competition, and a mischievous squatter, but there is a more sinister plot afoot to steal her land and her fortune. Can Alice get to the bottom of the conspiracy and save Peavley Manor? Find out in this comedy of manners, mayhem and magic!

Gullible's Travels and Taxing Rabble by Rachel FordGullible’s Travels and Taxing Rabble by Rachel Ford:

A shadowy interdimensional organization. A special assignment. A bizarre alternate universe.

When a recruitment agent from the Interdimensional Bureau of Temporal Investigations knocked on his door, there was no way Alfred Favero, Senior Analyst with the Internal Revenue Service, could just walk away. How could a man of law and conscience turn down the chance to stop crime across dimensions and times?

Now, he’s in bizarre alternate dimension, where suspicion is fact and fact is suspect. To succeed, he must question everything he thinks he knows about this new world – and even the mission itself.

Otherwise, Alfred Favero might have taken his last trip through time.

The Robin Hood of Couches by Aaron FraleThe Robin Hood of Couches by Aaron Frale:

Reese investigates corporate fraud and discovers some joker has been giving away free couches to the needy, because when a person can no longer afford the subscription service fees, all their furniture disappears. The bearer of sofas ends up in a ditch when blunt force trauma snuffs out the poor’s best chance of not living in an empty room their whole life. Reese rolls up his sleeves. Time to get to work.

 

 

Defender by Anna HackettDefender by Anna Hackett:

Rescued from alien slavers, the only place she feels safe is in the brawny arms of a big, gruff cyborg.

Astrophysicist Dr. Jayna Lennox’s life imploded the day her ship was attacked by aliens. Through months of captivity, she’s survived by shutting down and not feeling. Then she’s freed by the House of Rone cyborgs and finds herself in the arms of huge, tough Mace. Struggling to heal, Mace is the only thing that makes her feel safe. The only person who makes her feel like she isn’t broken. But there are more of her crew members imprisoned in Carthago’s desert, and Jayna will have to delve into her darkest memories to help save them.

Born to fight and bred for rage, Mace barely survived his gang-ridden homeworld. Thanks to Imperator Magnus Rone, he’s found a place at the House of Rone. Unlike the other cyborgs, he feels, but only anger and annoyance. When a small, wounded human woman works her way under his skin, Mace finds himself feeling things he’s never felt before…along with a powerful need to keep her safe.

Jayna vows to help find her fellow humans, even if it means revisiting her nightmares and being part of a dangerous mission into the desert. But as the passion between her and Mace explodes, she finds herself with two battles on her hands: the battle to free the humans from their captors, and the war to win Mace’s scarred heart.

Dark Dancer by B.R. KingsolverDark Magic by B.R. Kingsolver:

One Master survived the inferno that destroyed the Order of the Illuminati. He may know that I survived, but does he suspect that I betrayed the Order?

Rudolf Heine has sent Hunters flooding into Westport, wreaking carnage on vampires, shifters, and mages. Normal humans are taking notice, and the shadow world teeters on the verge of being revealed.

The Hunters also may be hunting me. Do I stay and fight for my new life and my friends, or run again?

Freaky Reapers by Amanda M. LeeFreaky Reapers by Amanda M. Lee:

Poet Parker put the past behind her. At least she thought she did.

Life on the streets wasn’t what she had in mind for her forever and she jumped at the chance to join Mystic Caravan Circus when an invitation was extended. She didn’t look back.

That was ten years ago, and now Poet is going back to the exact area she used to haunt … and she’s nervous.

The friends she left behind are scattered. Some are dead. Some have moved on to other things. Some turned out to be something else entirely. Others simply disappeared into the wind.

Unfortunately for Parker, forgetting isn’t easy … especially when a group of banshees start infringing on Mystic Caravan’s territory and the creatures seemingly have ties to the people Poet left behind.

Between the reapers also working the case – a crazy family called the Grimlocks who can’t stay out of trouble – and the guilt weighing Poet down given the way she fled, she has her hands full.

Someone is controlling the banshees, stealing girls from the streets and creating a merry band of monsters. It’s up to Poet to find out who and protect two street girls who remind her of herself.

Poet doesn’t want to look back but she has no choice … what she finds might be more evil than she ever imagined.

Rediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958 - 1963), edited by Gideon MarcusRediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958 – 1963), edited by Gideon Marcus, foreword by Dr. Laura Brodian Freas Beraha

  • Fourteeen uncut Silver Age science fiction stories by women
  • Fourteen introductions providing historical, biographical, and literary context
  • One foreword by Dr. Laura Brodian Freas Beraha
  • One introductory essay by Gideon Marcus

From the team that produces the Hugo-nominated Galactic Journey:

The Silver Age of Science Fiction saw a wealth of compelling speculative tales — and women authors wrote some of the best of the best. Yet the stories of this era, especially those by women, have been largely unreprinted, unrepresented, and unremembered.

Until Now.

Rediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958-1963) features fourteen selections of the best science fiction of the Silver Age by the unsung women authors of yesteryear, introduced by today’s rising stars:

Unhuman Sacrifice (1958) by Katherine MacLean, introduced by Natalie Devitt
Wish Upon a Star (1958) by Judith Merril, introduced by Erica Frank
A Matter of Proportion (1959) by Anne Walker, introduced by Erica Friedman
The White Pony (1960) by Jane Rice, introduced by T.D. Cloud
Step IV (1960) by Rosel George Brown, introduced by Andi Dukleth
Of All Possible Worlds (1961) by Rosel George Brown, introduced by Cora Buhlert
Satisfaction Guaranteed (1961) by Joy Leache, introduced by A.J. Howells
The Deer Park (1962) by Maria Russell, introduced by Claire Weaver
To Lift a Ship (1962) by Kit Reed, introduced by Gideon Marcus
The Putnam Tradition (1963) by Sonya Hess Dorman, introduced by Lorelei Marcus
The Pleiades (1963) by Otis Kidwell Burger, introduced by Gwyn Conaway
No Trading Voyage (1963) by Doris Pitkin Buck, introduced by Marie Vibbert
Cornie on the Walls (1963) by Sydney van Scyoc, introduced by Rosemary Benton
Unwillingly to School (1958) by Pauline Ashwell, introduced by Janice Marcus

“Female authors wrote stories about coming of age…cautionary tales…stories set beyond our universe…You’ll find these themes and more in this anthology. I hope that as you read their stories you don’t try to ‘feminine’ versus ‘masculine’ elements. What you are about to read is really good science fiction, plain and simple.” -from the foreword by Dr. Laura Brodian Freas Beraha

Wrecked Intel by Mandy M. RothWrecked Intel by Mandy M. Roth:

Operative: Cody Livingston (Shark-Shifter)

Wereshark and former Immortal Op Cody Livingston has spent decades keeping his head down and staying off the grid. Ever since he volunteered to be part of a test group when the government attempted to create super soldiers, he’s been in a fight for his life and those of the men he sees as brothers—fellow Outcasts. You see, his own government turned against him when the DNA manipulation attempts didn’t go as planned.

Now Cody spends his days trying to right the wrongs left in the wake of the experiments and protecting any innocents caught in the crossfire. This is easier said than done when he’s had to escape the clutches of a madman hell-bent on possessing Cody’s healing gifts and longevity. As old foes resurface, the stakes get even higher when Cody realizes he not only has a mate but that she’s in the crosshairs of the enemy as well.

Origins of the Tainted Bloodline by Rosie ScottOrigins of the Tainted Bloodline by Rosie Scott:

Alastor Cerberius is a troubled man.

After over a century enslaved in the oppressive underground, he and his best friend, Koby Bacia, escape their chains. They emerge onto the surface: a new world full of the unknown, freedom, and discovery. Desperate to leave his tragic past behind, Alastor changes his name to Calder and delves into the dangerous blood science of shapeshifting. With the new ability to transform into a lethal lizard at will, Calder finally has power after a lifetime of captivity.

Calder and Koby answer the ocean’s call with dreams of smuggling illegal goods as mercenary sailors. This is easier said than done, for the seas are full of horrors of their own, and each time Calder transforms into the beast, it further scars his damaged psyche. Worst of all, a botched business deal puts them at odds with a criminal ring of pirates that are determined to remain the greatest threat on the seas.

The Screening Routine by SMAThe Screening Routine by SMA:

[Tell me the secret you keep from yourself.]
It knows your joy.
It knows your fear.
It knows your desire.

After decades of war, a battered Earth begged the Routine—our most powerful artificial intelligence—to take control of the solar system and unite humanity.

Now, forbidden lovers must help the AI solve the mystery of a rising threat:

Itself.

A SCIFI ADVENTURE BEGINS
Weeks away from graduating into blissful civilian anonymity, Owen discovers that his fate has been hijacked by the Routine. Trapped within the Screening Complex, training school for the Routine’s chosen leaders, Owen is determined to resist the influence of his all-seeing artificial taskmaster.

…If only he could stop dreaming of the man with dark eyes.

Who is that stranger, and why has his presence stirred a new hunger in Owen—one more desperate than he’d ever imagined? Questions lurk around every corner, but there’s one truth Owen will never forget:

The Routine is lying to us all.

Join the discovery as Owen pursues the mysteries of the Routine—and learns the endless bounds of love and his own desire.

Exile by Glynn StewartExile by Glynn Stewart:

A dying world, shattered by a broken machine
A desperate flight, their only hope for refuge
A robotic race, ally and destroyer alike

The Republic of Exilium has grown in strength and confidence at the far end of the galaxy from the rest of mankind, sending out scout ships to survey the worlds around them as they try to learn more about the mysterious Construction Matrix AIs.

Finding one of the genocidal rogues of that mysterious “race” in the process of destroying an inhabited world, Captain Octavio Catalan takes his ship into a desperate battle. He is victorious—but he is too late. The world of the strange aliens he has encountered is doomed.

The distant Republic can barely help, but the honor of their leaders will not permit them to stand idly by. Ships and crews are set into motion to commence a desperate evacuation of their newfound friends, and debts with the strange Matrices are called in.

One branch of Matrices destroyed the planet. Another may well save it—but the AIs have their own agenda and the price they ask may be beyond the Republic and its new allies…

Conquest of Earth by James David VictorConquest of Earth by James David Victor:

When all else fails, blow up a bunch of stuff and hope for the best.

Solomon and the Outcast Marines have been pushed to the brink, but are still standing strong. When the Ru’ut plot is fully revealed, they must go on one last desperate mission to save humanity. If humanity has any hope, they must stop the invading aliens from conquering Earth. Can Solomon overcome his past, and his genetics, and save his friends and all of humankind?

Conquest of Earth is the ninth book in the Outcast Marines series. If you like science fiction with “heroes” who are anything but, the Outcast Marines will suck you into their battle to save humanity, from itself and the rest of the galaxy.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for August 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some July books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, jazz age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, action thrillers, spy thrillers, police procedurals, private investigators, amateur sleuths, lawyers, FBI agents, missing persons, serial killers, spies, terrorists, cold cases, crime-busting witches, crime-busting realtors, modern day pirates, murders in small towns and big cities, aboard cruise ships and in country inns, in Louisiana, Southern California, London, Hawaii, Maine, Miami and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Crime Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Indie Crime Scene, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things crime fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Buy and Spell by Stacey AlabasterBuy and Spell by Stacey Alabaster:

Sometimes you just need to solve a mystery because you’re the main suspect

Ruby Swift is settling into her life as a private investigator while protecting her secret magical life. When her new, unwanted neighbor turns up dead, she must find the real killer to clear her own name. Can Ruby come up with a spell to buy her way out of trouble?

Buy and Spell is part of the Private Eye Witch Cozy Mystery series. If you like fun paranormal mysteries, you will love Ruby Swift and her magical adventures.

Get Buy and Spell and start solving your next supernatural mystery today!

Alex Mercer Thrillers Boxset by Stacy ClaflinAlex Mercer Thrillers Boxset by Stacy Claflin:

Read the first three Alex Mercer thrillers in this convenient bundle…

GIRL IN TROUBLE
He gave up his daughter years ago, but now he’ll risk his life to save hers.

Alex Mercer is no stranger to kidnappings. The emotional scars still run deep from his sister’s disappearance years earlier. His daughter Ariana remains safe long after her adoption, and he cherishes the few times a year he gets to see her. The joy is palpable when he takes her on their first one-on-one outing. At least until he pauses to answer a text and Ariana disappears…

Wracked with guilt and determined to find answers, Alex teams up with an unlikely ally at the police department. As the clues reveal a pattern of missing girls, the kidnapping case becomes a race against time to save Ariana. What cost is Alex willing to pay to keep his daughter alive?

Girl in Trouble is the first book in a series of thrilling stand-alone novels spun off from the USA Today bestselling Gone Trilogy. If you like heart-pounding suspense, page-turning action, and characters you’ll never forget, then you’ll love Stacy Claflin’s engrossing new series.

TURN BACK TIME
A dangerous cult disbanded years ago. Now they’re back, and they want revenge.

Alex Mercer spends his spare time operating a blog for missing children—a pastime inspired by his daughter’s recent disappearance. Another relative goes missing. As he follows up on leads coming into his site, the police department is inundated with a rash of missing persons cases. The incidents seem unrelated until evidence ties the cases to a dilapidated apartment building known for its unsavory clientele. Suspicion falls on a disbanded cult. The same cult Alex’s own relatives had managed to escape from and bring down a decade earlier.

The cult leaders, recently released or escaped from prison, reassemble their members and mandate a new mission to capture and kill all those responsible for the breakdown of their community. After another loved one disappears, Alex is ready to rescue the missing people from certain death. But will he get there in time?

LITTLE LIES
He’s dedicated his life to saving missing persons, but will it be enough to save himself?

Alex Mercer traded in his troubled past to protect the powerless. His blog for tracking down missing persons got his foot in the door at the police academy. But on his first day of training, a heroic act drops him into the hands of the captors he once hunted.

Zoey planned to tell Alex how she felt the night he disappeared. As she and Alex’s family discover the bloody signs of his fate, past regrets and dark secrets begin to come to light. It’s enough to tear Alex’s loved ones apart.

Without hope of rescue, Alex must rely on his cunning to escape captivity. In his line of work, he knows all too well that each passing hour could kill his chances of survival…

Haunting in the Hallway by Kathi DaleyHaunting in the Hallway by Kathi Daley:

A heartwarming cozy mystery series about losing everything, taking a chance, and starting again.

After suffering a personal tragedy Abby Sullivan buys a huge old seaside mansion she has never even seen, packs up her life in San Francisco, and moves to Holiday Bay Maine, where she is adopted, quite against her will, by a huge Maine Coon Cat named Rufus, a drifter with her own tragic past named Georgia, and a giant dog with an inferiority complex named Ramos. What Abby thought she needed was alone time to heal. What she ended up with was, an inn she never knew she wanted, a cat she couldn’t seem to convince to leave, and a new family she’d never be able to live without.

In book 5 in the series, the new bank president, who happens to be the son of the man who founded the community bank, is found dead and buried in his own grave. The man was not popular in the small community after making a lot of changes with his fathers passing and the list of possible suspects who might want him dead is extensive.

Meanwhile, it is October and the inn is hosting Halloween themed events. The haunted weekends are just for fun but when guests report hearing noises in the hallway, Abby wonders if the inn might actually be haunted for real.

La Jolla Law by John EllsworthLa Jolla Law by John Ellsworth:

A California beach town, a murder at a Presidential reception, a detective who finds herself in hot water for sexual harassment…

Add to the mix a gifted boy band traveling cross-country and a tech billionaire who functions on cocaine with a plastic wife who refuses to return home from Paris where her lover does hair for Vogue. Now you have the opening chapters of La Jolla Law, the new series featuring attorney Thaddeus Murfee.

The Maseratis pull over when the President of the United States comes to town to kickoff his reelection campaign. Unfortunately, he has chosen the home of the tech billionaire to spend the night. Suddenly, that night erupts with police streaming through the doors. There, on the golden shoreline, a true American tragedy hits CNN at daybreak. Thaddeus is called into the rock-and-roll world of the beach dwellers when a gifted loner is accused of the crime.

Thaddeus arrives in Southern California thinking he’s already seen everything in his fifteen years of law practice.

La Jolla Law will show him just how wrong he is.

Sleeping Beauties by Skylar FinnSleeping Beauties by Skylar Finn:

The sleepy town of Barksdale, Louisiana isn’t known for much: except for its unusually high rate of disappearances.

When the daughter of a prominent businessman and a wealthy debutante vanishes, Reese Lindley returns to her hometown to cover the case for her podcast. Confronted by the past and her estranged family, Reese learns that the quiet town has more secrets to hide than she ever could have imagined.

 

Raging seas by Lily Harper HartRaging Seas by Lily Harper Hart:

For years, Rowan Gray has been searching for answers. She’s finally going to get them.

The group of people haunting her, the society that ripped her family apart, are due to arrive on The Bounding Storm … and nobody believes their goals are altruistic. That’s only proven true when death visits The Bounding Storm in their wake, leaving a mountain of questions and not enough answers.

Who are these people?
What do they want?

Quinn Davenport, head of security and Rowan’s boyfriend, is determined to figure out their plan, fight the effort, and eradicate the shadow that’s hanging over the future he plans on sharing with Rowan. They’re going to stand and fight together, no matter the outcome. To carry out the mission, they’re going to need a little help.

Rowan’s father and uncle board the ship in an undercover capacity, so it’s all hands on deck for the final ride. Before it’s over, Rowan will know the truth … and come face to face with an enemy she didn’t see coming.

This is the end, but it could lead to a new beginning.

Mid-Century Modern Murder by CeeCee JamesMid-Century Modern Murder by CeeCee James:

Stella’s mid-century modern listing was on track to be her easiest commission ever… until the buyers asked about the rumors of a girl who drowned nearby.

As part of her due diligence, Stella starts searching for answers and finds a cold case that makes no sense. A teenage girl who was a State swim team champion… drowned. Something about the case keeps tugging at the edges of her memory but Stella can’t quite put her finger on it.

Meanwhile, Stella’s quest to find out exactly what happened with her mother is finally gaining some traction. She’s close to getting the whole story; she can feel it. But the more determined she is to find out the truth, the more her family members warn her that she won’t like the answers.

As the decades-old drowning case becomes clearer, Stella is shocked to find her own history entwined with that of the dead girl. With each new revelation about her mother, she starts to wonder if her family is right but she just can’t stop herself until she knows every secret.

Agent Recruit by Ethan JonesAgent Recruit by Ethan Jones:

What price would you pay to learn the truth?

Russian FSB Agent Max Thorne is recovering from a daring assignment in the United States, which led to shocking discoveries about his mysterious past. As he begins the search to put together the missing pieces, Max learns that the elusive truth is buried deep under decades of secrecy, betrayal, and deception involving the CIA and KGB.

Barely able to stay one step ahead of powerful forces set on protecting those secrets at all costs, Max is determined to do the right thing. But what price will Max have to pay to learn the bittersweet truth, and can he protect the ones he loves?

Join Max as he faces the darkness that is the secret service the only way he knows how … head on.

Freaky Reapers by Amanda M. LeeFreaky Reapers by Amanda M. Lee:

Poet Parker put the past behind her. At least she thought she did.

Life on the streets wasn’t what she had in mind for her forever and she jumped at the chance to join Mystic Caravan Circus when an invitation was extended. She didn’t look back.

That was ten years ago, and now Poet is going back to the exact area she used to haunt … and she’s nervous.

The friends she left behind are scattered. Some are dead. Some have moved on to other things. Some turned out to be something else entirely. Others simply disappeared into the wind.

Unfortunately for Parker, forgetting isn’t easy … especially when a group of banshees start infringing on Mystic Caravan’s territory and the creatures seemingly have ties to the people Poet left behind.

Between the reapers also working the case – a crazy family called the Grimlocks who can’t stay out of trouble – and the guilt weighing Poet down given the way she fled, she has her hands full.

Someone is controlling the banshees, stealing girls from the streets and creating a merry band of monsters. It’s up to Poet to find out who and protect two street girls who remind her of herself.

Poet doesn’t want to look back but she has no choice … what she finds might be more evil than she ever imagined.

Rzor Rocks by Toby NealRazor Rocks by Toby Neal:

Paradise is plundered by pirates.

Someone is attacking and robbing luxury yachts as they sail the Hawaiian Islands leaving their passengers missing and presumed dead. Sergeant Lei Texeira, with her typical leap first look later style, dives into a case with the Coast Guard to find answers that lie as deep as Davy Jones’ locker.

He’s taking back what was stolen.

The Pirate King has a hidden agenda that’s bigger than the pillage of luxury yachts, and he’ll stop at nothing to reign on the sea.

If She Fled by Blake PierceIf She Fled by Blake Pierce:

When another 50 year old woman is found dead in her home in a wealthy suburb—the second such victim in just two months—the FBI is stumped. They must turn to their most brilliant mind—retired FBI agent Kate Wise, 55—to come back to the line of duty and solve it.

What do these two empty nesters have in common? Were they targeted?

How long until this serial killer strikes again?

And is Kate, though past her prime, still able to solve cases that no one else can?

Never Ever by Willow RoseNever Ever by Willow Rose:

Ex-agent Eva Rae Thomas is on the run. The past month she has done things she never knew she was capable of while hunting for her kidnapped daughter.

Eva Rae has risked everything,

-her career,

-her newfound love,

-her freedom.

She’s looking for the man they call the Iron Fist. The trail has led her to Miami.

Meanwhile, Miami is under attack. Hundreds of passengers in the Metrorail are exposed to a deathly nerve gas on a peaceful Monday morning. When Eva Rae Thomas sees her daughter on the surveillance footage from the attack, she knows it is no coincidence. But by the time she uncovers the chilling truth of how it is all connected, it might be too late.

Murder on Eaton Square by Lee StraussMurder on Eaton Square by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s Bad Karma. . .

Life couldn’t be better on Eaton Square Gardens where the most prestigious families lived, until one of their own dies and it’s murder.

Ginger and Basil are on the case, but it’s not a simple glass of bubbly fizz. The more the clues present themselves, the trickier the puzzle gets, and Ginger feels she’s on a wild goose chase.

But as someone close to the victim so aptly quips, “One shouldn’t commit murder. It’s bad karma.”

Reaping what one sows is hardly a great cup of tea.

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Cora goes to WorldCon 77 in Dublin, Ireland, and TitanCon in Berfast, Northern Ireland

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This week, I’m off to Ireland for WorldCon 77 in Dublin and TitanCon, the 2019 EuroCon in Belfast the weekend after. I’ll be leaving early on Tuesday morning and am really looking forward to the experience. I’m particularly excited to the be attending the Hugo ceremony as the designated accepter for best fanzine finalist Galactic Journey.

So there will be light to no blogging for the next two weeks and plenty of photos and con reports, Retro Hugo and Hugo discussion (come on, you know there’ll be Hugo discussion) once I get back. You can also get live updates of what I’m up to on Twitter.

In the meantime, the Speculative Fiction Showcase and the Indie Crime Scene will still be chugging along, including (somewhat truncated) link round-ups.

But should you find yourself in Dublin for WorldCon 77 or Belfast for TitanCon, say hello to me.

You can also find me and several other fine folks on the following panels:

Non-English language SFF television

Format: Panel

15 Aug 2019, Thursday 13:00 – 13:50, Wicklow Room-2 (CCD)

Interest in TV from different countries is increasing. There are many good SFF TV shows produced in non-English speaking countries, and they are getting easier to find. The panel discusses their favourites and what makes them worthwhile to watch.

Harun Šiljak (Trinity College Dublin, CONNECT SFI Centre for Future Networks and Communications), Cora Buhlert, Lionel Davoust, J. Sharpe (Zilverspoor), Claudia Fusco (M)

Notes

Example of shows: Ad Vitam (France), (Ijon Tichy, Raumpilot (Germany), Dark (Germany), The Rain (Denmark), Äkta människor (Sweden), Goblin (Korea), but there are a lot more.

Speed crafting – session 1

Format: Workshop

15 Aug 2019, Thursday 15:30 – 17:20, Warehouse Art Demo Area (Point Square Dublin)

It’s like speed dating for handicrafts. Have you ever wanted to try your hand at something new, but haven’t managed to take the ‘plunge’? We will provide the materials and instructors. Each session will have different handicrafts, and you will try each one. You won’t end up with something you can take away, but maybe you’ll be inspired. Sign-ups in advance will be required for this workshop (limited to 15 people).

Session 1: knitting, crochet, lucet.

Rebecca Hewett (M), David Demchuk, Nina Niskanen, Cora Buhlert

Introduction to SFF romance

Format: Panel

16 Aug 2019, Friday 15:00 – 15:50, Wicklow Hall 2B (CCD)

SFF romance is as varied and creative as the speculative genre as a whole but, along with other romantic sub-genres, has often been dismissed and undervalued. From shapeshifting billionaires to far future secret agents, vampire brides to Highland flings, this panel will provide a broad introduction to SFF romance in all its glory as well as providing a range of reading recommendations.

Darlene Marshall, Cora Buhlert (M), D.A Lascelles (Zig Zag Education), Jeffe Kennedy (SFWA)

The global multiverse: the comics scene worldwide

Format: Panel

17 Aug 2019, Saturday 13:30 – 14:20, Odeon 3 (Point Square Dublin)

Darna! Storm Riders! The Metabarons! These are just some of the comic book titles found outside the dominant US comics or manga industries. Whether it’s bande dessinée from France, manhua from China, or self-published ’zines from the Philippines, come and discover not just one new world, but a multitude!

Christopher Hwang (Dublin 2019) (M), Cora Buhlert, Fulvio Gatti, Geoff Ryman (African Speculative Fiction Society)

The full programme is available here.

TitanCon presents EuroCon 2019

At TitanCon, you can find me on the following panel:

Food. glorious food

24 Aug 2019, Saturday 11:00 – 12:00, Lagan A (Hilton Belfast)

A look at the nature and significance of Food in SFF

Cora Buhlert , Dr Gillian Polack

You can find the full TitanCon programme here.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for July 2019

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month
It’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some June books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, YA fntasy, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, science fiction romance, science fiction mystery, space opera, military science fiction, YA science fiction, science fantasy, dystopian fiction, postapocalyptic fiction, Steampunk, Cyberpunk, time travel, werewolves, vampires, zombies, dragons, aliens, space pirates, space marines, superheroes, spell speakers, crime-busting witches, Nazi-punching witches, undead detectives, telepathic dogs, dragon fight clubs  and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog run by Jessica Rydill and myself, which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Crossfire by Lindsay BurokerCrossfire by Lindsay Buroker:

For the first time in his life, roboticist Casmir Dabrowski is headed to another star system as an advisor for the Kingdom space fleet. He’s being given a chance to prove himself to King Jager by helping find the ancient artifact he inadvertently lost. It’s best not to think about what might happen if he fails…

But with technologically advanced astroshamans after the artifact, not to mention the deadly mercenary captain Tenebris Rache, it’s not long before the mission collides with disaster.

Soon, Casmir and his friends are caught between warring factions, and he must choose between what the king would want and what he knows is right.

Pursuits Unknown by Ellen ClaryPursuits Unknown by Ellen Clary:

Amy and her kelpie-shepherd mix, Lars, work with a search team that specializes in finding lost people. Despite his average-mutt appearance, Lars is no ordinary dog. He and Amy have a telepathic connection. While Lars has a lot to learn about human language, their bond allows them to communicate in unusual ways and is a boon to their success rate.

When Amy and Lars find a missing scientist suffering from the Alzheimer’s-like disorder “Disorientation,” Amy and her support team realize this is not a typical lost-person case. Instead, this assignment appears to be an attempt to steal this man’s highly sensitive research on nanotechnology—which, in the wrong hands, could be used to wipe out undesirables from their overpopulated world. Forced to go undercover to seek out the truth, Amy will have to confront—and surpass—her own limitations.

Witch Hunt by L.R. DeneyWitch Hunt by L.R. Deney:

Strange kidnappings are taking place throughout Seattle. In the wake of a problematic election in America, the crimes seem to be racially motivated. Left behind at the scene of each disappearance is the symbol of the Black Sun, a symbol that is connected to Naziism.

It’s up to Staci Drenvauder, a witch and mistress of the Dark Arts, to investigate the kidnappings. But the Nazis appear to be infecting everything, even the secret, magical city of Azramoas seems to be affected with strange happenings taking place on the ruling Council. To complicate matters further, a demonic force from Staci’s past makes itself known once more.

Snark, gloom, and romance intermix within this riveting tale. Join Staci in her quest to punch Nazis.

A Dark and Stormy Day by Charon DunnA Dark and Stormy Day by Charon Dunn:

3748 crashes to a halt as Sonny Knight visits Times Square to ring in the New Year.

He’s a little sad because his girlfriend – one of the terrorist clones holding his family prisoner (but she’s one of the nicer ones) – has dumped him. Or maybe she’s being held prisoner by a different band of terrorists, and would appreciate being rescued?

Sonny’s going to have to pull himself together if he’s going to help her. He needs to deal with his grief issues, residual anxiety from everything that happened to him in the last two books, and a blossoming substance problem. Then there’s his fresh anxiety from all the new and exciting dangers that befall him in this one.

Which include more pliosaurs, explosions, avalanches, crowds, true love, assault, battery … the usual.

This is the conclusion of the Adventures of Sonny Knight trilogy.

The Heisenberg Corollary by C.M. DuryeaThe Heisenberg Corollary by C.H. Duryea:

A radical new technology. A horde of homicidal aliens. A snarky would-be girlfriend. Science never used to be like this.

Zeke Travers is a brilliant theoretical physicist on the verge of a breakthrough: a prototype drive capable of transporting a spacecraft to parallel universes. His place in the annals of scientific history seems all but assured. But when an alien warship materializes in Earth orbit and commences blasting everything in its path to atoms, Zeke and his team must make a choice between annihilation–or becoming test subjects in their own interdimensional experiments.

As they careen from continuum to continuum, some ruled by technology, others by magic, Zeke and his band of geeky, over-educated scientists will have to discover their inner ass-kickers if they’re going to survive the perils of the Multiverse.

Legend of DreamwalkerLegend of Dreamwalker by Timothy Ellis:

Chris Ecclestone has had a full on day. And it isn’t over yet!

He’s done the impossible, been promoted, called a legend, and now he’s alone with his girlfriend and about to get the reward he really wants.

Tomorrow is another day, and a badly needed boring one at that.

But there’s a war on, and romance has to wait when allies call for help, and boring is what happens between battles and exhaustion.

Combat awaits, and this time, he’s a senior officer contemplating how fast he’s failing upwards.

The Imperium is spread too thin, and the Trixone are attacking in too many places.

When your war comes down to you and your fighter pilots, what must be done to survive?

And when survival includes the fate of the Imperium, will his lack of senior officer skills be a help, or their downfall?

Fate has been messing with Chris all his life, and all he wanted to be was a fighter pilot.

Instead, he’s the Legend of Dreamwalker.

And he doesn’t have the time to not like it.

Lee Shores by Rachel FordLee Shores by Rachel Ford:

Sometimes still waters are the most dangerous.

Murder turns a quiet month of shore leave into a nightmare for Chief Engineer Kay Ellis and Captain Magdalene Landon of the Black Flag. When a member of their crew is implicated in the killing of a young woman, the privateers find themselves pawns in an interplanetary diplomatic struggle that predates any of them.

With little evidence to support their claims of innocence, an alien government eager to make examples of the human visitors, and the eyes of two superpowers watching their every move, every passing day brings them closer to ruin.

If they don’t find the real killer soon, they’ll swing for a crime they didn’t commit. And the Union will be hung out to dry with them.

Incarnation by Kevin HardmanIncarnation by Kevin Hardman:

Jim (aka Kid Sensation) is no stranger to difficult and dangerous tasks. Having faced down everything from ruthless aliens to sadistic supervillains, he’s shown that he can more than hold his own under almost any circumstances. But now he’s facing a situation unlike anything he’s ever encountered before.

Recruited by a colleague for a mysterious mission and transported to a realm beyond space and time, Jim finds himself thrust into the company of Incarnates – individuals with powers and abilities so vast that they can do almost anything, including warp reality. But these esteemed personages are plagued by a dark issue, for which they turn to Jim for help: one amongst them is a murderer.

Charged with finding this killer, Jim soon realizes the inherent folly of pursuing an individual who is power personified and able to alter reality with the wave of a hand. With the fate of the universe hanging in the balance, he must find a way to defeat a murderous, nigh-omnipotent foe who can not only match his powers, but also negate them – fully and permanently.

The Day I Died by Aya KnightThe Day I Died by Aya Knight:

She had to die, to find the truth.

Oshin Fletcher lives by three rules: obey authority, don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself, and above all else, never leave the city walls.

Some say that rules are meant to be broken. For Oshin, her world shattered on the day she was betrayed. A secret meeting leads her beyond the safety of her city. Lured by the ignorance that comes with being lonely and hopeful, Oshin was about to discover just how severe consequences could be. Lost and alone, she waited; no one came. But they did. The infected, the decaying, the undead.

Oshin wakes to find herself in an abandoned house, deep within the forest. Her body was changing, her desire to feed, uncontrollable. She was a marionette—her hunger, the puppeteer. She pivots on a line between life and death. They say the undead are mindless, but Oshin was very much aware. She sets out in an unknown world where the worst evils aren’t the undead, but humanity itself. With only days before the effects of the disease take hold and decay sets in, Oshin must race to find a way back home for a cure. She soon discovers that home is not everything she thought it to be. Dark secrets have been in play since the moment she was born.

An emotionally intense zombie survival story.

To Spell With It by Amanda M. LeeTo Spell With It by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter thinks she’s seen everything – okay, maybe not everything but a lot of things – but she’s never seen a cupid convention.When her good friend Booker’s fellow cupids descend on Moonstone Bay, she thinks it’s going to be fun and games. Instead, it’s mayhem and mystery when a rash of suicides and attempted suicides hit random island residents.That means it’s off to the races to solve another mystery.Hadley has been doing a lot of thinking about her life. She wants a career, not a job. She also wants to uncover a murderer. Even though her boyfriend Galen tries to keep her out of the case, she’s bound and determined to be in the thick of things.Galen’s fears come to fruition when something starts calling to Hadley in her dreams and he’s convinced whatever creature convinced the others to try to kill themselves is now after Hadley.Between egocentric cupids who are at war with each other, a big mystery regarding the origin of some of Hadley’s favorite paranormal friends, and her own determination, Hadley isn’t giving up without answers.She’s used to having magical backup at every turn. This time, she’s going to have to fight the ultimate battle alone.Is she up to the challenge? She’d better be. Everyone she loves is in danger and she’s the only one who can save them.It’s time to witch up … and she’s ready.

The Spell Speakers by Day LeitaoThe Spell Speakers by Day Leitao:

He was raised to resist them. Now he has to join them.

14-year-old Darian was raised in an isolated village in Whyland, among people who resisted the oppression of the King and his army. When his life takes a tragic turn, he ends up living in the King’s castle, forced to train in the military academy, closer to his enemies than he has ever dreamed. His only solace is Cayla, a girl he befriends at the castle, who helps him smile and feel whole again, with whom he slowly falls in love, whose identity he ignores at his own peril.

But the castle holds more dangers than expected. Darian has to thread carefully if he wants use his position to help Whyland find freedom and remain alive.

Spell Speakers is a coming-of-age fantasy novella introducing characters featured in the upcoming series Portals to Whyland.

Of Dawn and Embers by Kyoko M.Of Dawn and Embers by Kyoko M.:

It’s been six months since Dr. Rhett “Jack” Jackson and Dr. Kamala Anjali had their dragon cloning project shut down by the government. Just when they think they’ve gotten their lives back together, an agency within the government hits them with another suckerpunch: a criminal organization has cloned dozens of dragons in order to hold vicious dragon fighting rings. The government recruits Jack and Kamala to help them track down the organization. Jack and Kamala set out to put a stop to the illegal fights before any more dragons die…or worse, escape.

Of Dawn and Embers is the third novel in Kyoko M’s sci-fi/contemporary fantasy series, following Of Cinder and Bone and Of Blood and Ashes.

Apatura Iris by Jon MessengerApatura Iris by Jon Messenger:

Magic is an abomination—one that has grown tired of being hunted.

The Inquisitors have hunted magical creatures for a dozen years, striking fear into the monsters that dare to escape the Rift. In the swamps in Northern Ocker, however, a new evil arises—one that’s not afraid of Inquisitors. One that’s hunting Inquisitors.

One that’s killing Inquisitors.

Still reeling from the pain of recent events, Simon is more than willing to walk into danger. But now he and Luthor must hunt this new evil into the very house of madness: The Sanitarium. And the madness seems to be catching…

Apatura Iris is the fourth book in the Magic and Machinery series by Jon Messenger.

The Gathering by Vanessa NelsonThe Gathering by Vanessa Nelson:

Scarred by a brutal past, she has sworn to help those in need.

As one of the Hundred, Yvonne cannot ignore a plea for help, even if all she wants is a quiet life, somewhere safe for her adopted children to grow into adulthood.

Safety is in short supply. Young people, some of them children, are going missing in large numbers, leaving bewildered and grieving families behind. It’s not something she can ignore.

She finds an unexpected ally in an arrogant goblin lord, who seems intent on following her from place to place. With her skills in magic, and his resources, can they track down the kidnappers and return the children home?

The Gathering is the first book in a new fantasy trilogy series. If you like your fantasy with plenty of mystery and magic, and a strong heroine, you’ll love this new trilogy by Vanessa Nelson.

Get your copy of The Gathering now, to start reading Yvonne’s story.

Memory Aether by Reesha RugrodenMemory Aether by Reesha Rugroden:

Earth is at war, and a secret mission depends on Alexia modifying her boyfriend Michael’s memory, erasing herself completely from his mind. She holds onto his memories in the hope that someday she can reinstate them. But something goes wrong and Michael is captured as a prisoner of war, held on a distant moon. Alexia must work with old friends to decode the memories she extracted. A government agent with his own agenda shows up at just the right time, equipping them with what they need. Alexia doesn’t trust him, but working with him is the only way she can save Michael.

The Girl from the Sea by Jessica RydillThe Girl from the Sea by Jessica Rydill:

When Aude steps out of the sea, she changes three lives; her own and that of a brother and sister born under a curse.

Exiled from her castle home in the far north, Aude is a Doxan, follower of the Mother Goddess, Megalmayar; Yuste and Yuda are Wanderers, a race the Goddess cursed to live without a homeland until the return of her Son.

But the twins are also shamans, destined to wield remarkable powers when they come of age, a time that is drawing near.

Together, the children face a terrible enemy that rises from a lost city under the sea. Will they survive the perils of adolescence in their world, and defeat the threat from beneath the waves?

Canticle of the Midnight Moon by Val St. CroweCanticle of the Midnight Moon by Val St. Crowe:

An uneasy alliance between the former vampire king, Viggo Heathcote, Camber Fordham, and her new mate Landon Bowie, has been formed to search for those stolen by the powerful dark figure.

Viggo claims to love Camber’s sister Desta, and says he will do anything to rescue her, but Camber doesn’t trust him, and Landon straight-up hates him. This doesn’t make it easy to deal with attacking bloodhounds and faulty blood magic, even in the best of circumstances.

But then the three of them are captured by the dark figure as well. Now, in order to save the people she cares about, Camber must also escape. And there is no way out.

Refuge by Glynn StewartRefuge by Glynn Stewart:

A dying world, shattered by a broken machine
A desperate flight, their only hope for refuge
A robotic race, ally and destroyer alike

The Republic of Exilium has grown in strength and confidence at the far end of the galaxy from the rest of mankind, sending out scout ships to survey the worlds around them as they try to learn more about the mysterious Construction Matrix AIs.

Finding one of the genocidal rogues of that mysterious “race” in the process of destroying an inhabited world, Captain Octavio Catalan takes his ship into a desperate battle. He is victorious—but he is too late. The world of the strange aliens he has encountered is doomed.

The distant Republic can barely help, but the honor of their leaders will not permit them to stand idly by. Ships and crews are set into motion to commence a desperate evacuation of their newfound friends, and debts with the strange Matrices are called in.

One branch of Matrices destroyed the planet. Another may well save it—but the AIs have their own agenda and the price they ask may be beyond the Republic and its new allies…

Jane Bond: Dark Side of the Moon by V.R. TapscottJane Bond: Dark Side of the Moon by V.R. Tapscott:

In this sequel to Jane Bond, Jane finds some very interesting things in the basement left behind when Kit went away. Among them is a fully operational space ship.

Of course, the catch is, how can Jane fly it? Once Jane overcomes that hurdle, she and her friends are on the way again – and a new friend by the name of Olive comes along to pilot the ship – and make pancakes.

Who knew pancakes were so important!

But – will pancakes be enough to deal with what lies on the Dark Side of the Moon?

New Enemy by James David VictorNew Enemy by James David Victor:

As if one unstoppable alien force isn’t enough.

Jack and Sam have made it back to the fleet, but have not received a warm welcome. Treated as traitors and scientific curiosities, they must fight to free themselves from their own kind. And if the internal enemy isn’t enough, there’s a new enemy on the horizon that even the Devex fear. Can Jack free himself from his own kind and save humanity from two deadly alien forces?

New Enemy is the fourth book in the Jack Forge, Lost Marine series. If you like fast-paced military science fiction, you will love watching Jack fight for the freedom of all.

The InBetween by Dick WybrowThe InBetween by Dick Wybrow:

Painter Mann is a one-of-a-kind private investigator. He may even be the world’s best, but mainly that’s because he’s dead.

Assisted by his “Temps”— a select few of the very old who are so close to death they can actually hear him— Painter has sworn to help the murder victims stuck in The InBetween by revealing their killers so they can move on.

But, a new mass murder case threatens everything after Painter recognizes the killer’s face as the person who murdered him.

Exposing them will free dozens of ghosts but will also clear Painter, leaving no one to help the souls trapped in The InBetween.

Also, he’s really into the whole private investigator thing. When alive he was never really good at much. Dead? He’s a hell of a PI.

Is Painter willing to risk it all to save those he’s sworn to help?

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for July 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some June books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, culinary mysteries, historical mysteries, jazz age mysteries, WWII mysteries, paranormal mysteries, science fiction mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, action thrillers, spy thrillers, paranormal thrillers, police procedurals, private investigators, amateur sleuths, lawyers, profilers, missing persons, organised crime, wrongful convictions, crime-busting witches, crime-busting bakers, crime-busting grannies, crime-busting sports agents, undead detectives, telepathic dogs, murders in small towns and big cities, at the seaside, at the circus and in country manors, in Florida, Southern California, Northumbria, Scotland, the Louisiana bayous and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Crime Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Indie Crime Scene, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things crime fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Frosted Donuts and Fatal Falls by Cindy BellFrosted Donuts and Fatal Falls by Cindy Bell:

Joyce and Brenda walk a tightrope of danger as they race to find the truth before the circus moves on and the murderer disappears!

The circus is in town and Joyce and Brenda are excited that Donuts on the Move will be one of the vendors at the event. The circus has a close-knit, fun, eclectic bunch of performers and crew, and Joyce and Brenda are looking forward to getting to know them and to watch them in action.

But when one of the performers falls to his death, Joyce and Brenda find themselves right in the middle of a murder mystery. They land up juggling a long list of suspects and clues in order to help uncover the truth. But will they drop the ball before the murderer is caught?

It is a race against time for Joyce and Brenda to find the murderer before the circus moves to its next destination.

Murder by Chocolate by Beth ByersMurder by Chocolate by Beth Byers:

July 1925

Lady Violet is Mrs. Wakefield now, and she’s settled rather comfortably into her life. During a trip to her country house, she meets a chocolate artisan, she decides that nothing else will suit than an evening at home—with chocolate—as a married woman.

When she invites her friends to her house, she little expects her home to be christened not by chocolate but by murder. Yet again, Vi, Jack, and friends are dragged into a murder investigation. Just who would commit the crime of poisoning chocolate? And why?

Pursuits Unknown by Ellen ClaryPursuits Unknown by Ellen Clary:

Amy and her kelpie-shepherd mix, Lars, work with a search team that specializes in finding lost people. Despite his average-mutt appearance, Lars is no ordinary dog. He and Amy have a telepathic connection. While Lars has a lot to learn about human language, their bond allows them to communicate in unusual ways and is a boon to their success rate.

When Amy and Lars find a missing scientist suffering from the Alzheimer’s-like disorder “Disorientation,” Amy and her support team realize this is not a typical lost-person case. Instead, this assignment appears to be an attempt to steal this man’s highly sensitive research on nanotechnology—which, in the wrong hands, could be used to wipe out undesirables from their overpopulated world. Forced to go undercover to seek out the truth, Amy will have to confront—and surpass—her own limitations.

Cajun Fried Felony by Jana DeLeonCajun Fried Felony by Jana DeLeon:

Venus Thibodeaux had a reputation for being trouble. Some said she started at birth. When she finally left Sinful shortly after turning eighteen, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. When she blew back into town four years later, no one was happy about her return. She immediately launched into her same old scams, picking off Sinful residents with ease before disappearing again as quickly as she’d appeared.

Everyone assumed she’d headed back to New Orleans.

But when an accident at the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Run uncovers her body, everyone Venus took for a ride becomes a suspect. The man at the top of that list sees the writing on the wall and hires Fortune to figure out who killed Venus, before he goes to prison for a murder he didn’t commit. Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie start poking around into Venus’s complicated life, hoping to find the killer. And to solve their first official case.

Tight Lies by Ted DentonTight Lies by Ted Denton:

Ted Denton’s explosive debut novel is an exhilarating action thriller pitching the privileged seductive world of a professional sports’ agent against a backdrop of political double dealing, corporate corruption and brutal violence. A young Daniel Ratchet arrives in Spain to begin his dream job as a golf agent on the European Tour. In London, the Russian Rublex Corporation, with its history mired in ‘Vory’ mafia criminality, is working on a huge gas deal off the Falkland Islands with the British government. Veteran civil servant Derek Hemmings is tasked to rubber-stamp the deal for the Foreign Office. But things are not what they seem … With the help of Wallace, a cantankerous old golf coach, Daniel discovers match fixing, fraud and corruption on the Tour, all at the seeming behest of Rublex. A thorn in the Russians’ side, Daniel is kidnapped before he can expose the truth. Wallace, needing help, contacts an old army buddy who deploys violent loose cannon Tom Hunter on the mission to save him. A tense race against time ensues – both to rescue Daniel from the clutches of the ‘Vory’ and for Hemmings in Whitehall to prove that the deadly deal is corrupt. The stakes are high. As the body count mounts will the volatile Hunter get to the truth or will he be just too late? Dead or alive. The truth always comes at a cost.

On a Quiet Street by J.L. DoucetteOn a Quiet Street by J.L. Doucette:

When the fiancée of a prominent attorney is murdered, Dr. Pepper Hunt joins forces again with Detective Beau Antelope of the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Department to search for the killer.

Prosecutor Connor Collin’S dreams are shattered when Stacy Hart is found strangled in their home a month before their wedding. He’s convinced Jack Swailes, the contractor who found the body, killed her in a jealous rage. And Jack looks guilty when he mysteriously disappears later that day.

The investigation takes a different turn when Pepper uses her clinical skills to probe below the surface of the perfect couple’s lives. Chilling secrets and sinister motives that lead back to unsolved crimes with a direct link to Stacy’s murder are finally brought to light.

Ann's War: Victory by Hannah HoweAnn’s War: Victory by Hannah Howe:

The war is over and Ann’s community is preparing for the VE Day celebrations. However, not everyone is in a celebratory mood. Ann’s husband, Emrys, has returned from France, a shadow of the man who left to serve his country. What happened in France? What thoughts are weighing heavily on Emrys’ mind?

Meanwhile, Doris Michael hires Ann to find her brother, Glyn, a man she hasn’t seen for two years. What has happened to Glyn? And what crucial part did he play in determining the outcome of the war?

As Ann seeks answers, she realises that even though the war is over, the true battle has only just begun, the battle to win the peace.

18 Minutes by Ethan Jones18 Minutes by Ethan Jones:

What choice can he make with only 18 minutes?

FSB Agent Max Thorne might be shy and lack confidence, but he has never lost any of the high-value detainees he transports … yet. Assigned a daunting new mission, Max must lead a two-man team and transfer a high-profile banker to a safehouse in Moscow. Meanwhile, overwhelming opposition is determined to free the banker at any cost.

With no safehouse, no backup, and no options, Max must make an impossible choice.

But can he do it in only 18 minutes?

Turtle Cove by Marc LandauTurtle Cove by Marc Landau:

“It’s a shell of a beach read!”

Nolan Parker just wants to relax, paint some turtles, and toss a ball with the dog. But like much of life, thing’s aren’t going as planned. The economy is supposedly, “The greatest in the history of the world,” but he’s just scraping by. What starts out as a side hustle to pay for wifi and dog treats, ends up with Nolan chasing a teenage runaway around the beaches of Florida trying not to get killed. Worse, his tropical paradise has been invaded by a crew of wacky Floridians…and maybe an alligator.

Will Nolan find the kid and get the girl? Or will the sunshine state suck him into its swamplands?

To Spell With It by Amanda M. LeeTo Spell With It by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter thinks she’s seen everything – okay, maybe not everything but a lot of things – but she’s never seen a cupid convention.When her good friend Booker’s fellow cupids descend on Moonstone Bay, she thinks it’s going to be fun and games. Instead, it’s mayhem and mystery when a rash of suicides and attempted suicides hit random island residents.That means it’s off to the races to solve another mystery.Hadley has been doing a lot of thinking about her life. She wants a career, not a job. She also wants to uncover a murderer. Even though her boyfriend Galen tries to keep her out of the case, she’s bound and determined to be in the thick of things.Galen’s fears come to fruition when something starts calling to Hadley in her dreams and he’s convinced whatever creature convinced the others to try to kill themselves is now after Hadley.Between egocentric cupids who are at war with each other, a big mystery regarding the origin of some of Hadley’s favorite paranormal friends, and her own determination, Hadley isn’t giving up without answers.She’s used to having magical backup at every turn. This time, she’s going to have to fight the ultimate battle alone.Is she up to the challenge? She’d better be. Everyone she loves is in danger and she’s the only one who can save them.It’s time to witch up … and she’s ready.

Back of the Bayou by Dawn Lee McKennaBack of the Bayou by Dawn Lee McKenna:

Miss Evangeline, a middle-aged Creole woman, takes it upon herself to care for a little Cajun boy when his beautiful mother is killed. The first time she walked down the dirt road to the boy’s remote and ramshackle home, she had no idea she would walk that road for decades. She also had no idea how important that boy would become to her, or how their lives were about to be permanently interwoven.

Back of the Bayou moves through the 50s and 60s with these two beloved characters from the series, and reveals not only the events that made them who they are, but the shared experiences that made them who they are to each other.

Murder in Cold Mud by Emily OrganMurder in Cold Mud by Emily Organ:

Having established themselves as a successful detective duo, pensioners Annabel Churchill and Doris Pemberley face a new case.

The Compton Poppleford Horticultural Society Annual Show is just around the corner but there’s a problem: someone is murdering the competitors. Stories of vegetable rivalry abound as the local constabulary, Inspector Mappin, investigates.

When the death toll increases, Mappin drafts in assistance but refuses to allow Churchill and Pemberley to help. The two ladies decide to solve the case themselves, however their efforts are hampered by the inspector’s accusations of meddling.

Can Churchill and Pemberley battle the odds to find the culprit before another gardener dies? Compton Poppleford’s long-buried secrets are unearthed as the duo close in on the killer in their midst.

Murder in Bloom by Carly ReidMurder in Bloom by Carly Reid:

A bad breakup, a new business…

…and a body in the cellar.

Jessica’s future might be temporarily on hold, but her Aunt Reenie’s could be over. Has Jessica got what it takes to solve the mystery before Reenie runs out of time?

When Jessica Greer comes to Scotland to help Aunt Reenie set up a new flower shop, her plan is to spend the summer getting over her ex-boyfriend and find some distance and comfort in her ancestral home – as well as donning those paint overalls and getting Reenie’s business ready for opening day of course. But when the local estate agent turns up dead in the new shop cellar, and the locals seems keen to pin the crime on an outsider, Jessica finds herself drawn in to the events, secrets and drama of a not-so-sleepy Scottish village.

If you enjoy a classic cozy whodunnit, kick off the Dalkinchie Mysteries with Murder in Bloom.

What You Did by Willow RoseWhat You Did by Willow Rose

Three girls disappear on prom night at the local high school. One of them is the prom queen.

FBI profiler Eva Rae Thomas is chasing her long-lost sister when detective— and boyfriend — Matt Miller asks her to join the investigation of the three girls’ disappearance. They were last seen walking home together after the dance.

When the body of a young girl shows up in her backyard, Eva Rae knows she can no longer watch from the sidelines, and soon she realizes not only is she involved in this investigation, she’s also this killer’s target.

WHAT YOU DID is the second book in the Eva Rae Thomas Mystery Series and can be read as a standalone.

Penshaw by L.J. RossPenshaw by L.J. Ross:

When you sell your soul, the devil gives no refunds…

When an old man is burned alive in a sleepy ex-mining village, Detective Chief Inspector Ryan is called in to investigate. He soon discovers that, beneath the facade of a close-knit community, the burn from decades-old betrayal still smoulders. When everyone had a motive, can he unravel the secrets of the past before the killer strikes again?

Meanwhile, back at Northumbria CID, trouble is brewing with rumours of a mole in Ryan’s department. With everyone under suspicion, can he count on anybody but himself?

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.

Wrongful Conviction by Rachel SinclairWrongful Conviction by Rachel Sinclair:

A young black boy serving life in prison…
A city on fire…
One man stands between a life behind bars and total exoneration…

Christian Davis, a former big-firm lawyer turned social justice warrior, has just been assigned the case of his life by the State of California. Jamel Jackson, a 16-year-old black boy, has just been convicted for the brutal rape of a prominent movie star.

Christian digs into the case with gusto, as he examines the trial court transcript for any hint that the trial court might have erred in Jamel’s case. As he gets into the investigation of the case, he’s shocked at what he has found. Corruption at the highest level is staring him in the face.

The problem is, the person who Christian suspects was actually behind the rape is somebody who is powerful and connected. And this person will stop at anything to make sure that young Jamel stays in prison for the crime.

Christian soon finds himself not only fighting the system, but also trying to stay one step ahead of the man who Christian knows was the one who raped the actress.

Because Christian knows that Jamel will not remain in prison for this rich bastard’s crime.

And he will risk all, even his life, to make that doesn’t happen.

The InBetween by Dick WybrowThe InBetween by Dick Wybrow:

Painter Mann is a one-of-a-kind private investigator. He may even be the world’s best, but mainly that’s because he’s dead.

Assisted by his “Temps”— a select few of the very old who are so close to death they can actually hear him— Painter has sworn to help the murder victims stuck in The InBetween by revealing their killers so they can move on.

But, a new mass murder case threatens everything after Painter recognizes the killer’s face as the person who murdered him.

Exposing them will free dozens of ghosts but will also clear Painter, leaving no one to help the souls trapped in The InBetween.

Also, he’s really into the whole private investigator thing. When alive he was never really good at much. Dead? He’s a hell of a PI.

Is Painter willing to risk it all to save those he’s sworn to help?

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