Clues and Easter Eggs 2021 – A Round-Up of Indie Easter Mysteries and Crime Fiction

Clues and Easter eggs bannerOur monthly round-ups of new speculative fiction and new crime fiction releases by indie authors are a perennially popular feature. Therefore, we now offer you a round-up of our favourite Easter mysteries, crime novels and thrillers by indie and small press authors.

The holiday mysteries cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, culinary mysteries, animal mysteries, paranormal mysteries, historical mysteries, police procedurals, crime thrillers, police officers, amateur sleuths, drug dealers, vanished bodies, stolen Fabergé eggs, missing children, kidnappings, deadly Easter egg hunts, crime-fighting bakers, crime-fighting hairstylists, crime-fighting dogs and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set on or around Easter.

As always with my round-up posts, this round-up of the best indie holiday mysteries 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:

The Easter Evader by Mathiya AdamsThe Easter Evader by Mathiya Adams:

MacFarland has been asked to solve a murder–but the body has disappeared!

The Easter Evader, a special holiday novella, just in time for those enjoying the Easter holidays who want something short to read. MacFarland must find out what happened to the body of a deceased teenager. Was it stolen for nefarious purposes, or is something even more sinister going on? Rufus and MacFarland join forces to solve the case of the Easter Evader.

 

The Easter Make Believers by Finn BellThe Easter Make Believers by Finn Bell:

When an innocent family is taken hostage in their home no one is prepared for how fast it all goes terribly wrong.

With the small community of Lawrence still reeling from shock, detectives Nick Cooper and Tobe White stand among the dead bodies knowing it’s not over. Relief that the two young daughters have survived quickly turns to fear for their missing father, somehow impossibly vanishing from a house surrounded by police.

The mystery deepens as Nick and Tobe realize they know every gunman lying dead here – up to last night they were the leaders of the biggest criminal gang in the country. The desperate search and rescue efforts soon collide with their own challenging investigation into a deeper, older tragedy.

Where they begin to learn just how far someone will go for those he truly, dearly hates.

Bloody Easter by Ray BoxallBloody Easter by Ray Boxall:

Crime thriller set in London in the present. Taking place over an eight day period during Easter, what starts as a massive police effort to finally end the criminal career of London’s biggest home-grown drug dealer turns into a nightmare as lives are lost, reputations destroyed, and personal relationships are shattered.

Nineteen years ago, as a teenager, Detective Inspector Ray Chalmers applied to join the Metropolitan Police Force, arguing it needed people like him from the City’s huge social housing estates as they could best relate to the criminals’ outlook and lives. But he told lies on his application form. Now, when agreeing to join the Serious Crime Squad that is after London’s biggest drug dealer, he omits to mention he once lived with the man’s sister-in-law.

In attempting to get his revenge on the man for destroying his teenage years, Ray leaves no stone unturned, using his private knowledge of the man. But no-one is prepared for the murderous response of the dealer’s secret Russian business associates.Then Ray’s secret past returns to haunt him when he meets the nineteen year old girl that he abandoned when she was only five months’ old. She has all the answers to the case, but is also the go-between for the drug dealer and his Russian associates, and has long written off her life as valueless. She also has her own secret agenda and, clashing with Ray, unleashes her resentment on him without caring about the possible consequences to herself. It leaves a guilt-stricken Ray with no choice but to prevent her from self-destruction, and stake everything on bringing the dealer and his associates to justice.

The Fabergé Easter Egg by Sharon E. BuckThe Fabergé Easter Egg by Sharon E. Buck:

Parker Bell is being yanked back to Po’thole once again. This time she’s involved in an international mystery surrounding a Fabergé Easter Egg and a Russian billionaire.

Snowbirds Anne and Chauncey Livingstone aka Tsar Chauncey and Tsarina Anne winter in Po’thole, pronounced Po Ho by the natives and Pot Hole by anyone north of the Georgia state line, from the frigid tundra north (Maine). They have a Fabergé egg. Is it real or is it a fake? What does Russian billionaire Anatoly Petrov have to do with it?

Bestselling author and computer company owner Parker Bell is back in her hometown for international mystery, intrigue, and, of course, Po’thole’s own brand of craziness with the Lady Gatorettes – Misty Dawn, Mary Jane, Rhonda Jean, Flo, and Myrtle Sue – five hormonal caffeine-and-sugar infused women who are die-hard University of Florida football fans.

Why are the Russians so intent on trying to kidnap or kill everyone over the Fabergé Easter egg? Why in Po’thole of all places?

A hilarious romp with crazy characters and believable enough that it might be true. The Fabergé Easter Egg is the 3rd book in the Parker Bell Cozy Mystery series.

Egg Hunt by Cora BuhlertEgg Hunt by Cora Buhlert:

When a priceless Fabergé egg goes missing from a locked room in the London townhouse of Russian oligarch Yevgeny Ivanov, everybody quickly suspects Eva Hart, Ivanov’s cleaning lady and single mother.

But Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd has her doubts about this theory, for Eva Hart has no motive, since the egg is unsellable on the free market. But what does Eva’s little daughter Emily know? And what happened to the egg?

This is a mystery novelette of 7500 words or approx. 25 pages.

Easter, 1929 by Frank W. Butterfield:

Sunday, March 31, 1929

Mrs. Wilson Jones (Louise) of Albany, Georgia, wakes up on yet another Sunday morning to discover her husband didn’t come home after carousing down at Louray’s by the river.

But she doesn’t have time to worry. Easter dinner will be at her sister’s house and Mrs. Jones has biscuits to bake. So, she turns on the radio, begins to sing with The Chambers Family Quintet, broadcasting over WSJ in Atlanta, and gets the buttermilk out of the icebox. There’s work to be done and Mrs. Jones is a good cook, keeps a clean house, and always delivers on her promises.

Welcome to a year of holidays with Nick Williams and Carter Jones!

This is the eight in a series of short stories all centered around specific holidays.

Each story is a vignette that stands on its own and takes place from the 1920s to 2008.

Easter Buried Eggs by Lyndsey ColeEaster Buried Eggs by Lyndsey Cole:

The smell of burnt cake is not a good omen for Annie when she arrives at the Black Cat Cafe. But little does she know that her Aunt Leona’s cooking disaster is only the first of many problems she’ll be served in a big basket of cracked Easter eggs.

Annie quickly learns that being in charge at the Black Cat Café isn’t all chocolate-covered strawberries and carrot cakes. In addition to the variety of tasty pastries she needs to make for Easter, she stumbles on a body and what appears to be a robbery.

With money disappearing from bank accounts, snooping seniors appearing out of the blue, and clues turning up in the most unlikely places, Annie’s problems sizzle more than Leona’s hot cross buns.

Determined to help her new friends, Annie and her therapy dog land in the middle of a murder investigation. Clues pile higher than a basket of Easter eggs, all pointing to one of the seniors. Annie searches for something to keep her friend from landing in a jail cell but instead, Annie ends up right in the killer’s crosshairs.

Easter Hair Hunt by Nancy J. CohenEaster Hair Hunt by Nancy J. Cohen:

Hare today, dead tomorrow… Can a stylish sleuth pull a rabbit out of her hat to solve an Easter murder in this to-dye-for cozy mystery?

When hairstylist Marla Vail attends an Easter egg hunt at historic Tremayne Manor, she’s only there to fix hair for a client, Bonnie “Blinky” Morris. But when she’s asked to comb the grounds for leftover goodies, Marla discovers more than just a few dyed eggs. The dead body in the bunny costume is definitely not having a good hare day. And Blinky seems to have disappeared down a rabbit hole.

When trying to solve a murder, everyone needs a friend who’s all ears. For Marla, that’s her husband, homicide detective Dalton Vail. They make an eggcellent team. Dalton isn’t the kind to leap to conclusions, but with his wife seven months pregnant, and knowing Marla finds crime-solving to be irresistible, he worries about her running off on another hare-raising adventure.

Marla’s peeps are hoping for a happy ending, but she may have found a basketful of trouble this time. Can she crack the case before Blinky becomes the next victim?

Big Bunny Bump Off by Kathi DaleyBig Bunny Bump Off by Kathi Daley:

Spring is in the air and with the warm weather comes an abundance of babies; human and otherwise. Things seem to be right on course until Jack Frost comes to town throwing the entire town of Ashton Falls into chaos. When Zoe sees the Easter Bunny running from a murder scene during a freak snowstorm she must track down the ‘Cartoon Bandits’ in order to catch a killer.

 

 

Easter Escapade by Kathi DaleyEaster Escapade by Kathi Daley:

In the first ever crossover episode, Zak and Zoe join forces with Hawaiian visitors Luke and Lani, to find out who killed a historian visiting Ashton Falls in order to find a treasure map left by his grandfather a hundred years earlier. Meanwhile, Ellie and Levi move in with Zak and Zoe while the boathouse is being renovated and Alex helps Ellie prepare the nursery for baby Eli who is due to be born any day. Throw in some humor and Easter fun and you have a Zak and Zoe crossover mystery.

 

Hippity Hoppity Homicide by Kathi DaleyHippity Hoppity Homicide by Kathi Daley:

It comes down to a few critical seconds as Zoe is forced to either outsmart a genius or watch her husband die.

With Easter only a week away, Zoe is pulled into a dangerous game after Zak is kidnapped, and the person who kidnapped him, challenges Zoe to The Sleuthing Game. Zoe is told that the only way to gain Zak’s freedom is to complete the challenges in the time allotted.

If she fails, Zak will die.

Zoe had promised she would retire from sleuthing now that she had an infant to care for, but the stakes are high, so she leaves the kids with Ellie, while she and Levi set out to beat a madman at their own game.

Lord James Harrington and the Easter Mystery by Lynn FlorkiewiczLord James Harrington and the Easter Mystery by Lynn Florkiewicz:

Meet Lord James Harrington and his delightful wife, Beth; residents of the tiny village of Cavendish, deep in the heart of West Sussex in England. They adore hosting seasonal events, running their country hotel, keeping the local folklore alive and listening to the latest murder mystery on the wireless. But mysteries don’t always remain on the airwaves…

It’s Easter and the Cavendish residents are discussing the traditional festivities along with the proposed Easter egg hunt on the Harrington estate. But when the vicar’s dog digs up a bone, things take a turn for the worse. Retracing the dog’s walk, James uncovers a skeleton buried in the woods. Studying the remains, he identifies a number of expensive items. With the likelihood that the victim could be someone well-to-do, James is concerned that he may know the victim and puts his sleuthing hat on.

With investigations under way and a long list of suspects with motive and opportunity, James is confident that it won’t take long to solve the mysterious death. But a chance conversation turns the whole enquiry on its head. With his good friend, DCI Lane, involved in a current murder enquiry, James takes it upon himself to delve deeper. His questions take him from the quiet village of Cavendish to the beautiful city of Boston where more surprises await. James calls upon many of his contacts to help him track down the murderer. Will he bring the killer to justice or is he on a wild goose chase?

Join James, Beth and the Cavendish regulars as they enjoy the Easter events and embark on another adventure.

Easter Sunday by Thomas HollydayEaster Sunday by Thomas Hollyday:

A father’s love and family anguish. Hank Green’s young son, Bobby, is lost in a cave beneath a water-drenched swamp of the Chesapeake Bay. The wilderness is known for Native American mystery as well as an unsolved World War Two secret. Even worse, a powerful Easter Sunday storm with its flood surge is barreling down. Hank rushes to join the team of experienced local firemen and friends who will try to find and rescue his son before the boy drowns. Yet he feels once again his own numbing personal terror. He is overcome by a lifelong claustrophobic fear of entering closed spaces like caves. It’s a phobia he inherited from his immigrant father, a displaced person from the 1945 European war, and his own Vietnam experience. He knows if the others lose hope and fail, he will go on alone and risk his life to save his child. He must find a way to conquer his weakness but time is running out.

Killer Easter Pie by Carolyn Q. HunterKiller Easter Pie by Carolyn Q. Hunter:

When a jewelry shop in the Old Market is robbed, and an expensive jeweled egg is stolen, it seems someone might be out to ruin Easter.

For pie shop owner Bertha Hannah, however, she has very little time to think about crime as she is preparing for the annual city Easter Egg Hunt at the community gardens. Businesses and churches from all over the city are contributing to the event, and Bert has a new pie recipe planned for the day.

Festivities are brought to a screeching halt, however, when a body is found in the bushes. Is this new death connected to the egg robbery? When the finger of accusation seems to be pointed in the direction of a friend, Bert knows it is up to her to solve this mystery before the Easter Bunny hops away with all the clues.

Easter Eggs and Shotgun Shells by Madison JohnsEaster Eggs and Shotgun Shells by Madison Johns

Being in charge of the annual Easter Egg Hunt is challenging enough for Agnes and Eleanor, but even more so when they assist Bernice in finding rabbits for the event. Unfortunately for the sleuths, instead of bunnies, they stumble across a body.

The sleuths are hunting for the killer now, but soon it appears the killer is hunting for them too. Can Agnes and Eleanor outsmart the killer or will they become the next victims?

 

Bunny Drop by Linda P. KozarBunny Drop by Linda P. Kozar:

To bunnies everywhere! From jackrabbits to cottontails to lovable lop-eared cuties, chinchillas, harlequins, dwarfs, angoras and each and every breed, I dedicate this mystery to the rascally rabbits of the world. Oh, and especially to chocolate Easter bunnies. My favorite kind.

 

 

 

The Easter Egg Ennui by Katy LeenThe Easter Egg Ennui by Katy Leen:

It’s almost Easter. Time for bunnies, bonnets, and bonbons. Not bedlam. Unless you’re Lora Weaver, that is.

With the scent of spring in the air and the promise of a long weekend looming, Lora is looking forward to a few days relaxing with her beau Adam, taking long walks and short naps snuggled together in the warm glow of Easter chocolate wrappers.

Until Lora spots a bouquet of Easter lilies at the home of bff Camille Caron’s aunt and soon finds herself donning a bunny suit and slinging more than Easter eggs.

Whiskers deep in a mêlée of sparring seniors, Lora must keep herself from falling into a rabbit hole she can’t escape. All while grappling with the clamorous Caron clan, mama-to-be Tina, and Lora’s enigma of a boss, Laurent, who may be hiding more secrets than a Kinder egg.

The Easter Egg Ennui is a holiday novella from the Lora Weaver series.

The Easter Sunday Slaughter by Imogen PlimpThe Easter Sunday Slaughter by Imogen Plimp:

APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY FLOWERS
And a bouquet of murderous intrigue…

Amateur sleuth (and ace baker) Claire Andersen is back! Winter melts to spring in scenic Galway, Maryland, uncovering blooming friendships new and old, a shyly budding romance, the rotten stench of organized crime, and family drama more garish than Claire’s emerging blood lilies.

Settling in just fine to her new Appalachian digs (and getting the hang of this whole proprietress of a B&B thing, too!), NYC native Claire Andersen is living a cozy small town fairy tale. There are quirky local characters and adorable little shops, not to mention a kitchen full of mouth-watering baked goodies. She’s a veritable June Cleaver—if Leave It to Beaver were nestled in the mountains and June were a recently retired empty nester, that is.

There’s just one problem. Claire can hardly say “Gee, golly” before her newly-acquainted and much-beloved neighbor winds up murdered in cold blood, right before Galway’s annual Easter parade. Hot off the heels of her last murder, Claire can’t help but get involved (much to the chagrin of the well-meaning albeit bumbling town sheriff). She can hardly help herself, after all. The murder did take place right next door … and the victim’s family is staying in her B&B… Ever the hostess, poking around is the least she could do.

Little does Claire know the victim’s family is just the tip of the iceberg. The rest of the iceberg consists of age-old secrets so duplicitous, they’d make Eddie Haskell run for the hills.

Mix in Claire’s feisty sidekick Evelyn, her ever-lovable bloodhound Rupert, and a mountain of mocha and strawberry buttercream cupcakes—and Claire finds she’s in business. The sleuthing business. Perhaps even the mafia business. But she’d better tread carefully—or she’ll wind up another discarded, frozen body in the aforementioned iceberg (with a spring thaw nowhere in sight).

Chicory is Trickery by Sheri RicheyChicory is Trickery by Sheri Richey:

It’s springtime in Spicetown and Mayor Cora Mae Bingham discovers there may be trouble blooming along with the rhododendrons!

With construction in full throttle in the new subdivisions and the income tax filing deadline looming over her head, Mayor Cora Mae Bingham is revamping the Annual Easter Eggs-Travaganza and trying to figure out who is in the Easter bunny suit this year, when a dead body has to be added to her To-Do list.

 

The Easter Egg Murder by Patricia Smith WoodThe Easter Egg Murder by Patricia Smith Wood:

Harrie McKinsey and her best friend and business partner Ginger Vaughn discover that some secrets are best left buried when retired Senator Philip Lawrence hires their editing firm to assist him with a book about the famous unsolved 1950 murder of a cocktail waitress that led to the end of illegal casinos in New Mexico. When the Albuquerque newspaper announces that Senator Lawrence is writing the book, one person with a connection to the case is murdered and another narrowly escapes death. Despite the best efforts of Ginger’s husband and an FBI agent Harrie finds infuriatingly attractive, the energetic pair cannot resist trying to discover who is so anxious to destroy the book, the senator and his big secret. But will their proficiency and pluck be up to the challenge when they land in a dark house with a cold, calculating killer who has nothing else to lose?

A Medium's Easter Epiphany by Chariss K. WalkerA Medium’s Easter Epiphany by Chariss K. Walker:

A boyfriend changes everything!

In book five of the Becky Tibbs cozy, ghost mystery series, Becky must learn how to juggle her personal and business life now that she has a real boyfriend! This is a first for Becky and her new schedule sometimes feels overwhelming.

At Becky’s encouragement, Bobby and Barbara have finally decided to accept their special ability too. At least, they are open to using their gift if the opportunity presents itself.

Barbara actually manages to help someone new with their ghost problem and the meeting turns into something more. Unlike Marty, Barb’s ex-boyfriend, this new person, Christopher, accepts Barbara and her capabilities exactly as she is. In fact, he is impressed.

Jealousy rears its ugly head!

Marty finally goes off the deep end and Becky must help Patty come to terms with his rage.

Becky’s epiphany, or sudden realization, is a concept that would be beneficial to everyone.

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Magic and Easter Eggs 2021 – A Round-up of Indie Easter Speculative Fiction

Magic and Easter Eggs bannerOur monthly round-ups of new speculative fiction and new crime fiction releases by indie authors are a perennially popular feature. Therefore, we now offer you a round-up of our favourite Easter speculative fiction by indie and small press authors.

These Easter stories cover the broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, children’s fantasy, science fiction, horror, dragons, werewolves, were-reindeer, Easter elves, magical geese, crime-busting mediums, fluffy killer bunnies from outer space and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set on or around Easter.

As always with my round-up posts, this round-up of the best indie holiday speculative fiction is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog 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:

Operation Rubber Ducky by Cora BuhlertOperation Rubber Ducky by Cora Buhlert:

Three short tales of anthropomorphic terror, featuring Trojan toys, axe-wielding ducks and fluffy killer rabbits from outer space.

When the world is besieged by Kaiju, the only weapon that can stop them turns out to be a rubber ducky with a deadly secret…

His name is whispered in terror: Mock Duck, the mad axe-man of Chinatown, deadly enforcer for the triads. No one has ever seen his face and lived to tell the tale. Which is probably for the better, because Mock Duck’s nickname is more accurate than anybody could have guessed…

It’s the latest psychiatric epidemic to sweep the nation: Angoraphobia, a pathological fear of fluffy angora sweaters. Those who suffer from the disorder claim that fluffy killer rabbits from outer space are trying to conquer the Earth and exterminate humanity. Are they merely deluded or could they perchance be right?

Three bizarro short stories of 7000 words or approximately 24 pages altogether.

Legend of the Easter Dragon by Kelsey HodgeLegend of the Easter Dragon by Kelsey Hodge:

Alwyn

Secrets and ancient prophecies are all make-believe, right?

I’m nobody special, just your average person looking forward to the one day a year I get to spend with my best friend. Suddenly, when fairytales and prophecies storm into my life, everything changes… quite literally.

Llewellyn

Some secrets are necessary when the truth is unbelievable.

Alwyn’s always been special to me, but there are things I keep hidden from him. Revelations that are too unbelievable for the human world. When my best friend is suddenly thrust into my world, the truth must be told, and our friendship and future change in ways I never expected—but always secretly hoped for.

Collected Easter Horror Shorts, edited by Kevin J. KennedyCollected Easter Horror Shorts, edited by Kevin J. Kennedy:

From the darkest recesses of some of the horror world’s most chilling minds, Kevin J. Kennedy brings back together some of the authors that brought you Collected Christmas Horror Shorts, alongside several new authors, from upcoming indie stars to Amazon top sellers.

Whether you like Easter or not, you’ll certainly have a different view of it after you read the stories contained within these pages.

Grab an Easter egg, dim the lights, get cosy and get ready for some chilling tales by some of the horror world’s finest.

C.S.Anderson – He Has Risen
Christopher Motz – Magic Awaits
Veronica Smith? – It’s Not All About Bunnies and Chocolates
Peter Oliver Wonder? – Easter Gunny
Mark Cassell? – The Rebirth
Andrew Lennon? – Trying To Write A Horror Story
Mark Lukens? – Mia’s Easter Basket
Lex Jones? – SonnesHill
JC Michael? – Lord of The Dance
Steven Stacy – Echoes of The Bunny-Man
Weston Kincade? & David Chrisley – An Easter Prayer
Christina Bergling? – Hatch
James Matthew Byers? – Killer Jelly Beans from Outer Space (poem)
Jeff Menapace? – Paying It Forward
Jeff Strand? – Rotten Eggs
Lisa Vasquez? – Bunny and Clyde
Mark Fleming? – Sulphur
Suzanne Fox – Last Supper
Briana Robertson? – Baby Blues
Latashia Figueroa – Easter Eggs
Amy Cross – Lamb to Slaughter
Kevin J. Kennedy – A Town Called Easter

Georgie's Eggcellent Adventure by Sam E. KraemerGeorgie’s Eggcellent Adventure by Sam E. Kraemer:

Georgie Peppermint

What’s an elf gotta do to get respect?

When I’m called to Administration, I’m skeptical that the summons is related to any appreciation the Claus’ feel about how hard I work in the Porcelain Department as a detail painter. I believe it’s somehow in retaliation for my misunderstood relationship with Jingle Bell. Much to my surprise—and concern—I’m given a new assignment to become the Ambassador to the Mystical Convention… I’m being sent to the South Pacific to assist the Easter Bunny.

What awaits me isn’t clear, but I’m determined to shine at my task and show all the nay-sayers that Georgie Peppermint is destined for greatness.

***

Remy Beauchamp

Spring. A symbol of rebirth with blooming flowers, trees, and the arrival of babies in every species. It was always my favorite time of the year, but this year it’s bittersweet. I have a lovely life that’s idyllic to everyone who sees it, but all I see when I look around is loss.

For years, I’ve provided the eggs for Peter Cotton, a local import/exporter on Rapa Nui—Easter Island to outsiders—who holds a worldwide food drive every Spring to celebrate the rebirth on the planet. Sadly, I lost my partner last year, and unless I can find some help, I won’t be able to produce nearly enough eggs to help feed the masses.

Enter the oddly beautiful man wearing tourist clothes and a strange little straw hat. He’s nice and hard-working, a friend of Mr. Cotton’s, and has been sent to the island to assist me. I’m not sure how he can help, but with the sweetly cynical man around, I’m a lot less lonely.

People say there’s magic on Easter Island, thanks to the gods and goddesses who watch over its inhabitants, but never did I believe I’d come face-to-face with the manifestation of the mystical forces. And it all starts with the arrival of Georgie Pepper.

This work of fiction is approximately 32,000 words in length and doesn’t end in a cliffhanger. It is part of the Easter series, “Elves After Dawn.”

The Elf's Easter Wolf by Beau LeFebvreThe Elf’s Easter Wolf by Beau LeFebvre

What’s a wolf to do when he’s the spare and not the heir to the Alpha of the pack?

Markos was looking forward to Easter, and now it’s been ruined by his father’s announcement that he is to be mated to an omega from another pack.

Not gonna happen.

Leaving his pack behind, Markos becomes lost and, guided only by his wolf’s instincts, finds himself in a valley filled with the colors of spring, the smells of chocolate, and a meadow full of numerous fluffy puffballs… Bunnies?

What was Fate thinking?

Estienne never expected his mate to show up out of nowhere, or to be a wolf, for that matter. And right before Easter of all times.

Maybe ignoring the big bad wolf would be the best idea for now…

But the Easter Bunny has other ideas, and Estienne’s own bunny isn’t so averse to the idea of Markos as a mate. Throw in the arrival of an entire wolf pack, and Easter preparations are tossed completely off the rails.

Just great.

The Elf’s Easter Wolf is a Paranormal MM romance of around 30,000 words featuring a workaholic elf bunny shifter and his surprise Easter wolf shifter mate.

My Clearwater Elf by Morgan MasonMy Clearwater Elf by Morgan Mason:

After a split with his business associate, Matthew moves in with his dad, determined to help him restore his old farmhouse. His world is turned upside down when a small stranger with pointy ears trespasses on their land and steals off with an injured rabbit they’d rescued. Together with his dad, Matthew goes for a hike into the forest near their property in search of the mysterious but gorgeous bunny thief.

Calaet is a conscientious, hard-working elf, who’s committed to helping his colony make every Easter into a success. The newly appointed hare in charge threatens to topple all of his hard work when he fails to show up in time to oversee the preparations for Easter. Cal sets out in search of the missing delegate and stumbles upon the most stunning brute he’s ever laid eyes on. When the same man turns up ill outside their protected grove, Cal feels compelled to help him. Even if that means bringing humans into their colony for the first time … ever.

With their mutual attraction growing, what begins as an offer that can’t be refused turns into an unexpected bond. Can Matt and Cal make what they’ve discovered last, or will their unorthodox mating be too much to handle?

The Reindeer's Easter Family by Elizabeth Ann PriceThe Reindeer’s Easter Family by Elizabeth Ann Price:

Tank, the largest and possibly most patient reindeer shifter in his herd, finds himself with a new task – guarding the charity center where a fellow reindeer’s mate works. Not a problem… that is, until two unspeakably adorable twins clamp themselves on his legs and their sister lets slip that she knows he happens to be a reindeer shifter.

Worried about their shifter secret leaking, Tank investigates and when he sees their mother in danger, well, what else is a reindeer to do but save the day?

But can Tank save Marion and her unbelievably cute offspring before a wolf shifter takes them away from him forever?

Elfing Up Easter by Sophie E. RussellElfing Up Easter by Sophie E. Russell

Arlo and Mr. Santa are enjoying their new life together, but when the actual Santa Claus asks them to help find the missing Easter Bunny, their relationship is put to the test. Arctic Elf twins, Finn and Torr, lead them on a wild duck(?) chase through the Appalachian Mountains while they try to get their new toy business off the ground and locate the missing rabbit(?) before the land dies, taking the magic of Easter with it.

 

 

The Goose That Laid Golden Easter Eggs by Emily Martha SorensenThe Goose That Laid Golden Easter Eggs by Emily Martha Sorensen

The family has a magical new goose. One that quacks and moos and lays magical eggs. So what happens when Junior feeds it his sister’s watch?

 

 

 

 

A Medium's Easter Epiphany by Chariss K. WalkerA Medium’s Easter Epiphany by Chariss K. Walker:

A boyfriend changes everything!

In book five of the Becky Tibbs cozy, ghost mystery series, Becky must learn how to juggle her personal and business life now that she has a real boyfriend! This is a first for Becky and her new schedule sometimes feels overwhelming.

At Becky’s encouragement, Bobby and Barbara have finally decided to accept their special ability too. At least, they are open to using their gift if the opportunity presents itself.

Barbara actually manages to help someone new with their ghost problem and the meeting turns into something more. Unlike Marty, Barb’s ex-boyfriend, this new person, Christopher, accepts Barbara and her capabilities exactly as she is. In fact, he is impressed.

Jealousy rears its ugly head!

Marty finally goes off the deep end and Becky must help Patty come to terms with his rage.

Becky’s epiphany, or sudden realization, is a concept that would be beneficial to everyone.

Blueberry Bunny Boy by Leona WindwalkerBlueberry Bunny Boy by Leona Windwalker:

Mallow is a walking disaster when it comes to all things Easter, and for an elf in Bunnyville, that’s the worst thing possible!

Mallow

I’ve tried every Easter production station possible. I sneezed the chickens bald, and there’s no way they are letting me anywhere near the ducks or bunnies now. Basket weaving? The less said about my attempts there, the better. Preparing the real eggs? I set the water to boil them on literal fire, and when they moved me to egg painting, I broke out in hives. I swelled up so big, they had to bring me down from where I floated up to the ceiling. If we’d been outside, I’d have drifted off like some errant cloud! Candy testing is out as I hate sweets, so it all tastes disgusting to me.

I’m such a disaster as an Easter Elf that Peter Cottontail himself had a meeting with Kris Kringle to figure out where in Kringle Enterprises they could safely put me. That’s how I found myself assigned to the human world, working for the Feed and Seed department. Arranging and collecting deliveries of fresh greens and stuff for the bunnies and chicks should be fine, right? I knew I’d struck gold when on my very first day, I found it- a place called Rabbit Food. And the human working there? Oh wow…I think he might just be my mate!

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for March 2021

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 and small press authors newly published this month, though some February 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, dark fantasy, Asian fantasy, paranormal mystery, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, science fiction thrillers, space opera, military science fiction, YA science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, dragons, leprechauns, valkyries, aliens, telepaths, interdimensional portals, interstellar wars, space mages, space colonisation, menopausal werewolves, crime-busting witches, King Arthur in space, aline monster spiders from beyond 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:

Monster of the Dark by K.T. BeltMonsters of the Dark by K.T. Belt:

Carmen Grey always knew she was different.

None of the other children seemed able to read minds. None of the other children were able to manipulate their toys without touching them. On the morning of her sixth birthday, three men dressed in black arrive to remove her from the loving care of her parents.

She is taken to an underground facility meant for others like her, for Clairvoyants. Stripped of her name and identity, over the years she is fashioned into something scary—something lethal. Each day is an endless struggle and every night is plagued by nightmares. Yet Carmen’s ultimate battle won’t be to save her life but to keep her soul.

Spelunkers by Cora BuhlertSpelunkers by Cora Buhlert:

During a holiday in Belgium, college students Evan and Matt decide to explore an uncharted cave in the Ardennes. Also along for the ride is Evan’s sister Kate, who has been tasked with looking out for her brother since early childhood.

Deep inside the cave, Kate, Evan and Matt stumble upon a portal to another world. But does this portal represent the greatest adventure of their lives or a terrible danger…?

This is a science fiction short story of 3800 words or approximately 15 print pages.

Earth's Fury: Our Last Thanksgiving by Declan ConnerEarth’s Fury: Our Last Thanksgiving by Declan Conner:

WHEN THE SUN FLARES — EARTH’S MANTLE HICCUPS — SOCIETY SUFFERS

Rob Bell is financially screwed, although his wife doesn’t know it yet. His only hope is to sell a house that he’s constructed near to the beach. With one day to go to the sale, his, and everyone else’s world comes crashing down. Severe movement in the Earth’s tectonic plates caused by sun flares discharging positive charged particles into the mantle, go on to create a disaster that scientists failed to predict in its enormity. EMPs destroy the grid. Ash from volcanos darken the land. Floods divide the nation, with new mountain ranges created. The USA will never be the same again, changed forever.

Their home in a gated community is high in the hills of Santa Monica, overlooking the Pacific. They decide to stay put. Survival is the new game, money no longer an issue as death casts its shadow over the World and their community.

As their food supplies run low, and constantly under attack from outsiders, Brogan the head of their community security creates a mini fiefdom, with Rob’s wife in charge of rations. Under attack, and falling foul of Brogan, and with death stalking him, Rob knows the only way out is for them to travel to his dad’s bunker. Trouble is, io get there is a thousand-mile journey fraught with danger and his wife doesn’t want to go. Fiercely loyal, he will have to decide if he should leave or to stay.

His life and others will depend on the outcome

Leprechaun Luck by Addison CreekLeprechaun Luck by Addison Creek:

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and Lemmi, Charlie, and Liam are determined to have some fun before going to watch the guys play baseball.

What happens next is unexpected, to say the least, but Lemmi and Charlie are determined not to miss the baseball game. Now if only the leprechaun would tell them where Liam is . . .

This is a short story coming in at about 12,000 words.

 

Witchy Reservations by Stephanie DamoreWitchy Reservations by Stephanie Damore:

There’s nothing practical about magic—which is why I ditched my wand years ago.

Thirteen years, to be exact.

The day I left Silverlake.

Except now, a family emergency has called me back home, and quite frankly, I’d rather be anywhere but here.

But when my aunt raises her wand to cure a friend and he ends up dead, it becomes abundantly clear I’m not leaving anytime soon.

Welcome to Silverlake, a place where nothing is EVER as it seems… and where a witch can find, and lose, a lot more than herself.

Phantom Echo by Eldon FarrellPhantom Echo by Eldon Farrell:

His search for a killer will put him in the crosshairs.

The body of a college student is dumped in an alley far from campus. Is it a case of bad timing, or a drug deal gone wrong?

As the detective assigned to the case, Nathan Miller suspects something more sinister behind it. Convincing his superiors of this won’t be easy, though, and following his instincts will require more than just bending the law. He may need to break it.

But when his pursuit leads him to Syria, and then London, he’s forced to seek aid from the Phantoms—allies who might be enemies. Will they help the killer he’s after, or join him in seeing justice served?

First Runes by Rachel FordFirst Runes by Rachel Ford:

The war is over. The chaos is just beginning.

The North won, but peace is a distant dream. Youngling dragons plague the countryside. On the border to No Man’s Land, Knight Protector Ana Derel negotiates a tenuous peace between the slave warriors turned refugees, for whom only a death sentence waits at home, and the local populace, which wants no part in feeding or aiding their former foes. Far to the North, Knight Protector Brynja Evansdatter struggles with the ambitions and mistrust of the elven mages she freed from captivity. They’ve sworn off the Southern king who shackled them, but they’re not ready to swear fealty to the Northern queen.

And at the heart of all the chaos, with the power to command the races of dragons and destroy whole armies of men, are the most powerful weapons ever devised by men or elves: first runes.

Whoever controls them, controls the fate of the known world. Derel and Evensdatter fought side-by-side in the war. Now, they will need more than blades to bring peace.

Foxwood by Joe FleckFoxwood by Joe Fleck:

In an alternate future, fourteen-year-old Victoria has lived in a bunker for all her life, convinced that beyond the metal walls of her home is a mysterious “Nowhere.”

When she escapes, she is thrown into the futuristic city of Foxwood, rebuilt over Seattle after a catastrophic earthquake. Victoria was never supposed to leave her bunker and isn’t in the Network. Without a Network Chip implanted in her head, Victoria has no identity, an no place in Foxwood.

Despite lacking social skills or street smarts, she gets a job at a massive 3D printing business. This company is targeted by a terrorist team of humanoid machines that are indistinguishable from ordinary humans.

In an effort to prove her worth as a bunker child, Victoria attempts to expose an infiltrator before the terrorists get a chance to attack. On top of that, the education system controls overpopulation by killing the least intelligent people with a terrifying Birthday Exam.

Orange City by Lee Matthew GoldbergOrange City by Lee Matthew Goldberg:

Imagine a secret, hidden city that gives a second chance at life for those selected to come: felons, deformed outcasts, those on the fringe of the Outside World. Everyone gets a job, a place to live; but you are bound to the city forever. You can never leave.

Its citizens are ruled by a monstrous figure called the “Man” who resembles a giant demented spider from the lifelike robotic limbs attached to his body. Everyone follows the man blindly, working hard to make their Promised Land stronger, too scared to defy him and be discarded to the Empty Zones.

After ten years as an advertising executive, Graham Weatherend receives an order to test a new client, Pow! Sodas. After one sip of the orange flavor, he becomes addicted, the sodas causing wild mood swings that finally wake him up to the prison he calls reality.

A dynamic mash-up of 1984 meets LOST, ORANGE CITY is a lurid, dystopian first book in a series that will continue with the explosive sequel LEMONWORLD.

The Fearless by J.J. GreenThe Fearless by J.J. Green:

Space opera meets Arthurian legend.

The Britannic Alliance has been brought back from the brink of disaster by Taylan Ellis, a Royal Marine fighting to win back her homeland.

During one of the battles, the Fearless, the BA flagship, mysteriously disappeared and is now adrift in the Asteroid Belt. Taylan joins the expedition sent to find out what happened.

What she discovers out there is another clue in the riddle of the reappearance of King Arthur. What’s more, it means the Alliance could win back the Britannic Isles, but only if Taylan plays her cards right.

The fight goes on!

Wicked Honeymoon by Lily Harper HartWicked Honeymoon by Lily Harper Hart:

Jack Harker and his new wife Ivy have beaten the odds, and with that comes a little rest and relaxation. They have a two-week honeymoon planned, and the first leg involves a glamping trip down the river.

Jack has never been one for camping, and the truth is, he would’ve preferred anything but what they’ve got planned. Ivy, however, is desperate to prove that camping can be fun. What Jack wants most is for Ivy to have everything, so he gives in.

He may live to regret it. That is if he doesn’t die first.

What should’ve been an idyllic kayaking trip down the river, complete with gourmet meals and glamorous tents, turns into a mystery when one of the other guests finds blood on the ground on the second day. Jack and Ivy are instantly suspicious … but they seem to be the only ones.

There’s no body, so no reason to worry, and yet Ivy’s dreams won’t let her rest. Can you prove murder when there’s no body and nobody is missing?

That’s the plan for Ivy and Jack, although the trip will have them questioning more than their fellow travel-goers. It will have them questioning their instincts, too.

Strap in. Just because it’s a honeymoon, that doesn’t mean the ride won’t be bumpy.

Songs of Insurrection by J.C. KangSongs of Insurrection by J.C. Kang:

Only the lost magic of Dragon Songs can save the world. Only an awkward girl with the perfect voice can rediscover it.

The Dragon Singers of old summoned typhoons and routed armies, liberating mankind from the orcs before fading into legend. Now, with the world again facing a new cataclysm, the power of music stirs in Kaiya, a naïve misfit with the perfect voice.

Without a master to guide her, she must rely on Hardeep, a disgraced foreign paladin, to help awaken her latent magic. His motives might not be entirely noble. When he leads her to the fabled Dragon Scale Lute, which only a Dragon Singer can wield, it is up to Black Lotus Clan to intervene.

Because the instrument’s fell power can save the world…

Or destroy it.

Romancing the Crone by Amanda M. LeeRomancing the Crone by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall has lived her life in the shadows, always wondering who abandoned her when she was a child and where the magic she boasts came from. Finally, she is about to get some answers.

It won’t be easy, though.

After a wild fight that saw shifters and vampires joining together to battle under an eclipse, things in Hawthorne Hollow are relatively quiet. Scout’s newly-found sister is locked in a cell, her grandfather is laying low, and the enemy appears to be regrouping.

That allows Scout and her boyfriend Gunner to make a trip to her childhood home. Upon their return, a shifter attacks and throws their world into a tailspin. He’s easily dispatched but appears to be suffering from a magical infection that has his body wasting and his mind collapsing.

It’s up to Spell’s Angels to figure out what’s going on, and because nothing is ever easy for Scout, the investigation is going to be harder than she imagined.

It seems there’s a new top vampire in town, and his powers are extensive for a creature who wasn’t born into his legacy. On top of that, he’s crossed paths with Scout before and knows exactly how to push her buttons.

Scout is a fighter but the world is closing in on her. She’s going to need her new co-workers and the family she doesn’t know to help her out on this one … and even then nothing is a given.

The road before her is winding but answers are finally here. Scout will finally know what she is. Whether she survives long enough to benefit from the knowledge is completely up in the air.

Death Kiss by Naomi E. LloydDeath Kiss by Naomi E. Lloyd:

With one kiss I can see when, where and how you will die.

Some would call it a gift. But not me.

My death kiss is a curse that has branded me a witch, with no human rights, and has turned me into the most wanted girl on earth.

Why? Because in a world where a vicious movement of sadistic killers are murdering random people to stop overpopulation, my kiss holds the power for salvation.

And makes me a prime target for abduction.

Which is where I am now. Captured by three brothers, burning with grief after witnessing my parents’ murder, and tormented with fear of what is yet to come…

For something doesn’t add up.

I’m trapped inside a deadly game of kiss and tell, but I know there’s a darker agenda at play.

What it is? I just hope I can live to find out.

Death Kiss is an adult, dark fantasy, romance novel which draws you into a world of magic, deception, seductive twists, and desire.

Blood Moon by Catherine LundoffBlood Moon by Catherine Lundoff:

The Wolf’s Point werewolf pack, born from the magic that calls small groups of middle-aged women to embrace their inner and outer wolves, has been protecting the town for generations. Now Becca Thornton and the Pack have their hands (and paws) full of all the trouble they can handle. Plus a bit extra. Pack member Erin Adams just found a dead body in the trunk of her car and confessed to murder. But no one’s sure who the victim is and Erin can’t remember what happened. Did Erin fall off the wagon and murder a former foe? She doesn’t trust herself and Becca’s beginning to have her doubts.

If that wasn’t enough, Becca’s ex-husband sold their old house and their new neighbors are clearly up to something. Can the Pack get the mystery solved and Erin’s name cleared before the next full moon? Or do the town’s new residents have other plans?

Valkyrie by David NethValkyrie by David Neth:

The end of the world might be sooner than they think.

The valkyries secretly hand-select fallen heroes to bring back to Valhalla to prepare for the final battle. While out at a nightclub, Kathy witnesses a valkyrie collect a dying man’s soul. Thinking the valkyrie is doing harm, she tries to fight her off, but loses.
Back in Valhalla, the valkyries view their lapse in secrecy as a sign that the final battle is beginning. They capture Kathy and bring her back to Valhalla while they rally their army to send into battle.

Meanwhile, Samantha is reeling from having told Steven she’s a witch. But when she discovers Kathy’s gone missing, she puts her strained relationship aside to save her sister, only to end up in just as much danger as Kathy.

With the valkyries preparing for war, Samantha and Kathy must prove that they mean no harm in order to return to their normal lives. But the end of the world might be sooner than they think.

Valkyrie is the third book in the Coven series, which serves as a prequel series to the Under the Moon series.

Heaven Fall by Leo PetracciHeaven Fall by Leo Petracci:

Draysky was born to die in the mines.

Like his father before him, his fate was to harvest treasures until the dust claimed his lungs. He’d die the lowest of society, a Knotted, buried with their thin cord still around his neck. He would never advance as a mage, never to learn of the forbidden runes of the kingdom magicians. But when he looks away from the northern mountains, he allows himself to dream that one day, he’d buy his freedom and escape the mines forever.

But the mines don’t relinquish claimed lives so easily. They draw him in deeper, pulling him into their depths, and when Draysky discovers the source of their treasures, he’s left with a choice.

Return to his labor, and be grateful for the years he has left, or risk his life by seizing the mines’ power. Becoming a threat to those who thrive supported on the backs of his people.

And discovering why runes are forbidden.

Chiral Justice by L.L. RichmanChiral Justice by L.L. Richman:

Old enemies never die.

The unthinkable has happened: an Akkadian assassin has helped broker peace between her star nation and the Alliance. Micah and the rest of Task Force Blue watch the peace talks with guarded optimism—but they know one thing the rest of the settled worlds don’t.

Clint Janus has vanished — with the Alliance’s most closely-held secret.

Micah Case is that secret.

Janus is now allied with Akkadia’s new premier, Asher Dent, but the man is not as peace-loving as he might seem. It’s going to be up to Micah Case and Task Force Blue to prevent Dent from achieving that which he wants most: total space supremacy over all the settled worlds.

Chiral Justice is the third book in the Biogenesis War series, and completes this first story arc in the Biogenesis Universe.

Lycan Legacy: Paladin by Veronica SingerLycan Legacy: Paladin by Veronica Singer:

Across the width of the world, Logan’s agony screams in my soul.

Shackled in silver which burns his flesh, he is trapped in a foreign country, lured to captivity by the kidnapping of his human daughter.

I am Luna, the leader of the pack, and it falls on me to lead a rescue mission.

Still, politics would stay my hand. After all, Logan isn’t family, just the runt of my pack; disobedient, combative, and always in trouble.

Wrong. Dead wrong. Pack is family.

Politics decree that I can’t bring the rest of my pack to avoid an international incident.

But nobody said I couldn’t bring Mike, my superhuman bodyguard, an ex-SEAL with the skills to survive anywhere.

And nobody knows about my magical talents, talents that would make the most vicious werewolf seem tame.

Screw politics. Luna White doesn’t leave a packmate in captivity.

The Blackwing War by K.B. SpanglerThe Blackwing War by K.B. Spangler:

Three thousand years ago, the Deep appeared without warning. This alien life form was quickly put to service teleporting people and cargo across great distances, which allowed mass colonization throughout the galaxy. It has also allowed Lancaster, the organization which controls access to the Deep, to grow wealthy and powerful. Cross Lancaster, and you are forced to travel between planets using standard faster-than-light technologies. Nobody wants that!

Tembi Stoneskin is having a very bad day. A Witch in service to the Deep, she spends her time disarming bombs in shipping stations. On her way home to Lancaster, the Deep shows her the aftermath of a weapons test powerful enough to slice a moon in half. While the Deep is a vast intelligence, it is a terrible communicator, and relies on its Witches to translate humanity’s requests into thoughts, moods, and impulses that it can understand. Tembi is a young Witch, but she is a skilled translator and she has learned how to speak with her powerful alien friend.

As they set off to find the source of the weapons test, Tembi and the Deep are pulled into the ongoing war between Earth-normal humans and genetically modified humans. But all wars are founded on excuses, and the Blackwing army has much more to hide than a simple shattered moon.

Last Light by Paul StephensonLast Light by Paul Stephenson:

The year is 2107. Earth is dying. For Wyn, Lois, and Judd, that’s the least of their problems.

Wyn is the pilot on the ISS Minos. Its mission: a race to the ice moon of Europa to cure the disease destroying humanity’s crops. But not everyone on board seems to have the same agenda.

Lois is an Interpol agent investigating the world’s worst criminals – those rich enough to get whatever they want and powerful enough to murder without consequence – and her cover’s been blown.

Judd is hiding as far away from humanity as he can, working in a cheap tourist attraction on the Moon. But when an old man pries a long-forgotten secret from his head, he can no longer hide from the truth he’d buried even from himself. Because Judd is a telepath, and a weapon badly wanted by both sides of an unseen war.

They might not know it, but each holds a key to Earth’s cure… and humanity’s survival.

If you like pulse-quickening action, blood-soaked science fiction, revelations, and revolutions, you’ll love this first episode in Paul Stephenson’s Sunset Chronicles, the new monthly sci-fi horror serial from the author of the bestselling Blood on the Motorway saga.

A Darker Magic by Glynn StewartA Darker Magic by Glynn Stewart:

A bloody war has ended in a restored peace
And the shield of Martian magic guards the stars
Two centuries of spell and steel to ward all humanity

Two years ago, Lieutenant Commander Roslyn Chambers stood witness to the surrender of the last remnants of the Republic. Fueled by atrocity against Mage and mundane alike, the secessionists who waged war against the Protectorate of Mars are finally defeated.

Now, a special commission from the Mage-Queen of Mars takes Roslyn deep into the former Republic to hunt the architects of that atrocity. Mages who betrayed their own, the creators of Project Prometheus must be brought to justice.

But hidden from even the Republic, Prometheus has woven magic and technology together once more. Here, hidden from all prying eyes, they have created a monster…one that even a Protectorate forged by the spell must call black magic.

Marauders by T.S. ValmondMarauders by T.S. Valmond:

How far is too far to save the human race?

Captain Dana Pinet is struggling to put her demons to rest while carrying the last of humanity still reeling from the loss of their world onboard the Starship Hope.

She and the crew will be tested yet again when they come into contact with a group of plucky aliens enthralled by their circumstances and eager to befriend them. Things turn ugly when the aliens make off with precious cargo and half their dwindling supplies.

In pursuit of the thieves, the crew discovers they’re not the only ones after the pirates, and getting caught in alien cross-fire will only make matters worse. If Dana can’t track down the pirates and their stolen cargo, it may bring about the extinction of the human race.

Marauders is the thrilling second book in the science fiction series Starship Hope. If you like intriguing first contact with aliens and survival at all-costs scenarios, you’ll love this second book by T.S. Valmond.

Katana of Trust by A.C. WardKatana of Trust by A.C. Ward:

Escaping death by her father’s hand was only the beginning…

Determined to prove herself to the gods, Shou will do anything to forget the journey that brought her to the island of the kami. Now is her time to rise up and take her place as the true chosen one.

But when enemies try to destroy Shou, another human saves her. She’s shocked that he bears the same mark as she. Suddenly, Shou questions everything about her history. Is she truly the chosen one of the prophecy?

Teaming up with Masaru, heir to the Date clan, is her only option to uncover the truth and save herself from death. As Masaru and Shou grow closer, one thing is certain: they’ve been wrong about the prophecy all along. Nameless and desperate, will Shou find her courage and fight for her place among the kami or forge a path of her own?

The Eighth Key by Laura WeyrThe Eighth Key by Laura Weyr:

The magic is gone…or is it?

Lucian is a jaded flirt and professional bard who knows all the old songs about sorcery. When he meets Corwin, a shy mage who can still use magic despite the Drought, Lucian finds his desire growing with each passing day—not just for answers, but for Corwin himself.

Sparks fly as they find themselves passionately entangled in adventure and each other. But learning the true origin of the Drought and the Key to ending it comes at a price that their bond may not survive…

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for March 2021


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 crime fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some February 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, craft mysteries, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, humorous crime fiction, police procedurals, crime thrillers, adventure thrillers, environmental thrillers, science fiction thrillers, sea adventures, police officers, amateur sleuths, private investigators, FBI agents, journalists, burglars, gangsters, organised crime, missing violins, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting maids, crime-busting knitters, criminal leprechauns, murder and mayhem in London, Dublin, Belfast, the Caribbean 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:

An Unhappy Murder by Blythe BakerAn Unhappy Murder by Blythe Baker:

When Anna attends a play at a London theatre, death soon follows. Working together with Jerome Townson, Anna must locate a murderer before time runs out.

But even as she searches for the truth, Anna continues to be haunted by secrets from her past. A final revelation might just hold the answer to everything…

 

 

A Fabulous Little Murder by Beth ByersA Fabulous Little Murder by Beth Byers:

March 1926

When Vi and friends travel to attend the motor races, they are determined to have a fabulous time. They’re even hoping to try their hands behind the wheel. ??

They befriend one of the mechanics, so things go sideways for him, they agree to help. Perhaps, after all of this time, they should have expected the body, but they didn’t. ??

Now the race is on to find the criminals, and surely, they’re up to the task.

Leprechaun Luck by Addison CreekLeprechaun Luck by Addison Creek:

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and Lemmi, Charlie, and Liam are determined to have some fun before going to watch the guys play baseball.

What happens next is unexpected, to say the least, but Lemmi and Charlie are determined not to miss the baseball game. Now if only the leprechaun would tell them where Liam is . . .

This is a short story coming in at about 12,000 words.

 

Dublin Debacle by Kerry L. CurtisDublin Debacle by Kerry L. Curtis:

Kate is after Vince the Fence again after he slipped through her fingers last year she’s on her way to Ireland where she gets some unexpected help, she is trying to solve a twenty year old mystery and figure out what her brother is doing hint he’s in trouble and needs her help.

See what Kate is up to in this quirky romantic comedy cozy mystery

 

 

Witchy Reservations by Stephanie DamoreWitchy Reservations by Stephanie Damore:

There’s nothing practical about magic—which is why I ditched my wand years ago.

Thirteen years, to be exact.

The day I left Silverlake.

Except now, a family emergency has called me back home, and quite frankly, I’d rather be anywhere but here.

But when my aunt raises her wand to cure a friend and he ends up dead, it becomes abundantly clear I’m not leaving anytime soon.

Welcome to Silverlake, a place where nothing is EVER as it seems… and where a witch can find, and lose, a lot more than herself.

Knitted and Knifed by Tracey DrewKnitted and Knifed by Tracey Drew:

Wanted: Cat mum to manage a yarn store, corral two curious cats, all the while being tangled up in murderous mayhem and mystery.

A smart woman would dump her cheating ex, move from the city, and give herself a chance for a well-deserved do-over. A smarter woman—smarter than me, anyway—wouldn’t jump out of that same frying pan and return to Cape Discovery, a seaside village where her family is the nuttiest of all the nut-ball residents.

I’m a former high school counsellor, middle-child peacemaker, and current curator of lots of squishy/fuzzy goodness at my granddad’s little yarn store. Temporary assistant. Until I decide what to do with the rest my life. There’s only one knotty problem to untangle first. The knife sticking out of the most unpopular man in town, and the police detective trying to pin the murder on the donkey—otherwise known as my younger brother. With a pair mischievous cats determined to be underfoot and a craft group of Serial Knitters and Happy Hookers wanting the inside scoop, a girl could lose her mind. And if the killer has their way, maybe even my life…

Tessa Wakefield has her hands full juggling a cozy craft store, her crazy family, and two men who’d rather poke out their eyes than describe themselves as cute. Which they totally are. Cute, charismatic, and occasionally on her mind when she’s not stumbling over dead bodies and using her newfound sleuthing skills to track down murderers. Lucky she’s an excellent multi-tasker because digging beneath Cape Discovery’s surface can unearth secrets that kill.

Picture Perfect by Mike FaricyPicture Perfect by Mike Faricy:

An action-packed novel in the best selling Jack Dillon Dublin Tales series!

Killian Graham is paid every month to take a beautiful lady of his choice out to dinner. He stays in a five-star hotel, eats the best food, drinks the best whiskey, and enjoys the charms of a grateful companion . . .

Meanwhile, American gangster Jimmy Dugan has been ‘hiding’ out in the open.

US Marshal Jack Dillon and An Garda Síochána DI Paddy Suel, assigned to a human trafficking case, have their investigation interrupted by the suspected appearance of Jimmy Dugan. But what is he doing in Ireland? And how did he get through security?

Things are about to get crazy.

He doesn’t know it yet, but Killian Graham has a target on his back.

Two American students are kidnapped… maybe.

A mob hitman has just arrived and is about to end Killian Graham’s escapades…

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

Phantom Echo by Eldon FarrellPhantom Echo by Eldon Farrell:

His search for a killer will put him in the crosshairs.

The body of a college student is dumped in an alley far from campus. Is it a case of bad timing, or a drug deal gone wrong?

As the detective assigned to the case, Nathan Miller suspects something more sinister behind it. Convincing his superiors of this won’t be easy, though, and following his instincts will require more than just bending the law. He may need to break it.

But when his pursuit leads him to Syria, and then London, he’s forced to seek aid from the Phantoms—allies who might be enemies. Will they help the killer he’s after, or join him in seeing justice served?

Burning Water by Inge-Lise GossBurning Water by Inge-Lise Goss:

A Man Goes Up in Flames.

Was it an accident or murder?

Gwynn Reznick returns as a rookie private investigator…

…to find the truth.

Placed in an accounting role to watch the key players up close, she uncovers financial irregularities while delving into clues that lead her into dangerous situations. To obtain information, she becomes entangled with a tough crew of oil field workers. Their interpersonal jealousies and mysterious pasts intersect to obscure the truth.

Unraveling connecting threads that link to multiple disappearances, Gwynn discovers she’s pitted against polished criminal professionals and finds herself in the center of a devious scheme.

Money shortages and illicit affairs…

…point to several suspects.

Will her sleuthing blow her cover before her backup team arrives?

Any reader who enjoys action, adventure, murder mysteries, or just a plain good read will love Burning Water, the third book in the Gwynn Reznick series.

Wicked Honeymoon by Lily Harper HartWicked Honeymoon by Lily Harper Hart:

Jack Harker and his new wife Ivy have beaten the odds, and with that comes a little rest and relaxation. They have a two-week honeymoon planned, and the first leg involves a glamping trip down the river.

Jack has never been one for camping, and the truth is, he would’ve preferred anything but what they’ve got planned. Ivy, however, is desperate to prove that camping can be fun. What Jack wants most is for Ivy to have everything, so he gives in.

He may live to regret it. That is if he doesn’t die first.

What should’ve been an idyllic kayaking trip down the river, complete with gourmet meals and glamorous tents, turns into a mystery when one of the other guests finds blood on the ground on the second day. Jack and Ivy are instantly suspicious … but they seem to be the only ones.

There’s no body, so no reason to worry, and yet Ivy’s dreams won’t let her rest. Can you prove murder when there’s no body and nobody is missing?

That’s the plan for Ivy and Jack, although the trip will have them questioning more than their fellow travel-goers. It will have them questioning their instincts, too.

Strap in. Just because it’s a honeymoon, that doesn’t mean the ride won’t be bumpy.

Code of Silence by Phillip JordanCode of Silence by Phillip Jordan:

Belfast. A still divided city rising from the ashes of its past.

Detective Inspector Veronica Taylor has staked her all in bringing down the corrupt magnate and paramilitary godfather, Gordon ‘Monster’ Beattie and the prosecution has ended in failure.

For Beattie, his exoneration has come at a price, indebted to a shadowy global organisation seeking to exploit his insidious criminal empire for their own gain.

When the murder of a ruthless criminal plunges the two opponents again into conflict, Taylor comes under increasing pressure from superiors in how to direct her case and Beattie is forced to face the consequences of his newly secured freedom.

As it becomes clear the killers thirst for murder may not be randomly orientated but an organised and brutal retribution, Beattie confronts the lie that built his empire and Taylor is forced to face her demons.

Caught between her duty to intervene and her desire to let vengeance run its bloody course she finds herself trapped between exposing a revelation that could shatter the fragile peace and plunge her city back to violence or complict in the CODE OF SILENCE.

CODE OF SILENCE is the first novel in the gripping Belfast Crime Series.

Weddings and Whodunnits by Amanda M. LeeWeddings and Whodunnits by Amanda M. Lee:

Avery Shaw never saw marriage on the menu – and when she did, she avoided it like liver and onions – but it appears her life is about to change. She simply can’t decide if it’s for better or worse.

With matrimony barreling down on her, she needs a distraction, and she gets it in the form of a warning. Apparently, she’s on the hit list for a local dealer who is trying to move in on turf she’s responsible for cleaning up, and news that she could be marked for death has her fiancé Eliot Kane in a tailspin.

Avery likes it when things line up her way. Unfortunately, very little is going how she envisioned in her life right now. Between her archnemesis Tad Ludington being fully recovered and back to his old tricks and her mother demanding a say in wedding preparations, Avery has her hands full.

The drug trade in Macomb County runs deeper than anybody anticipated, and the more Avery digs, the more she realizes that the case she thought was closed up tight is still open and ongoing. With an intern on her tail demanding attention, Avery is determined to uncover a secret so big it could blow up certain political circles within the county.

Eliot is by her side but his fear regarding the new people in Avery’s life is palpable … as is Sheriff Jake Farrell’s annoyance when he realizes what Avery is chasing. He wants her cut off from information, which isn’t something she will just sit back and accept.

It’s a war of the worlds this go-around for Avery, and the only chance she has to walk down the aisle is to figure out exactly what is going on. That’s easier said than done when she’s got a price on her head and people actively trying to thwart her every move.

She wants her happily ever after, and she’s determined nothing is going to stop her … not even death. Strap in and get ready, because Avery Shaw is taking no prisoners. Not this time.

Romancing the Crone by Amanda M. LeeRomancing the Crone by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall has lived her life in the shadows, always wondering who abandoned her when she was a child and where the magic she boasts came from. Finally, she is about to get some answers.

It won’t be easy, though.

After a wild fight that saw shifters and vampires joining together to battle under an eclipse, things in Hawthorne Hollow are relatively quiet. Scout’s newly-found sister is locked in a cell, her grandfather is laying low, and the enemy appears to be regrouping.

That allows Scout and her boyfriend Gunner to make a trip to her childhood home. Upon their return, a shifter attacks and throws their world into a tailspin. He’s easily dispatched but appears to be suffering from a magical infection that has his body wasting and his mind collapsing.

It’s up to Spell’s Angels to figure out what’s going on, and because nothing is ever easy for Scout, the investigation is going to be harder than she imagined.

It seems there’s a new top vampire in town, and his powers are extensive for a creature who wasn’t born into his legacy. On top of that, he’s crossed paths with Scout before and knows exactly how to push her buttons.

Scout is a fighter but the world is closing in on her. She’s going to need her new co-workers and the family she doesn’t know to help her out on this one … and even then nothing is a given.

The road before her is winding but answers are finally here. Scout will finally know what she is. Whether she survives long enough to benefit from the knowledge is completely up in the air.

Mangetout by Guy PortmanMangetout by Guy Portman:

Trouble has a habit of finding some people.

Kitchenhand Deron thinks he’s hit the jackpot when a routine delivery of vegetables turns out to be contraband. The problem is it belongs to somebody else. And they want it back.

Financier Hamish has got involved in the arms trade and business is good. However, he’s unwittingly made a formidable foe. One who will stop at nothing for revenge.

Ken’s fed up with the nine-to-five. An illegal venture with girlfriend Laura brings the job satisfaction he craves, but also attention from organised crime. This could all go horribly wrong.

These sharp, shocking and suspenseful stories are a must read.

‘Dangerously droll crime capers’ – Adam Riley, Comedian

If you like dark humorous crime, you’ll love Mangetout

Murder with Strings Attached by Mark ReutlingerMurder with Strings Attached by Mark Reutlinger:

Sometimes even the most carefully conceived burglary can take an unexpected turn. Florence Palmer has her eye on concert violinist Aaron Levy’s priceless violin. Unfortunately, she finds it’s already been stolen. Her surprise doubles when the virtuoso she’d planned to burgle offers to hire her to help him steal it back. But they’re not the only ones looking for the missing violin. When Flo inadvertently becomes the prime suspect in a case of murder, she and Aaron need to clear her name. Will they find the real killer and get the violin back to its rightful owner without anyone else, especially themselves, being killed?

Windfall by Byron T.D. SmithWindfall by Byron T.D. Smith:

Henry has hit rock bottom. A fifty-year old mystery could save him – or finish him off.

Henry Lysyk’s life is a mess.

With his marriage over and his accounting career marred by scandal, he retreats to the anonymity of a rented suite in a house shared with strangers. But the trail of a decades-old crime leads a murderous treasure hunter to his doorstep, and Henry is baffled by his neighbors’ cover-up.

An unexpected visit from his adventure-hungry niece, Frieda, further complicates Henry’s efforts to lay low. With his houseguest refusing to stay away from the danger, Henry’s terrified they’re about to expose secrets someone would kill to protect. Not knowing who to trust, they must choose which parts of the past to uncover, and which to leave buried.

A real-life ransom, a shadowy past, unlikely allies, and ruthless murder. Can Henry unravel this cold case before he and Frieda become its next victims?

If you enjoy absorbing mysteries, original characters, and a dash of true crime, then you’ll love Byron TD Smith’s clever “What if…” solution to the most captivating unsolved heist of the twentieth century.

Windfall is the first instalment in the Henry Lysyk Mystery series.

Murder at the Royal Albert Hall by Lee StraussMurder at the Royal Albert Hall by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s a pain in the aria!

Nothing ruins a night at the opera faster than a duchess falling to her death. Mrs. Ginger Reed, also known by some as Lady Gold, is at the Royal Albert Hall with her husband, Basil Reed, a chief inspector at Scotland Yard, and the two of them are immediately at the scene. Was the Duchess of Worthington’s fall accidental? Where was the duke?

And what does Ginger’s grandmother-in-law, Ambrosia, the Dowager Lady Gold have to do with the sordid affair?

Something went terribly wrong with the dowager’s “sisterhood” of friends back in the 1860s, and it’s all coming home to roost.

In Harm's Way by Ed TejaIn Harm’s Way by Ed Teja:

No good deed goes unpunished.

When Martin Billings and Ugly Bill come across a yacht stuck hard on French Reef in the Caribbean, they lend a helping hand, rescuing Donna Devro, the young woman on board, and getting the boat safely into harbor.

Now the authorities have found the boat’s owner dead in the cabin and Donna Devro has disappeared, leaving Martin and Bill to work out what sort of trouble she’s in (or up to), and find a way to keep from getting involved in whatever that trouble is. Fat chance.

Martin Billings left behind a shining career as an officer in the SEALs for this mess? All he wanted was a chance to make an honest living hauling cargo among the Caribbean islands on his freighter IRREPARABLE HARM.

Now, instead of hauling cargo, Martin and Bill are trawling for trouble, and Donna Devro isn’t eager to simplify their lives — nor is her husband.

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Luck and Magic 2021 – A Round-Up of Indie St. Patrick’s Day Speculative Fiction

Luck and Magic bannerOur monthly round-ups of new speculative fiction and new crime fiction releases by indie authors are a perennially popular feature. Therefore, we now offer you a round-up of our favourite St. Patrick’s Day speculative fiction by indie and small press authors.

These St. Patrick’s Day stories cover the broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have urban fantasy, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, children’s fantasy, portal fantasy, witches, werewolves, fairies, leprechauns, lion shifters, reindeer shifters, undead demon hunters, superheroes, magic coins, mail order brides, Lady Luck and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set on or around St. Patrick’s Day.

As always with my round-up posts, this round-up of the best indie holiday speculative fiction is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog 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:

Feeling Lucky by Kathy BrysonFeeling Lucky by Kathy Bryson:

“Most most people who spend time at a job develop ideas of how they can improve a product or business. They just don’t always get a chance to share. And that’s not counting the thousands of unpublished artists, writers, and musicians out there…”

What would you do if you suddenly got 5 million dollars to spend on your dreams? What it if was a leprechaun’s money?

Megan O’Malley was mortified when she got drunk and pinched the bandleader’s ass at a cousin’s wedding. But she was astonished when he turned out to be a leprechaun! Seems they’re not the little, green men of fairytales after all. They just say that because they like a good joke and what better way to hide the gold? Oh, that bit’s true – as is the part about not sharing!

An award-winning fantasy of money and magic and making the most of your dreams!

Leprechaun Luck by Addison CreekLeprechaun Luck by Addison Creek:

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and Lemmi, Charlie, and Liam are determined to have some fun before going to watch the guys play baseball.

What happens next is unexpected, to say the least, but Lemmi and Charlie are determined not to miss the baseball game. Now if only the leprechaun would tell them where Liam is . . .

This is a short story coming in at about 12,000 words.

 

Luck of the MacKays by Kate DanleyLuck of the MacKays by Kate Danley:

Will the luck of the Irish be with Maggie and Killian as a leprechaun runs loose in Los Angeles? And do his riddles speak of a greater power threatening to ruin St. Patrick’s Day? No use crying over spilled green beer. Maggie and Killian are here to save the day!

Maggie MacKay Holiday Specials are fun, urban fantasy novellas that stand alone and can be read no matter where you are in the Maggie MacKay Magical Tracker series.

 

Into the Rainbow by Jessica L. ElliottInto the Rainbow by Jessica L. Elliott:

Twins Dierdre and Treasa have gone to Kansas City on their first spring break without parents along with their tagalong sister Darcie. Other than constant rain, everything is going smoothly until a birthday prank gone wrong sends them into the Emerald Glade where leprechauns reign and magic is real. In order to get home, the girls must find out why they were summoned so they can return through the rainbow.

 

 

Away With the Fairies by S.K. GregoryAway with the Fairies by S.K. Gregory:

Seven years ago, Declan disappeared while out in the woods. A year later, he returned home, with no memory of where he was or what happened to him.

Now Declan works as a barista, trying to get on with his life and forget what happened, but that isn’t easy when he keeps seeing things that aren’t there. Shadows from the corner of his eye, strange lights around people. It gets worse when a new girl starts working at the coffee shop. There is something about her, something different.

With her help, Declan starts to uncover the truth of what happened to him, how the Fae took notice and pulled them into their realm. Now they want him back.

A Luck O’ The Irish Tale. Can be read as a standalone.

End of the Rainbow by Michelle Ann HollsteinEnd of the Rainbow by Michelle Ann Hollstein:

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and Aggie, Betty and Roger are celebrating at an Irish pub in Palm Springs when Betty’s leprechaun-love-interest drops dead. Could it be murder? Join Aggie and friends as they embark on a celebration they won’t soon forget.

 

 

 

The Man from UNDEAD by Darren HumphriesThe Man from U.N.D.E.A.D.’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade by Darren Humphries:

The United Nations Department for the Enforcement and Apprehension of Demons is the first, last and only line of defence against the supernatural threats trying to break into a world where magic and technology are uneasy bedfellows.

A death brings Agent Ward, the Man From U.N.D.E.A.D., to Ireland and to a secret location where there are dangers without and secrets within.

Can Ward work out the latter before a veritable parade of demonic beings launch a full-scale attack?

The Man From U.N.D.E.A.D.’s St Patrick’s Day Parade is a short story featuring Agent Ward from the Man From U.N.D.E.A.D. series of novels.

Lucky Lion by Lola KiddLucky Lion by Lola Kidd:

Lion shifter Aaron wants to settle down and find his mate. After one of his friends finds his mate online, Aaron decides to give LK Brides a try. He’s surprised to get matched the very day he signs up.

Curvy beauty Emma has been waiting to get matched by LK Brides for months. When it finally happens, she can’t believe the how strong her feelings are for her match after only one meeting.

As their relationships moves forward quickly, Emma begins to doubt how much she can trust Aaron. Will the lion shifter luck out and find love this St. Patrick’s Day? Find out in the second Holiday Mail-Order Mates story.

Four-Leaf Clover by Amanda M. LeeFour-Leaf Clover by Amanda M. Lee:

Clove Winchester is feeling lucky at life, and that’s before a mysterious stranger drops into her magic store and gifts her with a special coin. Suddenly things can’t go wrong for Clove, and she’s the center of attention in the Winchesters’ world – especially because Aunt Tillie wants that coin.

When a near-death experience rocks Clove and her boyfriend Sam, Clove takes a closer look at the coin and realizes there’s a lot she can do with her new luck streak. Unfortunately for Aunt Tillie, Clove is determined to keep the benefits to herself.

When a brazen armed robber hits Hemlock Cove and goes after Bay, all of the Winchester witches band together to solve the crime and save the day. Of course, they may need a little luck to do it.

The Reindeer's St. Patrick's Surprise by Elizabeth Ann PriceThe Reindeer’s St. Patrick’s Surprise by Elizabeth Ann Price:

Harlan Connors is a reindeer shifter who isn’t ready to settle down. After a disastrous attempted mating, all he wants is to have fun. Mating and marriage are the furthest things from his mind.

Temp is a woman who knows what she wants – a baby. Convinced that Mr. Right is never going to show up, she decides to start a family on her own.

However, a chance meeting and a wild St. Patrick’s Day later, the two of them find themselves married and both unable and unwilling to stay away from one another. But can they weather their own insecurities and Harlan’s ex-fiancée to find their happy ever after?

St. Patrick's Alternatives by Lesley L. SmithSt. Patrick’s Alternatives by Lesley L. Smith:

Physicist Chloe Phillipson uses her anti-gravity power to help save St. Patrick’s Day.

 

 

 

 

 

To Catch a Leprechaun by Emily Martha SorensenTo Catch a Leprechaun by Emily Martha Sorensen:

It’s really tough to catch a leprechaun. Especially when sisters get in the way.

 

 

 

 

 

Lady Luck by A.C. WildsLady Luck by A.C. Wilds:

The Greek Goddess of Luck can be found hiding in the most unlikely of places. In an effort to hide from her father, Luck, or so she likes to be called, spends her time tending bar at Lady luck, her own establishment in mid-town Manhattan.St. Patrick’s Day is the busiest day of the year – the annual drinking contest brings hundreds of people to fight the reigning champion, Sosha, for the title.On her way to work, Luck meets two cops at a police checkpoint. She quickly finds herself wondering what it would be like to not be so alone anymore.After their shift, Sullivan, Santina, and Mackenzie hear the call of Lady Luck, and find the sexy temptress behind the bar.Unable to resist her, the pack soon discovers their need to claim her as their own. Now tied to a pack of wolf shifters, the Goddess of Luck has no idea what plans they have unwittingly put into motion.

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“The Cold Crowdfunding Campaign” is now available as a free e-book

Almost a year ago, I wrote a short story in response to the famous 1954 science fiction story “The Cold Equations” by Tom Godwin, which reimagines the classic story as a crowdfunding campaign. I then posted the story to my blog.

That story is called “The Cold Crowdfunding Campaign” and got quite a lot of hits and comments at the time.

Fast forward a year and I suddenly noticed that “The Cold Crowdfunding Campaign” got a quite a few hits, more than an old blog post normally gets. So I investigated and saw that a kindly soul had added “The Cold Crowdfunding Campaign” to the 2021 Hugo Spreadsheet of Doom. Which is really awesome.

“The Cold Crowdfunding Campaign” is still available to read on this blog. However, if you’d rather read it as an e-book, you can now also get “The Cold Crowdfunding Campaign” as a free e-book in the format of your choice at StoryOrigins. It even has a pretty cover now, courtesy of Luca Oleastri.

The Cold Crowdfunding Campaign by Cora Buhlert

“The Cold Equations” by Tom Godwin, winner of the 1955 Hugo Award for Best Short Story, is one of the most influential science fiction stories of all times and has inspired countless responses and rebuttals, mostly to avert the infamous tragic ending.

This story reimagines “The Cold Equations” in the form of a crowdfunding campaign. Will Captain Barton raise enough credits to refuel his emergency dispatch ship in time? Or is eighteen-year-old Marilyn Cross, who stowed away aboard Barton’s ship, doomed and will have to take a trip out of the airlock without a spacesuit?

Any similarities to persons living or dead are entirely intentional.

Get it for free in the e-book format of your choice!

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Luck and Crime 2021 – A Round-Up of Indie St. Patrick’s Day Crime Fiction

Luck and Crime banner
Our monthly round-ups of new speculative fiction and new crime fiction releases by indie authors are a perennially popular feature. Therefore, we now offer you a round-up of our favourite St. Patrick’s Day mysteries by indie and small press authors.

These holiday mysteries cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have plenty of cozy mysteries, culinary mysteries, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, paranormal mysteries, police procedurals, crime thrillers, noir thrillers, legal thrillers, romantic suspense, amateur sleuths, crime-fighting witches, crime-fighting bakers, crime-fighting ghostwriters, crime-fighting dogs, murders, pranks, missing gold coins, murdered leprechauns, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set on or around St. Patrick’s Day.

As always with my round-up posts, this round-up of the best indie holiday mysteries 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:

Struck by Shillelagh by Amy AlessioStruck by Shillelagh by Amy Alessio:

Struck by Shillelagh: A St. Patrick’s Day novella mystery! When her friend is arrested for attempted murder of the Mayor at the St. Patrick’s Day parade, Alana O’Neill tries to learn who really hit the unpopular politician with the black thorn shillelagh. A new booth owner with a questionable past, a secret author featuring the antiques mall and recipe failures are unable to distract Alana for long on her quest for justice. Vintage recipes include Edible Blarneystones, Refrigerator Cake, Lime Ribbon Delight and more. This story is 11,000 words.

Includes Bonus Story Thankful for Pie: In this Thanksgiving holiday novella, Star tries to learn who is sabotaging her family’s struggling bakery. She also wonders why her new karate instructor drives her so crazy.

The St. Patrick's Day Murders by M.W. BurdetteThe St. Patrick’s Day Murders by M.W. Burdette:

The St. Patrick Day Murders is fourth novel in The Bremen and Whitacre Murder Mystery Series. This mystery features Daphne Whitacre, detective and wife of John Bremen, the former FBI Director in Dallas, Texas, before he and Daphne moved back to his hometown of Ashburn, Alabama. Daphne and John’s detective agency was having success and their recent ability to solve the death of the famous racecar driver at the Talladega Super Racetrack was reported in newspapers all over the Southeast and especially in the State of Alabama. John and Daphne had just taken on a new employee to partner up with Klahan Chu, John’s best friend and fellow investigator, and they decided to celebrate as a team in Birmingham on March 17th at the annual St. Patty’s Day Parade that marched down 20th Street South to the Little Five Points area of the city. It would be a parade that they would never forget.

St. Patrick's Day 1945 by Frank W. ButterfieldSt. Patrick’s Day 1945 by Frank W. Butterfield:

Saturday, March 17, 1945

Nick Williams is in the U.S. Navy and working as a hospital corpsman. He was recently transferred to the Navy’s Base Hospital 13 at Milne Bay, New Guinea, right on the edge of the jungle and pretty much in the middle of nowhere.

He’s about to head over to Port Moresby for 24 hours of leave with his buddy, Hospital Apprentice First Class Reynolds, so they can fool around in private and in their own room at the Moresby Hotel.

Nick is hoping they keep the place over there nice and clean and free of the snakes and bugs he runs into in his quarters at the base.

Friday, March 16, 1945

Carter Jones is working as a fireman at Station 3 on Polk Street in San Francisco. He’s living on Turk Street in the apartment he and Henry shared before Henry, his first lover, joined the Army and shipped out to Europe.

He’s having a hard time figuring out what to do with himself on a Friday before he begins his next shift. He starts the day by watching Meet Me in St. Louis for the third time at the Castro Theatre over in Eureka Valley.

Then he runs into a new acquaintance he’d rather not see again.

Can the day get any worse?

Murder on Saint Patrick's Day by P. CreedenMurder on Saint Patrick’s Day by P. Creeden:

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and 20-year-old Emma Wright is working hard at training five-month-old Molly, her foster puppy, to become a therapy dog. But her training coach and neighbor gets an emergency call, cutting the lesson short, and Emma volunteers to pick up her daughter at a St. Patrick’s Day concert in town.

When Emma arrives, the concert has just finished up, and the teenage girls are visiting with the band. Then the lead singer stumbles and falls to the ground, dead. Emma becomes the only level head in the crowd and calls for help. When the Sheriff and Colby arrive, they investigate it as a potential accident. But Emma finds subtle clues that something more sinister is going on. Did the leader of the band die in an accident, or was it murder?

Leprechaun Luck by Addison CreekLeprechaun Luck by Addison Creek:

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and Lemmi, Charlie, and Liam are determined to have some fun before going to watch the guys play baseball.

What happens next is unexpected, to say the least, but Lemmi and Charlie are determined not to miss the baseball game. Now if only the leprechaun would tell them where Liam is . . .

This is a short story coming in at about 12,000 words.

 

Lucky Charmed by Kerry L. CurtisLucky Charmed by Kerry L. Curtis:

Kate is trying to find out who is trying to kill Rhys, while she’s looking for the stolen Cartier necklace and searching for an Irishman’s pot of gold. She gets help from Cap much to Rhys dismay.

 

 

 

 

Dublin Debacle by Kerry L. CurtisDublin Debacle by Kerry L. Curtis:

Kate is after Vince the Fence again after he slipped through her fingers last year she’s on her way to Ireland where she gets some unexpected help, she is trying to solve a twenty year old mystery and figure out what her brother is doing hint he’s in trouble and needs her help.

See what Kate is up to in this quirky romantic comedy cozy mystery

 

 

Shamrock Shenangigans by Kathi DaleyShamrock Shenangigans by Kathi Daley:

Zak and Zoe travel to Ireland for their first Valentines Day as husband and wife. They have been invited to attend a murder mystery weekend in a real haunted castle. During their first night at the castle, they find one of the guests dead. Really dead. As they delve into the murder they begin to see that not only are things not as they appear, but several of the other attendees are not who they claim to be. During the course of her investigation Zoe discovers a secret about herself that is more than just a little shocking.

 

The Saint Paddy's Promise by Kathi DaleyThe Saint Paddy’s Promise by Kathi Daley:

If you love small towns, endearing relationships, food, animals, and a touch of murder, you will love this cozy mystery series.

Sixty years ago a man made a promise to the woman he loved to meet her on Saint Patrick’s Day. They were to meet in the park on the bench where they liked to sit and watch the world go by. The couple were deeply in love and planned to marry but he never showed up at the rendezvous point. Every Saint Patrick’s Day since then the woman has made a pilgrimage to the bench to wait for her one true love. Tess and Tilly see the woman sitting with her granddaughter on the bench and decide to stop and chat. During their conversation the granddaughter tells Tess the story of her grandmother and the man who professed his love and promised to return but never did. Tess is drawn in by her story and agrees to try to find the answers, the elderly woman has sought all her life. She enlists the help of Tony as well as the woman’s granddaughter.

Meanwhile, Bree is knee deep in wedding planning, there is a new murder in town, and Tony gets a lead on Tess’s father,

Shamrock Snake by Tom Dots DohertyShamrock Snakes by Tom Dots Doherty:

Set in Dublin during a St. Patrick’s Day Festival, Shamrock Snake is an exciting Irish crime thriller that’s told from a male and female perspective as Doyle tires to find out what is behind a series of gruesome murder-suicides.

 

 

 

 

Shammed by Bernadette FranklinShammed by Bernadette Franklin:

At R.K. Legal & Associates, office hours are between ten to six, pranks happen after hours, and evidence of all shenanigans are removed before doors open to clients.

When Alice’s boss, Mr. Kenton, starts a prank war with Lance McCarthy, an up-and-coming attorney from a rival firm, she thinks it’s just business as usual.

She’s never been so wrong in her life.

Chosen to be Mr. Kenton’s accomplice, Alice must face off against Lance in what quickly becomes a winner-takes-all game of hearts.

Paddy Whacked by S. Furlong-BollingerPaddy Whacked by S. Furlong-Bollinger:

Inspector Helmes and his trusty sidekick, Watkins, know they have their work cut out for them in solving the murder of Paddy O’Toole, the Grand Leprechaun. However, nothing can prepare them for the strange lineup of suspects they encounter at the annual Holiday Icon Convention.

 

 

 

St. Patrick's Day by Andrew GonzalezSt. Patrick’s Day by Andrew Gonzalez:

St. Patricks Day is a story about two brothers who had a terrible history in the past and takes place in Celina, Ohio. The older brother Jimmy Marsh tries to kill his younger brother Jacob Marsh out of anger and jealousy when they were kids. At the age of ten the older brother Jimmy Marsh did his part in killing his parents. Because of doing so, Jimmy was abused by his parents and Jacob the younger brother was treated like a prince. Jimmy failed to kill his brother Jacob and was sent to a sanitarium for ten years but then he escaped and went after Jacob again. Through the years Jacob had delusions of seeing his brother, and now that Jimmy is free, he has another chance of going after Jacob and his friends. So now its up to Jacob not only to save himself but also the people he loves.

Sleuthing for the Weekend by Jennifer L. HartSleuthing for the Weekend by Jennifer L. Hart:

It’s St. Patrick’s Day in Beantown, and Mackenzie Elizabeth Taylor needs the Luck of the Irish to solve her latest mystery—namely, who was the mysterious Uncle Al, the man who left her his apartment building as well as his PI business? But that personal investigation has to take a backseat to raising her teenage genius Mac, and dealing with her immature baby-daddy and demanding mother. Not to mention taking on a job that will actually produce some green.

The case is a gnarly dispute by two Irish pub owners who happen to be brothers as well as rivals over a missing inheritance. With the entire city out pub-crawling, Mackenzie goes hunting for a pot of gold…but winds up with a body instead.

With an assist from Mac, Mackenzie must slip into her gumshoes and go toe-to-toe with Detective Hunter Black, her neighbor, protector, and main squeeze, in order to solve her case. this case and claim the reward before someone else. Can the mother daughter team successfully investigate in the middle of a city-wide chaos? Or is their luck about to run out?

End of the Rainbow by Michelle Ann HollsteinEnd of the Rainbow by Michelle Ann Hollstein:

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and Aggie, Betty and Roger are celebrating at an Irish pub in Palm Springs when Betty’s leprechaun-love-interest drops dead. Could it be murder? Join Aggie and friends as they embark on a celebration they won’t soon forget.

 

 

 

Duffel Bags and Drownings by Dorothy HowellDuffel Bags and Drownings by Dorothy Howell:

Fashionista and event planner to the stars Haley Randolph is staging a St. Patrick’s Day bash for one of Hollywood’s biggest couples. When she visits the catering company to check on preparations, it looks like the green ice sculptures will be the hit of the party — until Haley finds a server floating face down in the water tank.

Haley becomes the prime suspect in the murder. With a killer — and a giant leprechaun — on the loose, she must do some fast sleuthing to find the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. Will she kiss the Blarney Stone — or the hot new detective on the case?

Haley will need the luck of the Irish to find the killer — and the hottest handbag of the season!

Shamrock Pie Murder by Carolyn Q. HunterShamrock Pie Murder by Carolyn Q. Hunter:

Indulge yourself in a sweet slice of murder!

It’s Saint Patrick’s Day in Culver’s Hood and pie shop owner, Bertha Hannah, has been asked to cater the dessert course at a local chiropractic luncheon. Unfortunately, what seems like a fun event is hampered by persistent protestors, professional disagreements, and jealous lovers. The unpleasant situation goes from bad to worse when one of the event’s attendees is murdered, under most unusual circumstances.

Bert has her hands full trying to prove one man’s innocence while hunting down ghosts of the past. Will she be able to “crack” the case, or will she find herself permanently on pins and needles?

Lucky Strike by Madison JohnsLucky Strike by Madison Johns:

When Sheriff Peterson is injured during a high-speed chase — Agnes and Eleanor spring into action.

Agnes Barton and Sheriff Peterson’s working relationship is shoddy at best. He’d rather balk at the idea of Agnes and Eleanor independently investigating his cases. That changes though when he’s injured in a high-speed chase. While the good sheriff is laid up at a secret location for his own safety, the girls are on the case.

It’s hard to investigate the true nature of the sheriff’s accident though when Rodney Scott is murdered at the local bowling alley and all they have to rely on is the Interim Sheriff Karl Roberts. Agnes needs to quell her suspicions about Roberts as the girls launch an investigation that has them at their wits end and it will take more than luck to solve this case.

St. Patrick Day's Secret by Linda KozarSt. Patrick’s Day Secret by Linda P. Kozar:

When seventeen-year-old Sean visits his eccentric Irish grandfather, he discovers a secret that his Gramps is obsessed with—finding the family’s cache of gold coins, stolen, according to his grandfather, by leprechauns. Though Sean doesn’t believe in elves or leprechaun’s he decides to spend his last summer before college with his grandfather, and joins him in his quest to find a purloined pot of gold.

 

 

Four-Leaf Clover by Amanda M. LeeFour-Leaf Clover by Amanda M. Lee:

Clove Winchester is feeling lucky at life, and that’s before a mysterious stranger drops into her magic store and gifts her with a special coin. Suddenly things can’t go wrong for Clove, and she’s the center of attention in the Winchesters’ world – especially because Aunt Tillie wants that coin.

When a near-death experience rocks Clove and her boyfriend Sam, Clove takes a closer look at the coin and realizes there’s a lot she can do with her new luck streak. Unfortunately for Aunt Tillie, Clove is determined to keep the benefits to herself.

When a brazen armed robber hits Hemlock Cove and goes after Bay, all of the Winchester witches band together to solve the crime and save the day. Of course, they may need a little luck to do it.

Lucky You by Mark ParkerLucky You by Mark Parker:

SOME KILLERS ARE BORN, SOME ARE CREATED…

After a night of exuberant sex with a college coed on St. Patrick’s Day, club bouncer Declan McGilvery discovers something quite unsettling about himself. What transpires over the next few weeks for this Irish-born Boston native is nothing short of unthinkable. As circumstances grow beyond Declan’s control, his life heads in a direction he could’ve never possibly imagined. Declan comes to realize in an all-too-real way, that one night stands can hold implications beyond lust and risky behavior. Sometimes they can even lead to death.

Go Bráth ('Til Doomsday) by Christopher RyanGo Bráth (‘Til Doomsday) by Christopher Ryan:

NYPD Detectives Frank Mallory and Alberto “Gunner” Gennaro (from the award-winning debut novel CITY OF WOE and the popular short story collection CITY OF SIN) are just trying to enjoy the St. Patrick’s Day Parade when all Hell breaks loose….

 

 

 

The Clover Pin by Olive ThomasThe Clover Pin by Olive Thomas:

Holmes and Watson are drawn into a case which deals not only with a murder in their own time, but which dredges through the circumstances of one committed some six years earlier.

 

 

 

 

The Luck of the Ghostwriter by Noreen WaldThe Luck of the Ghostwriter by Noreen Wald:

Jake O’Hara and her colleagues are looking forward to a complimentary weekend in Manhattan’s swanky Plaza Hotel, the venue for the Greater New York Crime Writers’ Conference. The conference kicks off on St. Patrick’s Day, making the atmosphere a bit more festive—and chaotic—than usual. But things get way out of hand when senator-turned-writer Charlie Fione and actress-turned-writer Holly Halligan partake of some green beer—that leaves them permanently green around the gills.

Now Jake’s Irish eyes are far from smiling as she delves into a mystery and tries to rewrite a murderer’s plot—as only New York City’s finest ghostwriter can.

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New Kurval Sword and Sorcery Story Available: The Wolf of Rajala

I’m interrupting my schedule of Fanzine/Fancast Spotlights for a new release announcement. This one is for another Kurval sword and sorcery story, since the character has been occupying my mind of late.

To recap, during the 2020 July short story challenge, I had an idea for a sword and sorcery story that would not fit into my established Thurvok sword and sorcery series, so I created a new character named Kurval, barbarian usurper turned King of Azakoria. Kurval was initially intended to be a one-off character. However, I like him and he allows me to tell stories that just don’t fit Thurvok and his friends, so it was clear that he would show up again. Which he promptly did.

The Wolf of Rajala is the second Kurval story set before his time as King of Azakoria, though after he left his homeland of Temirzhan in The Plains of Shadow. At this time in his life, Kurval is plying his trade as a wandering mercenary and monster slayer for hire.

The initial inspiration for this story really was that I came across a great piece of artwork by Dominick Critelli featuring a swordsman facing off against a giant wolf in a wintery forest and thought, “That would make a great cover for a sword and sorcery story.” So I wrote a story to go with it.

However, after I had written the initial confrontation between Kurval and the wolf, I hit a wall. Because “Kurval fights a giant wolf and wins” is rather boring. And a dead wolf suddenly changing back into a human wouldn’t have shocked anybody in the 1930s, let alone today. After all, Weird Tales was full of werewolf stories in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.

As I looked through a rundown of werewolf stories published in Weird Tales with accompanying illustrations and covers, I noticed that a remarkable number of them seemed to feature werewolves and naked women. In particular, Margaret Brundage’s cover for the March 1933 issue of Weird Tales, which features a naked woman running through the snow with a pack of wolves and illustrates “The Thing in the Fog” by Seabury Quinn, caught my eye.

“What if my werewolf were a woman?” I wondered, “And what if she actually had a very good reason for harassing the people of Rajala? How will Kurval, someone we know cares about justice, react?” The rest of the story grew from there.

In the end, The Wolf of Rajala not only features a matriarchal werewolf pack – no, all characters with speaking parts in this story except for Kurval himself are women.

So accompany Kurval as a faces…

The Wolf of Rajala
The Wolf of Rajala by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertBefore Kurval became King of Azakoria, he was a wandering mercenary and monster slayer for hire.

One day, Kurval is hired to take out the monstrous wolves that have been besetting the village of Rajala. However, he quickly finds that the wolves are not what they seem. He also realises that the wolves have a very good reason for attacking the villagers…

This is a novelette of 8700 words or approx. 30 print pages in the Kurval sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

 

More information.
Length: 8700 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 iBooks, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, Vivlio and XinXii.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for February 2021

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 and small press authors (as well as the occasional Big 5 book) newly published this month, though some January 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, sword and sorcery, paranormal mystery, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, science fiction romance, science fiction thrillers, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, Cyberpunk, Steampunk, historical horror, LitRPG, magical realism, fairy tales retellings, dragons, elves, mermaids, superheroes, aliens, UFOs, interstellar wars, intergalactic smugglers, headless horsemen, matriarchical werewolves, crime-busting witches, crime-busting ghosts, lovelorn cupids 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:

Conviction by Jennifer BlackstreamConviction by Jennifer Blackstream:

Shade’s FBI partner has shot a kelpie.
Again.
And this time, the law may not be on his side…

Agent Andrew Bradford once used deadly force to stop a kelpie from kidnapping a human teenager. And now Shade has gotten a call saying he’s done it again. Flesh-eating kelpie dead, human victim saved.

At least, he thinks that’s what happened.

He doesn’t remember.

His inability to clearly recall the night’s events forces Shade to seek answers among the monsters of the Otherworld. She’ll have to question scheming leannan sidhe, malicious waterhorses, and take a dangerous step into the world of vampire politics.

Otherworlders are nothing if not opportunistic. And there are plenty of powerful players ready to take advantage of Shade’s desperation to do whatever it takes to save her partner…

The Wolf of Rajala by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Wolf of Rajala by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

Before Kurval became King of Azakoria, he was a wandering mercenary and monster slayer for hire.

One day, Kurval is hired to take out the monstrous wolves that have been besetting the village of Rajala. However, he quickly finds that the wolves are not what they seem. He also realises that the wolves have a very good reason for attacking the villagers…

This is a novelette of 8700 words or approx. 30 print pages in the Kurval sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

Mercadia Stalling by Shaka BryMercadia Stalling by Shaka Bry:

Immortality takes time. Armageddon is inevitable. Love is somewhere in-between.

In a faraway fairy tale world, the first mermaids and merliens are evolving. Maya, the newly crowned queen of Mercadia, is learning how to rule. Hermann, freshly immortal, is brimming with strange feelings. When they meet, sparks will fly.

Mercadia’s magic is vanishing. An apocalypse is brewing. To save their species, explorers are going to have to step up. Someone will have to risk everything and travel through a portal to an ocean realm called Earth.

Before they had tails, mermaids and merliens basked in the glow of eternal life. Existence is about to accelerate.

Secrets of the Sword III by Lindsay BurokerSecrets of the Sword III by Lindsay Buroker:

I’m Val Thorvald, tough butt-kicking assassin and soon-to-be wife of Lord Zavryd’nokquetal. He’s a dragon from another world, and he’s haughty, arrogant, and has horrible taste in footwear, but I love him. Our wedding is going to be amazing.

At least… I’d like to think so. But when the coffee shop I’m a co-owner of gets bombed, our youngest employee goes missing, and the entire elven family I didn’t know I had shows up for a visit, my wedding preparations take an alarming turn.

Oh, and did I mention that Zav’s clan is coming to the wedding? Dozens of dragons flying into the Seattle area. What could possibly go wrong?

Cupid by Demelza CarltonCupid by Delmeza Carlton:

As a Cupid, Orel has plenty of experience helping other people find love, even if he’s unlucky in that department. But when he ends up covering for another Cupid at a speed dating event for singles in the leadup to Valentine’s Day, he dares to hope.

Can a lonely Cupid find love?

Or will he fall victim to the Cupid curse, too?

 

Heather's Marauders by M.D. CooperHeather’s Marauders by M.D. Cooper:

When the Alliance calls in the ISF Mech Corps, they never know what the situation might hold, but one thing is always for certain: the shit has hit the fan.

Heather had never even heard of the Tchyros System until orders came in from the Hegemon herself; an urgent message to deploy an entire division of mechs into the system with orders to put down an insurrection before it topples the democratically elected government.

A simple enough task for her mechs, but Heather knows that if she’s going in, then the situation on the ground will be far from clear cut—and her suspicions hold true upon arrival.

‘Murky’ doesn’t even begin to describe the situation and as Heather attempts to determine who is in the right, the Marauders find themselves in the middle of a three-way battle for control of the system with no clear path to peace.

If the Marauders are to keep the system from falling into utter chaos, Heather will need to…to… come up with a hell of a plan.

If only she knew what that was.

Pagan's Veil by Matt EatonPagan’s Veil by Matt Eaton:

Washington Times-Herald reporter Edna Drake receives an anonymous tip about a classified government program in possession of a fully functional flying saucer.

But before she can publish she’ll need to prove it, which won’t be easy.

It’s 1952… the flying saucer frenzy is at its peak. Sightings are through the roof across America.

Nobody knows what’s going on, least of all the government.

Yet Drake is sure President Harry Truman and the US Air Force know a lot more than they’re willing to admit.

Standing between her and the truth is retired soldier and wartime spymaster ‘Wild’ Bill Donovan.

Donovan is worried America will end up at war with the Soviet Union if Drake gets too close.

Pagan’s Veil brings you face-to-face with the men who’ll do anything to keep their secrets under wraps.

Dagger of Doom by Rachel FordDagger of Doom by Rachel Ford:

A fully immersive virtual reality system. A beta testing opportunity that’s the stuff of dreams – or a nightmare that may never end.

Jack Owens has been stuck in Marshfield Studio’s newest virtual reality RPG for so long that his mind is starting to break down the barriers between his real body and his avatar.

In-game, things aren’t looking any better. The greatest evil the world has ever known is coming back, and it’s turned heroes everywhere to stone. Men, elves, and dwarves cower in their holds as the coming darkness looms. The only thing holding the wolves at bay? Jack and his merry band of ne’er-do-wells: a pair of purse-cutting goblins, a morally ambiguous ranger, and a throat-cutting giant.

While Jack works with Marshfield Studio to save his mind in real life, he has to work with his in-game team to rescue the world’s heroes, and save the day. If they can keep from plying their dark trades on each other long enough to survive, anyway…

Weapons Free by Daniel GibbsWeapons Free by Daniel Gibbs:

Thirty-five years of peace. One vicious attack destroys it all.

Reservist Lieutenant Justin Spencer loves every minute of flying fighters through space during his annual two-week tour with the Coalition Defense Force. The job back home isn’t nearly as thrilling as blowing up asteroids with the squadron under his command, but it keeps him close to his wife and daughter. After all, joining the CDF was only for the free education. Justin never expected a battle, much less a war.

With one shot across his cockpit, peacetime fades into memory.

An unexpected enemy emerges with overwhelming force designed to obliterate the Terran Coalition. The League of Sol has a different name, but it’s the same communist regime that chased away much of Earth’s population hundreds of years ago.

Illusions of returning home are shattered in a single instant. Simulated battles become all too real, and it’s full-on engagement or permanent elimination. Death and destruction erupt across the Terran Coalition and leave Justin in a protracted war with only one truth remaining.

The battlefield will leave no one unscathed.

Reign of the Colossus by Nicole GrotepasReign of the Colossus by Nicole Grotepas:

How many enemies can one hero have?

The faces of Holly Drake’s foes have never been so clear, yet so out of reach.

As kinks stop the flow of cash towards Holly’s goals to build her own empire, she must choose between solidifying her standing against the growing forces of evil…

…or saving her crew.

Never got enough of Firefly? Already longing for a new season of The Mandalorian? Then dip into this entertaining cast of characters and space adventure and grab your copy of Reign of the Colossus today!

All the Pretty Witches by Lily Harper HartAll the Pretty Witches by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok was looking for adventure when she inherited Casper Creek from her grandmother.

She got more than she was bargaining for.

Now she’s grappling with two ancient sister witches, both of whom are inhabiting the bodies of others, and a war is brewing.

Hannah knows she has to fight on the side of good but she’s not certain their ally has anybody’s best interests at heart, and it has her faltering. On top of everything, there’s a new demon on the loose and he appears to have joined sides with the dark witch who wants to end them all.

Life has never been easy for Hannah but it’s harder than ever for her now. The magic she’s only recently discovered is taking hold … and growing. That makes her an appealing target for the sister witches should they want a stronger body to leap into.

Cooper Wyatt loves Hannah with his whole heart but fear has gripped him by the throat. He wants to help Hannah with her battle but he’s not sure what he has to offer … other than loyalty. He will protect her with his dying breath, although she’s determined to make sure that’s not necessary.

Ancient evil is about to take on a powerful new witch. Who will be left standing? It’s anybody’s guess.

Project Charon by Patty JansenProject Charon 1. Re-Entry by Patty Jansen:

On the backwater world of Cayelle, Tina Freeman runs a shop with her son Rex: fifteen years old, half-human, half-android with a massive chip on his shoulder about having been born without arms or legs.

The shop makes a modest profit, but when a creditor turns up wanting his money back, everything goes pear-shaped.

She needs money, and needs it fast. Another creditor is impossible to find. That leaves her one option: to return to the world she fled fifteen years ago and Kelso Space Station, where her spaceship has languished for over fifteen years, and finally sell the thing.

Tina worked as scientific officer in the Federacy Force’s top secret Project Charon, and was forced out when she rang alarm bells about particles that escaped out of a rift to another universe.

As it turns out, the alien dust has been infecting people in her absence, causing profound changes in human behaviour.

When Tina re-surfaces at Kelso, her presence is a threat to those who still defend the project, including her ex-husband, and they want to shut her up, but her continued silence may well mean the end of civilisation.

The Last Exit by Michael KaufmanThe Last Exit by Michael Kaufman:

Set in Washington D.C. in the near future, climate change has hit hard, fires are burning, unemployment is high, and controversial longevity treatments are only available to the very rich. Enter resourceful young police detective, Jen B. Lu, and her ‘partner’, Chandler, a SIM implant in her brain and her instant link to the Internet and police records, and constant voice inside her head. He’s an inquisitive tough guy, with a helluva sense of humor and his own ideas about solving crimes.

As a detective in the Elder Abuse unit, Jen is supposed to be investigating kids pushing their aging parents to “exit” so they are eligible to get the longevity drug. But what really has her attention are the persistent rumors about Eden, an illegal version of the longevity drug, and the bizarre outbreak of people aging almost overnight, then suddenly dying–is this all connected? Is Big Pharma involved?

When Jen’s investigations of Eden take her too close to the truth, she is suspended, Chandler is deactivated, and her boyfriend is freaked out by “the thing inside her brain.” This leaves Jen to pursue a very dangerous investigation all by herself.

Fire Fight by B.V. LarsonFire Fight by B.V. Larson:

The colonies of the Faustian Chain have gone dark. No star freighters have come from the star cluster for decades.

Captain Bill Gorman, a smuggler on the Fringe, is one of the few who know the truth. He’s personally battled the alien invaders who’ve overrun the human colonies of the Chain. He and his crew are faced with a choice: will they fight the invaders, or will they run?

Find out in FIRE FIGHT, the thrilling sequel to STAR RUNNER.

Extinction Protocol: Rogue by Marc LandauExtinction Protocol: Rogue by Marc Landau:

They rule with a cold-steel heart and an iron fist. But these technological terrors haven’t reckoned with the revenge brewing in one man’s soul.

Harkly Colson has only a tenuous grasp on his humanity. Living off the grid after the war with the machines cost him his family, the grizzled veteran clings to his few pleasant memories of the time before mechanized oppression. But when a rare trip into town goes sideways and a female cyborg shows up near his home, he fears the ruthless rulers have sent an assassin in judgment.

Discovering the girl is an escapee from an experimental facility, Hark takes her in and tries to nurture her human side. But with computerized killers seeking them both, rescuing the young hybrid may prove to be a fatal mistake.

Will Hark’s last chance for redemption come with a lethal price?

Rogue is the first book in the gripping Extinction Protocol post-apocalyptic science fiction series. If you like futuristic combat, determined fugitives, and rising up against the state, then you’ll love Marc Landau’s dark vision.

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

The members Mystic Caravan have Georgia on their minds as they land in Savannah … and immediately find trouble.

In a city full of ghosts, Poet Parker expects a few magical things to happen, but when an evil cult sacrifices a young woman on the beach next to their camp, things take a turn nobody was expecting. Thankfully, she’s not alone for this fight.

Zoe Lake-Winters is considered the most powerful mage in existence. She’s brash, full of herself, and ready for a brawl. When she and her husband bring their daughter to the circus, Poet is immediately intrigued. She can feel the power rippling off Zoe, and it’s the sort of power that can force a reckoning.

The cult has magic, but it’s not enough to frighten Poet. It’s what they’re protecting that has everybody in a tizzy. It seems there’s a door to another plane, and the enemy trying to cross over to a world they were driven from is significant.

With Zoe and her mouthy daughter Sami on the prowl, Mystic Caravan is in a tumultuous state. On top of her normal worries, Poet also has to contend with her boyfriend Kade Denton, who is delighted to have another mage to learn from even as he struggles to trust his new abilities.

Magic is might, and there’s magic bubbling at every corner of Mystic Caravan. That’s a good thing because for the final fight they’re going to need every ounce of it they can muster.

Worlds are about to collide, and nobody will ever be the same again.

Vengeance and Dinner by Sophie LoveVengeance and Dinner by Sophie Love:

Marie Fortune, 39, a successful dog groomer in Boston, leaves the stressful life behind and heads to a small town in coastal Maine to create a new life. She remains intent on renovating the old, historic house her great-aunt left her and giving it a new life as a B&B. Yet there was one thing she couldn’t plan for: the house is haunted. Two things, actually: her great-aunt also left her a dog—and he is far from a typical dog.

When Marie is invited to exorcise a supposedly haunted house, she encounters a twist she never could have anticipated. But before she can wrap her mind around the situation, a man turns up dead—forcing her to solve the case and to clear her own name.

New Moon Rising by Brandy NacoleNew Moon Rising by Brandy Nacole:

Meet Tamsin Grey, witch extraordinaire…

At least, she would be if the High Council would heed her family’s warnings.

For decades her grandmother had tried warning the council that the supernatural races were not safe, especially the witches. She could feel the darkness that haunted the bloodlines, as could Tamsin as she got older.

A hopelessness often troubled Tamsin’s dreams, dreams filled with secrets hidden in the dark wood. Secrets the council had tried to hide. She feared for the witch’s future, as well as the other supernatural races, if she didn’t unravel the dreams meaning. But how?

It wasn’t until three years after her grandmother’s death and a life outside of Pyreshore, New Hampshire that she gets her chance. A letter inviting her to become a Keeper. It was the ticket she needed to bring her home and give her the opportunity to right a wrong so many chose to ignore.

But upon returning she finds that not only will she have to worry about the Witch’s Keeper watching her every move, but also Talon Strohm, son of the witches High Council. Talon tells Tamsin she can trust him but revealing the truth to him could put everything in jeopardy.

Tamsin will have to make a choice, trust Talon or let her only chance to save the witches slip away.

After all, every secret needs a Keeper

Kelianna by Leah NegronKelianna by Leah Negron:

What my fellow countrymen do not realize is that the tales are true. From the leprechauns to the fairies, the banshees to the pooka, the merrow to the kelpie, the changelings to the far darrig, they all exist.

There are many more creatures; some of them are good and stand by us in the fight to keep the evil ones at bay. The others, the dark ones, try to destroy everything that is good in the world.

Now there is a new threat, one that I have never seen before. Thankfully, Tiamat sent word through the portals to warn me of what is coming.

It’s time to bring my forces together for the battle of a lifetime. It looks like it’s going to be one hell of a Bloody Valentine’s Day.

Choosing Cleo by Ava ParisChoosing Cleo by Ava Paris:

This isn’t Sci-Fi. This is my lab.

He is a gorgeous Swede who has a couple of secrets, the biggest being that he isn’t a Swede at all, he’s an alien from another planet. She is a curious scientist who lives in her head, and who would never have imagined what she is about to discover.

Will he be able to help her break out of her head and into the world around her? Her world, which is slowly falling apart and needs her to come to the rescue? Together, will they be able to make a difference before it’s too late?

Tiamat by Serenity RayneTiamat by Serenity Rayne:

You would think I was living a fairy tale life. I live in my ancestral home high up in the mountains, and I am heir to the Ice Dragon throne. With the standard court drama and Prince’s trying to court me that don’t measure up to the man in my dreams, life can be quite stressful at times. But in the darkness, an old evil lurks, one we thought my mother Aurora had extinguished long ago. Villagers start going missing by my father Klaus’s pack lands, and all signs point to the Strigoi. Time to help mom and get my talons dirty; this will be one bloody Valentines Day.

 

Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons by Keith RossonFolk Songs for Trauma Surgeons by Keith Rosson:

With Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, award-winning author Keith Rosson once again delves into notions of family, identity, indebtedness, loss, and hope, with the surefooted merging of literary fiction and magical realism he’s explored in previous novels. In “Dunsmuir,” a newly sober husband buys a hearse to help his wife spread her sister’s ashes, while “The Lesser Horsemen” illustrates what happens when God instructs the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to go on a team-building cruise as a way of boosting their frayed morale. In “Brad Benske and the Hand of Light,” an estranged husband seeks his wife’s whereabouts through a fortuneteller after she absconds with a cult, and the returning soldier in “Homecoming” navigates the strange and ghostly confines of his hometown, as well as the boundaries of his own grief. With grace, imagination, and a brazen gallows humor, Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons merges the fantastic and the everyday, and includes new work as well as award-winning favorites.

Mermaid Song by Anthea SharpMermaid Song by Anthea Sharp:

Five delightful fairytale retellings from USA Today bestselling author Anthea Sharp. Featuring magical cats, romance, and a touch of wistful faerie enchantment, escape the everyday with these entertaining new twists on old tales.

Mistress Bootsi
A girl sets out to seek her fortune – and luckily, she has a clever cat for a companion, in this Puss in Boots retelling.

The Sea King’s Daughter
The Little Mermaid, reimagined in an ancient Celtic setting full of wild and bittersweet magic.

Faerie Song
A magical retelling of the Pied Piper, with a dark faerie twist.

Escape: A Liza Roth Adventure
A princess on the run and her feline companion find adventure and danger on Starhub Station in this story based on the Icelandic fairy tale Kisa the Cat.

Waltzed
A Victorian Cinderella retelling complete with an absent-minded Godmother, an orange carriage, and a slipper mishap. Prepare to be swept away into this (nonmagical) fairytale romance written under the pen name Anthea Lawson.

Headless 1776 by Tom SchneiderHeadless 1776 by Tom Schneider:

THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN ORIGIN STORY

America wasn’t the only thing birthed in 1776. The year also gave rise to the brutal terror of the Headless Hessian.

Elijah sets off from Philadelphia to the village of North Tarrytown. There, his path leads to a showdown with the murderous horseman on All Hallows Eve, and his deeds give birth to a legend.

 

Bridget Bramble and the Wandering Elf by Aurora SpringerBridget Bramble and the Wandering Elf by Aurora Springer:

Fantasy romance. A young witch escapes the destruction of her home and embarks on a perilous quest for the fabled land where elves and humans live in peace.

In a land threatened by cruel invaders from the east, Bridget Bramble lives in a small village where she barters herbs and carved buttons. When marauders target her village and murder her family, she flees into the woods. Armed with her Granny’s advice and a bag of magic buttons, she sets out on the perilous journey to Oakenwald, the fabled land where elves and men live in harmony. As she travels farther from home, she encounters malicious creatures from the worst kind of folktale.

Lost in the foothills of the mountains, Bridget meets the elf, Windswift the Wanderer. He offers to guide her across the mountain range. But what is the elf doing in human lands? Can an ordinary, or almost ordinary, human girl trust a cold hearted elf to lead her to safety?

Epic fantasy adventure and romance with darker overtones. This story weaves elements of folklore and a quest for a safe haven in a land where magic is real.

The Fall of Rho-Torkis by Tim C. TaylorThe Fall of Rho-Torkis by Tim C. Taylor:

When your worst enemy has your back…

…you know the mission is doomed from the start.

Sergeant Osu Sybutu of the Legion had a simple mission. Take five men and travel unobserved to a location in the capital where he would deliver a coded phrase to a contact. Simple, that is, except for the fact that there was a war going on, and all the different factions he had to pass by on the way would cheerfully shoot him on sight. And that was only if the planet didn’t kill him first.

Militia Sergeant Vetch Arunsen’s task, however, was far more complex. Shepherd a group of hated rivals across the frozen wastes, keeping them safe from everyone who wanted to kill them, which was pretty much everyone. Including the oddball troopers under Arunsen’s own command, who would happily shoot the Legion soldiers if given the slightest opportunity.

Legion versus Militia. Joint defenders of the Federation. In theory. Their mutual loathing, however, could burn the armor plate off a battleship. For rival sergeants Sybutu and Arunsen, there’s only one way their squads could survive trekking across the iceworld of Rho-Torkis.

Legion and Militia.

Teeth of the Rakshasa by B.J. WestTeeth of the Rakshasa by B.J. West:

Revolutionaries, thieves, or terrorists?

Depending on who you talk to, Spider King and his cohorts in the infamous Gordian Net are either criminals or revolutionaries in the ongoing struggle against the corporations that have replaced the federal government of the formerly united States.

Nobody pushes their notoriety as Robin Hoods harder than Spider himself. Arrogant and egotistical, Spider is a veritable rock star of the hacking world. It would be annoying if he wasn’t actually every bit as good as his talk.

Attracted by their reputation, a peculiar client approaches the Gordian Net with an opportunity that could be the score of a lifetime. But what first appears to be a simple hack-and-grab run quickly snowballs into an all-out war with the most powerful tech company in the world.

Spider will have to outthink, outrun, and outmaneuver the most ruthless street operatives in San Francisco without becoming the next victim of a new weapon of unspeakable horror.

Super Gone by Mel WoodburnSuper Gone by Mel Woodburn:

High school sophomore, Emma Edgin takes a break from being Dragon Girl to learn how to be a better superhero.

Plus, supers have been disappearing, regardless of whether they’re a villain, hero, or just scraping by. Emma’s sure the Super Commission is to blame.

So, when she accidentally reveals a friend’s superpowers—powers she didn’t even know he had—they try to flee.

But the Super Commission arrests two of her friends, forcing Emma to team up with a Dragon Girl fan who sees the future and her rich cousin.

Can a handful of teenagers defeat the shadowy government agency or is Emma’s freedom super gone?

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for February 2021


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 crime fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some January 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 traditional mysteries, cozy mysteries, historical mysteries, Victorian mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, 1950s mysteries, paranormal mysteries, science fiction mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, humorous crimee fiction, police procedurals, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, environmental thrillers, conspiracy thrillers, science fiction thrillers, dystopian thrillers, romantic suspense, police officers, amateur sleuths, private investigators, FBI agents, lawyers, journalists, serial killers, missing persons, elder abuse, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting maids, crime-busting dressmakers, crime-busting ghosts, detective AIs, murder and mayhem in Chicago, Washington DC, New Orleans, Pennsylvania, Maine, California, Suffolk 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 Design for Deceit by Blythe BakerA Design of Deceit by Blythe Baker:

Upon hearing rumors of “dark” goings on at a nearby country estate, Iris Dickinson cannot resist the pull to become involved. When a sudden storm traps her on the property, she must navigate the dangerous waters of a family mystery she does not fully understand, without the help of her sister Lily.

But there is more than one mystery haunting Iris, as shadowy childhood memories resurface. Can she survive one “storm” before being overtaken by another?

 

An Unexpected Misfortune by Blythe BakerAn Unexpected Misfortune by Blythe Baker:

Anna Fairweather’s resolution to delve further into the death of her father is interrupted by a fresh murder investigation. When a dinner party at the home of the attractive Jerome Townson ends in violence, it is up to Anna to get to the truth.

But with even her own employer a suspect, will Anna uncover a darker secret than she bargained for, one that could change her life forever?

 

Conviction by Jennifer BlackstreamConviction by Jennifer Blackstream:

Shade’s FBI partner has shot a kelpie.
Again.
And this time, the law may not be on his side…

Agent Andrew Bradford once used deadly force to stop a kelpie from kidnapping a human teenager. And now Shade has gotten a call saying he’s done it again. Flesh-eating kelpie dead, human victim saved.

At least, he thinks that’s what happened.

He doesn’t remember.

His inability to clearly recall the night’s events forces Shade to seek answers among the monsters of the Otherworld. She’ll have to question scheming leannan sidhe, malicious waterhorses, and take a dangerous step into the world of vampire politics.

Otherworlders are nothing if not opportunistic. And there are plenty of powerful players ready to take advantage of Shade’s desperation to do whatever it takes to save her partner…

Amid Rage by Joel BurcatAmid Rage by Joel Burcat:

A psychotic coal mine operator and cynical neighbors with an anti-mining agenda fight out a strip mine permit battle. Mike Jacobs, a 29-year old environmental prosecutor with Pennsylvania’s environmental agency, DEP, is caught between the warring factions, but is ordered to “babysit” the case. All Mike wants to do is to protect the environment and neighbors from certain harm as a result of the proposed mining. Sid Feldman, the Philadelphia lawyer for the mine operator, who oozes power and privilege, offers Mike a job midway through the proceedings. Miranda Clymer, the lawyer for the neighbors, pulls out all the stops to win Mike’s affection and assistance. Mike’s nearest and dearest friend, Nicky Kane is by his side as his paralegal. Mike must use all of his talents as a lawyer and rely on his discretion and courage to do what is right and not anger the political bosses for whom he works. In the cataclysmic ending, someone will die, but who?

The Uncountable Cost of Mystery by Beth ByersThe Uncountable Cost of Mystery by Beth Byers:

January 1926

Severine DuNoir and friends have left New Orleans and started on the trail to just what happened to Jane Oliver.

Things are confused and emotions are intense as they find Jane. The relief of finding their missing loved one fades as they have to face what they’ve found? Will their friendship survive? Where do they go from here?

 

Snakes and Ladders by Adam CroftSnakes and Ladders by Adam Croft:

A body lies amongst the undergrowth in Mildenheath Woods. His hands are bound behind his back, and he’s been killed execution-style.

But the victim isn’t a gangland kingpin: he’s a well-liked young man, never in any trouble, who had his whole life ahead of him.

But as Jack Culverhouse and Wendy Knight begin to dig deeper into what happened, a shocking new truth comes to light. Was the victim quite as innocent as he seemed?

Pagan's Veil by Matt EatonPagan’s Veil by Matt Eaton:

Washington Times-Herald reporter Edna Drake receives an anonymous tip about a classified government program in possession of a fully functional flying saucer.

But before she can publish she’ll need to prove it, which won’t be easy.

It’s 1952… the flying saucer frenzy is at its peak. Sightings are through the roof across America.

Nobody knows what’s going on, least of all the government.

Yet Drake is sure President Harry Truman and the US Air Force know a lot more than they’re willing to admit.

Standing between her and the truth is retired soldier and wartime spymaster ‘Wild’ Bill Donovan.

Donovan is worried America will end up at war with the Soviet Union if Drake gets too close.

Pagan’s Veil brings you face-to-face with the men who’ll do anything to keep their secrets under wraps.

Moonlight Dance Academy by Mike FaricyMoonlight Dance Academy by Mike Faricy:

Desperate times call for desperate measures!

Hub Schneider and Val Harwood flee the upper midwest for sunny Florida. They’re unemployed, broke, and basicly, haven’t a clue.

Hub’s girlfriend had piled his belongings in the driveway and set her sights on someone else.

Fortunately, Val has come up with a get rich quick brainstorm. UniqueDancing!

Open a ‘Dance Academy’ and while Val gives lessons to wealthy seniors, Hub can break into their homes and steal precious items they’ll never miss.

What could possibly go wrong?JUST WAIT!

Start with J.W. Brooks, head of a criminal enterprise in Atlanta.

Add to that there’s the “little” problem of ‘Crazy Bobby Falconi’ mobster hitman. Lord only knows how things will workout. Better grab your copy to find out…

All the Pretty Witches by Lily Harper HartAll the Pretty Witches by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok was looking for adventure when she inherited Casper Creek from her grandmother.

She got more than she was bargaining for.

Now she’s grappling with two ancient sister witches, both of whom are inhabiting the bodies of others, and a war is brewing.

Hannah knows she has to fight on the side of good but she’s not certain their ally has anybody’s best interests at heart, and it has her faltering. On top of everything, there’s a new demon on the loose and he appears to have joined sides with the dark witch who wants to end them all.

Life has never been easy for Hannah but it’s harder than ever for her now. The magic she’s only recently discovered is taking hold … and growing. That makes her an appealing target for the sister witches should they want a stronger body to leap into.

Cooper Wyatt loves Hannah with his whole heart but fear has gripped him by the throat. He wants to help Hannah with her battle but he’s not sure what he has to offer … other than loyalty. He will protect her with his dying breath, although she’s determined to make sure that’s not necessary.

Ancient evil is about to take on a powerful new witch. Who will be left standing? It’s anybody’s guess.

The Last Exit by Michael KaufmanThe Last Exit by Michael Kaufman:

Set in Washington D.C. in the near future, climate change has hit hard, fires are burning, unemployment is high, and controversial longevity treatments are only available to the very rich. Enter resourceful young police detective, Jen B. Lu, and her ‘partner’, Chandler, a SIM implant in her brain and her instant link to the Internet and police records, and constant voice inside her head. He’s an inquisitive tough guy, with a helluva sense of humor and his own ideas about solving crimes.

As a detective in the Elder Abuse unit, Jen is supposed to be investigating kids pushing their aging parents to “exit” so they are eligible to get the longevity drug. But what really has her attention are the persistent rumors about Eden, an illegal version of the longevity drug, and the bizarre outbreak of people aging almost overnight, then suddenly dying–is this all connected? Is Big Pharma involved?

When Jen’s investigations of Eden take her too close to the truth, she is suspended, Chandler is deactivated, and her boyfriend is freaked out by “the thing inside her brain.” This leaves Jen to pursue a very dangerous investigation all by herself.

Valentine's Day: Kiss of Death by Charlot KingValentine’s Day: Kiss of Death by Charlot King:

The quintessentially English Professor Elizabeth Green is not herself, shut in her bedroom she doesn’t even have time for her grandson, Godric, whom she adores. As the director of the student play, Godric, meanwhile, attends a College Valentine’s Banquet with some of his troupe. Soon after, he is one actor down, a body is found.

Meanwhile, Inspector Abley’s messy divorce has brought him alone up to Grantchester, as Sergeant Lemon steps in to lend support. With mystery after mystery building up, will Professor Green open her door to help?

Hugely popular author makes this beautiful historic city of Cambridge, England, leap off the page, with the eccentric Professor of poisons. Join the fast-growing number of readers of these page-turning whodunnits in the tradition of Agatha Christie, Colin Dexter, and grab a murder mystery fuelled by poison in the dark alleys of Cambridge!

Missing Amanda by Duane LindsayMissing Amanda by Duane Lindsay:

P.I. Lou Fleener’s got a great disguise—he’s kind of short, slightly pudgy, and a little nondescript. But whatever you do, don’t get in a fight with him, even if you’ve brought a couple of buddies. Because you’re gonna lose every time. Some people just have a gift.

One of Lou’s is that nobody ever sees him coming, and he’s pretty much the Bruce Lee of street fighting. Who they see—especially if they’re female—is his tall, handsome friend Monk, and that brings us to Lou’s second superpower. He’s got a little something for the ladies too—he can dance like an Arthur Murray instructor.

Not your average 1950s Chicago P.I.

Duane Lindsay’s fresh take on the tough-guy detective is nicely buttressed by humor, graceful writing, and big, fun plots that sometimes evolve into intricate capers. Like this one.

It starts out nice and easy. Lou—an expert in Chicago gangster lore—is hired against his better judgment to find the adorable missing daughter of a wise guy. Only Amanda’s not really missing. In fact, there is no Amanda. The gangster’s got a devious agenda of his own.

But by the time Lou’s found that out, he’s got four crime bosses gunning for him, and he’s plenty pissed off. Not only should you never fight with Lou Fleener, you should also never piss him off. He quickly enlists Monk to outplot the plotters— because Monk’s super power is working out intricate and diabolical revenge plans. Next thing you know, Lou, Monk, a ragtag bunch of other P.I.s and blonde, intrepid Cassidy, Lou’s new squeeze, are conducting a dizzying array of heists that whisk the reader around glorious 1950’s Chicago.

If it all works, they get to live. And they might get rich. And for sure, somebody gets the girl.

Vengeance and Dinner by Sophie LoveVengeance and Dinner by Sophie Love:

Marie Fortune, 39, a successful dog groomer in Boston, leaves the stressful life behind and heads to a small town in coastal Maine to create a new life. She remains intent on renovating the old, historic house her great-aunt left her and giving it a new life as a B&B. Yet there was one thing she couldn’t plan for: the house is haunted. Two things, actually: her great-aunt also left her a dog—and he is far from a typical dog.

When Marie is invited to exorcise a supposedly haunted house, she encounters a twist she never could have anticipated. But before she can wrap her mind around the situation, a man turns up dead—forcing her to solve the case and to clear her own name.

To Die For by Willow RoseTo Die For by Willow Rose:

Former FBI-profiler, Eva Rae Thomas is caught off guard by a murderous plan that sends her on a pulse-pounding race against time in this romantic thriller by Willow Rose.

It is a typical Tuesday morning. Scott Benton gets up, kisses his girlfriend Sarah goodbye, and goes to work.

But when he returns home from work later in the afternoon, his girlfriend of two years is gone.

And just like that, Scott’s life is turned upside down.

The police are after him, thinking he hurt her. His friends and family have turned their backs on him, thinking the same. Meanwhile, there is one thing Scott can’t stop thinking about.

Two months ago, Sarah told him that he should go looking for her if she ever turned up missing.

Former FBI-profiler Eva Rae Thomas has enough on her plate as it is: a newborn baby, an upcoming marriage, and a house not big enough to fit them all.

On top of it, she takes in a young girl who is in serious trouble, only adding to the strain on her family life.

When Scott Benton shows up and tells her she’s his only hope in finding his girlfriend, Eva Rae is inclined to say no, but she can’t get herself to do it.

Scott and Eva Rae used to date for a brief period in high school, and Eva Rae isn’t the type of person who just can stop caring about someone.

Especially when they have nowhere else to turn.

As the investigation deepens, Eva Rae Thomas finds out what it is from her past that Sarah was so afraid of, and she’ll need all of her profiling skills in the race against time to find the girl before it is too late.

The Valentine's Day Murders by Kendall ScottThe Valentine’s Day Murders by Kendall Scott:

It has been nine months since Constance Aberfield “retired” from her crime solving ways and she is loving every minute of it. That’s what she is telling herself anyway. Besides, with Valentine’s Day week descending upon the small town of Modest Peak, Constance is flat out too busy to even think of doing anything non-hotel related. Even if she wanted to work a case, she would not have the time.

Constance is so dedicated to her retirement in fact, that when she is alerted to a serial killer known as the St. Valentine Killer, operating in Denver, she refuses to take the case. Even Sheriff Nevil, begging for her help for a change, isn’t enough to get her back in the game. She really is done with that life.

But when the St. Valentine Killer makes his way to Modest Peak, and begins to target people close to Constance, she will have to ask herself if her self-imposed retirement is worth it. This is especially true when it becomes increasingly clear that only she possesses the skills required to put the killer behind bars once and for all.

Murder at the Races by Lee StraussMurder at the Races by Lee Strauss:

Murder is a wreck!

Rosa Reed attends a charity stock car race in Santa Bonita and expects to have an exhilarating time shared with family and friends. That ends when a driver inexplicably crashes into a guard rail and dies. When local assistant medical examiner, Dr. Larry Rayburn determines the death is suspicious, Rosa once again finds herself working with the handsome Detective Miguel Belmonte in an awkward and uncomfortable alliance to solve the murder.

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