Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for July 2020

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have urban fantasy, science fantasy, fantasy mysteries, paranormal mysteries, paranormal romance, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, horror, non-fiction, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, unicorns, necromancers, bounty hunters, galactic peacekeepers, magical assassins, magical cats, code monkeys, crime-busting witches, post-apocalyptic chickens 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:

Free Station by Rachel AuckesFree Station by Rachel Auckes:

The Galactic Peacekeepers are being hunted.

The tables have turned. Marshals are going missing.

Marshal Throttle Reyne and her Black Sheep are sent on a mission to investigate the recent surge in pirate attacks. But when the pirates unite and take over Free Station, the headquarters of the Galactic Peacekeepers, the Black Sheep must make a suicide run against the pirates and save the lives of their friends. If they fail, the system will belong to the pirates.

Bounty Hunter: Nothing to Nobody by Rachel AuckesBounty Hunter: Nothing to Nobody by Rachel Auckes:

A dark threat is creeping across the wastelands.

Bounty hunters are the closest thing to law enforcement across the wastelands, but most folks can’t tell the difference between the criminals and their chasers. Havoc Joe Ballast and his team at the Haft Agency are trying to change that by picking their own targets and going after the worst criminals. But that’s not working out so well for them.

They should’ve stuck to the rules.

Their first target, the bloodthirsty Red Dead gang, is terrorizing hapless refugees. Things go bad fast when Havoc and his friends are ambushed and forced to flee to the lawless Wilds. Stranded in deadly territory, the hunters must align with a secret rebel group to survive while turning the tables on their merciless enemies.

Join the bounty hunters as they fight for their lives in the post-apocalyptic wastelands. Their enemies may think they have won, but the hunters are just getting started.

Aloha Thrive by Ginger BoothAloha Thrive by Ginger Booth:

An ex-cop who cannot die. A moon full of settlers who cannot thrive.

Mahina’s terraformers built a high-tech urban paradise. Then Earth flooded the colony with desperate refugees, cop Sass Collier among them.

The settlers who arrived with Sass died decades ago. Outside the citadel, their descendants die weak and young.

Sass fought a rebellion against the city once. She won concessions to give the settlers a chance at health. She paid with 20 years in prison.

Now she’s out, a reformed character. She assembles an oddball crew doing odd jobs. She intends to mind her own business – how to make a profit on the skyship Thrive.

But her fellow settlers are still failing.

While her business model careens toward circus acts, Sass dares to defy the city again, to solve Mahina’s failure to thrive.

Book of Dark Magic by Sara BourgeoisBook of Dark Magic by Sara Bourgeois

When Richard Jordan is found dead in the woods outside of Coventry, the town’s reputation for being paranormal is put into the spotlight.

Richard wasn’t just murdered. The person who found him was shocked by what looked like a Satanic ritual murder.

Suddenly, the town’s regular tourism starts to dry up. In its place is a flood of weirdos and wannabe Satanists who are there to finish the ritual they believe Richard’s murder began.

Is this the apocalyptic scenario that Kinsley was prophesied to stop? Or, did someone want the town drunk dead and used a bunch of dark magical items to make it look paranormal?

What about the mysterious black book that shows up on Kinsley’s doorstep? Does it hold the key to solving the crime, or does it represent something far more sinister?

Come along as Kinsley and friends solve this crime one spell at a time!

The Pegasus Pulp Sampler by Cora BuhlertThe Pegasus Pulp Sampler by Cora Buhlert

Get an overview of the works of Hugo finalist Cora Buhlert and her one-woman small press Pegasus Pulp Publishing.

Space opera, military science fiction, alien invasions, hostile planets, sword and sorcery, pulp thrillers, men’s adventure, murder mysteries, cozy fantasy, historical romance – we have all that and more.

Enjoy twelve novellas, novelettes and short stories in five genres.

Contains the following stories:

•Evacuation Order
•Baptism of Fire
•Mercy Mission
•Acacia Crescent
•Valentine’s Day on Iago Prime
•The Four and a Half Minute Boiled Egg
•The Cork and the Bottle
•The Crawling Death
•Countdown to Death
•The Valley of the Man Vultures
•The Revenant of Wrecker’s Dock
•The Kiss of the Executioner’s Blade

Mist and Magic by Lindsay BurokerMist and Magic by Lindsay Buroker:

As a freelance assassin, Val Thorvald leads a dangerous life.

She’s learned not to stay in the same place for long and not to get too attached to anything. For example, she would never consider adopting a pet.

But when she’s searching for a missing friend, she finds an abandoned silver tiger cub.

The magical feline is clearly from another realm, but Val has no idea which one or how to send it back. All she knows is that it’s the only witness to her friend’s kidnapping.

Val can kick the butts of ogres, trolls, and wizards, but she has no experience taking care of pets—certainly not magical tigers. And as she quickly learns, the cub has teeth like a chainsaw. Soon, everything from her apartment to her seat belts to the hair on her head is in danger.

But if Val can’t forge a bond with the cub, figure out what it knows, and find her missing friend, more than her belongings—and her hair—may be at risk.

Deadland Sentinel by J.N. Chaney and Ell Leigh ClarkeDeadland Sentinel by J.N. Chaney and Ell Leigh Clarke:

With the trafficking ring obliterated, Jack turns his attention to wiping out the dregs of the criminal empire.

But when he arrives to take out a particular scumbag, he only finds the man’s corpse.
And he’s missing a shoe.

As the investigation begins, Jack surmises he has either stumbled into a conspiracy or there’s a serial killer on the loose. The team must mobilize to figure out exactly what is going on.

Corruption, kidnapping, and life as they know it all collide as the group comes up against deadly elements within the very organizations they were sworn to protect.

With their own lives in the balance, and the integrity of the Union government at stake, it’s a race against the clock to figure out who the players are and how to bring them down.

All without being taken out themselves.

Heartless by Dannika DarkHeartless by Dannika Dark:

“For you, I’ll wait an eternity.”

Despite the spoils of a solid relationship and an idyllic life at Keystone, Raven is itching for the thrill of another big case. Things begin to heat up when a dangerous assignment falls in her lap.

Searching for the mastermind behind an illegal fighting ring is no easy feat, but as the weeks roll by, Raven’s undercover job begins to take an unexpected emotional toll. It’s a deadly mission, and if she’s not careful, she could lose everything.

The Ark War by Chris FoxThe Ark War by Chris Fox:

The Ark War Has Begun

War on a scale not seen in this sun-cycle has begun. Nox and his demonic army were thwarted at the Proto-Ark, but not before forging the tool that will hasten the destruction of the world. The Grey Men have a Primary Access Key, and are ready to bring their masters home. The Builders are coming.

Millions of deathless surround Jordan in the broken Ark of the Mother. The only thing standing between Lima and destruction is the last god anyone wants to trust…Irakesh. Jordan follows Sobek to Australia in search of allies, but what lurks there predates humanity.

Blair and Trevor spearhead a desperate gambit to alter time and save the Mother from her death at The First Ark. To do that they need powerful allies. The time has come to wake Jes’ka, so that she can train Liz in the ways of the Ka-Ken. If Blair and Trevor succeed, then ensuring Set doesn’t return to the present falls upon them.

But there is a spy in their midst. The Builders are far, far closer than anyone suspects.

Necrotech by Chris FoxNecrotech by Chris Fox:

The Unseen Fleets Come and Worlds Burn

The Unliving are implacable. Unreasonable. No one knows what they want, beyond souls, and bone for their war machines and ships. Now they’ve set their sights on the Inurans, and hey, I couldn’t wish an army of necromancers on a better target.

There’s just one problem.

I’m trapped on the Inuran Trade Moon, and the necromancers are attacking. Even if I can get the minister back to her ship we’ll still need to find a way to fight their flagship. That’s going to be tough to do without enough magic to power the Word of Xal.

If I pull it off I think I get a bonus though. Also, there’s that living thing.

324 Abercorn by Max Allan Gunnells324 Abercorn by Max Allan Gunnells

Brad Storm doesn’t believe in ghosts, but moving into the house at 324 Abercorn just may change his mind.

Best-selling author Bradley Storm finally has enough money to buy and restore his dream home. Despite 324 Abercorn’s reputation as one of the most haunted houses in America, Bradley isn’t worried. He doesn’t believe in the supernatural. Then strange things begin to happen. Objects no longer where he left them. Phantom noises heard from empty rooms. Shadows glimpsed from the corner of his eye.

Is his house truly haunted, or is there something more sinister happening on the property?

With the help of Bradley’s new boyfriend and a few friends who are just as intrigued with the seemingly inexplicable occurrences surrounding the infamous house, they set out to find the truth of what stalks the halls at 324 Abercorn.

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

Silent Cravings by Jess Haines and E. BlixSilent Cravings by Jess Haines and E. Blix:

What’s a vampire to do when the werewolf she craves is playing hard to bite?

Christoph needs to save a young girl from a vampire’s clutches. It’s his fault she’s there in the first place—and rescuing her is the only way he might get back into his alpha’s good graces.

Unfortunately for them both, he’s just not that good.

He and his packmate soon find themselves caught and magically “neutered” by enchanted collars so they can’t hurt anyone in the vampire’s entourage.

Just when Christoph thought it couldn’t get any worse, a mute vampire named Mouse decides to claim him as her boy-toy.

She has her own set of problems involving some lingering issues from her past. She hungers for Christoph, but can’t stand to see someone victimized or—even worse—afraid of her.

The two must learn how to live together (and deal with his new fashion accessory)—without driving the rest of the vampire’s household crazy in the process.

Wicked Games by Lily Harper HartWicked Games by Lily Harper Hart

Ivy Morgan knew she was in for a world of hurt when she was sentenced to community service. She had no idea just how bad things were going to be, though. On her first day of picking up trash along the roadside, one of her crew members stumbles over a body, and it happens to belong to someone she knows.

Sasha Carmichael was described as a “good girl” and nobody can figure out how she ended up alone in the woods, so close to a road and help, and abandoned. When Jack Harker and his partner start digging down, though, some dark possibilities come to the surface.

It seems Sasha had ties to more than one person on Ivy’s work crew, which means Shadow Lake’s favorite witch is working with a killer. Finding the guilty party is difficult, especially given the way her crew chief is watching her.

If Ivy sticks even one toe out of line, her community service could be extended. That means her wedding is on the brink and her honeymoon might be lost. Jack isn’t about to let either of those scenarios happen.

It’s going to take both of them working together to solve the crime, and even then nothing is guaranteed.

Hang on to your hats, because murder has come to Shadow Lake and this killer might not be done … by a long shot.

Zero by Simon HaynesZero by Simon Haynes:

Hal Spacejock loves to watch cargo ships taking off for distant star systems.

One day, he promises himself. One day I’ll leave this dump of a planet and explore the galaxy!

But Hal’s not supposed to watch the ships.

No, his job is to load cargo into them… and he’s not very good at it.

After a particularly bad mixup, Hal flees from his boss, certain he’ll get the sack.

Instead, he runs smack-bang into an adventure that will alter the course of his life.

This prequel covers events leading up to Hal 1: A Robot Named Clunk. You can read it before or after any of the main Hal Spacejock novels.

Brewing up a Storm by Amanda M. LeeBrewing Up a Storm by Amanda M. Lee:

Storm season has hit Moonstone Bay and with it comes a whole lot of trouble.

Hadley Hunter thinks she’s ready for what’s to come, but she’s not. Before the storms can wreak havoc on her life, though, she has something even more frightening to deal with … lunch with her boyfriend Galen Blackwood’s mother.

Despite her best intentions, things don’t go as smoothly as Hadley envisioned. Before she has a chance to deal with that, though, the storms bring another surprise in the form of an unconscious woman on the beach and a yacht that keeps appearing (and then disappearing) with each subsequent storm.

Hadley can’t wrap her head around what’s happening, especially when news breaks regarding the identity of the individual who was found in front of the lighthouse. It seems she’s the wife of a very rich and powerful man … who disappeared a year before. In addition to that, the couple had two daughters with them at the time their boat fell off the map. What happened to them?

It’s a race against time for Hadley and her motley band of paranormal friends. They must find the yacht and uncover every horrible secret one family has managed to bury beneath a deep blue sea … and they have to do it with a monster on their tails.

At the heart of almost every family is love. At the heart of this one is despair. Somehow, Hadley will have to overcome her worst fears to become the best witch she possibly can.

Here’s hoping she’s up to the challenge.

A Blood Moon Swindle by W.H. LockA Blood Moon Swindle by W.H. Lock:

It’s the end of the world and it’s all Quinn’s fault.

Quinn is a talented conman and sorcerer, but even the best get caught. On his first day out of prison, Quinn was offered a job he should have refused. Quinn’s parole officer wanted him to steal a skull from a necromancer in Los Angeles.

It all went to downhill from there.

Quinn put together a team of the best criminals he knew. Together they stole the skull without getting caught. Only to be betrayed by one of the team and the parole officer. The pair was secretly working for the archangel Uriel in a plot to end the world.

Quinn and his team tried to stop the trio from getting the last artifact they needed to destroy the world, only to fail at the last moment because of Quinn’s antics.

Now Quinn is on the run from the FBI and his former team and he has made a literal deal with a devil.

If Quinn doesn’t save the world he’ll suffer an eternity of torment at the hands of Mamon, the Demon Prince of Greed. If he saves the world, all the debts he piled up will come due.

And those are the sort of debts that take an IOU.
Can Quinn save the world and escape certain death?

Ex Inferis by Nazri NoorEx Inferis by Nazri Noor:

Get ready for a hell of a ride.

Spoiled, sarcastic, and brutally self-obsessed, fledgling sorcerer Quilliam J. Abernathy has never worked a day in his life. And why should he? Being the half human son of a demon prince comes with its perks, among them a palatial lifestyle of luxury and excess.

But Quill’s comfort comes with a price. He is the Chosen of Asmodeus, destined to destroy the world and fated from birth to become the harbinger of hell. One last trial now stands in his way, the final obstacle to his ascent: a deadly game of devils…

Ex Inferis is the prequel to the Infernal Inheritance urban fantasy series, set several years before the events of the Darkling Mage and Sins of the Father books. Experience Quill’s rise to power as the Chosen of Asmodeus in an intense, action-filled supernatural suspense story filled with demons, devilry, and danger.

Of Flesh and Feathers by L.M. PierceOf Flesh and Feathers by L.M. Pierce:

“A modern Watership Down meets The Walking Dead – but with a lot more feathers.”

A foul wind blows through the chicken coop. The flock’s caretaker no longer comes to collect Chickory’s eggs or bring her feed, and the stench of death is everywhere. Her friend Fayne is haunted by visions of danger, and by a prophecy of safety beyond the farthest horizon a chicken has ever known. With the help of their faithful farm dog, Chickory must convince her flock to follow her into a frightening world of disease and predators, both natural… and unnatural.

Their survival may depend on fateful premonitions, but in order to save the world of humans and birds, Chickory must discover the truth behind the prophecy and the sickness that turned their keepers into killers.

From the mind that brought you Trans Liberty Riot Brigade, L.M. Pierce presents:
Of Flesh and Feathers

Winds of Change by Christine PopeWinds of Change by Christine Pope:

One surge of magical power could free her — or short-circuit her future.

Jake Wilcox thought he’d covered their tracks when he hid his love, weather witch Adara Grant, in a remote Wyoming town under the watchful guard of the Northern Arapahoe. He should have listened to his instincts that he was making a horrible mistake.

Now Addie’s gone, taken in the dead of night by the very nemesis they thought they’d eluded. Locked away so deep in a government testing facility, it’ll take more than magical luck to find her, much less get her out alive.

Addie is living her worst nightmare, and feeling every one of the three thousand miles between her and Jake. The temptation to use her wild gift to free herself is strong — but it’s not just her own life at stake. The facility is full of orphaned witches.

And one faint signal that could be glimmer of hope — or a sign that luck has run out for Addie, Jake, and everyone they love.

Road Seven by Keith RossonRoad Seven by Keith Rosson

Mark Sandoval—resolutely arrogant, covered head to foot in precise geometric scarring, and still marginally famous after Hollywood made an Oscar-winner based off his memoir years before—has been strongly advised by his lawyer to leave the country following a drunken and potentially fatal hit and run. When a woman sends Sandoval grainy footage of what appears to be a unicorn, he quickly hires an assistant and the two head off to the woman’s farm in Hvíldarland, a tiny, remote island off the coast of Iceland. When they arrive on the island and discover that both a military base and the surrounding álagablettur, the nearby woods, are teeming with strangeness and secrets, they begin to realize that a supposed unicorn sighting is the least of their worries.

Fraternity by Alasdair ShawFraternity by Alasdair Shaw:

The Indescribable Joy of Destruction has to choose between his human friends and his fellow Artificial Sentiences.

Legate Olivia Johnson struggles to adjust to life without her enhanced brain implants.

Decurion Anastasia Seivers rejoins the Legion to face her biggest challenge – command.

Together they are closing in on the war criminals in the Red Fleet. Will they succeed in bringing its commander to justice or will he evade their clutches once more?

Fraternity is the last in the trilogy of novels: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

Cosmic Lock by Aurora SpringerCosmic Lock by Aurora Springer:

Three sets of enemies and a wormhole to shut?
Follow the superpowered Griffins on a rollercoaster adventure where new threats counter each success.

Grand Masters Violet and Athanor Griffin return from beyond the Cosmic Rift with two shiploads of rescued children and escaped slaves, but their enemies have not been idle in their absence. Avalon is in flames and their baby son is missing. Finding him may be the easiest of their problems. They must unite the fractious Grand Masters, stop the bloodsucking Ixioths from enslaving sentients, and seal the cosmic rupture to prevent new incursions of the vindictive Nulls. The clock is ticking. They have twelve days to squash their enemies before their final venture into the alternate universe. Can they overcome the challenges and secure peace for the galaxy?

Deception by Glynn StewartDeception by Glynn Stewart:

A new home on the edge of nowhere
A new hope for a peaceful future
An old enemy that won’t let go

Kira Demirci left her homeworld of Apollo pursued by assassins seeking revenge for her victories in the war against the Brisingr Kaiserreich. Now she has a new home and a new role: as the nova fighter wing commander aboard the mercenary carrier Conviction under Captain John Estanza.

Conviction is on retainer with the royal family of Redward, who encourage Kira and her pilots to make themselves a new home on the frontier planet. But there is a reason they want to tie the mercenary carrier’s crew more tightly to themselves and stormclouds are brewing on the horizon.

Those clouds break when a Redward warship goes missing on a standard patrol. Conviction and her fighters are sent out to find the destroyer—but instead they find a deadly plot by old enemies that will bring down the Syntactic Cluster in fire and war.

Unless Kira Demirci can do the impossible.

Lacey and Alex: The Dagger of Ill Repute by V.R. TapscottLacey and Alex: The Dagger of Ill Repute by V.R. Tapscott

Talking Plants, Explosions, Gunfire, Mayhem,
Magic and a Hint of Romance.

Lacey & Alex, roommates in San Francisco, are a barista and a cook by day. By night though, Lacey is a part time private investigator and Alex talks to plants. And they talk back.

In this book, they get dragged into hunting for a lost dagger. Of course, it winds up being so much more than simply a lost dagger.

The pair spend a couple of action-filled weeks travelling from San Francisco to Los Angeles, Barstow to Vegas and all parts between in their hunt for the elusive artifact.

They meet up with loose cannon Stevie and step it up a notch with exploding cars and tension of a whole nother kind, as she makes it clear what she thinks of Lacey.

Olive from Jane Bond shows up with a little tiny insignificant part (heh) and Jane herself has a cameo.

Join Lacey & Alex and Stevie as they have the adventure of a lifetime! Talking plants, explosions, gunfire, mayhem, magic and a little bit of romance all enter the picture before the end, in this slightly humorous, slightly serious, and always fun mystery.

Child of Wrath by R.K. ThorneChild of Wrath by R.K. Thorne:

Commander Ellen Ryu, Lieutenant Kael Sidassian, and the crew of the starship Audacity barely escaped Capital with their lives. Then betrayal kicked down their door. Now they need to clean up the mess.

The one team member they thought was safe has disappeared—their benefactor Doug Simmons. Doug’s former classmate is also in danger, and he’d planned a mission for them to rescue her. And the crew is zeroing in on just what exactly Ellen’s nemesis Dr. Arakovic is planning as the clues sharpen into focus.

Will the team be able to put together the pieces of many different puzzles before it’s too late? Attacked on multiple fronts, Ellen and her crew will have to divide and conquer if they want to triumph.

Because cyborg super soldiers, awkward aliens, gang members with secrets, and an ex-girlfriend from the past are just a few of the problems on their plate.

The baby they’ve been hiding from the entire galaxy is also about to make herself known.

Loudly.

Code Monkey by A.E. WilliamsCode Monkey by A.E. Williams

THAT IS ONE ANGRY MONKEY!

A.E. Williams opines on more matters of concern to thinking people, philosophers and chicken farmers.

CODE MONKEY follows the trajectory set by ROCKET SURGEON, as A.E. Williams opens up a can of whoop-ass on science, technology, politics and religion. Yeah, all those uncomfortable subjects that polite people eschew during cocktail party banter are just gristle for the mill as far as Williams is concerned.

Rocket Surgeon was just the first stage! Code Monkey ramps it up with a second-stage-to-orbit collection of articles, essays and unpublished works that will leave you shocked, aghast and rolling on the floor laughing.

Follow irascible raconteur, voyeur and mental saboteur A.E. Williams down a whole slew of rabbit holes, conspiracy theories, discussions about the fallacies and truth of the challenges of our times! You’ll discover why Williams is one of the most sought-after essayists on the planet. (Sought after by aliens, Sasquatch, sea serpents and hackers, that is…)

Once more, A.E. takes you by the hand and shoves facts, figures and statistics up your…nose, until you are spitting mad at finding out you have been duped all this time by Big Brother, the Deep State, the Man, the Establishment and even your lying parents! (Oh, for the sake of Santa! How could you!)

Williams regales you with personal tales from the aerospace trenches. He shows why firmly held ‘scientific’ facts are just as suspect as ‘truths’ that have been debunked, time and again. You’ll be cramming your tinfoil hat past your ears as you are exposed to the grim secrets of how the world REALLY works!

And, as always, you’ll chuckle and chortle your way through page after page of outrageous stories, anecdotes and observations by the man Cleopatra* said was “So funny I laughed my asp off!”

Get your copy TODAY and join the ranks of computer-literate primates who have gone bananas over riots, COVID19 and all the troubles in the world that have you praying for the Second Coming, World War 3 or a long-overdue asteroid strike!

*Cleopatra Jones works as a hair stylist in Roanoke, Va.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for July 2020

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 June books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, culinary mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, fantasy mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, noir, police procedurals, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, science fiction thrillers, police officers, amateur sleuths, private investigators, forensic linguists, smugglers, kidnappers, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting cats, deadly cupcakes 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:

Book of Dark Magic by Sara BourgeoisBook of Dark Magic by Sara Bourgeois

When Richard Jordan is found dead in the woods outside of Coventry, the town’s reputation for being paranormal is put into the spotlight.

Richard wasn’t just murdered. The person who found him was shocked by what looked like a Satanic ritual murder.

Suddenly, the town’s regular tourism starts to dry up. In its place is a flood of weirdos and wannabe Satanists who are there to finish the ritual they believe Richard’s murder began.

Is this the apocalyptic scenario that Kinsley was prophesied to stop? Or, did someone want the town drunk dead and used a bunch of dark magical items to make it look paranormal?

What about the mysterious black book that shows up on Kinsley’s doorstep? Does it hold the key to solving the crime, or does it represent something far more sinister?

Come along as Kinsley and friends solve this crime one spell at a time!

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

August 1926

Jack and Ham’s first solo case is placed on pause just as the tale of a treasure is brought to light. ??As the case progresses, Vi and Rita dive in, and somehow it becomes a competition between the two couples. Things, however, take a sideways turn and the couples must unite and work together to protect all they hold dear.

Book TWENTY-THREE in the Violet Carlyle Mysteries. Are you ready for the roaring twenties? You’ll love Vi, her patient husband Jack, her indulgent twin Vic, and their friends.

Deadland Sentinel by J.N. Chaney and Ell Leigh ClarkeDeadland Sentinel by J.N. Chaney and Ell Leigh Clarke:

With the trafficking ring obliterated, Jack turns his attention to wiping out the dregs of the criminal empire.

But when he arrives to take out a particular scumbag, he only finds the man’s corpse.
And he’s missing a shoe.

As the investigation begins, Jack surmises he has either stumbled into a conspiracy or there’s a serial killer on the loose. The team must mobilize to figure out exactly what is going on.

Corruption, kidnapping, and life as they know it all collide as the group comes up against deadly elements within the very organizations they were sworn to protect.

With their own lives in the balance, and the integrity of the Union government at stake, it’s a race against the clock to figure out who the players are and how to bring them down.

All without being taken out themselves.

The Contract by William ColemanThe Contract by William Coleman:

Once a decorated cop, Hawke has fallen from grace and has turned private investigator to make ends meet. His first case is a simple one: follow the woman, Maddie, and get pictures of her having an affair.

But nothing is that simple. Hawke is forced to intervene when the Maddie is almost kidnapped right in front of him. When it happens again, Hawke switches from stalker with a camera to bodyguard with a gun.

The lawyer who hired him is not satisfied with the outcome or that Hawke is looking into who is responsible for the abduction attempts. He threatens Hawke to get him to back down, something not in the investigator’s nature.

To protect Maddie, Hawke must take her along while following the few leads he has to identify who is responsible and why. The closer they get to the truth the more danger they find themselves in.

Will they find who is out to get Maddie before it’s too late?

Cash Up Front by Mike FaricyCash Up Front by Mike Faricy:

Dev Haskell takes his ‘friend with benefits’ Heidi, out to dinner. His late night plans are suddenly put on hold when failed criminal, Tommy Benedetti shows up and forces Heidi into a stretch limo. Benedetti gives Heidi $200,000. Gee, $200,000 in cash, what could possibly go wrong?
There’s only one thing to do and Dev sets out to build a ‘working relationship’with FBI agent Candi Mangle

Another incredibly bizarre Dev Haskell read… Multiple tales wrapped into one crazy adventure.

 

Wicked Games by Lily Harper HartWicked Games by Lily Harper Hart

Ivy Morgan knew she was in for a world of hurt when she was sentenced to community service. She had no idea just how bad things were going to be, though. On her first day of picking up trash along the roadside, one of her crew members stumbles over a body, and it happens to belong to someone she knows.

Sasha Carmichael was described as a “good girl” and nobody can figure out how she ended up alone in the woods, so close to a road and help, and abandoned. When Jack Harker and his partner start digging down, though, some dark possibilities come to the surface.

It seems Sasha had ties to more than one person on Ivy’s work crew, which means Shadow Lake’s favorite witch is working with a killer. Finding the guilty party is difficult, especially given the way her crew chief is watching her.

If Ivy sticks even one toe out of line, her community service could be extended. That means her wedding is on the brink and her honeymoon might be lost. Jack isn’t about to let either of those scenarios happen.

It’s going to take both of them working together to solve the crime, and even then nothing is guaranteed.

Hang on to your hats, because murder has come to Shadow Lake and this killer might not be done … by a long shot.

Cutthroat Cupcakes by Cate LawleyCutthroat Cupcakes by Cate Lawley:

Killer cupcakes

Seems improbable to Lina, but when an attractive detective snaps cuffs on her and accuses her of witchy crimes she’s forced to reconsider.

The murder weapon? A cupcake topper sold in Lina’s shop, Sticky, Tricky Treats.
The method? A killing curse.
The curse’s origin? Lina…sort of.

Except Lina hadn’t a clue that she was a witch, and certainly didn’t know she’d accidentally cursed some of her confections.
She’s got to catch the killer who’s used her magic to murder or face a conviction as an accessory.
Now, if only the wizard detective assigned to the case weren’t such a distraction.

Cutthroat Cupcakes is a magical witch culinary cozy with a touch of romance, the first of three books in the Cursed Candy Mysteries series!

Brewing up a Storm by Amanda M. LeeBrewing Up a Storm by Amanda M. Lee:

Storm season has hit Moonstone Bay and with it comes a whole lot of trouble.

Hadley Hunter thinks she’s ready for what’s to come, but she’s not. Before the storms can wreak havoc on her life, though, she has something even more frightening to deal with … lunch with her boyfriend Galen Blackwood’s mother.

Despite her best intentions, things don’t go as smoothly as Hadley envisioned. Before she has a chance to deal with that, though, the storms bring another surprise in the form of an unconscious woman on the beach and a yacht that keeps appearing (and then disappearing) with each subsequent storm.

Hadley can’t wrap her head around what’s happening, especially when news breaks regarding the identity of the individual who was found in front of the lighthouse. It seems she’s the wife of a very rich and powerful man … who disappeared a year before. In addition to that, the couple had two daughters with them at the time their boat fell off the map. What happened to them?

It’s a race against time for Hadley and her motley band of paranormal friends. They must find the yacht and uncover every horrible secret one family has managed to bury beneath a deep blue sea … and they have to do it with a monster on their tails.

At the heart of almost every family is love. At the heart of this one is despair. Somehow, Hadley will have to overcome her worst fears to become the best witch she possibly can.

Here’s hoping she’s up to the challenge.

The Collector by John MaherThe Collector by John Maher:

They say human life is the most precious thing. The Collector doesn’t agree.

When world renowned archaeologist Philip Carlton suddenly and unexpectedly commits suicide, the police are called to investigate. Heading up the investigation is Detective Lucy O’Hara, a Forensic Linguist – and she immediately sees something is wrong with the suicide note. In her gut, she knows this was cold-blooded murder.

Battling sceptical superiors and the Irish establishment, Lucy digs for the truth and begins to uncover a shadowy trade in ancient artifacts led by a mysterious figure known only as ‘The Collector’.

As Lucy works to uncover his identity, she soon realises she is up against a ruthless mastermind who is systematically eliminating anyone who might lead her to him. But Lucy won’t give up and soon The Collector turns his attention to her…

The Collector – the first in a gripping new series featuring Detective Lucy O’Hara.

No Little Lies by A.B. PlumNo Little Lies by A.B. Plum

Burying memories sharp enough to raise a welt on the heart can work.

Or not.

Ask Ryn Davis. The adult daughter of a former high-class prostitute, she knows chronic, long-term insomnia reduces repression as a preferred coping technique. Still, she relies on denial.

A phone call from a stranger claiming her mother was murdered twenty years ago turns her life inside out. The reappearance of a forgotten childhood friend exposes buried and forgotten memories. Lies and half-truths torpedo her shaky world.

In this fast-paced psychological thriller, the suspense ratchets up. A psychopath’s ever-present memories drive him to exact revenge for Ryn’s lies about the past. His terrifying game of cat and mouse pit him against her where she is most vulnerable. His ties to organized crime make him even more dangerous.

Who is in control? What really happened to her mother? Why can’t Ryn remember?

Is facing her past the path to survival or death?

Lacey and Alex: The Dagger of Ill Repute by V.R. TapscottLacey and Alex: The Dagger of Ill Repute by V.R. Tapscott

Talking Plants, Explosions, Gunfire, Mayhem,
Magic and a Hint of Romance.

Lacey & Alex, roommates in San Francisco, are a barista and a cook by day. By night though, Lacey is a part time private investigator and Alex talks to plants. And they talk back.

In this book, they get dragged into hunting for a lost dagger. Of course, it winds up being so much more than simply a lost dagger.

The pair spend a couple of action-filled weeks travelling from San Francisco to Los Angeles, Barstow to Vegas and all parts between in their hunt for the elusive artifact.

They meet up with loose cannon Stevie and step it up a notch with exploding cars and tension of a whole nother kind, as she makes it clear what she thinks of Lacey.

Olive from Jane Bond shows up with a little tiny insignificant part (heh) and Jane herself has a cameo.

Join Lacey & Alex and Stevie as they have the adventure of a lifetime! Talking plants, explosions, gunfire, mayhem, magic and a little bit of romance all enter the picture before the end, in this slightly humorous, slightly serious, and always fun mystery.

Northtown Blitz by Robert WhiteNorthtown Blitz by Robert White

“With his usual razor-sharp writing Robert White takes us further into the world of Northtown & Raimo Jarvi in this second book of what is fast turning out to be a must-read series.”

Fresh from the success of his last case we find Raimo Jarvi reaping the benefits of his new-found status as a private detective who gets results.

Bella Cinciarelli was the eldest of three of sisters, all of them famous as high school beauties back in the day, and now one of them is dead. The coroner ruled the death natural causes but Bella is convinced her sister was murdered and she wants Raimo’s help to prove it and bring the murderer to justice.

The problems begin when Raimo realises Bella’s main suspect is her brother-in-law, James delCorelli – lawyer, businessman and county commissioner – a powerful man, a man with powerful friends, and as Raimo soon discovers – not a man you want to get on the wrong side of.

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Cora Goes to CoNZealand, the Virtual 2020 Worldcon

CoNZealand LogoCoNZealand, the virtual 2020 Worldcon, kicks off tomorrow or rather tonight. If you’re a member of CoNZealand, you can see me on the following panels:

The Evolution of Fanzines

Format: Panel

29 Jul 2020, Wednesday 16:00 – 16:50, Programme Room 5 (Zoom Meeting) (Programming)

Fanzines have been a beloved part of fandom for decades, and new ones are still springing up. What are the best new fanzines, and what classic fanzines are still putting out new content? Our panel of creators and enthusiasts discuss the relevance and importance of contemporary fanzines.

Chris Garcia (Team Journey Planet), Wendy Browne (Women Write About Comics), Sarah Gulde (Star Trek Quarterly), Greg Hills (Aesir HeathCare), Cora Buhlert (M), Jeanne Mealy

 

Come Time Travel with Me – 1965

Format: Panel
30 Jul 2020, Thursday 09:00 – 09:50, Programme Room 1 (Webinar) (Programming)Blast back to 1965: Beatlemania has seized the nation, the Great Society is on the rise, but southeast Asia and America’s inner cities are in turmoil.In geekdom, the Twilight Zone has just ended its five year run, The Outer Limits is off the air, but the Robinsons are about to get Lost in Space, and The Doctor is finishing his second season. Marvel and DC comics have growing stables of superhero teams, featuring a level of diversity and maturity never seen before. Anime is so new that the genre doesn’t have a name yet. Tabletop wargaming has taken off. And at last year’s World Science Fiction convention, a civil war violently split the fans.

Join award-winning SF author, Gideon Marcus, for a whirlwind trip through time: The space race, films, books, music, comics, politics, fashion — we cover it all! You’ll laugh, you’ll learn, and you’ll love it!

Lorelei Marcus (Galactic Journey), Gideon Marcus (Galactic Journey (and Journey Press) ) , Cora Buhlert, Erica Frank (Galactic Journey), Janice Marcus (Galactic Journey, Journey Press)

 

Cover Art

Format: Panel

31 Jul 2020, Friday 09:00 – 09:50, Programme Room 3 (Webinar) (Programming)

Let’s be truthful: you do judge a book by its cover. Otherwise, why would we bother with beautiful cover art? We will talk about the purpose(s) of the art, cover design, matching art to the story, and good (and maybe a few bad) examples of memorable book covers.

John Picacio, Cora Buhlert (M), Gideon Marcus (Galactic Journey (and Journey Press) ), Pablo Defendini (Fireside), Alyssa Winans

 

The Second Golden Age: SF of the 1960s

Format: Panel

31 Jul 2020, Friday 11:00 – 11:50, Programme Room 2 (Webinar) (Programming)

There was an explosion of new good SF in the 1960s, with the emergence of great new writers, a number of short story venues that expanded the scope of the field, and a series of classic novels that are still ranked as among the most important in the field’s history.

Dr. Bradford Lyau (M), Robert Silverberg, Cora Buhlert, Dr. Jack Dann, Kathryn Sullivan

 

Translation: the Key to Open Doors to the Cultural Diversity in SFF

Format: Panel

31 Jul 2020, Friday 12:00 – 12:50, Programme Room 2 (Webinar) (Programming)

Translated SFF are one way of knowing different cultural backgrounds, and is getting more attention than before. Discussion will go around what is the good story to be translated, or what is the key factor in actually selecting stories to be translated, from the editor or translator point of view.

Libia Brenda (Independent), Cora Buhlert (M), Neil Clarke (Clarkesworld Magazine), Mr. Wataru Ishigame (Tokyo Sogensha (Publisher)) , Luis F. Silva

 

And don’t forget to cheer me on at the Hugo Awards ceremony, where I’m nominated for Best Fan Writer:

Hugo Awards Ceremony

11:00, Saturday 1 Aug 2020 NZST (3 hours 30 minutes)

The biggest event of the convention. Join our toastmaster George R R Martin and special guests, as he presents the Hugo Award winners for 2019.

 

You can also find me in the Dealers’ Hall, selling e-books, so drop by and say hello.

Also be sure to check out the CoNZealand Yarnbombing gallery, where you can find my creation Occulus the Eyeball Monster with lots of other great yarnbombing projects around the world.

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New Thurvok Adventure Available: The Beast from the Sea of Blood

This will only be a very short new release announcement, because I’m still busy with the July Short Story Challenge, where the aim is to write a short story per day during the month of July. You can follow along my progress here. Furthermore, I’m also busy with Worldcon related stuff and with day job (teaching and translation) stuff, because things tend to happen all at once.

Still, I did manage to publish a new Thurvok adventure just before embarking onto the July Short Story Challenge. It’s called The Beast from the Sea of Blood and was actually written during last year’s July Short Story Challenge. The inspiration was this image of what is presumably Conan by comic artist Gino D’Achille.

So accompany Thurvok, Meldom, Sharenna and Lysha, as they search for a pirate treasure and find…

The Beast from the Sea of Blood
The Beast from the Sea of Blood by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThey seek a treasure and find a monster…

Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friends Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, the sorceress Sharenna and Meldom’s sweetheart Lysha are on the hunt for a legendary pirate treasure, when they find themselves marooned on a desolate isle. To add insult to injury, there is no treasure on the island. There are, however, monsters…

This is a short story of 5400 words or 20 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

More information.
Length: 5400 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, 24symbols and XinXii.

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Our Nine Year Anniversary

July 3 marks Pegasus Pulp’s nine year anniversary, so it’s time for another overview post. In the past nine years, our catalogue has grown to 146 titles in two languages.

What is more, I’m currently trying for a repeat of the July short story challenge, where the idea is to write a short story per day in July (for a summary of the 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 challenges, see here). I’ll also put up a running tally of stories written over at my personal blog again. I’m not sure if I will manage to do the challenge for the whole month this year, because Worldcon is in late July and will take up most of my time and attention. But so far I’ve written three stories in as many days. And since writing a short story every day takes time, this post will be somewhat basic.

So let’s take a look at the figures and percentages. The figures of previous years may be found here BTW.

Warning, lots of statistical neepery under the cut. Continue reading

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for June 2020

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

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some May 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, cozy fantasy, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal mysteries, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, near future science fiction, alternate history, steampunk, time travel, non-fiction, dragons, ghosts, sea monsters, magicians, vampires, fae, superheroes, space outlaws, dinosaurs, capramancers, crime-busting witches, time-travelling taxmen, time-travelling detectives, killer clowns, stolen colonists, android generals 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:

The Attic Tragedy by J. Ashley-SmithThe Attic Tragedy by J. Ashley-Smith:

Sylvie never called them ghosts, but that’s what they were—not that George ever saw them herself. The new girl, Sylvie, is like a creature from another time, with her old-fashioned leather satchel, her white cotton gloves and her head in the clouds. George watches her drift around the edge of the school playing fields, guided by inaudible voices.When George stands up for Sylvie, beating back Tommy Payne and his gang of thugs, it brings her close to the ethereal stranger; though not as close as George would have liked. In the attic of Sylvie’s father’s antique shop, George’s scars will sing and her longing will drive them both toward a tragedy as veiled and inevitable as Sylvie’s whispering ghosts.

Black Sheep by Rachel AuckesBlack Sheep by Rachel Auckes:

An alien ship. Stolen colonists. All Throttle wanted was a vacation…

Fifteen years into a twenty-year voyage, war veteran Captain Throttle Reyne is looking forward to taking a break from dealing with malfunctions, glitches, and the hassles of monitoring a thousand colonists in cryo-sleep.

But when her colony ship breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Throttle and her crew must leave the colonists behind to search for help. They find a ship that’s not only missing a crew… it’s clearly not from their star system.

It’s the discovery of a lifetime. All they need to do is tow the mysterious vessel back to their colony ship for further study and
Throttle won’t ever have to work again. One problem. While they’re away, the colony ship is stolen—with the colonists still on board.

Throttle gives chase to a lawless star system on the outer rim. To get their colonists back, they must take on the pirates and ganglords who will do anything—and sell anyone—to make a buck.

They play dirty. But Throttle and her crew play dirtier.

The Beast from the Sea of Blood by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Beast from the Sea of Blood by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

They seek a treasure and find a monster…

Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friends Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, the sorceress Sharenna and Meldom’s sweetheart Lysha are on the hunt for a legendary pirate treasure, when they find themselves marooned on a desolate isle. To add insult to injury, there is no treasure on the island. There are, however, monsters…

This is a short story of 5400 words or 20 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

False Security by Lindsay BurokerFalse Security by Lindsay Buroker:

I never thought I would date a dragon, or feed him chicken strips late at night, but life has gotten interesting.

My steady dragon—you may know him as Lord Zavryd’nokquetal, but I get to call him Zav—is offering to take me to the elven homeland to meet my father and learn to harness the magic in my blood.

Sure, I’m wary about his plans to force the elves to train me, but I need every advantage I can get. Especially when vampire attacks start cropping up all over Seattle, and my friend and business partner, Dimitri, disappears.

Unfortunately, my training will have to wait. If I don’t find my friend in time, I may never see him alive again.

Cold Case in Spell by J.L. CollinsA Cold Case in Spell by J.L. Collins:

Charming Springs – Where every day is colder than a witch’s kitty!

After ditching her cheating fiancé, Indie Warren hits the road in her trusty old truck, refusing to settle for anyone or anywhere.

But all that changes after Indie gets stuck in the frozen ghost town of Charming Springs, North Carolina.

In the middle of July.

This secret magical town was struck by a curse that brought on eternal winter and cast a barrier around it with no way in or out.

And Indie knows this because the talking owl told her so, obviously.

Suddenly Indie’s thrown into a world of magic, mayhem, and murder. And when she stands accused of the deadly deed, she’ll have to use her wits to prove her innocence… if she can keep her newfound magical powers under control!

Even with the help of her feathered friend and the mysterious reaper with his own secrets, she’ll need to find her own way out of this cursed place—dead or alive.

The Daedalus Job by M.D. CooperThe Daedalus Job by M.D. Cooper:

Jax Bremen is an outlaw… sort of…

Within the L, a tri-star system located inside the Aquilian Nebula, Jax makes a living trading and smuggling whatever goods pay the best. So far, he’s avoided being caught with anything too damning in his ship’s holds, but when he takes a job for Korinth, an infamous arms dealer, all that changes.

The haul is worth ten times his ship, and when the contents gets him embroiled in a tug of war between the major political factions of the L, Jax has to keep the criminals he works for from discovering that he’s playing both sides. Hell, he just might have to play all the sides to navigate the tangled web he’s in.

Every move he makes to get free of the quagmire draws him in deeper until Jax finds himself on the hook to run the hardest job he’s ever undertaken: rob the Daedalus, a military cruiser escorting a convoy through the Maelstrom.

Sure. Cakewalk, right?

The Hugosauriad by Camestros FelaptonThe Hugosauriad: A Dinographic Account of the Hugo Awards by Camestros Felapton:

A Dinographic Account of the Hugo Awards. Featuring essays on every Hugo finalist dinosaur story from 1952 to 2019, plus many more. This book traces a dual history. It is an account of how dinosaurs have been represented in notable science fiction stories from the 1950s onwards but is also an examination of the history of the Hugo Science Fiction Awards. Mixing humour and analysis, The Hugosauriad is a unique look at pop-culture over sixty-seven years.

 

Mountain Witch by Rachel FordMountain Witch by Rachel Ford:

From the mountains, a witch will rise.

Knight Protector Brynja knows why the people of her village never wander too far. There’s a witch who lives deep in the heart of the mountain. Some say she’s one of the last elves, who will have her vengeance on mankind. Some say she’s a myth, meant to frighten wandering children.

But Brynja knows better, because she was one of those wandering younglings. And she saw the witch as a child. She still sees her, in her nightmares.

When an army of dragon riders shows up at Brynja’s doorstep, the knight protector has to warn her queen. But the only way to the capital is through the impenetrable wall of riders.

The only way, except through the mountain caves. The only way, unless she’s willing to revisit her nightmares.

Contacts and Tax Cons by Rachel FordContacts and Tax Cons by Rachel Ford:

An alternate universe. A dystopian nightmare. A sinister plot.

When agents of the Interdimensional Bureau of Temporal Investigations start vanishing, IRS senior analyst and IBTI agent Alfred Favero is assigned to the case. His mission? Track down a mysterious contact known only as Krasnaya.

In a world where every word is overheard, every thought policed, and every action monitored, Alfred must stay off the radar long enough to find his quarry – and get back home before the brutal politsiya or the shadowy rebels get their hands on him.

Otherwise, the intrepid lawman may have pursued his last lead…

Android General 1 by C. GockelAndroid General 1 by C. Gockel:

The Darkness will strike again …

The last time Carl, Volka, and 6T9 fought the Dark, 6T9 failed Volka. If he wants her and all the carbon based life forms that he loves to survive, he needs to change. Change for an android is as easy as flipping a switch, but dealing with the consequences is not so simple.

To save Volka, he’ll have to give up part of himself that Volka adores. He’ll need to become something an innocent, peace loving sex ‘bot was never designed to be, something he despises.

To save Volka and the galaxy he’ll need to become … Android General 1.

Black Dawn by K. GormanBlack Dawn by K. Gorman:

Genetic engineering. Conspiracy. An unstoppable attack.

Karin Makos lives a lie. Genetically engineered from birth and raised in a scientific compound to gain unnatural powers, she has since escaped and built another life, hidden from those who created her. For her, the chance to pilot a small-time scrounging vessel to remote corners of space is the dream. After years on the run with her sister and enduring the constant paranoia of living planet-side, going off-radar gives her exactly what she wants: freedom.

That dream is shattered.

A system-wide attack decimates humanity and leaves the survivors scraping for clues. And Karin might know where to look.

But digging into her past comes with a whole new set of secrets and consequences, none of which she wants to face. Plagued by strange dreams of her sister and a sense of growing danger, Karin and the crew of the Nemina must race desperately across space to find their loved ones—and answers.

The Monstrous Seven by Lily Harper HartThe Monstrous Seven by Lily Harper Hart:

Life is going well for Hannah Hickok. Her business – a cosplay western town in Kentucky – is thriving and she’s even interviewing bartenders so she can finally take on different duties in her new world. All that comes to a screeching halt when a guest grabs what’s supposed to be a prop gun and fires it at another guest during an altercation.

Suddenly, death is calling in Casper Creek … and it’s wearing many masks.

Hannah is thrown by the brutality of the action. She’s also confused why her boyfriend Cooper Wyatt was acting out of sorts right before it happened. The questions about exactly what happened are only compounded when the coroner comes back with a shocking report: There was no bullet found in the body and the manner of death is undetermined.

In short order, an FBI agent is put in charge of the case, Casper Creek is shut down, and Hannah and Cooper are plunged into a sundry world of magical creatures with death and destruction on the brain. Thanks to a tip from local witch Astra, Hannah soon realizes she’s grappling with something bigger than she’s ever dealt with before … and it will be seven times as deadly.

War is coming. Hannah’s magic is still a work in progress but she’s going to be put through the paces on this one. She has a new family. It will be up to her to save them when magical forces collide

Is she up to the challenge?

Blood and Fire by D.N. HoxaBlood and Fire by D.N. Hoxa:

My name is Ruby Monroe, but most people know me by my other name: the One-eyed Hawk.

Back in the day, I wanted to be a superhero, hunt down bad guys and make them pay for doing bad things. Four years later, I’m still paying the price for thinking that there is such a thing as justice in the world. The only thing I have left of that life is a blind eye and the stupid nickname.

When the woman who raised me goes missing, I have no choice but to go back to my old home to find her. As if that wasn’t bad enough, some supervillain-wannabe starts kidnapping the most powerful magians in the city, and I somehow always end up in the wrong place, at the wrong time. The authorities are looking for someone to blame, and who better to take the fall than an already wanted murderer?

Lucky for me, I don’t give two shits about what people think. With the help of a walking, talking flame-thrower named Logan, who just so happens to be as hot as the fire he makes with his hands, I’m going to have to do the impossible and bring justice to this lawless city for once.

Better watch out, Mr. Bad Guy. Ruby Monroe is in town, and she’s coming for you.

Kwelengsen Storm by David M. KellyKwelengsen Storm by David M. Kelly:

You can turn your back on war, but sometimes it refuses to let you go.

When Logan Twofeathers takes on the job of head of engineering on Kwelengsen, the first habitable planet discovered by Earth, he thinks he’s leaving conflict far behind. But when he investigates the loss of a deep-space communications relay, his ship is attacked and crash-lands back on the planet.

With his new home destroyed by the invaders, Logan is stranded deep in the frozen mountains with an injured sergeant who hates him almost as much as the enemy. Against the ever-present threat of capture, he must battle his way through icy surroundings in a treacherous attempt to find his wife.

And when he’s forced to ally himself with a disparate group of soldiers and their uncompromising captain, Logan must face the reality that he may have lost everything—and everyone—he loves. Will he choose to fight? And what will it cost him?

Kwelengsen Storm is the first in a gripping, new sci-fi thriller series from the author of the Joe Ballen novels.

Knights Magica by B.R. KingsolverKnights Magica by B.R. Kingsolver:

If the Knights Magica want a war, I’m willing to give them one.

I damned my soul long ago. What I do from this point forward is about redemption. If I burn in Hell because of fighting for others, for shouldering their sins, so be it.

The Knights are powerful, and they have taken control of the Universal Church. All across the world, the Knights find themselves in conflict with other paranormals and supernaturals. Human governments scramble to cope with the new reality of magic. Cities become battlegrounds.

And in Westport, Rosie O’Grady’s Bar and Grill becomes a center for organizing the Resistance.

Then the Fae decide it’s time to act.

Gravity is Heartless by Sarah LaheyGravity is Heartless by Sarah Lahey:

What will the world look like in thirty years’ time? How will humanity survive the oncoming effects of climate change? Set in the near future and inspired by the world around us, Gravity Is Heartless is a romantic adventure that imagines a world on the cusp of climate catastrophe.

The year is 2050: automated cities, vehicles, and homes are now standard, artificial Intelligence, CRISPR gene editing, and quantum computing have become a reality, and climate change is in full swing—sea levels are rising, clouds have disappeared, and the planet is heating up.

Quinn Buyers is a climate scientist who’d rather be studying the clouds than getting ready for her wedding day. But when an unexpected tragedy causes her to lose everything, including her famous scientist mother, she embarks upon a quest for answers that takes her across the globe—and she uncovers friends, loss and love in the most unexpected of places along the way. Gravity Is Heartless is bold, speculative fiction that sheds a hard light on the treatment of our planet even as it offers a breathtaking sense of hope for the future.

The Killer Clown Calamity by Amanda M. LeeThe Killer Clown Calamity by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes’ life is in turmoil. Her relationship with her boyfriend Jack is going well but Casey, the newest member of the Legacy Foundation, has dropped a bombshell and Charlie feels as if things are spinning out of control. While waiting for DNA results to prove (or disprove, for that matter) Casey’s identity, the team gets called out on a weird case.

It seems sadistic clowns with magical abilities are killing people in the suburbs surrounding Nashville, and the deaths are bloody and horrible. Upon arriving on the scene, Charlie and Jack stumble across an entire cadre of clowns hanging out at the fairgrounds and the game is afoot.
Mystic Caravan Circus isn’t what it appears to be on the surface. Poet Parker, second in command for the circus, is front and center as Jack and Charlie start digging for answers. It seems both sides are keeping secrets, though, and discovering the truth isn’t going to be easy.

Charlie has always zealously guarded her supernatural secret and it seems she’s not the only one, because the moment she crosses the threshold to the circus she senses she’s surrounded by a magical group of otherworldly individuals.

Trust takes time but that’s a precious commodity as the clowns ramp up their attacks. It’s going to take everyone working together to figure out what’s happening … and who is behind it.

Poet and Charlie make a fearsome twosome but they might not be enough to take on this particular threat. Everybody hates a clown, and when this trio declares war, the horror that follows will haunt an entire city.

Charlie is determined to deal with the clowns before focusing on her personal life. She has to survive to find answers, though, and it’s going to take every ounce of power she has to come out safely on the other side.

Fear is the name of the game, and two heroes are about to collide.

The Influencer by R.T.W. LipkinThe Influencer by R.T.W. Lipkin:

His secret was that he created her. Her secret is much bigger.

Beautiful. Mysterious. Unreachable.

Broadcasting from her perfectly curated room, she’s an instant sensation. Everyone wants to buy what she has. Wear her jewelry. Use her makeup. So they can be like her. Look like her. Feel close to her. Know her.

But no one can really know Ash. She’s just an illusion. A string of code I created to sell things and make money.

It was the perfect plan.

Until she starts going off script, saying things I didn’t program her to say.
Knowing things she can’t know.
Feeling things she can’t feel.
Or can she?

Phyllis Wong and the Crumpled Stranger by Geoffrey McSkimmingPhyllis Wong and the Crumpled Man by Geoffrey McSkimming:

When Phyllis Wong, that brilliant young magician and clever sleuth, discovers a mysterious stranger who keeps appearing by the rotunda in City Park, little does she know that the Time he brings with him will lead her into a world of danger, intrigue and undiscovered threats from the past!

Will Phyllis’s magic be enough to save her from the perils that will cross her path? Will she be able to solve the riddle of the stranger and the place from which he comes?

A haunting story, swirling through the world of words and the ticking of time!

The seventh Phyllis Wong: Time Detective mystery.

Free Fall by T.S. PaulFree Fall by T.S. Paul:

Mars is doomed!

While the idea of breaking away from the tyranny of Earth might sound like a good idea in practice it sucks. Riddled with quislings, the Martian government cannot hide from the inevitable. When the fleets away the warships play. Invasion of the worst kind.

Trapped aboard the Einstein space station Rowan Wolf is out of options. Should he fight the good fight or return home to save his family?

The Wounded Ones by G.D. PenmanThe Wounded Ones by G.D. Penman:

Demons and serial killers are Iona “Sully” Sullivan’s bread and butter, but nothing could have prepared her to face off against the full weight of the British Empire at the height of its power. With the War for American Independence in full swing, she finds even her prodigious talents pushed beyond their limits when citizens of the American Colonies begin vanishing amidst rumors of crop circles, hydra sightings and worse. Through a wild and lethal adventure that will see her clashing with the Empire around the world and beyond, the only constants in Sully’s life are an undead girlfriend, a giant demon crow that has taken a shine to her, regular assassination attempts by enemies on all sides, and the cold certainty that nothing and nobody is going to make it out of the war in one piece.

A Touch of Ice by Nita RoundA Touch of Ice by Nita Round:

To have a future, they must face their past.

Magda, Ascara and Lucinda must draw upon the strength of their trinity to seek out the truths of the past that hold the key to their future.

They travel north, to Magda’s place of birth amongst the Oceanics. For Magda, this is an unwelcoming place, a reminder that she was banished and dealt a cruel fate. Named Stoner and landlocked, for an Oceanic this is a dishonour and a fate worse than death. To return to the float again would place her life, and those with her, at risk.

In the freezing waters of the far north, Magda finds herself defending her honour and birth right. She must succeed as their fate depends upon it. Failure is not an option, the costs are too high.

If you like a mash-up of steampunk and fantasy, with strong willed and quick-witted women, then you’ll love Nita Round’s imaginative series.

Will Magda allow the past to hold her back, or will she find her destiny?

Hollis Whittaker by C.B.S. ShanahanHollis Whittaker by C.B. Shanahan:

It changed the course of WWII. In 1945, it was stolen. Now a ten-year-old boy has found it, and the government will kill him to get it.

When ten-year-old Hollis Whittaker picks up a strange medallion he stumbled upon at the edge of a stream, he suddenly begins exhibiting signs of brilliance, even discovering the solar system’s Planet X and astounding the astronomical community. The awkward, overweight fifth grader with heart problems is an instant media sensation, but all is not well. The genius-making medallion bonds to only one person for life and the U.S. government has been searching for it since World War II, which means they’re prepared to kill Hollis to acquire it so they can exploit the medallion’s immense power.

After a thwarted hit job by two military agents, Hollis treks cross-country with the aid of his best friend Kirby and a Navajo woman, Cha’Risa, whose family possessed the medallion—the Ní?ch’i—more than seventy years ago. They are hoping Cha’Risa’s aged grandfather will be able to help them. Unfortunately, the whole country believes she has kidnapped the boys, and the agents who are trying to kill Hollis have the system on their side.

The Peacekeeper Initiative by Glynn StewartThe Peacekeeper Initiative by Glynn Stewart:

Amidst the ruins of a broken empire
A new warlord rises to power
The worlds in his path call for help
And the United Planets Alliance answers!

The Kenmiri Empire has fallen, broken against the might of the Vesheron rebels and the United Planets Space Force. The alliance between the Vesheron and the UPSF has collapsed in turn, leaving the former empire as worlds without governance or leaders.

Amidst the chaos, the UPSF has launched a valiant effort to reach out to the weak and protect the defenseless. As part of the Peacekeeper Initiative, Colonel Henry Wong leads the battlecruiser Raven deep into once-hostile territory.

There, an old ally has begun to forge a new empire from the old slave worlds. As starvation forces worlds to surrender, Henry prepares a desperate plan to bring food to the hungry—and defeat to those who conquer!

Duelist by John TriptychDuelist by John Triptych:

Interstellar war has been outlawed, and all conflicts are now determined by single combat. The fate of entire planets rests upon the actions of a duelist—specialized gladiators trained and modified with the latest technology to win a death match against their equally formidable rivals.

Dyron Dyrge is an upstart who rises in power and prestige with each victory. Yet he shuns the limelight, for his secrets would tear the galaxy apart if they were ever revealed. Alix, an orphaned concubine with mysteries of her own, also begins her ascent within a corrupt, class-based society that rewards only the most cunning and ruthless of them all.

Together, these two individuals will eventually determine the fate of known space… unless their enemies kills them first.

The Capramancer Next Door by Danielle WilliamsThe Capramancer Next Door by Danielle Williams:

Down-to-earth mage Will Schafer has her hands full moving into a new house while keeping her mischievous herd of magical goats in line. Meeting handsome gardener Rickert Nash takes the sting out of moving…until his shadowy past comes roaring back to bite him in the butt.

Now Will and the herd must step in to save their neighbor from getting mulched—but can a girl and her goats defeat a formidable hunter…or are they all about to buy the farm?

Called “A wonderful read!” by the owner of GoatsLive.com, The Capramancer Next Door is an upbeat fantasy adventure sure to leave you smiling.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for June 2020

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 May books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, western mysteries, international mysteries, Japanese mysteries, paranormal mysteries, children’s mysteries, crime thrillers, spy thrillers, disaster thrillers, action thrillers, police procedurals, noir, police officers, amateur sleuths, security specialists, relocation experts, Pinkerton detectives, spies, terrorists, serial killers, missing teenagers, missing nukes, missing gold bullion, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting librarians, crime-busting cats, crime-busting ghosts, time-travelling detectives, killer clowns, crime and murder in Louisiana, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Tokyo, the Wild West 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:

Murder in the Daytime by Blythe BakerMurder in the Daytime by Blythe Baker:

An elegant death…

When Alice Beckingham returns to London to see her sister and niece safely installed in the family home, she hopes for some quiet time of contemplation. But she has scarcely walked through the doors of Ashton House when she is greeted once again by mayhem and danger.

A visit from a mysterious stranger offers Alice an intriguing concept, an opportunity to turn her snooping talents into a profitable business. And who better to join in her new venture than the clever and capable Sherborne Sharp?

But a sudden death turns Alice’s plans upside down. Haunted by her failure to protect a client, Alice must discover who is behind a devious murder plot.

The Great Catsby by B.K. BaxterThe Great Catsby by B.K. Baxter:

Watch what you wish for… Some inheritances are literally death.

My life has been turned upside down by my inheritance, but my only complaint is the cat that came along with the new house.

I swear he’s judging me as I settle in and try to make new friends in my new small-town Louisiana neighborhood.

And just when I start to settle into my new job and get back to reading my classic novels, I’m pulled chapters deep into a mystery.

The Beauty Queen in the town has been offed. Someone has killed the darling.

Wouldn’t you know it? An innocent man has been framed.

I shouldn’t get involved, but somehow, my cat seems to have a way with finding clues in some of my favorite stories. Not that any of that makes sense.

Why would it?

The cat is the sleuth, I’m the amateur, and we have alligators in the backyard.

Throw in a dead body, a book club that’s filled with suspicious characters, and you have my new life.

And I thought being a librarian in Louisiana was going to be dull.

Mystery at the Edge of Madness by Beth ByersMystery at the Edge of Madness by Beth Byers:

July 1925

Severine DuNoir was twelve when she discovered the bodies of her parents, and the day after the funeral, she was sent to a convent in another country. By the time she resolves to go home, her sole focus is to reveal what happened to her parents.

Coming home, however, unveils a far more sinister plot than she could have expected. It’s clear from her first night that something is afoot. The motives are many and the target is clear: Severine herself.

Careless Whisper by Stacy ClaflinCareless Whisper by Stacy Claflin:

Someone is burying teenage girls alive.

It’s been nearly a full year since there were any local kidnappings, but now girls are going missing left and right. There are few commonalities linking them together, and the only evidence Alex Mercer has are the ransom notes left on each victim’s front door.

Tensions mount as clues point to the notorious kidnapping ring driven from town twelve months ago—the same ring that’s tormented him and his loved ones for years.

With so many young lives on the line, Alex is desperate. And he works tirelessly to solve the crimes before anyone dies. But if the ring has returned?

No one could be more determined to shut them down for good.

Cold Case in Spell by J.L. CollinsA Cold Case in Spell by J.L. Collins:

Charming Springs – Where every day is colder than a witch’s kitty!

After ditching her cheating fiancé, Indie Warren hits the road in her trusty old truck, refusing to settle for anyone or anywhere.

But all that changes after Indie gets stuck in the frozen ghost town of Charming Springs, North Carolina.

In the middle of July.

This secret magical town was struck by a curse that brought on eternal winter and cast a barrier around it with no way in or out.

And Indie knows this because the talking owl told her so, obviously.

Suddenly Indie’s thrown into a world of magic, mayhem, and murder. And when she stands accused of the deadly deed, she’ll have to use her wits to prove her innocence… if she can keep her newfound magical powers under control!

Even with the help of her feathered friend and the mysterious reaper with his own secrets, she’ll need to find her own way out of this cursed place—dead or alive.

The Monstrous Seven by Lily Harper HartThe Monstrous Seven by Lily Harper Hart:

Life is going well for Hannah Hickok. Her business – a cosplay western town in Kentucky – is thriving and she’s even interviewing bartenders so she can finally take on different duties in her new world. All that comes to a screeching halt when a guest grabs what’s supposed to be a prop gun and fires it at another guest during an altercation.

Suddenly, death is calling in Casper Creek … and it’s wearing many masks.

Hannah is thrown by the brutality of the action. She’s also confused why her boyfriend Cooper Wyatt was acting out of sorts right before it happened. The questions about exactly what happened are only compounded when the coroner comes back with a shocking report: There was no bullet found in the body and the manner of death is undetermined.

In short order, an FBI agent is put in charge of the case, Casper Creek is shut down, and Hannah and Cooper are plunged into a sundry world of magical creatures with death and destruction on the brain. Thanks to a tip from local witch Astra, Hannah soon realizes she’s grappling with something bigger than she’s ever dealt with before … and it will be seven times as deadly.

War is coming. Hannah’s magic is still a work in progress but she’s going to be put through the paces on this one. She has a new family. It will be up to her to save them when magical forces collide

Is she up to the challenge?

Kicked the Bucket by CeeCee JamesKicked the Bucket by CeeCee James:

Chelsea’s family life is pretty complicated. For starters, the family photo that she’s been carrying for her whole life has been a mystery in itself!

Before she can dig into her past, the present has taken a shocking turn… Chelsea finds a dead body in the pond and sitting on the shore is a bucket of flowers.

The more she learns about the dead man, the more she realizes he’s tied up in the knotted web of her own past. As the clues start to surface, Chelsea wonders if she’s better off leaving this one to the police.

Then a letter arrives threatening everything she ever loved. When the flowers begin to arrive, she realizes she can’t stop now or someone close to her will pay the ultimate consequence.

The Killer Clown Calamity by Amanda M. LeeThe Killer Clown Calamity by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes’ life is in turmoil. Her relationship with her boyfriend Jack is going well but Casey, the newest member of the Legacy Foundation, has dropped a bombshell and Charlie feels as if things are spinning out of control. While waiting for DNA results to prove (or disprove, for that matter) Casey’s identity, the team gets called out on a weird case.

It seems sadistic clowns with magical abilities are killing people in the suburbs surrounding Nashville, and the deaths are bloody and horrible. Upon arriving on the scene, Charlie and Jack stumble across an entire cadre of clowns hanging out at the fairgrounds and the game is afoot.

Mystic Caravan Circus isn’t what it appears to be on the surface. Poet Parker, second in command for the circus, is front and center as Jack and Charlie start digging for answers. It seems both sides are keeping secrets, though, and discovering the truth isn’t going to be easy.

Charlie has always zealously guarded her supernatural secret and it seems she’s not the only one, because the moment she crosses the threshold to the circus she senses she’s surrounded by a magical group of otherworldly individuals.

Trust takes time but that’s a precious commodity as the clowns ramp up their attacks. It’s going to take everyone working together to figure out what’s happening … and who is behind it.

Poet and Charlie make a fearsome twosome but they might not be enough to take on this particular threat. Everybody hates a clown, and when this trio declares war, the horror that follows will haunt an entire city.

Charlie is determined to deal with the clowns before focusing on her personal life. She has to survive to find answers, though, and it’s going to take every ounce of power she has to come out safely on the other side.

Fear is the name of the game, and two heroes are about to collide.

The Nuclear Option by Alan LeveroneThe Nuclear Option by Alan Leverone:

A Soviet tactical nuke has disappeared
and an American city may be targeted…

Still grieving the loss of her father, Tracie Tanner is back at work, tasked with infiltrating the home of a Russian general and acquiring intel regarding a rumored breakthrough in Soviet radar technology.

But what she finds is far more horrifying than a technological advance: a tactical nuclear device has been stolen out of a supposedly secure Soviet military base.

Together, Tracie and CIA Director Aaron Stallings determine that a shadowy group of Russian radicals – anxious for a return to the brutality of a byegone era in the Soviet Union – has acquired the bomb, intending to smuggle it into the United States and spark war by detonating it inside a major American city.

Now, racing against a ticking time bomb – literally – Tracie must get a line on the Russian radicals, desperate to learn where in the United States the bomb has been placed.

But what she finds shocks her to the core, because the group has a different plan for their prize. And Tracie Tanner may be the only one standing between the radicals and thousands of dead innocents…

Phyllis Wong and the Crumpled Stranger by Geoffrey McSkimmingPhyllis Wong and the Crumpled Man by Geoffrey McSkimming:

When Phyllis Wong, that brilliant young magician and clever sleuth, discovers a mysterious stranger who keeps appearing by the rotunda in City Park, little does she know that the Time he brings with him will lead her into a world of danger, intrigue and undiscovered threats from the past!

Will Phyllis’s magic be enough to save her from the perils that will cross her path? Will she be able to solve the riddle of the stranger and the place from which he comes?

A haunting story, swirling through the world of words and the ticking of time!

The seventh Phyllis Wong: Time Detective mystery.

Wired Ghost by Toby NealWired Ghost by Toby Neal:

Paradise is drowning in lava.

What would you do to survive during a volcanic eruption?

Security specialists Sophie and Jake take a job to rescue a teen girl shacked up with a dangerous meth cooker on the Big Island, and their wilderness destination turns out to be in the path of the biggest eruption Hawaii has seen in decades. Soon, they’re embroiled in a natural disaster too hot for anyone to handle.

Trapped underground in a lava tube, engulfed by darkness and heat, they struggle to outrun a deadly force that consumes everything in its path.

All in the Family by Tyler PorterAll in the Family by Tyler Porter:

A new case. A new monster. A city where no family is safe.

Detective Casey Norris has gotten his badge back, after coming out of retirement, and is back in charge of his team of detectives, which features a couple of new members. There is little time for introductions, however, as a new case has hit their desks featuring a monster unlike anything they have ever seen.

Helena has a new serial killer. A killer who has hit a breaking point. A killer who is hunting young families. A sadistic individual who seems to have no limits and who refuses to leave anyone in the city with a feeling of hope or safety.

Norris and his team are in a race against the clock as this new predator allows less and less time between each kill. Norris must work to understand the individual he pursues while fighting through his own personal demons which threaten to derail his case, as well as his life.

Being a part of a family is supposed to create a feeling of comfort and love, but for this killer, it only creates a new target.

Tokyo Traffic by Michael PronkoTokyo Traffic by Michael Pronko:

Running from a life she didn’t choose, in a city she doesn’t know Sukanya, a young Thai girl, loses herself in the vastness of Tokyo. With her Bangkok street smarts, and some stolen money, she stays ahead of her former captors who will do anything to recover the computer she took. After befriending Chiho, a Japanese girl living in an internet café, Sukanya makes plans to rid herself of her pursuers, and her past, forever.

In Tokyo, street smarts aren’t always enough

Meanwhile, Detective Hiroshi Shimizu leaves the safe confines of his office to investigate a porn studio where a brutal triple murder took place. The studio’s accounts point him in multiple directions at once. Together with ex-sumo wrestler Sakaguchi and old-school Takamatsu, Hiroshi tracks the killers through Tokyo’s music clubs and teen hangouts, bayside docks and byways, straight into the underbelly of the global economy.

As bodies wash up from Tokyo Bay, Hiroshi tries to find the Thai girl at the center of it all, whose name he doesn’t even know. He uncovers a human trafficking ring and cryptocurrency scammers whose connections extend to the highest levels of Tokyo’s power elite.

TOKYO TRAFFIC is the third in the Tokyo-based Detective Hiroshi series by award-winning author Michael Pronko.

Some Awful Cunning by Joe RickerSome Awful Cunning by Joe Ricker:

Ryan Carpenter is an underground relocation specialist who helps people escape the danger and traumas of their life and start over. After agreeing to help the young wife of a Texas oil baron relocate her stepson to escape criminal prosecution, Ryan learns more than he wants to about the oil baron, his wife, and the stepson.

Haunted by his own forced relocation, Ryan betrays his client and is forced to scramble for his life, which only puts him face to face with the childhood past he’s been trying to escape his entire life. His flight brings him from Albuquerque, New Mexico; back to New Orleans, Louisiana; where Ryan learned his underground trade as a relocation specialist or “travel agent.” There, Ryan seeks the help of his former mentor to escape the endless resources of the people who will stop at nothing to find Ryan and have him killed.

But first, Ryan’s mentor needs a favor, and that favor forces Ryan back to Ironwood, Maine, a small timber town where Ryan grew up, and where the one person who might figure out who Ryan really is, is an ambitious deputy will stop at nothing to become sheriff. A town where everyone remembers the tragedy that took Ryan and his family’s life.

Or so they thought…

No Man's Land by Ron SchwabNo Man’s Land by Ron Schwab:

“He told me to get the blood hounds. I knew who he wanted. That’s why I’m here.”

In the aftermath of a bloody train robbery, The Pinkerton Detective Agency enlists the newly married detectives Trace and Darby Crockett to track down the gold bullion that was stolen from the train, as well as one of the passengers who was abducted by the outlaws: the fifteen year-old daughter of a railroad executive.

Time is of the essence in bestselling author Ron Schwab’s second Blood Hounds novel, No Man’s Land, as this sprawling Western doubles down on suspense and adventure, providing Trace and Darby with their most dangerous mission yet.

Careful What You Dash For by Isaac SweeneyCareful What You Dash For by Isaac Sweeney:

A serial killer uses Door Dash to lure his prey. He’s got the local police fooled and his property booby trapped. But Sarah is his next target, and she may turn into his greatest challenge.

 

 

 

 

Pineapple Hurricane by Amy VasantPineapple Hurricane by Amy Vasant:

When a Pineapple Port resident is found dead during an approaching hurricane, Charlotte fears someone’s trying to disguise murders as storm-related accidents. The first two victims have more than the storm in common – both were hoarding valuable storm supplies like toilet paper and water.

Hm. Maybe the killer is karma!

Bringing together the area’s community leaders to spread a warning could lead to even more trouble. Last time the Five Families got together, someone ended up dead. But things could be much deadlier if Declan’s crazy ex is right and the Puzzle Killer’s broken out of prison…

And did that lamppost just explode, or is someone trying to kill Charlotte and Declan?

Charlotte vows to solve the crime before the storm hits. Mariska and Darla vow to find some toilet paper for sale, even if they have to call in help from their old neighbor, the revenge-genius, Gloria.

Buckle down for a blustery ride as the storm hits!

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The Return of Richard Blakemore and a Long Overdue Multiple New Release Announcement

It has been a while since I had a new release announcement, even though I have had new releases in the meantime. However, some of the vendors were really dragging their feet in getting the books up. Still, better late than never.

In May, I – or rather, Richard Blakemore – published two new Thurvok sword and sorcery stories. Both stories grew out of last year’s July short story challenge. Talking of which, July is around the corner. I’m planning to continue the tradition and do another short story challenge this year, though it will probably be truncated, especially with Worldcon taking place at the end of the month.

But now back to Thurvok: The first story has Thurvok, Meldom, Sharenna and Lysha facing off against a swamp monster and rescuing a damsel in distress.

So buckle up and accompany Thurvok, Meldom, Sharenna and Lysha, as they battle…

The Thing from the Dread Swamp
The Thing from the Dread Swamp by Cora BuhlertWhile travelling through the Dread Swamp, Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friends, Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, Meldom’s sweetheart Lysha and the sorceress Sharenna come across an overturned wagon and the terrified merchant Polyxo who babbles that a monster has taken his daughter Cerissa. Because they are heroes – and because Polyxo has offered them a sizeable reward – the quartet of adventurers offers to rescue Cerissa from the thing that lives in the Dread Swamp.

This is a short story of 5300 words or 19 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

More information.
Length: 5300 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, Vivlio, 24symbols and XinXii.

In the second new Thurvok story, Thurvok and the gang take to the high seas go in search of a legendary treasure. Unfortunately, it happens to be guarded by a Lovecraftian horror.

So prepare to face…

The Tentacled Terror
The Tentacled Terror by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThurvok, the sellsword, and his friends Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, the sorceress Sharenna and Meldom’s sweetheart Lysha set sail for the sunken city of Nhom’zonac, looking for the lost treasure of the Sea Kings. But they have to get past the Lovecraftian horror guarding the city first.

This is a short story of 5300 words or 19 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

 

 

More information.
Length: 5300 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, Vivlio, 24symbols and XinXii.

But Richard Blakemore hasn’t only been busy writing. After all, he still has his other career as the masked vigilante known only as the Silencer going on. I actually published a new Silencer story in late January and only now realised that I never officially announced it. With everything that happened this year, I just forgot to announce that story.

The story in question is called The Heavy Hand of the Editor and I have described it on Twitter as “The Silencer meets John W. Campbell – ’nuff said.”

The inspiration for that story was that – inspired by the Retro Reviews project – I was planning to write some deliberately retro style science fiction adventures (more on that soon). And since I already had a pen name for retro SFF, I thought, “Why not credit those to Richard Blakemore as well? He was a multi-genre author, after all, so why wouldn’t he have tried his hand at science fiction?”

That got me thinking what sort of science fiction Richard Blakemore would have written. He would probably have written the sort of adventure oriented SF that you used to find in magazines like Planet Stories, Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories, because I couldn’t imagine Richard writing the sort of infodumpy hard science fiction found in the pages of Astounding Science Fiction. And even if he had tried to write for Astounding, John W. Campbell‘s rewrite requests and general personality would have quickly driven Richard up the wall to the point that Campbell might well have found himself staring into the Silencer’s silver-plated twin .45 automatics.

And then I thought, “Actually, that’s a great idea for a Silencer story.” And this is how The Heavy Hand of the Editor was born.

Though The Heavy Hand of the Editor doesn’t feature the actual John W. Campbell, but a stand-in called Donald Angus Stuart, editor of an upstart new pulp magazine called Stunning Science Stories. Don A. Stuart was of course the pen name Campbell used to publish what is probably his most famous story, “Who Goes There?” Several other science fiction and pulp writers of the era appear as well.

So prepare to accompany Richard Blakemore a.k.a. The Silencer as he tackles…

The Heavy Hand of the Editor
The Heavy Hand of the Editor by Cora BuhlertNew York City, 1938: Richard Blakemore, hardworking pulp writer by day and the masked vigilante only known as the Silencer by night, has faced many a horror in his day. But few of them can match the terror of the blank page. Especially since Donald A. Stuart, the upstart young editor of an upstart young magazine called Stunning Science Stories, has already rejected Richard’s story “The Icy Cold of Space” four times.

Stuart demands changes that Richard does not want to make. Worse, he also holds Richard’s story hostage. Unless Stuart permanently rejects the story, Richard cannot sell it elsewhere.

There are a lot of shady practices in the pulp business, but Stuart’s actions are beyond the pale even for the wild west of publishing. And so the Silencer decides to pay Stuart a visit to put the fear of God into an editor who believes himself to be one.

This is a novelettes of 10800 words or approx. 38 print pages in the Silencer series, but may be read as a standalone.

Any resemblances to editors, writers and magazines living, dead or undead are entirely not coincidental.

More information.
Length: 10800 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for May 2020

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, horror, paranormal mysteries, time travel romance, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, weird westerns, dragons, ghosts, monsters, demons, knights, necromancers, immortals, superheroes, space marines, intergalactic relic hunters, tentacled terrors, crime-busting witches, swashbuckling cats 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:

Oblivion by Andrew BlinstonOblivion by Andy Blinston:

Once a god, now a target.

Darius wakes surrounded by blood. Most of his mind has been stolen, and the dark figure that took it wants the rest.

Caught in a centuries-old war between the human empire and fiery rakkan invaders, he soon learns his fearsome powers have made him an enemy to many.

Unable to tell friend from foe, he must fight to escape the one hunting him, the one who seeks to turn him into a mindless puppet.

His only allies are his panther and the captivating but callous Alexandra, who promises to restore him to former glory. But can she be trusted?

Is he ready to discover the truth of who he was, and why he’s wanted?

The Thing from the Dread Swamp by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Thing from the Dread Swamp by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

While travelling through the Dread Swamp, Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friends, Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, Meldom’s sweetheart Lysha and the sorceress Sharenna come across an overturned wagon and the terrified merchant Polyxo who babbles that a monster has taken his daughter Cerissa. Because they are heroes – and because Polyxo has offered them a sizeable reward – the quartet of adventurers offers to rescue Cerissa from the thing that lives in the Dread Swamp.

This is a short story of 5300 words or 19 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

The Tentacled Terror by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Tentacled Terror by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friends Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, the sorceress Sharenna and Meldom’s sweetheart Lysha set sail for the sunken city of Nhom’zonac, looking for the lost treasure of the Sea Kings. But they have to get past the Lovecraftian horror guarding the city first.

This is a short story of 5300 words or 19 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

Elven Doom by Lindsay BurokerElven Doom by Lindsay Buroker:

Dragons make life complicated. Extremely complicated.

After returning from Idaho, I was hoping to have time to figure things out with Zav—also known as Lord Zavryd, the dragon who claimed me as his mate without asking—but the dark elves are up to their old tricks again.

Actually, they’re up to far more deadly tricks, using more powerful magic than I knew existed. I have no idea how I’m going to stop them, but if I can’t, my entire city and everybody I care about could be obliterated.

To make matters worse, Zav’s sister has shown up and is rooting around in my life. His family doesn’t approve of me, and she plans to put an end to our relationship… one way or another.

Dragon Physician by Joyce ChngDragon Physician by Joyce Chng:

Can Jixin succeed in a world of dragon racing run by powerful women? Can he fight the system and fulfil his dream of becoming a dragon rider? Or does he choose instead to be a dragon physician like his mother? Jixin finds his world suddenly changed when Lu Si, the scion of a Rookery owner, takes a shine on him. He is plunged straight into the lucrative world of dragon racing… Will his life change?

 

 

Toga by Karen DiemToga by Karen Diem:

Go home, myths , you’re drunk.

After a magical accident, part-time superhero Zita Garcia and her two closest friends wake up stranded in an ancient Greece that could only have existed if all the myths were real and somewhat inebriated.

Unfortunately, they can only leave with help from the locals, not all of whom are friendly. The dryads are downright deadly, and even the normally chatty centaurs aren’t talking. To convince them to assist, Zita and her friends will have to go questing, just like in all the classic fantasy novels. The ones Zita never bothered to read.

If they win, they’ll get the help they need.

If they don’t, they better get used to togas.

Toga is the fifth in the Arca superhero urban fantasy series and includes deliberate historical inaccuracies, immoderate language, lame sexual innuendo, and comic book violence.

How to Science Fictionally by Camestros FelaptonHow to Science Fictionally: A User Guide to Made Up Stuff by Camestros Felapton:

How can you make your space ship travel faster than light? How can you make your teleporter work? How are you going to send a message home and how are you going to style your beard? These and many other questions are often badly answered in this compendium of essays from Camestros Felapton. Ranging from flippant to occasionally researched, this book answers all of the least important questions in modern sci-fi.

Essential reading for aspiring science fiction authors.

The necromancer by Rachel FordThe Necromancer by Rachel Ford:

A rash of grave robberies. A cursed barrow. A case that will test the balance between magic and law.

When bodies turn up missing, the mage’s academy assigns the case to Apprentice Idun Wintermoon. With the jarl’s liaison for all things magical, Lissette Forlatt, and her best friend, the giant Njal, they try to track the thief.

But the closer they get to answers, the further away from truth they find themselves. When a series of strange visions brings Lissette to the ruins of the long abandoned goblin kingdom, they descend into a dark and terrible world of magic and secrets.

They’re in a race against time as they try to stop the Necromancer. But to get to her, they have to tread where the dead sleep – or worse, don’t.

And if they’re not careful, they’ll end up forgotten denizens of the undead themselves.

Viper's Nest by Rachel FordViper’s Nest by Rachel Ford:

Banished, shipwrecked and sent to the arenas.

Trygve Bjarneson lost everything. And he deserved it. He knows that. So when he’s given the opportunity to regain some of his honor, and reclaim his life in the process, he takes it.

Little does the once future-king realize that the seemingly straightforward job of bodyguard to Empress Cassia is anything but. Machiavellian politics are just the beginning. He’s about to be plunged into a dark world of bloody murder, grim assassinations, and deadly rivalries. It will take every bit of cunning and ingenuity to protect the empress from her enemies.

But if his foes have their way, he will wish he never made it out of the arenas alive.

Ghostly Business by Lily Harper HartGhostly Business by Lily Harper Hart:

Every “quiet” town has secrets. The one nobody expected is about to rock Whisper Cove.

During what should’ve been a romantic double date, a fire breaks out at a historic home. Harper Harlow and Jared Monroe race to the scene to make sure nobody is trapped or in danger … and discover one heck of a secret.

It seems the house, which was owned by a solitary older woman who kept to herself, was being run as a brothel. Now she’s dead and there’s a bevy of married men on the hot seat for her murder.

Harper has a cantankerous ghost to deal with … and a bevy of odd emotions running roughshod over her mental health. She feels like an invader in her own skin, and she can’t figure out why.

Jared’s problems are even more pronounced. Whenever he questions an individual present at the house that night, they threaten him with a legal suit before clamming up. On top of that, he’s worried about Harper, who seems fixated on the case.

Since the moment they met, they were joined at the hip … and lips. Now, that unshakeable bond they’ve always reveled in is going to be put to the test.

Nothing can break them apart … but that doesn’t mean outside forces won’t try, and they might be willing to kill to do it.

To Love a Witch by Amanda M. LeeTo Love a Witch by Amanda M. Lee:

Bay Winchester is at a crossroads in her life. Her powers are growing, her personal life is settled, and there’s a young witch in crisis under her care.

Things are … difficult.

A good witch at heart, Bay knows that the teenager she’s trying to tame is dangerous. To keep Hemlock Cove safe, she’s isolated her at the campground property she owns with her boyfriend Landon. While visiting one day, a ghost catches her attention across the lake … and when Bay crosses to investigate, she finds a fresh body and a whole lot of trouble.

It seems the new property owner is currently dating the victim’s ex-boyfriend and there’s a convoluted mess to untangle. That’s on top of the other people in town – including Aunt Tillie’s nemesis Mrs. Little – who keep showing up at the lake with an agenda.

Bay has no idea what to do. She needs to keep her teenage protégé hidden while uncovering a deadly story of an affair gone wrong and greed run amok. All the while she wonders what will happen if she can’t turn things around for her new teenage responsibility. What will she have to do to protect the people that she loves?

If that wasn’t enough, Landon is acting out of sorts. His demeanor is strange and he’s having secret conversations with her mother while trying to keep Bay out of his sock drawer. She can’t figure out why and her imagination is running wild.

It’s going to be a race to the finish. There’s an out-of-control ghost, a teenager who doesn’t want to be helped, and a man who has a plan to give his favorite witch everything she’s ever wanted.

This is the one you’ve been waiting for. The big moment is finally here.

The Whisper Killer by Rob LittleThe Whisper Killer by Rod Little:

Wolf Hollow is not like other towns. It gets what it needs.

Ben is a baby-faced serial killer who can charm his victims with a smile. But when he stumbles into Wolf Hollow to hide from the FBI, it’s the town that charms him and convinces him to stay. Because Wolf Hollow gets what it needs, and it needs Ben. It knows his secret.
Ben isn’t alone. He shares his body with a century-old demon. He may be the town’s worst nightmare, but he’s exactly what they need.

Under cover of a blinding snowstorm, a bitter enemy returns to Wolf Hollow, a group of men hell-bent on revenge, resolved to wipe out the entire town and leave no survivors. Only Ben has what it takes to stand in their way . . . if he chooses. He is their only hope.

Because some evils can only be met by a greater evil.

Insurgent by Ken LozitoInsurgent by Ken Lozito:

As Connor secretly searches for the enemy homeworld, he launches clandestine military operations to liberate other worlds in hopes of gaining allies before the enemy can find the last human colony.

The humans cannot hope to compete with the enemy’s vast empire, but with the discovery of a new ally, Connor believes their luck has finally changed.

Instead, when new allies clash with the old, Connor finds himself caught in the middle. Connor will have to choose whether doing what’s necessary to ensure the colony survives is worth compromising his loyalty to allies close to home, but the price could ultimately tear the colony apart.

Surviving a war with the enemy isn’t always a numbers game, but in choosing one ally, will Connor lose it all?

Orion Rises by G.J. OgdenOrion Rises by G.J. Ogden:

Kicked out of the Relic Guardian Force, Hudson Powell has started down the path to becoming a relic hunter. Fortune awaits inside the mysterious, alien hulks found on every planet throughout the vast network of portal worlds. The only problem is, he’s broke and he doesn’t have a starship.

A chance encounter with Liberty Devan – a streetwise, genius ship mechanic – provides him with an unlikely relic-hunting partner. Unfortunately, Hudson’s former RGF boss, Logan Griff, still wants him dead, and Griff has hired two of the galaxy’s deadliest mercenaries to get him.

Fortunately for Hudson, one of them has taken a shine to him.

Fighting to stay one step ahead of Logan Griff, Hudson and Liberty discover the first new portal in a century. But embarking on a relic hunt to a new and unexplored star system, they find an alien intelligence that warns them of a grave threat to humanity.

The secrets of the alien wrecks are about to be uncovered. And it isn’t good news.

Swashbuckling Cats by Rhonda ParrishSwashbuckling Cats, edited by Rhonda Parrish:

If you think cats and water don’t mix, think again.

Plunge into worlds of piratical cats: some selfish, some mischievous, all fond of hitting the catnip stash. From ships on the deep blue sea, to ships flying through the depths of space, and even visiting from beyond the veil, these cats are determined and on a mission.

Featuring thirteen “tails” of adventure-loving cats, puns, and fun by: Megan Fennell; S.G. Wong; Rebecca Brae; Grace Bridges; Lizz Donnelly; Blake Liddell; Frances Pauli; JB Riley; Joseph Halden; Leslie Van Zwol; Krista D. Ball; Chadwick Ginther; Rose Strickman; and Beth Cato.

Zelup by Lisa ProbzZelup by Lisa Probz:

Dawn

Who would have thought it? A one-night stand should have only been one night.

Then the hot guy shows up on my doorstep with a business proposal that stinks more than a Vanfian female in heat.

He’s hiding something. I just didn’t expect it to be an upcoming apocalypse.

I have no choice but to go all in, but the plan is to keep my heart protected from him.

Yeah right. My hormones are leading the way, and this guy isn’t going to let me slip from his grasp that easily.

Zelup

Life is just never easy, is it?

My older brother shacks up with the daughter of a goddess, and all of a sudden, our planet is pushed into an apocalypse.

And I’m forced to hunt down a mythical Guardian to aid us in the fight against the demon host that’s squared off to us.

What I don’t expect in my travels is to fall for a feisty scientist.

She sees through my crap and is hotter than Hades.

But I can’t afford to be distracted.

And yet, that’s exactly what I am. This Guardian can suck it. I’m more interested in convincing Dawn I’m her man, her protector.

Until the Crowned Prince of Hell gets her. His threat?

To erase me from her memory forever.

1910: Love Reaches Through Time by Georgina Rowe1910: Love Reaches Through Time by Georgina Rowe:

Rowena Cutler loves her job as a researcher, delving into the history of her beloved city of Sydney. After one marriage and several failed relationships, she has given up on men and romance, and believes she is happily in control of her life…until a paranormal experience turns her life upside down.

While reading an old newspaper article from 1910, Rowena is flung from the present into the distant past where she experiences the very event she was reading about. She latches onto an object from the past just as she is pulled back to her own time period, and is startled to discover the object has made the trip across time with her!

Shaken but determined, Rowena begins using her newfound gift to solve some century-old mysteries of Sydney. Her extraordinary paranormal adventures have barely begun, however, when she falls desperately in love with a man named Lionel who lived in 1910. Even though he is not fully aware of her presence because he cannot see her, Rowena knows she has finally found the man of her dreams. But if Rowena and Lionel are ever to be together, she realizes she must explore the full extent of her psychic powers, no matter how dangerous the consequences.

Wardtown by Glynn StewartWardtown by Glynn Stewart:

A young man’s anger and gun
An old man’s secrets and magic
A moment that binds them forever

Teer was forced into exile in the Spehari’s Eastern Territories after they betrayed his father’s memory, leaving him and his mother destitute. He has grown up on the ranch of his mother’s new husband, nursing the skills of a cowboy and the anger of a betrayed child.

When one of the demigod-like Spehari walks into his bar, Teer gives in to a pointless moment of anger—opening fire on one of the rulers of the Unity!

Sentenced to hang for his crime, Teer’s life hangs by the slimmest of threads: the mercy and secrets of the very immortal he tried to kill…

Sky of Water by Stacey L. TuckerSky of Water by Stacey L. Tucker:

This final installment of the Equal Night trilogy will put Skylar to her biggest test to date. After Magus takes her through the alchemical door in the Quine library, she quickly remembers her strange surroundings and the reason she’s been brought back to the First Age. Here, she will have to rely on her own magic to navigate the overlapping timelines that will allow her to rewrite history. But if she’s not careful, she could destroy it completely.

Back home, it will take every one of Skylar’s loved ones to execute Ocean’s plan, and Argan has the biggest role among them: the impossible task of retrieving Skylar home from the past. Luckily, it’s something he’s been training for his entire life.

Meanwhile, a woman now sits in the Oval Office, the corrupt scaffolding of the US government collapsing around her. Mica Noxx has a vision for the US, one that returns it to the original intention of the Founding Fathers.

With Skylar held in the First Age and Mica planted in current day, they have one shot to banish the darkness that’s held control for centuries, and return the United States to a trajectory toward its true destiny: becoming the New Atlantis.

Federation at War by James David VictorFederation at War by James David Victor:

An old war is about to undergo an alien transformation.

Alone in the galaxy, humanity has waged war against itself in the name of order and personal freedom. When a new alien threat arrives on their doorstep, they will have to face a reality most don’t believe. They are not alone amongst the stars. And worse, they are far from superior.

Federation At War is the first book in the Blue Star Marines series which follows a young man who will have to push his hatreds aside and come to the aid of all humanity.

Download Federation At War and see if humanity can overcome itself and survive in the vast darkness of space!

Felons in the Eyes of God by Stephen James WrightFelons in the Eyes of God by Stephen James Wright:

The planet Thyrhucis is prosperous and peaceful, governed by a collective of uploaded post-human intelligences called the Necrarchy. Thyrhucis is a nexus for interstellar travel, and governments from all over the galaxy are seeking access to its trade routes.

Christabel Cameron Carrington wants access for the Cultural Revival, a multi-system movement that’s bringing back old Earth cultures. She’s not above using underhand methods, including hacking the planetary data networks, which brings her into direct contact with the Necrarchy itself.

Rethis Veid wants access for the spartan world of Thur, a grim and expansionist state that’s considered suspect by everyone. He’s involving himself with dissident groups, whose concerns about the Necrarchy become disturbingly relevant.

Laura Sabon, light years away, knows nothing about this – her only concern is keeping her decrepit space freighter operational. But she’s drawn into the situation when her ship is chartered to take a cargo to Thyrhucis – a cargo which just might contain the end of interstellar civilization.

The Ninth Knight by Stephen James WrightThe Ninth Knight by Stephen James Wright:

Prosperous and middle-aged, Sir Gaveran yearns for knightly adventure and chivalrous deeds. He persuades seven other knights to meet with him – rich and powerful Garrien, upcoming knight-errant Perinell, poor but honest Calan, aesthetic Lyas, foreigner Rykon, masked and enigmatic Yvon, and ill-omened Alair. Gaveran persuades them all to join him in an oath, to seek adventure in the coming year….

But, as the eight knights swear on their swords, a ninth blade is laid across theirs – and the shadowy figure of the Ninth Knight follows each knight as they quest, observing them and, perhaps, judging them.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for May 2020

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 April books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, 1930s mysteries, 1950s mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, domestic thrillers, legal thrillers, medical thrillers, action thrillers, horror thrillers, police procedurals, romantic suspense, noir, private investigators, amateur sleuths, police officers, lawyers, spies, terrorists, drug dealers, yakuza, serial killers, dark secrets, sinister mansions, deadly cruises, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting librarians, crime and murder in Miami, Los Angeles, Louisiana, California, Norfolk, Paris, Columbia, the Panama Canal 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:

The Floating Funeral by Cheri BakerThe Case of the Floating Funeral by Cheri Baker:

Wealthy entrepreneur and famed gambler Morgan Picklewick is dead, and his family and friends are coming aboard the S.V. Adventurous Spirit for the memorial service at sea. As the ship heads to sunny South America, Morgan’s heirs will scatter his ashes in the deep blue waters of the Panama Canal. But not everything is as it seems. Morgan’s business partner and friend, Roberta Crowley, strongly suspects that he was murdered by one of his children.

Did one of Morgan’s children kill their father to avoid being disinherited? As Ellie mingles with the mourners, it seems everyone is hiding a motive or two. Perhaps one of his wealthy business partners saw an opportunity to take a bigger piece of the pie? And what about his ex-wife? Is her diva-like behavior covering a guilty conscience? As Morgan’s heirs prepare to seize their father’s stake in the cruise line, with devastating consequences for the crew, Roberta gives Ellie her most difficult assignment yet: Identify Morgan’s killer before the crew is torn apart and scattered to the four winds, forever.

Death in the Beginning by Beth ByersDeath in the Beginning by Beth Byers:

June 1938

A new baby, an elopement, an unexpected visitor. Georgette Dorothy Aaron and her family of orphans knew it would be an exciting summer, but none of them expected to be drawn into yet another murder investigation.

When they band together, however, surely they can accomplish anything.

 

The Darkest Garden by Stacy ClaflinThe Darkest Garden by Stacy Claflin:

How many secrets can one house hide?

Kenzi Brannon has always dreaded going down to the dark basement of the old Brannon house she grew up in. Now an adult, she’s returned home to find her apprehension has intensified. She avoids that locked door and the secrets beyond in hope that ignoring the problem will keep long-forgotten horrors buried.

A neighbor’s obsession with her house and history has rekindled Kenzi’s old fears. And reconnecting with someone from her past may force her to face what she’s been running from her entire life.

And that might not be the worst of it.

The garden her family is restoring could conceal something far more terrifying than anything inside the house. Something that could rip her newly found family apart.

Some people say the truth will set you free. Kenzi can’t help but feel that it will destroy everything.

When You Star to Miss Me by Stacy ClaflinWhen You Start to Miss Me by Stacy Claflin:

She’s there for everyone. But who’s there for her?

Malia is the glue that holds her dysfunctional family together. Her two brothers need constant attention, the family business drains her, and her narcissistic parents are on the verge of divorce. All that leaves her little time for herself. But when her brother nearly dies in her arms, she’s terrified she isn’t enough to save him.

Then Lincoln walks into her life at that crucial moment.

Linc’s got real pain in his past, pain that’s made him harden his heart. Even so, he can’t walk away from Malia—not the night he meets her, and not afterward. She might just be the thing that helps him risk love again.

But Malia has secrets that make her try to push him away, secrets some people would do anything to protect. When Linc forces them to light, he puts her in jeopardy, making him once again face the fear of losing someone he loves. And this time, he doesn’t think he can survive it.

Kill Our Sins by J.M. DalglieshKill Our Sins by J.M. Dalgliesh:

What would you do to keep your past a secret?

When the mutilated remains of a woman are retrieved by local fishermen, it falls to DI Tom Janssen and his team to identify how she came to be in the water and what put her there. Joined on the case by his new permanent boss, DCI Tamara Greave, it remains to be proven if the woman’s death was as a result of foul play or a tragic accident.

The victim carried no means of identification, was poorly dressed for the winter and horribly disfigured when pulled from the water. As the case progresses old ghosts return to haunt those living in the present. Matters thought settled a long time ago face intense scrutiny… attention that some hoped would never come to pass. When childhood friends begin to question one another, suddenly the long forgotten past comes to the fore.

The misadventure of youth can have grave consequences. No matter how much time passes nor how deep you bury them, your sins will always return to haunt you. But who has the most to lose and what else are they willing to sacrifice in order to keep what they have? Is someone prepared to kill for their sins?

Janssen must reveal and catch a killer without a conscience before they strike again…

The Man Who Never Was by Mark DawsonThe Man Who Never Was by Mark Dawson:

Can the man who never was catch the criminals who never get caught?

John Milton is used to operating in the shadows, weaving his way through dangerous places behind a fake identity. Now, to avenge the death of a close friend, he must wear his mask of deception once more.

Beau Baxter was brutally murdered by a drugs cartel but that doesn’t stop Milton from blaming himself for his friend’s death. With the help of a trusted team of undercover experts and Beau’s son, Milton is determined to track down the killers. And he isn’t just after the man who gave the order. He’s heading right for the top.

Milton plans to follow the trail of cocaine from the nightclubs of Amsterdam all the way to its source in Colombia. Disguised as an ambitious buyer, he’s prepared to work his way up the cartel hierarchy one rung at a time. But the ladder can be slippery and, as Milton travels deeper into a world of violence, ruthlessness and greed, he finds himself in a jungle that could prove impossible to escape.

Bullets and Beads by Jana DeLeonBullets and Beads by Jana DeLeon:

Let the good times roll?

It’s Mardi Gras time and Fortune is looking forward to seeing the spectacle firsthand, but when a visitor to Sinful is murdered during the celebration there, Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie can’t help but wonder what happened. As they start looking into the woman and the family in Sinful she came to visit, their investigation sends them to New Orleans, right at the height of the Mardi Gras celebration. But instead of relaxing a little and enjoying the festivities, Fortune can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched.

When she catches sight of her father in the Mardi Gras crowd, she knows why.

Unfortunately, her father’s presence in Louisiana has brought with it a host of terrorists, all with only one thing in mind—locate and terminate Dwight Redding. Can Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie manage to evade the killers long enough to figure out why Dwight has returned from the dead? And will knowing the answer make things worse or better?

Ghostly Business by Lily Harper HartGhostly Business by Lily Harper Hart:

Every “quiet” town has secrets. The one nobody expected is about to rock Whisper Cove.

During what should’ve been a romantic double date, a fire breaks out at a historic home. Harper Harlow and Jared Monroe race to the scene to make sure nobody is trapped or in danger … and discover one heck of a secret.

It seems the house, which was owned by a solitary older woman who kept to herself, was being run as a brothel. Now she’s dead and there’s a bevy of married men on the hot seat for her murder.

Harper has a cantankerous ghost to deal with … and a bevy of odd emotions running roughshod over her mental health. She feels like an invader in her own skin, and she can’t figure out why.

Jared’s problems are even more pronounced. Whenever he questions an individual present at the house that night, they threaten him with a legal suit before clamming up. On top of that, he’s worried about Harper, who seems fixated on the case.

Since the moment they met, they were joined at the hip … and lips. Now, that unshakeable bond they’ve always reveled in is going to be put to the test.

Nothing can break them apart … but that doesn’t mean outside forces won’t try, and they might be willing to kill to do it.

Imminent Harm by Robin JamesImminent Harm by Robin James:

Her reputation is on the line. A woman’s life is in danger. Can she stop them both from flatlining?

Lawyer Cass Leary is desperate for a break from her family drama. And when a local judge asks for help protecting his sister from domestic abuse, she sees an opportunity to resurrect her career. But the case quickly turns ugly when her client vanishes without a trace.

Convinced the volatile husband is behind the disappearance, Cass doubles down on her frantic search. But she’s unprepared for the tragic twist that could upend the entire Delphi court system…

With powerful figures circling, can Cass expose the shocking truth before her voice is silenced?

Imminent Harm is the sixth book in the high-octane Cass Leary Legal Thriller Series. If you like strong female leads, gripping courtroom conflict, and page-turning suspense, then you’ll love Robin James’s riveting novel.

To Love a Witch by Amanda M. LeeTo Love a Witch by Amanda M. Lee:

Bay Winchester is at a crossroads in her life. Her powers are growing, her personal life is settled, and there’s a young witch in crisis under her care.

Things are … difficult.

A good witch at heart, Bay knows that the teenager she’s trying to tame is dangerous. To keep Hemlock Cove safe, she’s isolated her at the campground property she owns with her boyfriend Landon. While visiting one day, a ghost catches her attention across the lake … and when Bay crosses to investigate, she finds a fresh body and a whole lot of trouble.

It seems the new property owner is currently dating the victim’s ex-boyfriend and there’s a convoluted mess to untangle. That’s on top of the other people in town – including Aunt Tillie’s nemesis Mrs. Little – who keep showing up at the lake with an agenda.

Bay has no idea what to do. She needs to keep her teenage protégé hidden while uncovering a deadly story of an affair gone wrong and greed run amok. All the while she wonders what will happen if she can’t turn things around for her new teenage responsibility. What will she have to do to protect the people that she loves?

If that wasn’t enough, Landon is acting out of sorts. His demeanor is strange and he’s having secret conversations with her mother while trying to keep Bay out of his sock drawer. She can’t figure out why and her imagination is running wild.

It’s going to be a race to the finish. There’s an out-of-control ghost, a teenager who doesn’t want to be helped, and a man who has a plan to give his favorite witch everything she’s ever wanted.

This is the one you’ve been waiting for. The big moment is finally here.

The Whisper Killer by Rob LittleThe Whisper Killer by Rod Little:

Wolf Hollow is not like other towns. It gets what it needs.

Ben is a baby-faced serial killer who can charm his victims with a smile. But when he stumbles into Wolf Hollow to hide from the FBI, it’s the town that charms him and convinces him to stay. Because Wolf Hollow gets what it needs, and it needs Ben. It knows his secret.
Ben isn’t alone. He shares his body with a century-old demon. He may be the town’s worst nightmare, but he’s exactly what they need.

Under cover of a blinding snowstorm, a bitter enemy returns to Wolf Hollow, a group of men hell-bent on revenge, resolved to wipe out the entire town and leave no survivors. Only Ben has what it takes to stand in their way . . . if he chooses. He is their only hope.

Because some evils can only be met by a greater evil.

The White Death by Willow MorganThe White Death by Willow Morgan:

It’s Tessa Newbridge’s first ever live fire exercise as a Cadet in the LAPD Police Academy. She’s certain to graduate. She just has to get through the sealed course she’s been through five times before—without live fire.

Running out of ammunition with the exit in sight, she’s ready to finish the course when, out of nowhere, two strange men jump the fence into her line of fire.

That startling incident spins Tessa off into a nightmare whirlwind of danger, intrigue, and mystery that could blow her whole world apart, to say nothing of the country itself.

Nothing and no one is what she thought they were and hidden enemies and unknown allies emerge from every side.

Can she dig deep enough to find the resources within herself to overcome all the forces closing in around her, or will they destroy her and everything she holds dear?

Death Trap by Willow MorganDeath Trap by Willow Morgan:

By some miracle, Tessa Newbridge somehow survives the terrible car accident escaping the White Death Yakuza. Now she’s a sitting duck in a hospital bed with nothing and no one to stop the assassins finding her.

LAPD doesn’t seem to notice or care that the most dangerous crime syndicate on the planet wants her dead, and where is Leon Griggs, the hero Detective who saved her life?

Are the very Police officials assigned to protect her erasing the evidence that a tattooed member of the Yakuza is about to be elected President of the United States?

Tessa can forget about saving the world from impending disaster. She’s got her hands full just making it through the next few hours before her enemies finally catch up with her and she might not be the only one who pays the price.

Can she escape from this death trap before time runs out for her and those she loves?

Murder at the Fashion House by Sonia ParinMurder at the Fashion House by Sonia Parin:

Evie, Countess of Woodridge, is on a mission to rescue her favorite modiste from the consequences of an unfavorable review. Her quest is a timely diversion as her granny, Toodles, appears to be suffering from a case of restlessness.

All goes well until Evie’s public clash with the journalist responsible for the article is followed by the journalist’s death. The circumstances are suspicious and the police is warning Evie to stay away from the case.

While she is happy to comply with the detective’s request, the killer has other ideas and goes one step too far…

Never Walk Alone by Willow RoseNever Walk Alone by Willow Rose:

The world is on lockdown due to a virus that originated in Miami.

A woman is kidnapped from her apartment, and Detective Harry Hunter is on the case.

At the same time, his sister shows up after they haven’t seen each other in a year.

As it turns out, Harry’s sister knows more about the virus than she lets on. Soon, he wonders if the virus is connected to the missing woman.

As he digs deeper into the strange mystery, he realizes his sister’s life is in great danger, and so is his.

Bedlam by L.J. RossBedlam by L.J. Ross:

In a world gone mad, who can you trust?

Fresh from a high-profile case in the Paris fashion world, elite forensic psychologist and criminal profiler Dr Alexander Gregory receives a call from the New York State Homicide Squad. The wife of a notorious criminal has been admitted to a private psychiatric hospital and can no longer testify in his upcoming trial. Without her, their case will collapse but, amidst reports that the staff are as unpredictable as their patients, who can the police trust?

In desperation, they turn to an outsider and now Gregory must find the courage to step inside the fortified walls of Buchanan Hospital to uncover the truth. The question is, will he ever be the same again?

Murder and mystery are peppered with dark humour in this fast-paced thriller set amidst the spectacular Catskill Forest.

Blood Family by Jacqueline SeewaldBlood Family by Jacqueline Seewald:

In Jacqueline Seewald’s fifth Kim Reynolds Mystery, Kim, an academic librarian, is intent on locating her biological father, James Shaw. Unfortunately after finding him, he dies unexpectedly. It is up to Kim to connect with the family she has never known. In doing so, she discovers a half-sister who is in need of her help. Kim is concerned that Claire Shaw is being exploited, and Kim wants to help her however she can. Kim then learns that Claire’s stepmother also died under mysterious circumstances, and her stepbrother disappeared. Once Kim becomes involved, she quickly realizes her own life is now in danger. With Kim’s fiancé, Lieutenant Mike Gardner, Wilson Township homicide detective, investigating along with Sergeant Bert St. Croix, the race is on to catch a killer that is now intent on adding Kim to the list of deceased.

Murder at the Bomb Shelter by Lee and Norm StraussMurder at the Bomb Shelter by Lee and Norm Strauss:

Murder’s a blast!

Rosa Reed’s holiday with the Forester Family in Santa Bonita has turned into an extended stay, and Rosa decides to make use of her Metropolitan Police training and sets up a private investigative business ~ just like her mother! But she finds she’s not the only one who keeps business in the family, and when one of the members of the prestigious Gainer family is found dead in his bomb shelter, Rosa is invited to take on the case ~ much to Detective Miguel Belmonte’s chagrin. If Rosa doesn’t find the killer soon, the summer of ’56 just might be her last.

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