Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for September 2022

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have urban fantasy, epic fantasy, cozy fantasy, paranormal mystery, planetary romance, space opera, military science fiction, science fiction romance, near future science fiction romance, weird western, horror, speculative poetry, vampires, werewolves, wizards, dragons, aliens, space cadets, cursed thieves, blood curses, artificial intelligence, magical tea shops, talking cats, crime-busting witches, intergalactic playboys 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:

Nightswept by Odette C. BellNightswept Episode 1 by Odette C. Bell:

They say night will always lift. Day must come. But when the light threatens to leave the Coalition for good, only two cadets will stand in its way.

When Samantha, a promising cadet with a chip on her shoulder, barely survives a cataclysmic attack on an observation world, it takes her memories and leaves her with an ancient gift. A force now resides in her mind, and it has removed all her recollections. She can only recall one memory – and one man – Bastien Vanguard, the galaxy’s richest playboy and her greatest enemy.

Bastien can’t stand her, but only he can unlock her memories and save the Coalition before it’s too late. For forces align to tear it down once and for all. Can two enemies come together to save the Milky Way, or will they tear each other apart?

….

Nightswept follows a playboy and an amnesiac cadet fighting to save the universe from darkness. If you love your space operas with action, heart, and a splash of romance, grab Nightswept Episode One today and soar free with an Odette C. Bell series.

Nightswept is the 19th Galactic Coalition Academy series. A sprawling, epic, and exciting sci-fi world where cadets become heroes and hearts are always won, each series can be read separately, so plunge in today.

Star's Guardian by Odette C. BellStar’s Guardian by Odette C. Bell:

To protect, is to change the course of history. Fail, though, and you’ll fall.

Grace Smith is about to fall, and there’s nothing that can stop her. She was destined to lose the sacred energy pumping in her veins since birth. The multiverse has always had a plan for her, and now that dark plan unfolds, one dead body at a time.

Grace is used to running from the dark forces hell-bent on murdering her, and she’s good at it. Then she runs into the one man she can’t escape. Alex Round, Supreme Outer Guardian. When he picks her up on a backwater planet by accident, he thinks she’s a pointless distraction. Then hell unravels, and the fabric of reality fractures with it. At its heart sits the one woman he must now protect, no matter what.

Can someone who has run her whole life stop still long enough to accept the help of the only man who can save her? Or will she tumble into the arms or danger and take the rest of the multiverse with her?

Star’s Guardian follows a runaway and a lieutenant fighting through secrets to save a lost universe. If you love your space operas with action, heart, and a splash of romance, grab Star’s Guardian Book One today and soar free with an Odette C. Bell series.

Tales from a Magical Teashop by Casey BlairTales from a Magical Teashop by Casey Blair:

Add a dash of joy and imagination to your day with tales of a magical tea that summons cats to snuggle or enables its recipients to exhale sparkles, hilarious combat with aggressive fantasy ingredients while others turn invisible out of shyness, and the day-to-day management of a shop dealing in the unexpected. These are quick stories ranging from silly to bittersweet that can be read as you wait for your tea kettle to boil.

Tales from a Magical Teashop is a stand-alone short story collection set in the world of Tea Princess Chronicles that functions as an introduction to the series with hidden gems for those who’ve read it, featuring scenes set in a shop serving teas made from magical ingredients as well as bonus scenes from the perspectives of fan-favorite characters.

Brew up a cup of tea, and enjoy a little interlude away at a magical teashop!

Light-hearted, comforting, and satisfying, brighten your day with a collection of magical teashop stories from the world of the cozy fantasy series Tea Princess Chronicles.

Queer Weird West Tales, edited by Julie BozzaQueer Weird West Tales, edited by Julie Bozza:

Frontiers have always attracted the Other – where they find that the Other is always already there. These 22 stories explore what happens when queer characters encounter weirdness on the edge of the worlds they know.

Authors include: Julie Bozza, J.A. Bryson, Dannye Chase, S.E. Denton, Miguel Flores, Adele Gardner, Roy Gray, KC Grifant, Peter Hackney, Bryn Hammond, Narrelle M Harris, Justin Warren Jackson, Toshiya Kamei, Catherine Lundoff, Bunny McFadden, Angus McIntyre, Atlin Merrick, Eleanor Musgrove, Jennifer Lee Rossman, Lauren Scharhag, Sara L. Uckelman, and Dawn Vogel.

United We Kill by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. ChaneyUnited We Kill by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. Chaney:

Humankind is under the gravest threat in its history.

The enemy Naxli keep advancing, taking humans prisoner and destroying human worlds. But this isn’t the Naxli’s first rodeo, and humanity is not alone.

Other races have suffered at the hands of the enemy, and they’ve proposed that humanity join them and present a united front to defeat the Naxli once and for all.

The Congress of Humanity deploys the First Human Expeditionary Brigade to join with the alien military to take the fight to the Naxli. But with seventeen known “allies,” all with different goals and perspectives, how can they form a unified, integrated fighting force? It’s been hard enough for humans to cooperate throughout history, and now the problem has just logarithmically increased.

Still, a mission is a mission, and Gunnery Sergeant Reverent Pelletier, Perseus Union Marine Corps, is going to do what he can to create an effective fighting unit, even if he has to beat in some alien heads to get it done.

Orbs of Wisdom by Lindsay BurokerOrbs of Wisdom by Lindsay Buroker:

With his mother’s life at stake and the entire world threatened by powerful dragons, the sand in the hour glass is running out for Jak Freedar. He and his allies must find the ancient Orbs of Wisdom and hope they hold the solutions to the problems plaguing humanity and the dragons before it’s too late.

This is the final installment in the Dragon Gate saga!

 

 

Mark of the Fool by J.M. ClarkeMark of the Fool by J.M. Clarke:

The gods chose him. He said no.

After his parents died, Alex Roth had one desire: become a wizard. Through hard work, he was accepted into the University of Generasi, the world’s greatest academy of wizardry…

Fate, however, had other plans.

On his eighteenth birthday, he is Marked by prophecy as one of his kingdom’s five Heroes, chosen to fight the Ravener, his land’s great enemy. But his brand is ‘The Fool’. Worst of the marks.

Rather than die or serve other Heroes like past Fools, he takes a stand, rejects divine decree…and leaves. With his little sister, his childhood friend, and her cerberus, Alex flees for the university, hoping to research the mystery of the Ravener. He’ll make lifelong friends, learn magic from mad wizards, practice alchemy, fight mana vampires and try to pay tuition.

There’s one small problem. The Mark insists on preventing the Fool from learning and casting spells, while enhancing skills outside of divinity, combat, and spellcraft…

…that is, unless he learns to exploit the hell out of it.

Blood Curse by Rachel FordBlood Curse by Rachel Ford:

A terrible curse. A dangerous weapon. An impossible mystery.

With all the residents of Little Eerie turned to goblins by an ancient blood curse, Apprentice Wizard Idun Wintermoon and sellsword Liss Forlatt are in a race against time to undo the curse before goblin hunters show up and kill the hapless villagers.

To unravel the secret of the blood curse, they’re going to need to get their hands on the blood of a royal. A present day, very much alive royal.

And it just might be easier to pull dragon teeth.

Older, Wiser, Witchier by Lily Harper HartOlder, Wiser, Witchier by Lily Harper Hart:

Four women. Four great loves. One great partnership.

It’s been years since Ivy Morgan, Harper Harlow, Maddie Graves, and Rowan Gray married the loves of their lives and decided to settle down. Since that time, they’ve joined together to form a fearsome magical quartet. The plan was to stand with one another. Now that plan is being put to the test.

While out morel hunting with her brother, daughter, and nephews, Ivy stumbles across a body, a ritual dagger causing her to fear they’re dealing with something more dangerous than a normal human. Right away, she calls for reinforcements from her magical friends…and they come running.

Ivy’s magic has grown, and she’s much stronger than she used to be. That doesn’t mean she’s ready for what’s coming, especially when it becomes apparent that her daughter might be following in her mother’s footsteps, and being drawn into a dangerous world she doesn’t understand.

A local real estate developer is dead, his wife is missing, and there’s a random ghost hanging around stirring up trouble. Ivy has her hands full, and things are about to get worse.

Magic is might, and this particular foursome is ready. What if they’re not strong enough to fight off a new threat, however? What will it mean for them as a group?

They’re about to find out, and the answer might be more than they can bear.

Note: This series follows the events of the Ivy Morgan, Harper Harlow, Rowan Gray, and Maddie Graves series. It’s set seven years after the events of those series. You do no need to read those series, but if you want more of the characters, that’s where you can find them.

Game of Crones by Amanda M. LeeGame of Crones by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall thought killing the master vampire threatening those she loved would make everybody safe. She was wrong.

One dying utterance changed everything.

Yolanda Stratton haunts Hawthorne Hollow like an oily shadow of death. Gunner, the son she tried to kill, tries to pretend that he doesn’t care that she might have answers. He’s not fooling anybody. Graham, the husband who wishes he would’ve killed her twenty years before, is resigned to the games she will play. And Scout? She’s ready to face off with the face of abject evil, even if it comes at a cost.

Just who will be paying that price, however?

Yolanda won’t explain why the lone zombie that appeared behind the Rusty Cauldron boasted the same symbol she had branded into her shoulder years before. She won’t explain why the past is playing so heavily into the present. She definitely won’t explain why the new witch in town is after Scout…and isn’t afraid to play dirty to end her life.

Scout is a witch with a plan but outthinking an enemy she doesn’t understand could be the end of her.

There’s a whisper on the wind…and it speaks of death. Who will fall?

Moral Code by Ross and Lois MelbourneMoral Code by Lois and Ross Melbourne:

Dr. Keira Stetson has two passions: ethical artificial intelligence—AI with a conscience—and creating technology that improves children’s lives. Trapped in an earthquake-flattened building with a half-dozen panicked five-year-olds, she fears the worst. When billionaire Roy Brandt leverages his mysterious nanite technology to rescue them, she’s both grateful and intrigued.

Impressed by his prototype technology but alarmed at its potential for exploitation, Keira merges her company with Brandt’s. The merger gives Keira access to much-needed funds for the development of her own tech, and access to Brandt’s powerful minuscule robots. In turn, she and her AI assistant, Elly, embed Keira’s trademark Moral Operating System in Brandt’s nanite SmartDust to rein in its power.

But Brandt’s technology has been kept secret for a reason. Though he’s adamant about using the Dust to improve life, not destroy it, corporate raiders and the military have other ideas. They want to weaponize Brandt’s nanites. Suddenly, everything Keira has worked for is in jeopardy. Exposed to the worst humanity has to offer, she and Elly must fight to use this newfound tech for good and keep it out of the wrong hands…before it’s too late.

Spacer's Bet by Bonnie MilaniSpacer’s Bet by Bonnie Milani:

The attack came out of nowhere. Suddenly a hunting pack, flashing Lupan IDs, dropped out of Jump to fire on the unarmed ore hauler Shojai.

Isfahan “Iz” Hauler Shojai had only an instant to wonder why before the attackers’ guns ripped open Shojai’s cargo bay.

The cargo bay where her ditzy younger brother Kansas was working. The bay whose crew was sucked out into the void. Like herself, Kansas was genetically engineered to survive vacuum. But his protective shell couldn’t hold forever. Battling time and the chaos of a wounded ship, Iz launched herself into the vacuum of the gutted hold to rescue her brother.

Badly damaged Shojai limps into RockPort only to discover that the port is now under the ‘protection’ of Moscow, a woman whose laws are as harsh as the blue ice of her liege world, Streiker. She demands all fees up front. Worse, the voices Kansas ‘hears in his head’ have him spouting a language he doesn’t even speak. But Moscow does.

Already fearing repercussions, Iz drags Kansas away from a dockside murder. But she soon learns that there is far more at stake than just their own lives. They must get to the near-mythical world of Earth or risk the destruction of the human Commonwealth itself.

It doesn’t help that Moscow’s cat attaches itself to Kansas. Especially because the cat seems to have an agenda of its own…

West of Hell: Weird Western Horror StoriesWest of Hell: Weird Western Horror Stories by James A. Moore:

Want to go on a Western Adventure?
Join three highly talented authors on a thrilling journey into the past that’s perfect for readers of Western thrillers, horror, mystery, fantasy, and of course the supernatural.

DEAD MEN by James A. Moore: And the Dead shall rise. Jonathan Crowley is having a problem with dead men. They just keep getting back on their feet. From the ghost dancers at a strange burial site to the corpse of a man he literally just killed, the dead refuse to lay down and die, and now it’s up to Crowley and his traveling companion Lucas Slate to try to figure out why the dead are restless and determined to kill whatever crosses their paths.

THE TRICKSTER OF PARADISE by R.B. Wood: Never trust a cave painting with an agenda.
In the old west, the people of Paradise live in harmony with the local Sioux tribe until the U. S. Army arrives with false accusations and their deeply rooted prejudices. While the strange newcomer known as “Mortimer” watches; a sixteen year old boy and an ancient legend must come together to fight the invaders, save the town and win the day. Can the desires of an ancient legend and the wishes of a young man survive the encounter with Death watching their every move?

LAST SUNSET OF A DYING AGE by Michael Burke: Ibuki Shibuya is a disgraced samurai, a fugitive from the vengeance of his former master. His flight leads him to the American Southwest where he discovers a mutilated body in the Arizona desert. He eventually finds himself in Copper City, a frontier town plagued by a series of grisly murders.
A motley cast of characters populate the town and Ibuki becomes embroiled in affairs both mundane and extraordinary as he resolves to assist the sheriff in solving the strange murders. Perhaps he will even meet the honorable end he seeks in doing so. All the while, a strange man, dressed in black, who knows more than he says, lurks outside of Copper City.
Events come to a head when the truth is laid bare. Ibuki, along with both friends and foes, learns that not all remnants of a dying age have given way to progress.

Crystal Lake’s Dark Tide series will continue soon with more tales of Mystery Thrillers and Horror Books, including themes of more Weird Western, Sherlock Holmes, Grief Horror, Body Horror, Halloween, Space Horror, Mystery fiction, and Psychological Thriller books.

The Cursebound Thief by Megan O'RussellThe Cursebound Thief by Megan O’Russell

The world wants a hero. The curse needs a thief.

The party of the decade stands between Jerek Holden and saving the people he would do anything to protect. After twelve years, he’s finally found a way to break the curse that ripped all magic from the world and destroyed the peace that took generations to build. All he needs is one, simple artifact. But he can’t steal the heliostone alone.

A girl with a soul of fire.
A vampire bound by a vow.
A werewolf bent on revenge.
A knight torn between honor and duty.
A hacker to keep them all alive.

The fate of magic lies in their hands?if they can survive long enough to pull off the heist of the century.

The Purpose of Reality: LunarThe Purpose of Reality: Lunar by Steve Simpson:

Steve Simpson’s remarkable collection of poetry and illustrations is dream-like, playful and wildly inventive. Here is a selection of the beings within:

The detective, who carelessly morphs into birds and insects, and cannot choose between brooding and moping, until a stylish grayscale client with retrolescent highlights appears.

Proteus, Homo Sapiens Beta, who discovered fire and put it out, who created a rudimentary encyclopedia that he pedaled across Gondwanaland on weekends.

Millie, the intrepid librarian, unperturbed by the Dark Solarian or the fearsome kilowasp, who insists that her underlings pay for bibliotactical losses.

The adorable Deija Vitro, Martian Princess of Glass, whose fans line the streets waving Windex spray. Wollongong will never be the same, because her armies have razed it to the ground. “No one will miss it,” she reassured an infatuated follower.

The Purpose of Reality: Solar by Steve SimpsonThe Purpose of Reality: Solar by Steve Simpson:

Steve Simpson’s mesmerizing collection of short fiction and illustrations is surreal and wildly imaginative, with touches of playfulness throughout. Here is a selection of the beings within:

At Claire’s school, the walls were cardboard, and her chain-smoking math teacher never allowed numbers to be mentioned. He used a drawing of a press to flatten slices of air into tissue paper for kites, and he was Claire’s favorite, because all the other teachers were ghosts. One day, with a little pasta and a little mambo, everything changed.

The negentropy wars didn’t end the world, there were survivors, and in Santarém, the gringo electrician needed medicine to save his daughter’s life. To get it, he had to cross the Amazon River, where the Negentropy Horizon divided Brazil. The locals believed you could look across the river and see directly into hell. The electrician wasn’t superstitious, but he decided netting was a good idea, to keep the insects off.

Aldona worked in the Damasco Auto scrapyard, and when the electromagnet on the crane burned out and dropped the blue Passat, no one saw the electric-winged shape that had been trapped by the magnet. After all, there was nothing to be concerned about: the alien space fleet had been driven away by the earth’s nuclear defenses.

Remnant Faction by Glynn StewartRemnant Faction by Glynn Stewart:

It is the first and final duty of any warship to put herself between the innocent… and the enemy.

Henry Wong and Sylvia Todorovich have gathered the interstellar powers of the Ra Sector into a tentative alliance—an alliance that is tested by the return of the Sector’s former rulers: the Kenmiri Remnant.

The Sector’s only hope of withstanding a genocidal faction of the Kenmiri is the Twelfth Fleet of the United Planets Alliance. But when Wong’s scouting flotilla collides with the Kenmiri, he discovers they now have a weapon that could easily destroy Twelfth Fleet.

Wong and Todorovich are stranded on the wrong side of a world the Remnant have burned, and they only have one way to meet their allies before it’s too late.

If Henry Wong is to save his people and his allies, he must take his ship on a deadly run into the hostile star systems of the Kenmiri Remnant: the very species he doomed to a slow death.

The Gods Awoke by Marie VibbertThe Gods Awoke by Marie Vibbert:

If the Gods were real, could you believe?

Hitra, high priestess of Revestre, already has enough on her hands: political upheaval, a distractingly attractive male servant, and an upcoming harvest festival. But when a column of flame from the heavens sends a city into tumult, it upends more than just her schedule. Now, Hitra must deal with a religious schism, ethnic strife…and a God growing out of control.

“An innovative slant on a fantastic religion, its worshippers and divinities!
~Mary A. Turzillo, Cosmic Cats and Bonsai”

“Even in a conflict on the scale of Gods, Vibbert masters the art of making small things matter.”
~Lorelei Esther, illustrator, The Kitra Saga

“Creative, quirky, fun, Vibbert delivers a wild new take on divine gods and their petty squabbles in The Gods Awoke!”
~Tobias S. Buckell, Crystal Rain

Bad Tidings from Queen Sophie by Danielle WilliamsBad Tidings from Queen Sophie by Danielle Williams:

As heard on the NoSleep Podcast

When her beloved kitty Queen Sophie starts acting odd, Cass turns to a mysterious app to bridge the communication gap.

But she soon discovers that no mews is good news…

BAD TIDINGS FROM QUEEN SOPHIE is a quick fright perfect for any animal lover who’s ever wondered what their pet is trying to tell them.

* * *

If you’re looking for scares that unnerve instead of nauseate, look no further. Horror stories from Danielle Williams lean towards slow-burn scares and the unsettling. If you take your creeps with a PG-13 sensibility—think THE SIXTH SENSE, THE OUTER LIMITS, or classic TWILIGHT ZONE—this is a story for you.

Stranger Shores by Katie ZaberStranger Shores by Katie Zaber:

Busy learning how to kill with her gift of life, Princess Megan craves time to practice how to heal, but knows that only death will win the upcoming war.

For the first time in Megan’s life, she has fallen in love, and with the wrong man, at that. As much as she loves Mana, will she have to end their relationship to keep her promise to the soon-to-be king of the Syreni, Prince Aenon?

Meanwhile, Kevin is busy preparing for his child with Dana and trying to keep Megan out of trouble. When Brynjar takes him to the Saoirson Fighters’ hideout, he realizes he knows nothing and if he wants answers, he’ll have to talk to people he never expected to meet and never wanted to.

On Earth, Carmia is learning what makes this foreign world spin. She discovers an island with inhabitants that appear primitive but are more sophisticated than anyone on Dalya. Their technology is more advanced than the inventions in her dreams. She flirts with the idea of staying on Earth forever until tragedy sends her sailing back to Dalya and into a deadly storm. She promises to return and never leave Earth again.

At the same time, the king of the Paradise Kingdom and secretly all of Dargone, Megan’s father, plans his next move against his daughter, giving her a surprise she will never expect.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for September 2022


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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have traditional mysteries, cozy mysteries,  animal mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, 1930s mysteries, 1950s mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, spy thrillers, YA thrillers, romantic suspense, FBI agents, lawyers, forensic pathologists, amateur sleuths, journalists, spies, assassins, hitchhikers, kidnappers, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting dogs, deadly weddings, amnesiac murder suspects, murder and mayhem in London, Madrid, Montana, Detroit, Washington DC, New England and much more.

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

A Mind to Murder by Daniella BernettA Mind to Murder by Daniella Bernett:

The wicked kill…but the dead speak Journalist Emmeline Kirby and her jewel thief/insurance investigator husband Gregory Longdon were in the mood for intrigue at the theatre. However, murder was only supposed to take place on stage. All too soon, the evening’s peace is shattered when the ceiling collapses in the Upper Circle. In the ensuing chaos of the evacuation, Emmeline and Gregory discover tabloid reporter Verena Penrose in her box. Her neck had been snapped. Verena had done a brisk trade in scandal, blackmail and splashy exposés. Her fatal error was tangling with the Raven, an elusive assassin with ties to the Russians and ETA, the Basque separatist group. Although Verena despised Emmeline, she leaves a cryptic message for her that is too tantalizing to ignore. However the layer upon layer of lies, jealousy and revenge touch too close to home when her brother Adam is implicated in the Raven’s schemes to infiltrate the London Diamond Bourse and to murder a prominent British official. To restore the family honor, Emmeline and Gregory race to Madrid only to walk into the Raven’s trap.

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

It’s All Hallow’s Eve, and Vi and friends have been invited to a spectacular party.

When they go, they find themselves blindly following directions to an undisclosed location. Their destination is a surprise. The shock comes after a night of fun when they discover a body in their own auto.

At the start of yet another investigation, they are the suspects, and they’re struggling not just to find the killer, but to clear their names.

The Castle Caper by Kathi DaleyThe Castle Caper by Kathi Daley:

If you love small towns, endearing relationships, food, animals, and a touch of murder, you will love this mystery series set in the small town of White Eagle Montana.

In book 14 in the series, strange lights, sounds in the night, cold drafty spaces, and moved and missing items, can only mean one thing to the locals who’ve lived in the isolated Scottish countryside for generations. But in spite of the assurance of the villagers that the other worldly pranksters will have their fun and then leave, the new owner of the Faulkner Castle hires Tony to come to Scotland and install a state-of-the-art security system. Tony doesn’t believe in ghosts and the job seems like a perfect opportunity to take some time away from White Eagle, so he talks to Tess, and they agree to make the trip. Fun is had by all until Tess spots her dad in a local pub and realizes that something more than they originally thought might actually be going on.

Lawyers in Gray by John EllsworthLawyers in Gray by John Ellsworth:

Are you selling secrets to the Russians? Michael Gresham Wants to Know.

If you like legal intrigue and spies on spies, here’s Michael Gresham in a desperate chess game against a Russian sniper and American lawyers who have sold out to the Russians. The prize is the right to control American oil fields. The Russians have moved in and are claiming parts of oil fields in Oklahoma, Colorado, the Dakotas, and Montana for themselves. The plan is to take control of American energy.

Michael installs a shadow law firm inside a giant law firm and goes after lawyers selling Top Secret documents to the Russians for use in court. He is increasingly successful until the FBI suddenly reports that the Russians have sent an agent to kill Michael. Her name is Nadia Karamov, and she is the product of KGB/FSB schools that have made a deadly manhunter out of her.

Against this backdrop, Michael must root out Russian spies operating in the Gray law firm. Will Nadia get to him first?

Escape the Dark by Michelle FilesEscape the Dark by Michelle Files:

Don’t hitchhike, because the person who picks you up could be a serial killer.

Don’t pick up hitchhikers, because they might be your worst nightmare.

What if three of them came together to form one terrifying night?

Get your copy of this gripping thriller novella.

Warning: Don’t read it alone in the dark.

The Locked Box by Elle and K.S. GrayThe Locked Box by Elle and K.S. Gray:

What secrets does the hidden box hold?

In a dark room, aboard a large cargo ship, a man sits shackled in place.

As time passes his situation grows far more desperate.

Unbeknownst to him, his partner Olivia Knight has traveled across the Atlantic to a small coastal town.

There in Newhaven, England all is seemingly idyllic. But with the arrival of agent Knight, that facade is shown to be simply a disguise.

When a man she recognizes turns up dead with a head-shot wound outside his home, Olivia finds herself amid the largest conspiracy of her career.

As she bridges the potential connection of Brock’s shocking background to his kidnapping and the murder in the seaside town.

She soon realizes she must watch her back and trust no one.

A locked box can hold many secrets.

But the one under the floorboard may just put an end to everything once and for all…

Older, Wiser, Witchier by Lily Harper HartOlder, Wiser, Witchier by Lily Harper Hart:

Four women. Four great loves. One great partnership.

It’s been years since Ivy Morgan, Harper Harlow, Maddie Graves, and Rowan Gray married the loves of their lives and decided to settle down. Since that time, they’ve joined together to form a fearsome magical quartet. The plan was to stand with one another. Now that plan is being put to the test.

While out morel hunting with her brother, daughter, and nephews, Ivy stumbles across a body, a ritual dagger causing her to fear they’re dealing with something more dangerous than a normal human. Right away, she calls for reinforcements from her magical friends…and they come running.

Ivy’s magic has grown, and she’s much stronger than she used to be. That doesn’t mean she’s ready for what’s coming, especially when it becomes apparent that her daughter might be following in her mother’s footsteps, and being drawn into a dangerous world she doesn’t understand.

A local real estate developer is dead, his wife is missing, and there’s a random ghost hanging around stirring up trouble. Ivy has her hands full, and things are about to get worse.

Magic is might, and this particular foursome is ready. What if they’re not strong enough to fight off a new threat, however? What will it mean for them as a group?

They’re about to find out, and the answer might be more than they can bear.

Note: This series follows the events of the Ivy Morgan, Harper Harlow, Rowan Gray, and Maddie Graves series. It’s set seven years after the events of those series. You do no need to read those series, but if you want more of the characters, that’s where you can find them.

Game of Crones by Amanda M. LeeGame of Crones by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall thought killing the master vampire threatening those she loved would make everybody safe. She was wrong.

One dying utterance changed everything.

Yolanda Stratton haunts Hawthorne Hollow like an oily shadow of death. Gunner, the son she tried to kill, tries to pretend that he doesn’t care that she might have answers. He’s not fooling anybody. Graham, the husband who wishes he would’ve killed her twenty years before, is resigned to the games she will play. And Scout? She’s ready to face off with the face of abject evil, even if it comes at a cost.

Just who will be paying that price, however?

Yolanda won’t explain why the lone zombie that appeared behind the Rusty Cauldron boasted the same symbol she had branded into her shoulder years before. She won’t explain why the past is playing so heavily into the present. She definitely won’t explain why the new witch in town is after Scout…and isn’t afraid to play dirty to end her life.

Scout is a witch with a plan but outthinking an enemy she doesn’t understand could be the end of her.

There’s a whisper on the wind…and it speaks of death. Who will fall?

Opinoated and Out of Control by Amanda M. LeeOpionated and Out of Control by Amanda M. Lee:

Avery Shaw wants things to go back to normal but it’s not easy when she’s the current darling of the Detroit media market. Everybody wants a piece of her, and she prefers covering the news rather than being part of it. That’s why she jumps at the chance to cover a quadruple murder on the lake, even though it’s her day off.

Avery realizes right away that the murders weren’t a crime of passion. No, this was a planned hit, and it leads her to look at the old mob faces in the county, who don’t exactly want to invite her into their homes.

When has not being wanted ever stopped Avery? Never, and that’s not changing today.

With war brewing at home thanks to some pesky ducks, a family that refuses to stay out of her business, and a new television reporter trying to be her, Avery has her hands full. That doesn’t mean she’s going to give in to defeat.

Mob hits are one thing. Hits that target children are another. Avery refuses to let the case go, even when it seems the killer has decided to target her.

Avery doesn’t lose. Winning this one might be more than she can handle, however. Not all answers are welcome, and when the truth comes out on this one, Avery might just find she would’ve been better off letting it go.

The Woman in the Woods by A.J. RiversThe Woman in the Woods by A.J. Rivers:

I thought the worst part of a blackout was waking up in a strange place.
Turns out waking up next to a dead woman is far worse…

Memory lapses have plagued PI Dean Steele since childhood.
This time when he opens his eyes, there’s a woman lying nearby.
A woman he doesn’t recognize.
As Dean tries to determine how he ended up in the woods next to a dead body, he attempts to piece together the things he remembers.
But the situation takes a bewildering turn when the dead woman’s body disappears from the scene.
Someone doesn’t want Dean uncovering secrets, and things get even more heated when one of the people he’s been hired to track down winds up brutally murdered.
With no memory of what could have transpired. Dean races to find out the truth behind the case he was hired to solve, and the answers behind the case that could put him behind bars.

Blackouts can take minutes or weeks from your memories.
But what happens when they take your life?

Murder at the Wedding by Lee and Norm StraussMurder at the Wedding by Lee and Norm Strauss:

Seeing double is murder!

If one wedding is good, a double wedding is better! Rosa and Miguel agree that walking down the aisle with Bill and Carlotta solves a lot of social and familial problems, but the drama is notched up when a dead body arrives with dessert!

Don’t miss this final installment of a Rosa Reed Mystery series where Rosa finally gets her happily ever after.

 

Dead Innocent by Norah WinterDead Innocent by Norah Winter:

Dr. Fitzmorris investigates the connection between a tragic suicide and the gruesome murder of a member of the Ku Klux Klan of Canada in the gripping second novel of the Maggie Fitzmorris Forensic Mystery series.

November 1931: Newlywed, Vivienne Johnson, returns home from a luncheon to find her husband’s body in a pool of blood. The victim, an upstanding citizen and a member of the nonviolent Ku Klux Klan of Canada is presumed to have been killed during a simple robbery.

Forensic pathologist, Dr. Maggie Fitzmorris examines the crime scene; however her findings raise questions that cast doubt on the robbery motive. The victim was struck from behind, but why would he have turned his back on a stranger in his own home? And why strike him repeatedly after death, only to steal his wallet?

When a connection between a recent suicide and the murdered man comes to light, Maggie discovers a chilling glimpse into his background. With the hope of gleaning some inside information, she agrees to meet with the victim’s best friend, also a member of the Klan. But the man’s charismatic personality causes Maggie to let down her guard, which just might bring her under the scrutiny of a cold-blooded killer.

Meanwhile, Sergeant Whitfield, the man Maggie hopes to marry, has moved to another town. With yet more pressure to make a choice between her work and the man she loves, Maggie does her best to hold on to both. But time is running out.

Dead Innocent is a story of deception and intrigue during the Great Depression, a time of desperation and unrest. A mystery that should keep the reader guessing until Dr. Fitzmorris uncovers the final evidence and the true killer is brought to light.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for August 2022

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have urban fantasy, epic fantasy, historical fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal mystery, supernatural thrillers, space opera, military science fiction, science fiction romance, science fiction horror, humorous horror, regular horror, wizards, aliens, space marines, alien warriors, trans superheroes, haunted mansions, crime-busting witches, crime-busting academics, lesbian AIs, zombie hedgehogs 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:

Transistor by Molly J. BraggTransistor by Molly J. Bragg:

When Naomi Woodward’s doctor recommended her for a clinical trial, it seemed like the answer to her prayers. She was finally able to get her gender confirmation surgery and the surgery was a resounding success. She finally looked and felt like the woman she always knew she was.

Her new face and new body finally helped her work up the nerve to ask out Anika, the beautiful nurse that lived across the hall. To her delight Anika said yes, but when they are attacked during their date, Naomi quickly discovers that the experimental procedure she went through had some unexpected side effects, and that when Anika told her things with her family were complicated, she really should have listened.

Now, armed with superpowers she barely understands, a snarky artificial intelligence in her head, and allies that include a Superhero, a Dragon, and the literal Devil, she has to keep Anika safe from the archangel who’s out to kill her while they work desperately to prevent a second civil war in heaven.

None Left Behind by Jonathan P. BrazeeNone Left Behind by Jonathan P. Brazee:

Staff Sergeant Gracie Medicine Crow, United Federation Marine Corps, is the Marine’s top sniper. It the mission is too dangerous or difficult to pull off, she’s the choice to get it done.

Even deep inside enemy territory, killing the target might be the easiest part of the mission. When you kick a hornets’ nest, the hornets get angry. Getting herself and her a-gunner out and back to friendly forces might just be a bridge too far.

This is the latest Gracie Medicine Crow story. Other Gracie works include the novel “Sniper” and the novelettes “BOLO Mission, “High-Value Target,” and the 2018 Nebula Award finalist, “Weaponized Math.”

At just over 10,000 words, “None Left Behind” is a novelette, not a full-length novel.

Catnip by Vyria DuravCatnip by Vyria Durav:

For all his life, Sol has believed he’s only worthy of affection as long as he’s useful–and he intends to prove his ultimate use by restoring a colony on Venus as a new home for his friends and lovers. But upon arriving, he realizes there’s more here than he bargained for. For one, the resident artificial intelligence wants to make friends with him. For another, the nanites want to completely change his body… and in the process reveal her true self. Stuck (or perhaps blessed?) with a new form, she must find out what it means to live, to be loved for who she is rather than her work.

Catnip is a space exploration novel about a trans woman’s journey to find herself and what it means to be loved for who she is, with the help of her polycule and a lesbian AI.

Blue Burn by M.R. ForbesBlue Burn by M.R. Forbes:

Armed with evidence of Sedaya’s treachery, Ben and his crew seek an audience with the Empress. If everything goes according to plan, the duke will be brought to justice and the bounties on their heads lifted.

But since when does everything go according to plan?

The adventure of a lifetime continues in the fifth installment of the #1 sci-fi bestselling Starship For Sale series. If you like found starships, unlikely heroes, and intergalactic mayhem, you’ll love Starship For Sale.

I, Demon by Chris FoxI, Demon by Chris Fox:

Discarded. Sacrificed. Triumphant.

They sent me into the blasted lands to die. I refused. I lived. And now…I return to the empire that discarded me. A god, rich with worship. I don’t know what has become of Hasra, or the war with the Fomori. I don’t know where Li is, or if her homeland is still dealing with the wyrm Khonsu.

My sister and mother were freed, the reward for my blood price, but I have no idea what has become of them. It is time to go home. Time to right old wrongs, and to find the legacy left behind by my former incarnation. Three tombs remain. Once I am certain my family is safe I will seek them.

The next lies in Olivantia, a land that has banned sorcery, and will kill me if they discover what I am.

If I survive, then I must return yet again to Hasra, this time to see the demonic kingdom that lies under the very city.

Prophecy says that I will survive, and find the last tomb in the Ashlands.

I tire of prophecy. I tire of what others require of me. It is time to make my own way, my own choices. They will find that I am neither boy, nor student any longer. I am the prince of demons, and I have returned.

That Magic Moment by Lily Harper HartThe Magic Moment by Lily Harper Hart:

Ofelia Archer is working toward a goal, both personally and professionally, and she’s making great strides on both. Her attention is diverted, however, when a steamboat washes ashore next to the riverwalk…and it’s a boat that is more than a hundred years overdue.

The Adelaide was supposedly lost on the river back in the day, all souls onboard believed lost, and yet it’s in New Orleans…and it might not be empty.

Ofelia and her boyfriend Zach Sully are part of the first team to visit the boat, and almost immediately Ofelia is struck by the reality they’re not alone. Unfortunately for her, she can’t pin down a source for the feeling. When ghosts start haunting her home and dreams, however, the story begins to take shape.

The Adelaide was besieged by darkness before the end came. Now that darkness is pointed at New Orleans. It’s up to Ofelia and Sully to put an end to it all…even when the darkness decides Ofelia is the new target.

Some bonds last a lifetime. Some last beyond. The bonds from the Adelaide are something more, and not even death can tear them asunder. It can take aim at Ofelia, however, which means she could be joining the dead before it’s all said and done.

Fear of the Dark by Ross HarrisonFear of the Dark by Ross Harrison:

A dark planet on the galaxy’s edge. A primordial predator. A desperate hunt for a dangerous secret.

When the medical frigate Ruby Rose picks up an SOS from the planet’s lightning-ravaged surface, the medics do not hesitate to drop into the raging storm. But the innocuous little planet is home to something sinister. Something desperate. Something that will stop at nothing to find what it’s looking for.

Across the galaxy, the crew of the Star Wraith receives a call for help. The captain of a medical frigate has lost his medics, and one of their names is all too familiar. But how could the Wraith’s crew know that a simple rescue mission will lead to a string of murders and a waking nightmare that will leave them forever changed?

Night Market by B.R. KingsolverNight Market by B.R. Kingsolver:

I was blissfully ignorant of a book, usually translated into Human languages as The Gospels of Satan, until it was stolen from the Great Library.

My twin sister, a Senior Scholar, showed up at my door and asked me to help her retrieve the cursed book. It’s magical, priceless, and in the wrong hands might be dangerous.

It could be anywhere in thousands of Worlds, but the logical place for the thieves to sell it is the Great Marketplace at the Crossroads of the Worlds. Not out in the open, but in the shadows known as the Night Market, where the buyers and sellers don’t mind disposing of a body or two.

Wizardoms: Legend of Shadowmar by Jeffrey L. KohanekWizardoms: Legend of Shadowmar by Jeffrey L. Kohanek:

A clever thief. A grizzled warrior. A legendary castle guarded by a monster of myth.

When presented with the opportunity of a lifetime, young and arrogant Jerrell Landish cannot refuse. Teamed with a renowned warrior, he embarks on a quest hundreds of adventurers have attempted.

None ever returned.

His mission: Locate a legendary castle, defeat the guardian protecting it, and obtain the treasure hidden within.

If only he knew what lurked in the castle ruins.

If only he understood the dangerous nature of the treasure he sought to claim.

freaky crypts by Amanda M. LeeFreaky Crypts by Amanda M. Lee:

Poet Parker thought her past was lost to her…but it’s about to invade her present.

Her uncle Sidney is in New Orleans, which just happens to be where Mystic Caravan is setting up shop for the week, but Poet isn’t expecting a happy reunion. Things are tense—to say the least—and that’s before zombies are reported in the French Quarter.

New Orleans is one of Poet’s favorite places in the world, and she’s thrilled to be in the city, but when it becomes apparent that a war is brewing between powerful loas, the Big Easy becomes big trouble.

Poet has always been interested in her origins, and she’s about to get the answers she’s always sought. It seems one of the warring loas knows what she is and why she can wield such powerful magic…but he’s only willing to share for a price.

Poet has always believed that fighting a war of someone else’s making was a mistake. Now she has no choice because if she doesn’t fight, everybody will die.

Zombies are taking over the Quarter. Loas are fighting their own. Poet’s heart is vulnerable thanks to the return of the one family member she remembers.

Blood will spill. Whoever is left standing will have the ultimate answers. Poet just hopes it will be her.

Possessed by the Alien Renegade by Krista LunaPossessed by the Alien Renegade by Krista Luna:

No one will ever want a brutal warrior like me. Yet the beast within demands I claim my fated mate.

MARI

Flying is my life. Our alien allies have the sweetest fighter jets I’ve ever flown. I ace every training flight and qualify for a special mission—learning how to pilot an enemy ship. Everyone agrees I’m the best choice.

Everyone but him.

As the top varoolian pilot, Var’s the warrior I long to impress. But it’s hard to remain professional around the dangerously attractive alien, especially once we’re alone on a small ship. The closer I get to him, the more Var growls. Those growls do things to me—tingly things. I’ve spent my life racing to be first, but this time, I want to be caught.

VAR

I am Varax, not Varool, a berserker straight out of my people’s bloody past. Marked by the stripes on my face, I am doomed to a life alone—an outcast no Varool woman ever wanted.

Then an alluring sweet scent sets both my hearts beating. Mari is my fated mate.

I refuse to shackle the delicate human to a brute like me. Yet our dangerous mission isolates us in close quarters, leaving me no escape from her delectable beauty and captivating personality. As we fight side by side, I do not know which poses the greater threat to Mari—our enemy…

Or my ravenous need to chase and claim and mark her as mine.

Possessed by the Alien Renegade is a steamy, primal, grumpy-sunshine romance featuring a fierce alien warrior who refuses to see his own worth and the spirited heroine determined to prove him wrong. There’s plenty of adventure with a guaranteed HEA.

The Mystical Murders of Yin Mara by Marshall Ryan MarescaThe Mystical Murders of Yin Mara by Marshall Ryan Maresca:

Phadre Golmin and Jiarna Kay are perfectly matched. Both astounding intellects, sharing a passion for academic pursuits and each other. Traveling from the University of Maradaine to Trenn College in Yin Mara, they are excited for the opportunity to study magical and mystical theory with the famed Professor Salarmin. So when they come across a dead body that defies all logic, they should leave it alone.

But Phadre and Jiarna tasted adventure in Maradaine, so the discovery of similar victims, paired with their scientific curiosity, makes the situation far too intriguing to ignore. Knowing that they alone have the knowledge to unravel the mystery, Phadre and Jiarna are determined to resolve it, no matter the cost to their academic careers.

The Topaz by Nicholas McAuliffThe Topaz by Nicholas McAuliff:

Scott Sunderson sees the green fire in his dreams and runs from something intangible yet omnipotent. Digging in the forsaken Valley of the Moon with his near homeless brother Rick, the prospector chases elusive gemstones in the low foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The team strives to free themselves both from the burdens of toil and the burdens of the past, where inescapable poverty and lost opportunities mar the future. Yet Scott knows that something shines brighter than gold under these hills, something that may open doors and clear away the ruin of his past. But all that lusters comes with a heavy price.

Hedgehogs by Iseult MurphyHedgehogs by Iseult Murphy:

Your garden is their battleground.

After a new pesticide turns hedgehogs into flesh hungry maniacs, Harry must seek the help of a fox, a cat and a mouse if he’s to survive the night of the living hogs.

A Romero and Animals of Farthing Wood mashup like you’ve never read before.

 

 

Track of the Snow Leopard by Dariel QuiogueTrack of the Snow Leopard by Dariel Quiogue:

Track of the Snow Leopard features five savage tales of Orhan Timur, the gray-eyed wanderer known and feared as the Snow Leopard. From an enchanted palace lost in time to a haunted temple-city, to robbing an Emperor’s tomb for the keys to an immortal army to a hunt for a demon tiger to finding a lost world beneath the snow-clad Drokpa Mountains, Orhan Timur swashbuckles and slays through a world filled with hostile forces and magics in the classic pulp sword and sorcery style.

Also includes the bonus story, The Lions of Malakkaria

The Lion of Skye by J.T.T. RyderThe Lion of Skye by J.T.T. Ryder:

There can only be one lion of Skye.

Vidav thought he was finally living a life of glory—the warrior’s path he dreamed of as a farmer. However, when his brother, Fennigus, reveals himself as the enemy queen’s champion, it becomes anything but.

Vidav must defeat his brother in order to fulfil his oath to kill the Queen of the Hillmen.

If he does not fulfil his oath, his clan will be unavenged, and the Isle of Skye will remain under enemy rule.

If he does fulfil his oath, his brother may die.

In the end, which will win—honour or family?

Even worse, a dragon has been flying over Skye…

The Lion of Skye is the epic conclusion to the Bronze Sword Cycles duology, a historical fantasy adventure set in 200 B.C. on the Isle of Skye, steeped in Celtic mythology and culture.

The Bolivian Incident by C.N. ShanahanThe Bolivian Incident by C.B. Shanahan:

An ancient medallion has turned ten-year-old Hollis Whittaker into the U.S. military’s top target. Through the artifact, the boy shares a mind with an alien, and possesses the most advanced brain on the planet, capable of teleporting people through space and time.

A Native American woman, her grandfather, a computer nerd, the boy’s best friend and an involuntary time traveler will do anything they can to help, but when Hollis’ parents disappear, their plan to flee the country and relocate to Central America is scrapped.

Then a mysterious insect appears, followed by an old woman bearing another medallion. The Bolivian stranger has been endowed with different capabilities than Hollis. She tells him that he is unwittingly damaging spacetime and that the consequences could be disastrous.

Is the woman connected to a 1958 nuclear explosion in the Amazon Jungle? Can she help locate Hollis’ parents? Can a ragtag band of misfits protect the boy against the mightiest military in the world? And what’s all of this got to do with aliens?

Martian Academy by James David VictorMartian Academy by James David Victor:

Five years ago, alien invaders stole her family and her childhood. It’s time to make them pay.

Artemis was only twelve years old when the Rath invaded Toronto, killing countless people, including her family. Five years later, she is finally ready to make them pay. The first step: train at the Martian Military Academy so she can fight the aliens and make them pay for invading her planet. She soon learns that humans can be just as ruthless as the Rath, though, and they are far closer to home. Can she help save humanity and find honor among the stars?

Martian Academy is the first book in the Honor Among the Stars series. If you like sci-fi adventures, space battles with complex alien invaders, and unexpected twists in humanities exploration of the stars, this could be your new favorite series.

The Haunting of White Haven Manor by Clay WiseThe Haunting of White Haven Manor by Clay Wise:

With things finally back on track after the death of her husband, Ally is ready for a break and to settle down to a quiet, conventional life with her new boyfriend…

But those hopes are shattered with the appearance of a new ghost… begging for her help with a cryptic message about some place called White Haven Manor, a stately home from the early 1800s but now a long-abandoned ruin with a terrifying reputation.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for August 2022


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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have hardboiled mysteries, cozy mysteries,  historical mysteries, medieval mysteries, Victorian mysteries, western mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, supernatural thrillers, police procedurals, police officers, FBI agents, amateur sleuths, heists, missing persons, con artists, assassins, serial killers and their children, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting barristas, crime-busting academics, murder and mayhem in London, New York City, Colorado, Louisiana, Shropshire 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:

Overwhelming Evidence by Steve BenthamOverwhelming Evidence by Steve Bentham:

A ruinous secret not yet told. A killer determined to keep it that way. A cozy British detective mystery with a touch of noir

Christopher Vernham, a down-at-heel private investigator, is found stabbed to death in his decrepit office in the murky streets of London’s red light district.

With no sign of a robbery or break-in, it seems the dead man knew his attacker and allowed him — or her — to get close without feeling threatened. For DCI Bentley, the facts point logically to one of Vernham’s investigative targets — someone who perhaps wanted something he had discovered to be kept quiet.

But what had Vernham discovered that was worth killing for? And which one of his targets could be responsible?

As Bentley investigates Vernham’s clients, checking each one to discover who they wanted followed, it seems less likely that one of Vernham’s targets did commit the crime… and brings up the question: who is actually investigating who, and why?

Death Down the Aisle by Verity BrightDeath Down the Aisle by Verity Bright:

The society wedding of the decade has everything: the blushing bride, beautiful flowers… and the groom arrested before he can walk down the aisle? Thank goodness Lady Swift is on the guest list!

Lady Eleanor Swift isn’t normally one for grand social occasions, but who can resist a wedding? Especially when it’s her old friend, Constance Grainger, marrying the most eligible bachelor in town, Lord Peregrine Davencourt. Eleanor is taking Gladstone the bulldog as her plus one, with a smart new bowtie to match her bridesmaid’s dress.

But the big day is ruined when the groom is arrested for murder before he makes it to the altar. In a baffling twist, it turns out he was already engaged to the lovely Daisy Balforth, who has been found dead at the local inn with Lord Davencourt kneeling over her. The gossip pages will have a field day!

The distraught bride-to-be asks Eleanor to clear her fiancé’s name, as she’s certain he wouldn’t hurt a fly. With help from handsome Detective Seldon, Eleanor examines the evidence. But she’s barely had time to write down her suspect list before Constance’s father is set upon by a bearded stranger on the golf course. Clearly there is more to this story than Eleanor first thought, but can she catch the real killer before the wedding turns into her wake?

Solely a Coward by Beth ByersSolely a Coward by Beth Byers:

There are a lot of things that have been said about John Smith that his wife and friends would believe. Accuse him of a crime, and Beatrice would consider it. Accuse him of a great act of kindness, and she’d consider that too. She’d suspect him of almost anything.

She didn’t expect him to try to scare her. To pull out her inner coward and make her flee. Who is the coward? Beatrice for being spooked or Smith for hiding the truth? And just what is actually going on?

 

Don't Look Now by Stacy ClaflinDon’t Look Now by Stacy Claflin:

When you’re the son of an infamous serial killer, the police will always see you as a suspect…

Ariana and Damon thought it was bad enough that their home burned to the ground. But when bodies are unearthed on their property, the police pin them as suspects — and their world turns upside down.

Damon has always been haunted by his father’s past, but more than ever before, being Cal Jones’s son is an even bigger burden to bear. Worse yet, his wife is getting dragged through the mud along with him.

Can Damon prove their innocence, or will his father’s legacy finally destroy everything Damon and Ariana have worked so hard to build?

Cuppa Chaos by Melinda CraigCuppa Chaos by Melinda Craig:

Starting over in your forties is never easy. But Grace isn’t your average gal, and she’s more than ready to chase her lifelong dream to a new town, preferably somewhere far, far, away from her ex. If only he would get the message and stay away.

Grace knows how to make the perfect brew, and she knows she can turn her coffee-making skills into a living with the right chance. She’s found a beautiful start and pulls into her new town filled with hope, but hope melts away as danger moves in.

When Grace starts receiving threats that escalate one by one, it becomes clear someone doesn’t want her there. Still, despite the danger around her, friendships are born, and Grace finds a connection she didn’t expect.

With dead bodies, threats, and new friends, Grace must face her situation head-on and decide if she made the right choice. If she doesn’t take matters into her own hands, she may wind up dead.

This midlife coffee-fueled mystery is filled with laughter, suspense, and a healthy dose of hot brew! If you like coffee mysteries mixed with humor and clues, this is for you!

Swamp Spirits by Jana DeLeonSwamp Spirits by Jana DeLeon:

Ghost of a chance?

Fortune is thrilled when Ben Harrison, her former CIA partner, and his fiancée, Cassidy, decide to leave DC and move to the Louisiana bayous. They’ve already secured jobs and are only lacking a place to live, so everyone is excited when they quickly find a home. There’s only one problem—the house has a reputation. It’s haunted.

Fortune doesn’t believe in ghosts, but when Cassidy starts seeing a woman in white inside her house and can’t determine how she’s entering or exiting, Fortune knows she’s got to figure out what’s going on before things get worse. As Swamp Team 3 takes on the “spirited” case, they dive into a decades-old mystery of love, money, voodoo curses, and a missing woman. But can they get answers before Ben and Cassidy give up the ghost and go back to DC?

The American Pony by Elisabeth Grace FoleyThe American Pony by Elisabeth Grace Foley:

Was it a joke gone wrong—or something more sinister?

It’s summer in Colorado, and Sir Edmund Marsland’s family are enjoying their visit to the West—though not everyone at the Wellman ranch is quite as happy with the company of the English family. The mood changes for the worse when an accident with a horse nearly claims the life of Sir Edmund’s young son. And with the discovery that someone deliberately caused the accident, suspicions and tensions divide the party. Was it meant for a practical joke—or was it for spite—or was there a motive for murder? Mrs. Meade may be the only guest at the ranch without title or fortune, but she may also be the only one who can get at the truth…

That Magic Moment by Lily Harper HartThe Magic Moment by Lily Harper Hart:

Ofelia Archer is working toward a goal, both personally and professionally, and she’s making great strides on both. Her attention is diverted, however, when a steamboat washes ashore next to the riverwalk…and it’s a boat that is more than a hundred years overdue.

The Adelaide was supposedly lost on the river back in the day, all souls onboard believed lost, and yet it’s in New Orleans…and it might not be empty.

Ofelia and her boyfriend Zach Sully are part of the first team to visit the boat, and almost immediately Ofelia is struck by the reality they’re not alone. Unfortunately for her, she can’t pin down a source for the feeling. When ghosts start haunting her home and dreams, however, the story begins to take shape.

The Adelaide was besieged by darkness before the end came. Now that darkness is pointed at New Orleans. It’s up to Ofelia and Sully to put an end to it all…even when the darkness decides Ofelia is the new target.

Some bonds last a lifetime. Some last beyond. The bonds from the Adelaide are something more, and not even death can tear them asunder. It can take aim at Ofelia, however, which means she could be joining the dead before it’s all said and done.

Hell of a Mess by Nick KolakowskiHell of a Mess by Nick Kolakowski:

The heist should have been a simple one: infiltrate the top floor of a luxury New York City penthouse, steal a server with compromising data from under the noses of the unsuspecting guards, and slip back out. Fiona, master thief and occasional assassin, has pulled off similar jobs dozens of times. But with a massive hurricane bearing down on the East Coast, the timing is tight and the escape routes are limited—and that’s before she discovers something horrific in the penthouse’s master bedroom.

Now Fiona’s on the run, trying to stay one step ahead of rising floodwaters and an army of hired assassins. Her husband Bill, the finest hustler between Florida and Maine, can’t help her: he’s been kidnapped by a group of dirty cops who want the secret millions left by his former employer. The night will take the two of them from the heights of money and power in Lower Manhattan to a haunted island in the East River where no secrets stay buried forever.

It’s going to be one hell of a night… and one hell of a mess.

Money To Burn by Duane LindsayMoney To Burn by Duane Lindsay:

WHO YOU GONNA CALL WHEN YOUR HEIST GOES WRONG?

It should have been the perfect heist. The crooks thought of everything—scoped out a briefcase full of bearer bonds, distracted the driver of its armored car, and used some old-fashioned firepower for gentle persuasion.

All neat and tidy except for one thing—there’s nothing in the briefcase but blank paper.

Well, they’re not going to take this lying down! They hire private investigator Lou Fleener to get their loot back.

Then Lou’s business partners—his feisty wife Cassidy and their brilliant friend Monk—get hired to find the briefcase by its original owners.

A once-in-a-lifetime piece of luck! Ethics thrown to the wind, they’re now working both sides of the case, and feeling pretty smug about it. What could be better?

Just about anything, it turns out.

The Mystical Murders of Yin Mara by Marshall Ryan MarescaThe Mystical Murders of Yin Mara by Marshall Ryan Maresca:

Phadre Golmin and Jiarna Kay are perfectly matched. Both astounding intellects, sharing a passion for academic pursuits and each other. Traveling from the University of Maradaine to Trenn College in Yin Mara, they are excited for the opportunity to study magical and mystical theory with the famed Professor Salarmin. So when they come across a dead body that defies all logic, they should leave it alone.

But Phadre and Jiarna tasted adventure in Maradaine, so the discovery of similar victims, paired with their scientific curiosity, makes the situation far too intriguing to ignore. Knowing that they alone have the knowledge to unravel the mystery, Phadre and Jiarna are determined to resolve it, no matter the cost to their academic careers.

The Bolivian Incident by C.N. ShanahanThe Bolivian Incident by C.B. Shanahan:

An ancient medallion has turned ten-year-old Hollis Whittaker into the U.S. military’s top target. Through the artifact, the boy shares a mind with an alien, and possesses the most advanced brain on the planet, capable of teleporting people through space and time.

A Native American woman, her grandfather, a computer nerd, the boy’s best friend and an involuntary time traveler will do anything they can to help, but when Hollis’ parents disappear, their plan to flee the country and relocate to Central America is scrapped.

Then a mysterious insect appears, followed by an old woman bearing another medallion. The Bolivian stranger has been endowed with different capabilities than Hollis. She tells him that he is unwittingly damaging spacetime and that the consequences could be disastrous.

Is the woman connected to a 1958 nuclear explosion in the Amazon Jungle? Can she help locate Hollis’ parents? Can a ragtag band of misfits protect the boy against the mightiest military in the world? And what’s all of this got to do with aliens?

Killer Shot by Mary StoneKiller Shot by Mary Stone:

All bets are off when a madman calls the shots.

After Special Agent Stella Knox’s friend and FBI tech ace Mac drops a bombshell regarding the death of Stella’s father, she can’t wait to follow up on the lead. But that’s put on the backburner when six people are abducted from a dinner party—the door open, the table laid, and the meal started. Even more disturbing is that a two-year-old is among the missing.

With no sign of a struggle and the only fingerprints belonging to the guests, there’s little to go on. Soon, a body is found in a drainage ditch on the edge of town, shot in the back at close range.

Followed by another.

While Stella and her team scramble to piece together a limited set of clues, a madman is calling the shots in a sadistic game where even the winners lose it all.

Now, it’s a race to find the remaining hostages…while they’re still alive.

Bag of Bones by Jason VailBag of Bones by Jason Vail:

The Ludlow beggar One-eye Dick finds the scattered bones of two dead men on a hillside north of the town — and a precious gold ring. Hoping to make some easy money, he sells the ring to Will Thumper, a well-known criminal in town, who then resells the ring to a crooked Ludlow goldsmith.

But the ring is identified as belonging to a wealthy cattle merchant and his bodyguard who went missing weeks before. Thumper is arrested and charged with the merchant’s murder and that of the bodyguard. Given Thumper’s unsavory reputation, it is obvious that the local jury who know him well will be happy to send him to the gallows regardless of the evidence.

Yet Stephen Attebrook, newly appointed as coroner for southern Shropshire, has doubts. These are strong enough to entice him to promise Thumper’s family that he will do what he can to exonerate the rogue.

Thumper’s dilemma is the least of Stephen’s troubles. For he must confront the campaign of one of his greatest enemies, Nigel FitzSimmons, to convict him of treason and the vendetta of the brother of a man he killed in battle. Defeat by either man means Stephen’s death and the confiscation of his manor.

The Haunting of White Haven Manor by Clay WiseThe Haunting of White Haven Manor by Clay Wise:

With things finally back on track after the death of her husband, Ally is ready for a break and to settle down to a quiet, conventional life with her new boyfriend…

But those hopes are shattered with the appearance of a new ghost… begging for her help with a cryptic message about some place called White Haven Manor, a stately home from the early 1800s but now a long-abandoned ruin with a terrifying reputation.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for July 2022

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

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie and small press authors newly published this month, though some 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, epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, fantasy romance, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, weird western, horror, wizards, werewolves, domens, elves, fox shifters, Greek mythology, alien invasions, space marines, space pirates, space cops, crime-busting witches, haunted streetcars 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 Princess Paradigm by Lindsay BurokerThe Princess Paradigm by Lindsay Buroker:

Elven princesses aren’t supposed to fall for brutish human warriors, especially not warriors from an empire of ferocious conquerers.

But when the tattooed Colonel Mrothgar stalks into the elven court, claiming to be there on a diplomatic mission, Princess Hysithea has to learn more about him.

Not because he’s handsome and his smile makes her insides melt. As a princess, it’s her duty to protect her people, and she needs to find out if the colonel is a threat to them.

But what if the answer is yes? And what if her heart leads her astray?

She can’t protect her people if she falls in love with the man who wants to conquer them.

Corsairs: Mathiras by Ruby DixonCorsairs: Mathiras by Ruby Dixon:

Someone is illegally stealing humans from their home world and cloning them.

For months, we’ve been hunting this ring of criminals and the end is in sight. I’m separating from my brothers and taking my ship to track down the bad guys.

One small problem — Helen insists upon joining me on this dangerous mission.

Helen herself is a clone, created to be an object of beauty. She’s not safe if she goes with me, as her kind are coveted all across the universe. But she’s not interested in staying safe. She’s interested in staying at my side…and tempting me to kiss her.

And kef me, is it ever a temptation.

Am I really going to run headlong into danger with the universe’s most beguiling female at my side? Am I going to be able to resist her charms?

(I think we all know the answers to those questions.)

Underworld Elements by Rachel FordUnderworld Elements by Rachel Ford:

They say the only guarantees in life are death and taxes, but they forget crime.

Not Space Station Frontera’s Marshal Kalandri, though. Crime is her business. And on Frontera, a port truly on the frontier of inhabited space? Well, job security is never a worry.

When a station-wide power outage enables a brazen heist, Kalandri is tasked with finding the culprits and retrieving the stolen goods. She knows just who is behind it, too.

Dani “Dusty” Agincourt: the beautiful underworld queen who always seems to be one step ahead of the law.
Proving it is going another thing altogether, though – because Dusty has covered her tracks, and covered them well.

When the privateer ship Black Flag pulls into port with the parts needed to fix the power system – and an unexpected stowaway – things go from bad to worse. Because that’s when the killings start.

To stop a ruthless assassin, the lawwoman and the underworld queen are going to have to strike a truce. It’s a risky business, and Kalandri knows she’ll regret it.

If she lives that long, anyway.

Space Station Frontera is an all-new space opera series in the Black Flag world. It features new characters and new adventures, and can be read independently of the Black Flag series.

Judas Kiss by Rachel FordJudas Kiss by Rachel Ford:

Mercy is weakness. Forgiveness is blasphemy. Sin is crime.

Agata and Father Edlin have made a new life on a colony of outcasts and fugitives far beyond the tyranny of the Union. He practices his heretical faith in freedom, without fear of prosecution, and she and her little ship supply their colony. Life is good.

And then an old friend – and sometimes enemy – arrives, with a desperate plea for help. Soon, they find themselves back in the Union, racing against time to unravel a terrible conspiracy.

A conspiracy that might blow the Union apart at the seams and ignite an intergalactic holy war in the process.

A holy war that will destroy them and any hope of a new life.

Witch at the End of the Tunnel by Lily Harper HartWitch at the End of the Tunnel by Lily Harper Hart:

Vanity is the one thing Hali Waverly has never understood. That’s about to become a weakness.

Life at the Salty Cauldron is going well…right up until a body washes onto the beach. The dead woman, who is forty years younger than her husband, had a run-in with Hali in her tiki bar the previous day. Authorities assume it was an accidental drowning, but a mark on the dead woman’s neck gives Hali pause.

Grayson Hunter finds himself in a pickle when the identity of the body becomes public. Seems he was the one hired by the victim’s husband to investigate her extra-curricular activities. Surprisingly enough, it turns out she wasn’t having an affair. That doesn’t mean she wasn’t up to something nefarious.

Crossing paths has Hali and Gray partnering up for a second time, and as tense as things are between them, things are worse when they enter the world of Selfie Planet, the victim’s place of business.

Vanity goes by many names, has many faces. The one Gray and Hali find themselves facing off with is dark and menacing. There’s more going on than selfies and rampant narcissism, however. There’s also a mirror monster and several soulless individuals walking around making things worse.

Separately, Hali and Gray are forces to be reckoned with. Together, they can handle almost anything…except maybe this.

Worlds are about to collide, and nothing will ever be the same again.

Harmony and Disharmony by Bill HiattHarmony and Disharmony by Bill Hiatt:

Orpheus is not interested in inheriting his father’s throne. He wants nothing more than to use music to bring joy to his fellow mortals. Jason believes that nothing is more important than wresting his father’s throne from a usurper. He wants to perform heroic feats that will earn him as much glory as possible. Under ordinary circumstances, Orpheus and Jason would probably never have met. Certainly, they would never have been allies. But scheming gods plunge them into adventures greater than either of them has ever imagined. Both of them want to achieve their respective dreams. But facing hostile armies, monsters, and even conflicts among the gods will force them into horrible dilemmas. Will they sacrifice their dreams, or will they die trying to preserve them?

Invasion by Joshua JamesInvasion by Joshua James:

THEY INVADED.
THEY CONQUERED.
THEY UNDERESTIMATED.

The War of the Worlds gets turbocharged in this nonstop action-packed thriller about a group of survivors thrust into extraordinary circumstances.

When aliens arrive on Earth, the tiny town of Little Creek isn’t any more prepared than the rest of the planet.

Without warning or provocation, the otherworldly creatures begin to lay waste to everything.

In the chaos that follows, an unlikely group bands together:

A beauty queen with something to prove…
A shopkeeper with something to hide…
A shellshocked teenager set on revenge…
And a world-weary veteran desperate to save them all.

As time runs out, this ragtag crew must find a way to fight back against the alien forces massing around them.

What are they? What do they want? How can they be stopped?

If they fail, it won’t just be Little Creek that is lost.

It will be all of humanity.

A Book of Blades, edited by L.D. Whitney and Matt JohnA Book of Blades, edited by Matt John and L.D. Whitney:

Within this tome are buried the blades of warriors, thieves, and wizards. Tales of their deeds, glories, and triumphs shall ring throughout the ages.

Rogues in the House Podcast has gathered the best tales of Sword & Sorcery from across the community.

Here, brave adventurers will find stories lovingly crafted from Heroic Fantasy greats such as Howard Andrew Jones, John R. Fultz, and John C. Hocking. At their side are up and coming genre authors Chuck Clark, T.A. Markitan, Cora Buhlert, and many more.

Includes artwork from various artists, including Morgan King, director of Spine of the Night, and Sara Frazetta, granddaughter of the Legend himself!

Witch is the Word by Amanda M. LeeWitch Is the Word by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter is finally getting a handle on life as a witch. Island living isn’t always beautiful sunsets and fruity cocktails, but things have never been better…until a body washes up on the beach during a private picnic with her boyfriend Galen Blackwood.

The body belongs to a local business manager, who just happens to be married to the daughter of one of the richest men on the island. Unfortunately for their victim, nobody – including his wife and daughters – seems to care that he’s gone. The deeper they dig, the more dirt they come up with on the victim … and the clues lead them straight to the isolated coven on the far side of the island.

Hadley doesn’t know a lot about witches, including herself, but what she learns doesn’t leave her with warm and fuzzy feelings. These witches mean business, and they’re intent on keeping their secrets from seeing the light of day.

When more bodies start dropping, all coven members, Hadley realizes something very big is about to happen. What, though?
With Galen and their friends at her side, Hadley is ready to engage in a new type of battle. This one is bigger than witches because it leads right through the heart of the island’s government body, the terrifying DDA.

Hadley thought she was adjusting but things are about to change. The question is, when the dust settles, who will be left standing and what side will they be on?

Sinister Magic by N.P. MartinSinister Magic by N.P. Martin:

A Dead Witch. A Dark Elf. An Avenging Wizard

The name’s Corvin Chance, and though I was born with magical abilities, I’d rather be playing my guitar in one of my local pubs than running around flashing my magic.

Until someone murdered my mother that is.

Now I’m slinging magic around the streets of Dublin as I try to find out who killed her. A gangster elf who crowned himself the king of the south is my main suspect. But besides being powerful and sociopathic, the elf is also part of a murderous cabal that includes a bloodthirsty vampire prince. I’m good, but not that good.

Luckily, I have my two best friends: Dalia, a sardonic Demi-Fae who could scare the bejeezus out of Lucifer himself; and Monty, a wise-cracking street magician and YouTube star with a gift for cybermancy and conjuring.

Together we will enter a dangerous Dublin underbelly populated by dark elves, vampires, goblins, and orcs to discover just who killed my mother and why… if we don’t die ourselves first, that is.

Join me and my oddball motley crew as we attempt to solve a murder, exact justice and just maybe… get a pint of the black stuff afterwards.

Last Car to Annwn Station by Michael MerriamLast Car to Annwn Station by Michael Merriam:

One week to save the child, bargain with Death and get the girl…

Child Protective Services Attorney Maeve Malveaux is sure that Chrysandra Arneson needs to be rescued from her rich, powerful and abusive family. But how? Her boss won’t listen to her and neither will the judge. But after she gets taken off the case and sent on involuntary leave to get her out of the way, she’s determined to find out what’s going on.

She’s not counting on joining forces with Jill, the gorgeous law librarian from work, and a mismatched collection of fairy folk. Or getting the ghostly assistance of the long-defunct Minneapolis streetcar system. And, perhaps, even a hand from Death himself. Mae and Jill are about to be caught up in a supernatural power struggle that will take them on an adventure from the Uptown neighborhood in Minneapolis into faery realms and beyond. All they need is a dime for the streetcar fare and a little help from their new allies to be on their way. But will it be enough to save a little girl and get them where they need to go? They’ve only got a week to find out…

I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come by Gwendolyn N. NixI Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come by Gwendolyn N. Nix:

The demons are coming, and Hell’s coming with them.

A weird west alternate history horror novel set in Hell. “…like Stephen King and Cormac McCarthy teaming up to reboot Dante’s Inferno as a Western.”—Michael Pogach

The facts of Domino Bluepoint’s afterlife are simple in this horror adventure: he’s a half-breed witch from a people without a name, and no one wants to be stuck in Hell with witch blood.

When a demon bounty-hunter comes calling, Domino pairs up with his mother, who died too young and carries the witch lineage in her veins, to survive. Soon the two of them are Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid running from whatever torture awaits them and whoever wants to harvest their magic.

Yet, Domino doesn’t know that his brother, Wicasah, is behind this and is desperate to resurrect Domino out of long-lasting guilt and a sensation of belonging to no place and no one.

As Wicasah dives deeper into darker magic that ends in an ill-made deal, Domino must overcome addiction, depression, and hone his own brand of witch-magic to help save his brother—and the world—from an ancient god.

I Have Asked to be Where No Storms Come is perfect for fans of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, supernatural fiction, dark fantasy, adult horror books.

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

Fox Heart by Hollis ShilohFox Heart by Hollis Shiloh:

There are too many cops in my life. First there’s Ken, the guy I’ve been seeing. I’ve been his secret for far too long. Now he wants to join the Shifters and Partners organization—with me as his partner.

I’m not convinced. There’s also this wolf hanging around now. Eli works with the cops, and he’s awfully easy to get a rise out of. But he’s also kind of my friend now. And he’s…hot?

Fox shifters and wolf shifters don’t mix. Everybody knows that. But this situation is starting to get tricky for my poor heart.

What am I supposed to do when love is always just around the corner—for somebody else, but not for me?

Discretion by Glynn StewartDiscretion by Glynn Stewart:

A crew, scattered across enemy lines
A father, separated from his daughter
A daughter who will not wait for rescue

The bounty for bringing down a major crime syndicate may have removed Captain Evridiki “EB” Bardacki’s immediate financial needs, but no freighter captain wants to fly empty between the stars.

A cargo mission to run a blockade seems within his crew’s unique mix of talents, and he agrees to supply weapons to one side of a stalemated civil war in the Estutmost star system.

The sudden collapse of the stalemate puts EB on the wrong side of the front lines from his adopted daughter.

He took down a crime syndicate to protect her once—what’s a planetary military or two?

Breaker Marine by James David VictorBreaker Marine by James David Victor:

As a breaker, she was destined to live a hard life serving the whims of galactic corporations. As an Earth Alliance Marine, she has a chance to change the balance of power in the galaxy.

Holly Cropper grew up as a Breaker, mining the outer reaches of space. Now, she’s an up-and-coming lieutenant in the Earth Alliance Marines. Her mission: keep the peace and help humanity survive in the endless darkness of space. When a distress call comes in from a large mining vessel, her orderly world gets turned upside down. What starts with a simple pirate takeover turns into a hostile alien invasion. This Breaker Marine and her small team might be the only thing standing between humanity and annihilation at the hands of ancient aliens.

Breaker Marine is the first book in the Star Breaker series. If you like fast-paced space adventures with interesting characters who battle aliens, evil corporations, and space pirates, Holly Cropper and her team of Marines are ready to share their epic adventure with you.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for July 2022


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,  historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, adventure thrillers, legal thrillers, police procedurals, romantic suspense, police officers, FBI agents, lawyers, journalists, amateur sleuths, missing persons, serial killers, poachers, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting realtors, murder and mayhem in London, Edinburgh, Cornwall, South Dakota, Michigan, Florida 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, Perhaps by Beth ByersMurder, Perhaps by Beth Byers:

When Vi gets a visit from her brother, Geoffrey, she is delighted. Their relationship has been shaky from the beginning, but he’s older now. He even seems to have shaken off the claws of his mother.

Even so, when he tells Vi he’s seen a murder, she can’t quite believe it. It becomes clear that their relationship may never recover if she doesn’t take him seriously. Before long, Vi faces more than an investigation. She’s dealing with a nightmare she never expected: asking questions about a doubtful murder with her stepmother, her brother, and her father.

The mystery quickly becomes not whether she’ll find the killer, but whether her sanity will survive the investigation.

All Or Nothing by John CarsonAll Or Nothing by John Carson:

Practice makes perfect. Even in death.

DCI Harry McNeil is back at the helm, joined by his old friend, DI Frank Miller. He is juggling his private life with being a single father, running a new Major Investigation Team, and spending time with a woman who may or may not become more than just friends.

Edinburgh at New Year is a time for celebration, fun, and for one person, murder.

The festivities leading up to Hogmanay are tinged with fear as Harry’s team gets a shout when the murdered body of a woman is found floating in the Water of Leith near the docks.

A vicious killer has left his mark and Harry’s new team is put to the test.

But with time running out, the killer is going to be knocking on Harry McNeil’s door, in more ways than one…

Paradise Gone by David CrosbyParadise Gone by David Crosby:

AN ENDANGERED FLORIDA PANTHER, A DEADLY
POACHER, AND A KID IN TROUBLE…

Hotshot Florida journalist Will Harper, known for reporting hard-hitting stories (and for living on a trawler), is quietly doing both those things when cans of worms suddenly explode in all directions.

His story-in-progress seems safe enough, even a bit predictable—it’s about overdevelopment killing Florida culture and wildlife. But when he contacts a wildlife photographer for information, he finds himself listening to a much more compelling yarn than the one he’s working on. The photographer and her assistant recently filmed a mother black bear tragically killed by a poacher in front of her cubs.

And then the poacher, carefully setting his sights on the humans, shot her assistant right in front of her.

Rushing to get help, she returned with the police only to find that both the wounded man and the bear’s corpse had disappeared. With no evidence, the cops declined to investigate

Enter the ever-quixotic investigative reporter—if no one else is going to look into this, Will sure will.

But his investigation is hampered by a new development that’s destroying his domestic peace and quiet. It seems his girlfriend neglected to mention she has a teenage daughter who’s hell on wheels and who’s now been to sent to live with her mom and Will—which means their once-peaceful trawler is now home to squabbling, tension, and teen-age angst.

So while Will is hellbent on trying to track down the missing assistant, he’s also got to keep this teenager from finding a way to get in touch with her psycho biker boyfriend. Watch the exceedingly nimble Will juggle his article on gorgeous (and disappearing) Florida culture, his investigation into the deadly poacher’s ghastly crimes, and his big-hearted attempts to keep the angry teenager from being kidnapped by the so-called “love of her life.”

All in a day’s work for this guy.

Witch at the End of the Tunnel by Lily Harper HartWitch at the End of the Tunnel by Lily Harper Hart:

Vanity is the one thing Hali Waverly has never understood. That’s about to become a weakness.

Life at the Salty Cauldron is going well…right up until a body washes onto the beach. The dead woman, who is forty years younger than her husband, had a run-in with Hali in her tiki bar the previous day. Authorities assume it was an accidental drowning, but a mark on the dead woman’s neck gives Hali pause.

Grayson Hunter finds himself in a pickle when the identity of the body becomes public. Seems he was the one hired by the victim’s husband to investigate her extra-curricular activities. Surprisingly enough, it turns out she wasn’t having an affair. That doesn’t mean she wasn’t up to something nefarious.

Crossing paths has Hali and Gray partnering up for a second time, and as tense as things are between them, things are worse when they enter the world of Selfie Planet, the victim’s place of business.

Vanity goes by many names, has many faces. The one Gray and Hali find themselves facing off with is dark and menacing. There’s more going on than selfies and rampant narcissism, however. There’s also a mirror monster and several soulless individuals walking around making things worse.

Separately, Hali and Gray are forces to be reckoned with. Together, they can handle almost anything…except maybe this.

Worlds are about to collide, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The Escrow Escape by CeeCee JamesThe Escrow Escape by CeeCee James:

It’s a Georgie and Stella combo!

Stella’s routine is getting back to normal after her mother’s trip to Poland. But even the simplest things can lead to unexpected adventures. While searching for a mystery at the local bookstore, Stella picks up an abandoned book. A handwritten note falls out with an odd message: Where she goes there are no shoes…

When she mentions the note to her Oscar, her grandpa, the retired FBI agent tells her about the missing persons case he couldn’t solve a decade ago and shows her an old newspaper clipping. The photo shows the phrase spray painted on a wall, with red paint. Before long, Stella is wrapped up in the strangest mystery she’s faced yet.

Three Ring Murder by CeeCee JamesThree Ring Murder by CeeCee James:

Perfect for readers who love mysteries with unforgettable characters. Join Trixie in this newest cozy mystery where she must rescue her friend Jerry, accused for the death of the Mayor! With the evidence in plain sight, it seems the detectives have the right guy. But Trixie remembers a certain someone sneaking around the Big Top who didn’t belong, despite being a respected politician. With Prancer, her horse, and the many circus dogs, Trixie is on the hunt for both evidence and the true villain.

Then she discovers he may be on the hunt for her. Can she catch him in time in this fast-paced mystery?

Cold Evidence by Robin JamesCold Evidence by Robin James:

A murder so brutal, only a monster could have committed it. The accused had no motive. But there’s a mountain of evidence against him.

A decorated war hero, Ty Chapman has built his dream life in the quiet lakeside community of Delphi, Michigan. He has a beautiful wife. A baby on the way. Everything to live for. He’s the last person anyone would suspect of beating a local handyman to death behind a seedy motel. But when two credible witnesses see him running from the crime scene, hands bloodied, the police believe they have him cold.

There has to be a reason for the killing. But the prime suspect won’t talk. Not even to his lawyer.

Cass Leary is Delphi’s top defense attorney. In Ty Chapman, she’s finally got a client who can afford her. Only Ty goes mute anytime she tries to get his side of the story. All she has is a parade of character witnesses who swear Ty isn’t capable of such a heinous act.

The more Cass delves into the mystery, the more questions she has about the victim. Only most of what she learns is inadmissible in court and Ty still won’t tell her what really happened in those woods. If that weren’t enough, Cass gets a call that her former mob boss has gone missing and the FBI thinks she’s the key to finding him. Their timing couldn’t be worse as Cass heads into the courtroom to argue for Ty Chapman’s future.

Will Cass’s fight win her client’s freedom or expose an even more shocking truth?

Witch is the Word by Amanda M. LeeWitch Is the Word by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter is finally getting a handle on life as a witch. Island living isn’t always beautiful sunsets and fruity cocktails, but things have never been better…until a body washes up on the beach during a private picnic with her boyfriend Galen Blackwood.

The body belongs to a local business manager, who just happens to be married to the daughter of one of the richest men on the island. Unfortunately for their victim, nobody – including his wife and daughters – seems to care that he’s gone. The deeper they dig, the more dirt they come up with on the victim … and the clues lead them straight to the isolated coven on the far side of the island.

Hadley doesn’t know a lot about witches, including herself, but what she learns doesn’t leave her with warm and fuzzy feelings. These witches mean business, and they’re intent on keeping their secrets from seeing the light of day.

When more bodies start dropping, all coven members, Hadley realizes something very big is about to happen. What, though?
With Galen and their friends at her side, Hadley is ready to engage in a new type of battle. This one is bigger than witches because it leads right through the heart of the island’s government body, the terrifying DDA.

Hadley thought she was adjusting but things are about to change. The question is, when the dust settles, who will be left standing and what side will they be on?

The Girl and the Twisted End by A.J. RiversThe Girl and the Twisted End by A.J. Rivers:

A horrific beginning.
Ends with the most unexpected twist…

Marie was young, beautiful, and vibrant.
Her life was cruelly taken from her.
Her murderer still roams this world, potentially looking for a new prey.
With Sam devoting himself to finally bringing an end to Marie’s case, Emma dives further into the twisted worlds of corruption and brutality, to finally bring an end to the mystery behind Miley’s disappearance…
As the pieces seem to fall into place to bring an end to the cases FBI Agent Emma Griffin has been chasing, unexpected people come into her life.

The question is… what are their true motives?
Who or what do you believe?

All questions are ready to be answered.
All the mysteries lead to one twisted and shocking conclusion.
There’s a storm brewing around Emma Griffin.
Will she get through the eye of the storm or get swept up into utter destruction?

The Creek by L.J. RossThe Creek by L.J. Ross:

YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE…

Kate Irving arrives at her grandfather’s cottage at Frenchman’s Creek in the dead of night with her young son, a small suitcase and little else. Its scattered community of fishermen, farmers, artists and jetsetters barely bat an eyelid, because theirs is a rarefied world, tucked beneath the lush forest that lines the banks of the Helford estuary, deep in the heart of Cornwall, where life is slow and people generally mind their own business. Unless, of course, your grandfather happens to be a pillar of the local community…

Kate’s left the past behind and guards her privacy and her son fiercely. She’s wary of accepting the friendship her new neighbours offer, but their kindness is too great to refuse and she begins to feel she has found her place in the world. That is, until tragedy strikes, and her new friends look to her for the answers…

Kate soon learns that the past always catches up with you, in the end—the question is, will she be able to face it, when it does?

Suspense is peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced mystery, set amidst the spectacular Cornish landscape.

Man Overboard by Wayne StinnettMan Overboard by Wayne Stinnett:

Jesse McDermitt has returned to the Florida Keys. But things in the islands are different now. The locals are worried, but nobody can explain why. A sense of foreboding hangs in the humid July air.

One of the locals, an investment banker, is waiting tables at the Rusty Anchor Bar and Grill. He seems a shell of the man he used to be—a hollow man whose fortune and wife are gone. He’s tight-lipped about how he came to be a guest in Rufus’s little shack behind the bar.

Something very sinister is going on—Jesse smells it. He’s usually very good at rooting out the source of a problem, but is stumped this time. Will he figure it out in time to stop it from happening to someone else?

Until another tight-lipped hollow man shows up.

Murder at the Boxing Club by Lee StraussMurder at the Boxing Club by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s a knockout!

Despite her misgivings and general distaste for fighting sports, Mrs. Ginger Reed, also known as Lady Gold, agrees to attend a boxing match to support her adopted son’s cousin, a street fighter who’s quickly risen in the ranks.

But when his opponent, the presumed champion-to-be, drops out and then drops dead, Ginger and her husband, Basil, a chief inspector at Scotland Yard, investigate. Was the fighter dead because of sports-betting gone awry? Were London gangs involved? And has an old, but newly present danger returned to threaten the Reed family?

When one of their own falls prey, the gloves come off and the fight becomes personal. Can Ginger and Basil save their family and stop a killer before the towel is thrown in the ring?

Without Mercy by Ava StrongWithout Mercy by Ava Strong:

MMA champ-turned-FBI Special Agent and BAU specialist Dakota Steele is as tough as they come—and as brilliant, too, able to crack serial killers that no one else can. But this new case is unlike anything she’s seen, and Dakota, weighed down by the demons of her own past, may have just reached her breaking point.

Dakota’s last case broke her, driving her to quit the FBI and return to the hard streets of her South Dakota hometown. She is weighed down by a lifetime of fighting, and by the demons of her dark past: her missing sister who vanished when Dakota was a teenager. Her estranged father, who she still can’t bring herself to speak to.

The killer she let get away.

Dakota has hit her low point.

Only the most desperate case—and the tough love of her partner—can lure her back.

Victims are disappearing along empty stretches of desert highway, with no witnesses. The landscape is desolate, the people tough and dangerous. And the police are stumped.

Time is running out before the next victim is taken, and it’s up to Dakota to connect the dots.

Can Dakota stop him in time?

Or will her own demons take her for good?

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for June 2022

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

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie and small press authors newly published this month, though some 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 urban fantasy, epic fantasy, YA fantasy, fantasy romance, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, paranormal historical mystery, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, YA science fiction, horror, non-fiction, wizards, dragons, fae, final girls, super soldiers, space marines, magical heists, crime-busting witches, haunted hotels 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 Final Women by Pardeep AujlaThe Final Women by Pardeep Aujla:

The mass murdering Phantom of Haven Cove is dead. For the one who killed him, however, life has never been the same.

How do you return to normality after facing such a monster? How do you live when consumed by guilt, anger, fear, and denial? How do you connect with others when no one understands what you’ve been through?

But there are others. Final Girls of their own Haven Cove massacres. And now, thirty years later, they must all face a new question…

What do you do when the killer returns?

Entangled by Odette C. BellEntangled by Odette C. Bell:

Some are born with a plan. Some are born into someone else’s plan.

Bruce Tan is the best soldier the Coalition has seen in decades. With a cold, efficient will and a hardened fist, he forces his way through every obstacle.

But the universe has another plan for him. When an alien artifact entangles his body and mind with the weak, panic-prone Cadet Emma Hawk, he must learn a new way.

And quickly.

The Coalition’s enemies soon kidnap them, and Bruce and Emma are thrust head-first into a fight for the universe. They have two options: stay together, as close as two entangled particles – or break apart and take everyone else with them.

Shadow Scarred by Bruce BlakeShadow Scarred by Bruce Blake:

The Book of Shadow was found, but the quest continues…

Llyris Fildarae is still reeling with the news of her heritage imparted by an old man claiming to be the great mage Amnayel Prisma—doubtful, though he’s proven able to perform unusual wonders even a magik couldn’t. He cured a boy, yet now demands a stave to aid in healing a fallen knight.

The quest she and her companions embark on requires them to travel to the Obsidian Fields, a place no one has visited since time immemorial. Even Prisma himself—if that is who he is—cannot tell them what it may look like or what to expect once there.

What dangers will they face? Magic? Deadly curses? The undead again?

No one knows. Not even a Shadow Scarred.

First Kill by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. ChaneyFirst Kill by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. Chaney:

A routine reconnaissance mission. Find out where the enemy Mad Dogs are, and report back.

Simple.

But Tomiko Reiser is a staff sergeant, a combat Marine, and Marines don’t run from a fight. When her patrol spots the enemy, she realizes the opportunity is there, and she maneuvers closer for a better look.

Combat never goes as planned, and Tomiko might have bit off more than she could chew. Faced with a powerful foe and a sergeant she doesn’t trust, she might have made a fatal mistake.

Dive into this brand new short story from Staff Sergeant Tomiko Reiser’s point of view from the Dragon Award nominated Sentenced to War series.

Gods of War by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. ChaneyGods of War by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. Chaney:

As the flames of the Human/Naxli war are fanned into a blaze, the Second Combined Assault Brigade is thrown into the conflict.

But with troopers from throughout humanity, including former enemies, Gunnery Sergeant Reverent Pelletier struggles to mold his platoon into an effective fighting force, all while butting heads with his Mad Dog commander.

Under water, in the vacuum of space, and leading local forces, the platoon puts their stamp on history. But there is a limit to any fighting force. Will and discipline alone can’t defeat overwhelming firepower. When faced with insurmountable odds, can Rev and his troopers survive, much less accomplish their mission?

Join Rev, Tomiko, Kelly, and the rest of the Marines and soldiers as they fight the Naxli aggression that threatens humankind’s very existence.

Magic Alias by Fatima FayezMagic Alias by Fatima Fayez:

What if the past two years of your life were a lie?

Yesterday, I believed I was the smartest witch at the supernatural agency. My magic and power made me their most effective agent, reclaiming stolen artifacts and tracking down dangerous rogues.

Today, I know the organization I work for is actually a front for a sprawling criminal network that threatens to upend the paranormal world. It only took a serial killer to break the news to me and turn my world upside down.

All this time, I believed the agency didn’t know about my dark secret but it turns out I was the mark all along. Now I have to figure out how deep I’m in.

Tomorrow, I’m taking them down.

I’m having a bad day and I have a feeling it’s about to get

By Your Side by Erica FriedmanBy Your Side: The First 100 Years of Yuri Anime and Manga by Erica Friedman:

The Untold Story of Lesbian Love in Japanese Anime and Comics

“By Your Side is the complete Yuri resource I only ever dreamed could exist. Decades in the making, this glorious collection surveys, analyzes, and contextualizes Yuri with unparalleled detail and enthusiasm. Friedman graces readers with illuminating insights as they follow her through a century of the genre’s evolution and revolution. By sharing her extraordinary knowledge, she provides inquirers, scholars, and aficionados alike with a deeper appreciation and understanding of lesbian anime and manga while galvanizing them towards the next era of Yuri.”

-Nicki Bauman, Yurimother

“The first in-depth study of Yuri in English.”

-James Welker, Professor of Cross-Cultural and Japanese Studies, Kanagawa University

For a Few Witches More by Lily Harper HartFor a Few Witches More by Lily Harper Hart:

Casper Creek is a town in flux. Contractors are on the scene making plans for the new restaurant, owner Hannah Hickok is plotting ridiculous couple’s costumes for the Halloween party, and there’s a new demon in town.

Instead of coming after Hannah directly, the demon does an end-run around the witch and starts possessing the area children … and sending them into a frenzy. Through a fluke, Hannah manages to put an end to the first attack. Unfortunately, a wave of them are set to follow.

Hannah’s boyfriend Cooper Wyatt believes she can handle almost anything, but a threat against children puts her in a tough position … especially since the demon seems to be demanding something that’s impossible for Hannah to give him. He wants to be there for her, but this fight is one he’s not certain they can win.

Demons are nothing new for Hannah, but this one has a particular agenda, and nobody will survive if it comes to fruition. Because she has no other options, Hannah is forced to join forces with an enemy who can provide an exponential power boost. Will it be a mistake?

Hannah is determined to protect those she loves. This time, the foe might be too strong for her to defeat.

Wicked Graves by Lily Harper HartWicked Graves by Lily Harper Hart:

Maddie Graves-Winters should be preparing for the biggest day of her life – she’s going to become a mother in three months after all – but that’s impossible without the right crib. That means an outing to nearby Shadow Lake with her husband Nick, which turns into a nightmare she wasn’t expecting when a local author is struck in the middle of the road and left for dead.

Ivy Morgan-Harker didn’t even know they had a famous author in town until she was already dead. When helping her husband Jack and his new partner search the dead woman’s house, she finds an entire wall of grievances, which seems to indicate the victim had more than one enemy.

When Maddie and Ivy cross paths, sparks fly … in a magical way. It isn’t long before the truth comes out and they join forces to solve a mystery.
Apparently, the author world is full of kooks, or at least that’s what the women manage to uncover. There are too many suspects and not enough motive. Still, they dig … but the answers they seek are elusive.

There’s a killer running around northern Lower Michigan, and Ivy and Maddie are determined to find out who it is … even if they put themselves in danger to uncover the truth. Their husbands, however frustrated, stand back to watch the show.

They say truth is stranger than fiction, and in this case, that truth will cast a pall over multiple lives.

Buckle up and enjoy the ride because some friendships are destined to become legendary. This is one of them.

Rune of Secrets by Kelly N. JaneRune of Secrets by Kelly N. Jane:

She craves vengeance. He requires justice. Fate demands both.

Without enchanted powers and struck with a curse, Princess Rowena could not prevent her family’s murder or save herself from the fallout.

Vulnerable but determined, she dares to conquer her enemies and free her people. But secret deals force her into a betrothal, tempting her into a bold decision that could cost her life.

Rowena has nothing left but to avenge her family before she dies. Until the most terrifying, yet hauntingly handsome fae arrives, demanding she follows her destiny.

Rowena has the power to lead her people or destroy them.

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

When you lose everything you love, the whole world becomes the enemy.

After his planet was invaded by ruthless Corporate forces, engineer Logan Twofeathers is trapped on Earth by the authorities, who are more afraid of starting a war than helping their people. He may be safe, but many others are still missing.

When security tries to arrest him on trumped-up charges, he must find his own way to return to Kwelengsen. His only option is to seek out someone from his past–a borderline psychotic, who might just be crazy enough to help.

Now, he must draw on all his strength and resilience as he undertakes a precarious and violent journey into the unknown, with enemies lurking in every shadow. The outlook is bleak, and all he has is his grit and sense of honor. Will that be enough?

The battle is over. But the war is about to begin.

Daggers and Destiny by Ryver KnightDaggers and Destiny by Ryver Knight:

A strange stone. A pursuit for power. A new beginning.

An orphan with no job, no home, and no last name, sixteen-year-old Mala scrapes along day by day with her younger brother, Baz, in their small village.

But when she discovers a mysterious stone, her whole world comes crashing down.

Suddenly, she faces massive adversity, a quest for bloody revenge, and a power so great she fears it.

Will she find peace amidst the chaos?

Or is her world fated to burn?

The Haunted Hotel Hoopla by Amanda M. LeeThe Haunted Hotel Hoopla by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes is struggling. She thought finding her family would fix everything. It hasn’t, and the threat that’s cast a long shadow over her life is only getting larger. Still, when an opportunity arises to go to Savannah – one of her bucket list cities – she jumps at the chance.

Savannah was made famous by ghosts, but five missing women – and the return of only one body – seems to point to a different sort of culprit. Whatever is going on, it’s weird … and it’s only getting weirder.

Charlie’s mind keeps wandering to the friend she lost, who keeps haunting her dreams, but her determination never wavers. That’s why she hits the ground hot and hard … and the answers that start unspooling do so at a fantastic rate.

There’s just one problem: Whatever evil is haunting Savannah, it’s more than ghosts. Actually, there might be two problems, because the ghosts in Savannah are multiplying exponentially and nobody knows if it’s tied to the missing women.

Charlie has enemies coming out of the woodwork, although the big one is elusive. The answers she seeks are close, and they might just be provided by an unlikely source. It will take all of them working together, every faction in town, to beat back a terrific foe.

Don’t skip to the end in this one, because the ultimate twist is about to descend. Prepare yourself because it’s going to be a heckuva ride.

More Modern Mythmakers by Michael McCartyMore Modern Mythmakers: 25 Interviews with Horror and Science Fiction Writers and Filmmakers by Michael McCarty

More Modern Mythmakers
features Horror, Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy’s most influential writers and filmmakers interviewed about the art and craft of their genres.

The 25 interviews include:
Steve Alten, Reggie Bannister, Terry Brooks, Charles de Lint, Dennis Etchison, John Everson, Alan Dean Foster, Ray Garton, Sephera Giron, Owl Goingback, Charles Grant, Nancy Holder, Paul Kane, Ronald Kelly, Joe Lansdale, Bentley Little, Jeff Long, Jonathan Maberry, Elizabeth Massie, Larry Niven, William Stout, Jeff Strand, Harry Turtledove, J.N. Williamson, Connie Willis

Foreword by Gerard Houarner
Afterword by Jeffrey Thomas

If you’re interested in books on writing, the horror genre, science fiction, famous authors, or even becoming a full time author, this book is a must-have.

More Modern Mythmakers is the sequel to 2015’s Modern Mythmakers by Michael McCarty, published by Crystal Lake Publishing.

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

An Unforgiving Desert by S.J. PajonasAn Unforgiving Desert by S.J. Pajonas:

A ship hijacked. An arrogant and handsome classmate. A relentless desert.

Skylar Kawabata is so close to having her Class Three pilot’s license, she can taste it. She’s worked two years in isolation to get to the final exam, and nothing is going to stop her now, not even Kalvin, the class pretty boy high flyer who can’t stop calling her Princess. She’s going to kill him if he calls her that one more time…

When their class ship is hijacked during the final exam, and Skylar and Kalvin are marooned in the desert, they’ll need more than patience and a supply of water to stay alive until rescue comes.

Will Skylar and Kalvin make it out of the unforgiving desert in one piece? Or will they kill each other before the desert kills them?

An Unforgiving Desert is the prequel novella to The Amagi science fiction romance series. If you like talented heroines, cocky, self-assured men, and a hot desert gamble, then you’ll devour S. J. Pajonas’s gutsy action-adventure. Be sure to read An Unexpected Debt after!

Shackles of Guilt by Kris RuhlerShackles of Guilt by Kris Ruhler:

He’s the boy next door. She’s a princess. But when blood and war reach their doorstep, will they unite or be forever pushed apart?

Young and ambitious Earmon has climbed up the ladder in Levitor city to become the Queen’s topmost advisor. He seems to have everything he’s dreamt of but for one thing: Princess Zenithia’s love.

When he witnesses an intruder inside the city and decides to keep it quiet, he unwittingly unleashes a terrifying chain of events. His friend, Turak, has an episode that results in a fracture in Levitor’s shield, and the horde of Reavers prowling outside the city advances.

In a world of intrigue, blood, and war, Earmon must battle for survival against savages and beasts.

His hardest trial is yet to come, and he will have to face a choice no one should ever have to make: protect the life of the one he loves the most at the risk of losing his own.

In the end, will he be enough to save her and the city?

Stung by the Cobra by Aurora SpringerStung by the Cobra by Aurora Springer:

Shan Zennia, Senior Curator of the Archives of Galactic Culture on Lumos, plays a dangerous double role as a researcher and a spy for Solarian Intelligence. She embarks on a new mission to observe the spring festival on Harappi, a planet recently conquered by the ambitious Emperor and now governed by his niece, Domina Allia.

Zennia finds unexpected mysteries on the planet, including the enigmatic Nagari. Once a victorious commander in the Emperor’s space fleet and nicknamed the Cobra, he was forced to abandon his military career when Allia claimed him as her consort. Her abusive treatment has driven him to the brink of madness.

Intrigued by the ex-commander and aware of his value as a source of information on the enemy, Zennia agrees to meet him during the festival of rebirth. Opposing forces clash at the height of the celebrations, catalyzing deadly violence. Can Nagari and Zennia survive the chaos and win a new and happier life?

Wilde Magic by Jenn StarkWilde Magic by Jenn Stark:

Off the grid and on the run since she was a teen, Sara Wilde has made a name for herself as an artifact hunter with an edge—finding the most magical treasures on the planet with the flip of a Tarot card.

But when she’s hired to steal a powerful fertility idol on the last night of Carnival, Sara discovers her rough-and-tumble skills are no match for the new, mysterious buyer she’s attracted. Rich, demanding, and sexy as sin, this Magician promises to be nothing but trouble. Yet, for what he’s willing to shell out for her services, Sara can afford the risk.

Or so she thinks.

As the danger—and the payoffs—mount, the power of Tarot leads Sara from the rollicking party of Rio de Janeiro to the grand historical cemeteries of Savannah, then on to the ostentatious museum halls of New York City. Meanwhile, the relentless Magician weaves an ever more seductive spell, hinting at a world she’s barely glimpsed.

To keep from getting burned by passion, power, or betrayal, Sara’s going to need some Wilde Magic.

The Ghostly Tower by A.F. StewartThe Ghostly Tower by A.F. Stewart:

Meet Heyward and Andersen, consulting detectives in a paranormal London you never imagined…

Elspeth Heyward has never met a puzzle she didn’t want to solve, or an adventure she didn’t relish. Taking Sherlock Homes as her benchmark, she is determined to be the best detective and monster hunter in London.

Lars Andersen’s ambitions aren’t nearly as demanding. He just wants to stay alive, out of trouble, and out of jail. But when your partner likes guns and dynamite, that could be a challenge. Can he survive his new employment?

The Case: Discover if a stone tower on their client’s estate is haunted. It should be straightforward, but ghosts aren’t all they find. When they dig up a body, they also unearth a murder and a tangle of secrets. Secrets they’d better unravel quickly before someone else dies.

Alien Pursuit by James David VictorAlien Pursuit by James David Victor:

They held off the initial alien assault but humanity is far from safe as the full force of the alien invasion is unleashed on mankind.

The initial attack by the Vhast alien armada was repulsed, in large part by the heroic deeds of the Tin Man. Unfortunately, the jump gate back to Earth was destroyed and it’s a long journey home for the small crew of the gigantic mining ship turned warship. They must get back to Earth to help save humanity, but an elite alien warship is determined to prevent that from happening. Can the crew of the Tin Man outsmart, and out fight, an elite alien warrior and return home or has the gigantic space mech met it’s match?

Alien Pursuit is the second book in the Tin Man Space Opera Adventure. If you like fast-paced sci-fi adventures, make Tin Man your next epic space adventure.

Download Alien Pursuit and see if the giant space mech known as Tin Man can save humanity!

Women of Wonder by Danielle WilliamsWomen of Wonder by Danielle Williams:

Looking for magic-wielding women with brave hearts, amazing abilities, and a sense of humor? You’ve come to the right place.

Danielle Williams, fantasy fan extraordinaire and author of the inimitable sci-fi epic Steel City, Veiled Kingdom, brings together three of her favorite heroines in this special value collection that’s sure to leave you smiling.

Women of Wonder contains the following stories:

The Capramancer Next Door – 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?

The Witching License – Mavis Burnsides is on her deathbed when her best friend brings her a Witching License. Now she’s got magical powers—and one last night to make up for a lifetime of regrets. By turns sassy and touching, The Witching License is a gentle tale of regret, romance, and righting wrongs.

Debuts and Dragons – Though she’s not much to look at, dragon Sellafield Terrormouth never worried about snagging a mate for herself. But now that her little sister is about to debut in dragon society, Sella’s got one night to go from drab to fab. If she fails, she’ll lose her entire dowry—and quite possibly doom herself to eternal spinsterhood! Can this plain dragon get herself a date, or is her future about to go up in flames?

Escape doesn’t have to cost big bucks!

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for June 2022


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, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, paranormal historical mysteries, crime thrillers, action thrillers, adventure thrillers, horror thrillers, detective novels, true crime, police officers, private investigators, FBI agents, amateur sleuths, bank robbers, serial killers, heists, missing girls, final girls, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting cats, crime-busting dogs, vigilante priests, murder and mayhem in London, New York City, the French Riviera, Savannah, Michigan, Florida, Hawaii 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 Final Women by Pardeep AujlaThe Final Women by Pardeep Aujla:

The mass murdering Phantom of Haven Cove is dead. For the one who killed him, however, life has never been the same.

How do you return to normality after facing such a monster? How do you live when consumed by guilt, anger, fear, and denial? How do you connect with others when no one understands what you’ve been through?

But there are others. Final Girls of their own Haven Cove massacres. And now, thirty years later, they must all face a new question…

What do you do when the killer returns?

The French for Murder by Verity BrightThe French for Murder by Verity Bright:

A grand villa, croissants for breakfast and a dead body in the wine cellar… Lady Swift can’t seem to take a vacation from murder!

Summer 1923. Lady Eleanor Swift is finally persuaded by her butler, Clifford, to take a villa in the south of France for the season. She plans to do what a glamorous lady abroad should: long lunches on the balcony followed by lazy afternoons lounging by the pool. Even Gladstone the bulldog is looking forward to a daily paddle in the ocean.

But when Clifford examines the wine cellar, he discovers there are no decent reds but there is a very dead body. The victim is famous American movie star Rex Armstrong. Poor Rex seems to have been stabbed with a sword from the film set. So how did he end up in Eleanor’s villa?

Before Eleanor even has time to change out of her travelling suit, her beloved butler is arrested for the crime. At sea without her right-hand man, Eleanor must gather her wits if she’s to outsmart a murderer and save Clifford.

Attending a glitzy party at the luxurious Hotel Azure with the film’s cast and crew so she can question her main suspects, Eleanor overhears the director having a most unsettling telephone call that throws all her theories out of the water. Can Eleanor unmask the true killer before her time abroad is cut murderously short?

The Curious Case of the Templeton-Swifts by Benjamin BrownThe Curious Case of the Templeton-Swifts by Benjamin Brown:

A manor house full of secrets, a recluse who fears for his life, and four warring heirs out to claim their inheritance. There’s murder afoot in the country this summer.

England, 1926. When Lord Edgington receives a letter from Hugo Templeton-Swift, a famously rich magnate who believes he’s being poisoned, the renowned detective fetches his assistant, his golden retriever, and a full staff of servants and heads off to the countryside to investigate. But when the bodies start falling in the extraordinary estate of Riverside Keep, anyone could be guilty.

Though all fingers point to Hugo’s much younger wife, his three estranged children have their own reasons for wanting their father out of the picture, and even the servants are acting suspiciously. With the aid of his loyal grandson, Lord Edgington must pick through the mysterious manor in order to catch the killer and solve “The Curious Case of the Templeton-Swifts”.

Shadow of Evil by Beth ByersShadow of Evil by Beth Byers:

It turns out that Smith’s one-time lover has returned. She’s beautiful and talented. She has big eyes and a trembling lip, and she’s turned those on Smith. Who is, in fact, unmoved.

It is Beatrice who is drawn in, and she’s the one who agrees to the case. Bea’s support doesn’t change when his lover shows her true colors.

Instead, Beatrice dives in and pulls Smith—and Vi—after. Now they’ll have to work together to help the only other woman Smith might have loved.

Murder in the Gardens by Colette ClarkMurder in the Gardens by Colette Clark:

You are cordially invited to the grand opening of the Japanese Tea Gardens on the rooftop of the Grand Opal Hotel…

New York 1925

To celebrate its official opening, the Grand Opal Hotel is hosting an exclusive party for the crème de la crème of New York society, to be held in its newly completed rooftop Japanese Tea Gardens.

Jiro Ishida, the gardens’ designer is l’homme du moment. Everyone is clamoring for his services to recreate the latest trend in garden aesthetic.

Which is why it’s a surprise when he turns up dead in the koi pond.

Once again, Penelope “Pen” Banks is on the case, if only to solve a murder the owner of the hotel and several of its wealthy guests would rather see buried beneath the bonsai trees.

Rook by Stephen G. EannouRook by Stephgen G. Eannou:

Rook is based on the true story of Al Nussbaum. To his unsuspecting wife, Lolly, Al is a loving, chess playing, family man. To J. Edgar Hoover, he is the most cunning fugitive alive. Al is the mastermind behind a string of east coast robberies that has stumped law enforcement. After his partner, one-eyed Bobby Wilcoxson, kills a bank guard and wounds a New York City patrolman, Al is identified as one of the robbers and lands on top of the FBI’s most wanted list. He is forced to flee his hometown of Buffalo, New York as the FBI closes in and Lolly learns of her husband’s secret life.

While Al assumes another identity and attempts to elude the police, Lolly is left alone to care for their infant daughter and adjust to her new life as ‘The Bank Robber’s Wife’. Friends, family, and federal agents all pressure Lolly to betray Al. While Lolly struggles at home financially, with unrelenting FBI agents, and her conscious, Al and Bobby continue to rob banks, even as Bobby grows more mentally unstable and dangerous.

Al has only two goals: avoid capture and steal enough money to start a new life with his family. Returning to gather his wife and baby is suicidal, but as Al said, he’d only stick his neck in the Buffalo noose for Lolly.

Ashes to Ashes by Rachel FordAshes to Ashes by Rachel Ford:

A private eye and a vigilante priest face off to bring down a corrupt band of evildoers—by the book, or off the books. Her way, or his.

Years ago, Aubrey Blake joined the police force to make a difference. She almost lost everything in the pursuit of justice. Now she’s about to do it again.

Disillusioned with her former career, she makes a living as a private detective. A living, but not a life.

Then the killings start. The police are on it. But Blake can’t let it be. She can’t walk away. She’s not wired that way.

Then again, neither are the killers…

Die by the Sword by Rachel FordDie by the Sword by Rachel Ford:

‘I think they’re going to kill me…’

When Former Army intelligence analyst Owen Day gets a cryptic call from a man who used to be a brother to him, he drops everything without a second thought to head to the remote Montana wilderness.

He finds a web of lies and corruption waiting – and a bullet, with his name on it.

With no idea if his friend is still alive, no one left to trust, and a brutal storm moving in, Owen will need to act fast – or he’ll disappear too.

The Missing Girls by Elle GreyThe Missing Girls by Elle Grey:

There are monsters among us.
They live in disguise, prowling in the shadows.
They commit unimaginable atrocities.
They target the innocent and the most vulnerable.
Regardless, the victims will eventually find peace and the evil-doers will forever be condemned to a fiery inferno…

To many that know her, FBI agent Blake Wilder is a pillar for truth and the dealer of justice.

When faced with threats and adversity, you can count on her to continue to fight for what is right. With her sister Kit clinging to life after being attacked, Blake and her team are called away to solve a case in North Dakota.

Teenage girls from prominent families are going missing and the local Sheriff is at a loss to understand who’s taking them—or why. As Blake and her team start investigating, they find themselves caught up in a power struggle between the town’s locals and a community of indigenous people.

But when the girls start turning up dead and the pressure to find the killer starts ramping up, Blake finds herself peeling back the layers of a monstrous series of murders. And the deeper they go down that rabbit hole, the more incomprehensible it gets.

As heroes are unmasked and they’re proven to be the monsters that lurk in the shadows hunting children, a small town is left horrified and shocked. It’s a case that will leave scars on everybody involved and will change them all.

Who is the monster behind the lost children?
And who is the culprit behind Kit’s attack?
Evil converges and the truth finds itself trying to escape its buried darkness to come into the light.

For a Few Witches More by Lily Harper HartFor a Few Witches More by Lily Harper Hart:

Casper Creek is a town in flux. Contractors are on the scene making plans for the new restaurant, owner Hannah Hickok is plotting ridiculous couple’s costumes for the Halloween party, and there’s a new demon in town.

Instead of coming after Hannah directly, the demon does an end-run around the witch and starts possessing the area children … and sending them into a frenzy. Through a fluke, Hannah manages to put an end to the first attack. Unfortunately, a wave of them are set to follow.

Hannah’s boyfriend Cooper Wyatt believes she can handle almost anything, but a threat against children puts her in a tough position … especially since the demon seems to be demanding something that’s impossible for Hannah to give him. He wants to be there for her, but this fight is one he’s not certain they can win.

Demons are nothing new for Hannah, but this one has a particular agenda, and nobody will survive if it comes to fruition. Because she has no other options, Hannah is forced to join forces with an enemy who can provide an exponential power boost. Will it be a mistake?

Hannah is determined to protect those she loves. This time, the foe might be too strong for her to defeat.

Wicked Graves by Lily Harper HartWicked Graves by Lily Harper Hart:

Maddie Graves-Winters should be preparing for the biggest day of her life – she’s going to become a mother in three months after all – but that’s impossible without the right crib. That means an outing to nearby Shadow Lake with her husband Nick, which turns into a nightmare she wasn’t expecting when a local author is struck in the middle of the road and left for dead.

Ivy Morgan-Harker didn’t even know they had a famous author in town until she was already dead. When helping her husband Jack and his new partner search the dead woman’s house, she finds an entire wall of grievances, which seems to indicate the victim had more than one enemy.

When Maddie and Ivy cross paths, sparks fly … in a magical way. It isn’t long before the truth comes out and they join forces to solve a mystery.

Apparently, the author world is full of kooks, or at least that’s what the women manage to uncover. There are too many suspects and not enough motive. Still, they dig … but the answers they seek are elusive.

There’s a killer running around northern Lower Michigan, and Ivy and Maddie are determined to find out who it is … even if they put themselves in danger to uncover the truth. Their husbands, however frustrated, stand back to watch the show.

They say truth is stranger than fiction, and in this case, that truth will cast a pall over multiple lives.

Buckle up and enjoy the ride because some friendships are destined to become legendary. This is one of them.

Wrecks of Key Largo by Nicholas HarveyWrecks of Key Largo by Nicholas Harvey:

Hidden clues. Deadly wrecks. A ticking clock.

When AJ Bailey heads to the Florida Keys for a scuba diving conference, she’s looking forward to a relaxing trip. But when an old friend goes missing and his wife is in trouble, the holiday is over.

Amid a sea of threats and lies, AJ has 24 hours to find her friend and the mysterious package he took, before payback will be taken in lives.

With no idea where to start, and time running out, AJ soon discovers the answers may lie deep inside the infamous shipwrecks of Key Largo.

Book Twelve in this best-selling series dives into the waters of the Florida Keys with fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and a guest appearance by the marvellous Emily Durand from Nick Sullivan’s ‘The Deep Series’.

The Haunted Hotel Hoopla by Amanda M. LeeThe Haunted Hotel Hoopla by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes is struggling. She thought finding her family would fix everything. It hasn’t, and the threat that’s cast a long shadow over her life is only getting larger. Still, when an opportunity arises to go to Savannah – one of her bucket list cities – she jumps at the chance.

Savannah was made famous by ghosts, but five missing women – and the return of only one body – seems to point to a different sort of culprit. Whatever is going on, it’s weird … and it’s only getting weirder.

Charlie’s mind keeps wandering to the friend she lost, who keeps haunting her dreams, but her determination never wavers. That’s why she hits the ground hot and hard … and the answers that start unspooling do so at a fantastic rate.

There’s just one problem: Whatever evil is haunting Savannah, it’s more than ghosts. Actually, there might be two problems, because the ghosts in Savannah are multiplying exponentially and nobody knows if it’s tied to the missing women.

Charlie has enemies coming out of the woodwork, although the big one is elusive. The answers she seeks are close, and they might just be provided by an unlikely source. It will take all of them working together, every faction in town, to beat back a terrific foe.

Don’t skip to the end in this one, because the ultimate twist is about to descend. Prepare yourself because it’s going to be a heckuva ride.

Wired Target by Toby NealWired Target by Toby Neal:

What would you do if the crime you were hired to solve tugged at your heartstrings?

Private investigator Sophie’s latest case weighs heavy: someone has desecrated the nesting grounds of the majestic Laysan Albatross on Oahu, the murder of a generation of endangered birds—and the outrageous crime appears to be spreading to other islands. Sophie teams up with Sergeant Lei Texeira on Maui to search for killer whose brutal activities outrage the public.

Meanwhile, deadly assassin grandma Pim Wat continues to threaten the fragile peace Sophie is building with her family.

Will Sophie be able to find the answers she seeks in time?

You Better Run by Willow RoseYou Better Run by Willow Rose:

When 19-year-old Meg Briggs wakes up after having a crazy party with her friends, she finds a girl in the pool.

Dead.

Who is this girl?

How did she end up in the pool?

Was she even at the party?

Even more strange is when they pull her out of the water, Meg realizes the girl looks very familiar. As a matter of fact, she looks just like her.

Like an identical twin.

But Meg has no twin, at least none that she knows of, and no one at the party knows this girl or can say where she is from.

What is Meg’s mom hiding from her?

FBI profiler Eva Rae Thomas is caught in distress at home with her children and between the two men in her life when she is asked to help out on the case.

Who killed Meg’s identical twin and why? And where did she come from?

As Eva Rae Thomas digs deeper into the story, she can barely believe the revealed secrets, secrets so cruel that someone is ready to go to great lengths to keep them hidden.

Purrfect Game by Nic SaintPurrfect Game by Nic Saint:

Game, Set and Murder

For some reason I find hard to understand, humans like to play a game called tennis. Basically it involves hitting a ball with something called a racket and inducing it to fly across a net. The person on the other side then proceeds to hit the ball back across that same net. And so on and so forth, ad infinitum. Or at least until someone strikes out, and the other person wins the set, or even the game, and eventually the match.

It’s all very complicated, and not all that interesting, not to say utterly boring, and so when Marge and Tex went on their annual tennis retreat with some of their friends from the tennis club, I mainly saw this as an opportunity to catch up on my naptime, which had suffered greatly since my humans had decided to produce a new human in the form of a baby. Unfortunately for them, before long a murder was committed, and suspicion fell on all those present—Marge and Tex included!

And then of course there was Gran acting strange—which isn’t all that exceptional, considering strange is that eccentric old lady’s middle name—and Harriet acting even stranger, with Brutus convinced she was having an affair. In other words: I had my work cut out for me, trying to unravel everyone’s secrets and their most blatant lies.

The Ghostly Tower by A.F. StewartThe Ghostly Tower by A.F. Stewart:

Meet Heyward and Andersen, consulting detectives in a paranormal London you never imagined…

Elspeth Heyward has never met a puzzle she didn’t want to solve, or an adventure she didn’t relish. Taking Sherlock Homes as her benchmark, she is determined to be the best detective and monster hunter in London.

Lars Andersen’s ambitions aren’t nearly as demanding. He just wants to stay alive, out of trouble, and out of jail. But when your partner likes guns and dynamite, that could be a challenge. Can he survive his new employment?

The Case: Discover if a stone tower on their client’s estate is haunted. It should be straightforward, but ghosts aren’t all they find. When they dig up a body, they also unearth a murder and a tangle of secrets. Secrets they’d better unravel quickly before someone else dies.

Savannah Savior by E.H. VickSavannah Savior by E.H. Vick:

HE HUNTS WOMEN. SHE HUNTS HIM.

FBI Agent Meredeth Connelly tracks The Savannah Strangler by day. At night, she mimics his prey. She has little to go on. He’s crafty and smart – he dumps bodies in the Savannah River after stoning his victims to death. But he won’t escape. She won’t let him. She will do anything to make Savannah safe again. She will do anything to stop him.

The dead pile up. Pressure, a hellish headache, desperate secrets. Heat, stiletto heels, fear. She won’t let anything stop her.

Not the detective who thinks she’s a drunk.
Not the good old boys club.
Not the mystery man cyberstalking her.

She will get the killer. One way or another.

Her pounding head is going to kill her – unless he gets to her first…

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for May 2022

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

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie and small press authors newly published this month, though some 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 urban fantasy, epic fantasy, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, fantasy romance,  paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, near future science fiction, dystopian fiction, Cyberpunk, Steampunk, horror, magical realism, LitRPG, wizards, dragons, immortals, assassins, exorcists, first contact, alien abductions, super soldiers, space marines, stargates, crime-busting witches, crime-busting ghosts, pirates of the sea, the air and space 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:

Wizard's Tower by Gregory AllantherWizard’s Tower by Gregory Allanther:

The humans call me Nemon Fargus. They call me wizard, and [Elementalist] and [Enchanter]. They call me teacher. They call me adventurer.

But I don’t care. Not anymore.

For more than 150 years I’ve served the Kingdom of Sena. Through four Kings and a Queen. Two wars and a rebellion. I’ve founded and taught at a magic school. I’ve fought against beast waves and dungeon breaks.

But now? Now, the one close friend I had left has passed. So, I’m done with their politics and their economics. The short and busy lives of humans are more burden than benefit on the weary soul of this half-elf.

Now, I’m looking for a refuge, a place that can well and truly be my own. Away from the growing cities and the bustling markets, away from the pointless wars, away from the eager students and the arrogant adventurers.

I’m seeking the peaceful life of a wizard in his tower, studying magic to advance my spellcraft…We’ll see if that happens.

Experience the start of a LitRPG Series from Gregory Allanther, the bestselling author of An Old Man’s Journey. With millions of views previously on Royal Road, this hit web serial is new and improved on Kindle & Audible.

Adrift in Starlight by Mindi BriarAdrift in Starlight by Mindi Briar:

When set adrift in the universe, some things are worth holding onto.

Titan Valentino has been offered a job they can’t refuse.

Tai, a gender-neutral courtesan, receives a scandalous proposition: seduce an actor’s virgin fiancée. The money is enough to pay off Tai’s crushing medical debt, a tantalizing prospect.

Too bad Aisha Malik isn’t the easy target they expect.

A standoffish historian who hates to be touched, she’s laser-focused on her career, and completely unaware that her marriage has been arranged behind her back. This could be the one instance where Tai’s charm and charisma fail them.

Then an accidental heist throws them together as partners in crime.

Fleeing from the Authorities, they’re dragged into one adventure after another: alien planets, pirate duels, and narrow escapes from the law. As Tai and Aisha open up to each other, deeper feelings kindle between them. But that reward money still hangs over Tai’s head. Telling Aisha the truth could ruin everything…

Their freedom, their career, and their blossoming love all hang in the balance. To save one might mean sacrificing the rest.

Sky on Fire by Lindsay BurokerSky on Fire by Lindsay Buroker:

The dragons of eld, once benevolent allies to mankind, have been infested by a magical parasite that makes them cruel and aggressive. They’ve flown through the ancient portal to invade Torvil and plan to kill or enslave all of humanity.

If Jak and his allies can’t figure out how to destroy the parasite, a parasite the powerful dragons themselves were helpless to thwart, everyone they care about—everyone in the world—will be doomed.

 

Panacea Genesis by L. Ana EllisPanecea Genesis by L. Ana Ellis:

Mariela Stafford’s life just hit rock bottom. Her boss, the CEO of Panacea Corp, created a digital clone of himself, demoted Mariela, gave the clone her job, and told Mariela to train it. Now the clone wants her to help it kill the CEO.

In 2115, embedded chips, virtual reality, and the threat of extreme weather have led to a market for businesses that keep a person’s body alive in a habitation pod while the person lives entirely in the metaverse. But not everyone embraces technological advances– a group of people have adopted the tech of 2005 while isolating themselves from the temptation of advanced technology. Panacea Corp – the world’s most powerful corporation – connects both worlds through providing the metaverse, the pod warehouses, and the land to the technology resisters.

Mariela Stafford, a vice president for Panacea Corp, is demoted after her new boss assigns his digital clone to take over her job. Assisted by Amoco, an eccentric polymath who also works for the corporation, she schemes a way to get rid of the clone. To delete it, they’ll need to recruit a team to access an eighty-year-old server farm in a remote location—which would be a lot easier to do if the records on the location of the server farm hadn’t been lost.

This ‘earth’ opera—a tale with all the drama, expansiveness, and varied cast of a space opera, but set on earth—will appeal to anyone who’s ever felt out-of-control of the technology in their lives.

Inquisitor's Bane by Rachel FordInquisitor’s Bane by Rachel Ford:

The Inquisitor is dead. But Black Port’s problems are only just beginning.

Knight Protector Portia Daysen returns to the South, she’s a new woman, with new secrets. She means to continue the work of Black Wyvern, the secret order intent on rescuing elves and dragons from captivity and death.

Meanwhile, Captain Valia Iceborn struggles with her growing feelings for Portia – and how they may be impacting her judgement. Should she stay in Black Port, and risk detection? Or should she go to ground now, before the king’s men – and a new inquisitor – show up?

When the pair learn of the kidnapping of a rare black wyvern hatchling, a hatchling who can communicate with mortals and immortals alike, they realize his rescue must be priority number one.

But if there’s one thing the nations of North and South can agree upon, it’s the danger to their own power that such a wyvern poses. To rescue the missing hatchling, the two women will need to contend with more than inquisitors.

They’ll need to outwit and outrun the forces of two nations, hellbent on stopping them by any means necessary.

Ghostly Shadows by Lily Harper HartGhostly Shadows by Lily Harper Hart:

Harper Harlow has it all, including a new business, a husband she adores, and a best friend she’s determined not to murder even though he’s determined to be the groomzilla to end all groomzillas. Life is good … until it’s not.

Everything is thrown into doubt when her former boyfriend, a grifter on trial for murder, escapes from the county courthouse and starts terrorizing Whisper Cove.

Her husband Jared Monroe is on edge. Quinn Jackson has proven himself to be a threat more than once, and it’s clear Quinn is gunning for Harper because he blames her for being caught in the first place. That means Zander and Shawn – who are in the midst of preparing for their wedding – have to move in so everybody is safe.

It’s a full house and the stakes are high. A dead courthouse guard is their only guide, and he’s not enough.

Harper is determined to get her happily ever after, as well as Zander’s too. That means they have to grapple with Quinn before the big day arrives.

Murder is on the menu and Quinn has nothing to lose. It’s a race to the finish – and down the aisle – and winner takes all.

Strap in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Alondra by A.L. HawkeAlondra by A.L. Hawke:

I fell in love with a goth, but she’s a witch.

Starting school at Hawthorne University was not going well, until I met my classmate Alondra. Allie was different. She was goth. But she was also mysterious, confident and fun. I was into that. My name’s Liam. My friends call me Lee.

Things got weird after I accompanied her to her haunts. Poltergeists and demons attacked little girls. I watched Alondra help exorcise these ghosts, but some of their evil stuck to me.

Well, being attracted to a witch was one thing; dating one was quite another. It seemed the closer I got to Allie, the more her witchcraft endangered my friends. And my soul. You decide. I chronicled everything here in her book.

Alondra is a prequel to the internationally bestselling Hawthorne University Witch series. The novel takes place twenty years before Broomstick.

Content warning: Alondra is a new adult college paranormal romance containing profanity, sexual scenes, adult situations, and, of course, witchcraft.

Ambassador: The Unfolding Army by Patty JansenAmbassador: The Unfolding Army by Patty Jansen:

For three months, Cory and his team have hung with Asto’s military in orbit, watching as drone armies attacked Earth.

They could have helped more had Nations of Earth communicated with the fleet or if they could only find out where these drones come from, who controls them and from where. The enemy is smart, enmeshed with sections of Earth’s population and Asto’s military severely hamstrung by Nations of Earth playing chicken.

Three months ago, the president contacted Cory asking for help. The connection was interrupted and never re-established.

It’s as if they don’t want help.

Cory’s got gamra breathing down his neck with the requirement that Nations of Earth officially approves the presence of Asto’s military in orbit.

Something has to give.

He and his team return to a battle-scarred Earth on a hare-brained mission to talk to Nations of Earth, to check on the president, to get him to sign for approval. Getting there is hard. The state of the Nations of Earth assembly is deeply troubling. But getting out, that’s where it gets truly interesting.

The Obanaax by Kirk A. JohnsonThe Obanaax and Other Tales of Heroes and Horrors by Kirk A. Johnson:

“The Obanaax” is a collection of two novelettes and two short stories that take the reader on a journey to the world of Aaduna on the great northern continent of Mbor. This novel’s imaginative sword and sorcery world, influenced by several West African languages, sets this book apart from other stories explored in this genre. These narrative elements, naming conventions, and heart-pounding prose makes “The Obanaax” an adventure that will ignite a passion for exploring this undreamed-of new world far beyond the last page has turned. These tales from far afield will introduce to you the adventurous daring-do of those unaccustomed to the monstrous chaos of the unnatural and, at times, its alien desires. An epic for those willing to brave far and away from the world we know.

Dark Factory by Kathe KojaDark Factory by Kathe Koja:

Welcome to Dark Factory! You may experience strobe effects, Y reality, DJ beats, love, sex, betrayal, triple shot espresso, broken bones, broken dreams, ecstasy, self-knowledge, and the void.Dark Factory is a dance club: three floors of DJs, drinks, and customizable reality, everything you see and hear and feel. Ari Regon is the club’s wild card floor manager, Max Caspar is a stubborn DIY artist, both chasing a vision of true reality. And rogue journalist Marfa Carpenter is there to write it all down. Then a rooftop rave sets in motion a fathomless energy that may drive Ari and Max to the edge of the ultimate experience.Dark Factory is Kathe Koja’s wholly original new novel from Meerkat Press, that combines her award-winning writing and her skill directing immersive events, to create a story that unfolds on the page, online, and in the reader’s creative mind. www.Darkfactory.club

Sun & Dreams by J. Steven LampertiSun & Dream by J. Steven Lamperti:

Anise has power in her dreams – too much power.

When your dreams can change the world, you need to learn to control them.

Anise’s uncle Sebastian takes her to the Academy, the school where the wizards of Liamec learn to use their powers.

But the people in Anise’s small village are not the only ones who notice the young girl’s abilities. Who is the Watcher, the malevolent presence Anise feels in her dreams, and why is Helios, the sun-god, protecting her?

While Anise studies the ways of the wizards, a dark secret that hangs over the founding of the Academy threatens to unravel reality and destroy the land of Liamec.

Death's Touch by Erme LanderDeath’s Touch by Erme Lander:

Centuries ago Tomas made a promise and has kept it out of cowardice. He has lived under the radar for all this time, hiding from the authorities where he can. Recipient of a terrible gift, his belief that he is the only one like himself is about to be exploded. The gods’ favoured are corrupt, power hungry and know how to find him.

 

 

 

Friday the Witchteenth by Amanda M. LeeFriday the Witchteenth by Amanda M. Lee:

Bay Winchester is newly married and happy. Things have been quiet since she returned from her honeymoon, which means trouble is just around the corner. When it comes, it takes the form of a despondent man on a bridge. Despite her best efforts, Bay and the hostage negotiator can’t save him, and death is swift.

That should’ve been the end of it, but a weird symbol on the dead man’s hand piques Bay’s interest, and when the negotiator turns up sick with the same symptoms, she knows that they have a problem on their hands.

Suicide as a contagion? It’s not the fight Bay was expecting, and it’s definitely not the one she was looking for. Still, it’s the problem that keeps on giving … especially when it spreads to Mrs. Little.

In her heart, Bay knows that she shouldn’t care about the woman who has hurt her family at every turn. Ignoring the problem isn’t an option though. If she stands back and does nothing in an attempt to end the chain, she’ll never be able to live with herself. If she gets too close, she could get infected herself.

Bay has never doubted her magic, but the current fight is out of her wheelhouse. Magic is at the core of what’s happening, but their enemy is invisible.

The Winchester witches have never met an enemy they can’t fight … until now. Will they be able to pull together and save Hemlock Cove? Or is the town doomed to fall to a curse without a name and an evil without a soul?

Strap in, because the answer is more than anybody is expecting, and if everybody is to survive, the fight will have to move to an entirely new level.

The game is on. In this one, the winner will take all.

Fire by L.C. MawsonFire by L.C. Mawson:

It only takes one night for the world to turn on its head…

Finishing my second degree was supposed to be a quiet time of wrapping up my academic work and maybe making a friend or two before everyone left town. That was before the monsters started attacking.

I’ve always ignored the strange occurrences that tend to happen around me, but now these creatures are hunting me, everything I touch is erupting into flame, and all I’ve got to help is a guy I barely know, his reclusive sister, an invitation to train with a secretive magical faction, and a strange necklace that apparently belongs to the magical world’s most wanted…

I’m not used to trusting anyone, but as monsters close in, I don’t think I have a choice.

Iron Paws and the Tinker's Forced Marriage by Juli D. RevezzoIron Paws and the Tinker’s Forged Marriage by Juli D. Revezzo:

A year ago, Vesta Bartlett received a rather unusual assignment.

Now, as if perfecting her clockwork puppies for Queen Victoria weren’t enough, a surprise invitation to present them to the Texas Republic president makes Vesta question a number of things, including will the president accept the clockwork from a woman? Unsure, she agrees to allow Henry to go along, as her spokesman and husband, regardless of how her father may feel about a fake marriage.

But they have bigger problems than her father’s anger when an anti-alchemist group takes issue with her clockwork creations and decide they need to stop Vesta’s work. By any means, no matter how violent.

Speed of Dark by Patricia RickettsSpeed of Dark by Patricia Ricketts:

Mary Em Phillips has decided to end it all after losing her beloved Mamie, who raised her; her husband, Jack, who has left her for another woman; and her only son, Petey, who has died as a result of a freak bacterial infection. But when Mosely Albright, a black man from Chicago’s South Side, comes to her back door one morning needing a drink of water and seeking directions back to the train, her plans are derailed . . . to the chagrin of Mishigami (so named by the Ojibwe, also known as Lake Michigan), who has been trying to lure Mary Em into his icy depths in the hopes that she will save him.

Mary Em wants nothing more than to end her anguish. Mosely is searching for the love he’s been missing most of his life. And Mishigami—who fears he is dying from rampant pollution and overfishing—seeks a champion.

A story of friendship, survival, connection and the unquestioning power of nature told through three distinct voices, Speed of Dark affirms a love of humanity that transcends all else, including race and background.

The Exorcist's House by Nick RobertsThe Exorcist’s House by Nick Roberts:

This psychological thriller follows a family to their Appalachian farmhouse, where they encounter an unimaginable horror.

In the summer of 1994, psychologist Daniel Hill buys a rustic farmhouse nestled in the rolling hills of West Virginia.

Along with his wife and teenage daughter, the family uproots their lives in Ohio and moves south. They are initially seduced by the natural beauty of the country setting. That soon changes when they discover a hidden room in the basement with a well, boarded shut and adorned with crucifixes.

Local legends about the previous owner being an exorcist come to light, but by then, all Hell has broken loose.

This 1990s horror novel is perfect for fans of family thriller books, stories of demonic possession, exorcism fiction, the occult, or thrillers like The Exorcist, A Head Full of Ghosts, and The Amityville Horror.

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

Huntress by Glynn StewartHuntress by Glynn Stewart:

A peaceful world in the crosshairs
A rising threat armed by an old foe
A call to arms she can’t ignore…

Admiral Kira Demirci lost the coin toss with her second-in-command and was supposed to be taking a holiday. That meant waiting in the Redward System while Memorial Force’s new carrier Huntress was commissioned and turned over to the mercenary space fleet.

But when a stranger arrives looking to hire Memorial Force to protect her homeworld, Kira finds money, boredom and altruism combining to bring her into action. The majority of her fleet is elsewhere, but she has two heavy warships, including Huntress. More than enough to protect the pacifist system of Samuels from their neighbors.

Those neighbors were armed by Kira’s old foes in the Brisingr System, and she smells the hand of the Equilibrium Institute behind the scheme. A chance to protect the innocent and frustrate two old foes at once is hard to turn down—and even if things go wrong, the rest of her fleet is on their way.

She’s planned for everything. Hasn’t she?

City in the Sky by Glynn StewartCity in the Sky by Glynn Stewart:

“Killing a man isn’t an easy thing to live with, no matter the cause.”

Erik Tarverro is a skilled blacksmith, a better swordsman—and hated for his mixed aeradi parentage. Denied mastery of his craft in the human city he grew up in, he accepts a risky contract from a dangerous stranger.

With new enemies at his heels, he leaps at the chance to join his father’s people in the sky city of Newport. Despite his human blood, he finds his place among the aeradi: heir to an ancient noble family.

His duty leads him to sailing the skies and learning what it means to lead soldiers. But Erik’s enemies will have blood, and the peace between his people and the Draconan dragon riders is like a powder keg. All it would take is one spark—and dragons will fly on his newfound city in the sky.

Reclamation Mind Jack by E.L. StrifeReclamation Mind Jack by E.L. Strife:

Marci, a super soldier and escapee of the Astral’s bio-enhancement military program Zedger, has found a new purpose in rescuing others like her. But she can’t do it alone, and not without parts. Marci must travel to the last standing city of Tellurians in the irradiated expanse of Zion. There, in EsoTerra, she must fight for her right to trade with others for what she requires.

She tries to hide her identity, mask her skills, play down her expertise, but too many have heard rumors of her. Marci can’t hide from the truth forever.

Soon, she finds herself helping other soldiers dumped from Zedger. Recent “disposals” have lost their minds to the Genesis program Astrals use to control their creations. Marci must deep dive the soldiers’ cerebral enhancements to figure out why and salvage everyone she can.

What she discovers when searching Genesis streams alerts Astrals to her position. Lead rain soon falls from the sky in the form of BloodTitans.

Can Marci save the soldiers and her people? Or is this the Tellurians’ last stand?

With Slight Tremors by Ed TejaWith Slight Tremors by Ed Teja:

It’s time to take a break from the world you think you know and to step through into another one. These five stories offer a guided tour of new possibilities and different places. They rely on magic, science, and sleight of hand, and will betray your trust at every opportunity. But just because they are fantastic, doesn’t mean they aren’t real (somewhere).

You can stay tucked away on a safe perch and let this book unveil the genre-bending consequences of rather minor changes to a world that might be the one you live in, or might not; you can follow the way events unravel when cause and effect aren’t quite so boringly predictable.

Stories of ideas are, however, always dangerous. Consider yourself warned.

Martian Jump Gate by James David VictorMartian Jump Gate by James David Victor:

Humanity has opened a door that allows for instantaneous travel through the stars. What they find on the other side might mean the end of all mankind.

The invention of jump-gates has allowed instantaneous travel throughout the solar system, and beyond. Captain Shoji Mora will lead the first expedition through the jump-gate to Mars in a gigantic space robot known as Tin Man. Their mission soon turns from mining and exploration to defending humanity from an alien invasion. Can the giant space robot defend mankind from certain destruction at the hands of a superior alien armada?

Mars Jump Gate is the first book in the Tin Man Space Opera Adventure. If you like fast-paced sci-fi adventures, make Tin Man your next epic space adventure.

The Orion Abduction by Dylan WhiteThe Orion Abduction by Dylan White:

He’s either the key to our evolution or our destruction. And they’re coming for him.

For most of his fifteen years, Joshua Fox believed he was being abducted by aliens.

Just searching for normalcy in his small Kansas town, he discovers he’s unwittingly been involved in something much bigger and everything he thought he knew is now in question.

All Josh really knows is he must find out the truth before it’s too late—not just to save himself and his friends, but the entire world.

Grayshade by Gregory A. WilsonGrayshade by Gregory A. Wilson:

For ten years, the assassin Grayshade has eliminated threats to the Order of Argoth, the Just God. Within the towering walls of Cohrelle, all bow to the Order’s authority, even while the city officials publicly distance themselves from its actions.

As the supreme executor of the Order’s edicts, Grayshade dispatches his targets with protocol and precision. But when an assignment breaks these rules, he does the most dangerous thing an Acolyte of Argoth can do: he asks why. Now a target of the Order he so long served without question, he must use all of his skills not only to kill . . . but to stay alive.

Grayshade is a novel of violent faith and shifting loyalties, a story about whether we can rise above our pasts to craft new futures.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for May 2022


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, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, action thrillers, adventure thrillers, horror thrillers, police procedurals, detective novels, police officers, ex-cops, private investigators, amateur sleuths, thieves, con artists, serial killers, organised crime, drug dealing, human trafficking, heists, sleazy megachurch ministers, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting ghosts, crime-busting dogs, deadly writer retreats, murder and mayhem in London, Rutland, the Pacific Northwest, Florida, Texas, Kansas, Calgary 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 Over the Cold Grave by Blythe BakerMurder Over the Cold Grave by Blythe Baker:

When a serial killer draws Lillian Crawford into a deadly game, she and Eugene Osbourn must team up one final time to thwart their mysterious foe. But will they stop the murderer’s twisted game in time to prevent one more death?

 

 

 

Iconoclast by Laurie BuchananIconoclast by Laurie Buchanan:

Burdened by the pressing weight of survivor’s guilt, Sean McPherson, an ex-cop, is desperate for redemption. At Pines & Quill, a writer’s retreat in the Pacific Northwest, he and his fiancée, Emma Benton, are planning their lives together. He wants to go back into law enforcement. She plans to walk again.

Georgio “The Bull” Gambino, head of a Seattle-based crime family, has a long reach. Like cockroaches, his minions infiltrate even the most inaccessible of places to do his bidding. With Seattle to the south, the Canadian border a stone’s throw to the north, and Bellingham Bay—a gateway to the Pacific Ocean—immediately to the west, Bellingham is the ideal location for the Gambino crime family to traffic drugs, weapons, and humans. But McPherson’s in Gambino’s way, which means he must be eliminated.

The writers in residence at Pines & Quill include an Afghanistan War veteran, a professional photographer, a civil rights attorney, and a gourmet chef. But McPherson suspects that there’s more going on than the joy of creating plot twists. Is one of them conspiring murder outside the pages of their manuscript?

Murder with Daffodils by Beth ByersMurder With Daffodils by Beth Byers:

Vi and friends have traveled to a nearby village to see the flowers. These aren’t just any spring bulbs. They are fields of flowers planted as a living love poem. People who know of their existence travel from miles around to witness the beauty.

If only they could be surprised when they discover a mystery along with the blossoms. Vi and friends are also not surprised when, once again, they can’t leave things alone. This time they’re intrigued by the very person the flowers were planted for, and the one who planted them.

As the case progresses, they wonder if it’s a romance or a horror story. Violet uncovers clues and chases down secrets, delving into the darkness amidst the beauty. Only as they draw closer to the killer, they discover that maybe they don’t want to know what happened after all.

The Megachurch Heist by L.W. CadleThe Megachurch Heist by L.W. Cadle:

1.4 million in stolen cash. It should be a simple heist to steal from a thief. What could go wrong?

Darla Doyle could have retired with the money she made from her last heist. But her partner in crime, Flynn, comes to her with an offer she can’t refuse.

Andrew Curtis, a sleazy megachurch minister, has stolen 1.4 million in donations and hid the cash, and Flynn knows exactly where. Darla has a personal grudge to settle with religious scammers, so she signs on.

But when they get to the Kansas church, posing as a preaching couple wanting business advice, Darla finds it nearly impossible to keep up the persona they’ve created for her. She’s no actress, she’s a getaway driver! And worse, the megachurch’s head of security, Silas Flecke, is far sharper an operator than she expected to encounter.

Flecke is a pro at securing the church against crime. Darla and Flynn are pros at stealing. Who will come out on top when they break into the church at night to retrieve the stolen cash?

Watch Your Back by Stacy ClaflinWatch Your Back by Stacy Claflin:

Even perfect neighborhoods have deadly secrets.

Ariana and Damon moved to the gated neighborhood of Rosy Hills to leave behind their traumatic pasts. Now they have their dream jobs and are part of a tight group of friends. All of that crumbles when their neighbor Rita disappears without a trace.

Now it looks like one of their own could be a killer. Ariana and Damon must figure out who it is, or they risk never finding Rita alive. If they don’t reach her in time, they could all end up dead…

Kiss of Death by Adam CroftKiss of Death by Adam Croft:

An elderly woman collapses and dies during a Sunday morning church service in Oakham. But things aren’t quite as innocent as they seem.

Within hours, there’s a second unexplained death in Rutland. Then a third. But the victims appear to be completely unconnected.

With the body count rising by the day, DI Caroline Hills and DS Dexter Antoine need to uncover the link before more innocent people die.

Only one thing is certain: a killer walks the streets of Rutland. But no-one knows who the next victim will be, when they will be killed — or why.

The Bus to Beulah by E.C. HanesThe Bus to Beulah by E.C. Hanes:

On her way to a new job in America, Maria Puente accidentally discovers a human trafficking ring. Fearing exposure, the American company that manages the operation—with the help of their Mexican partners—kidnaps Maria.

Maria’s disappearance triggers a desperate search, by her family and local law enforcement, to find her before the kidnappers can permanently dispose of her. As the investigation unfolds, long-time Hogg County high sheriff Will Moser confronts Albert Waters, a powerful businessman who Will suspects knows about Maria’s disappearance—but Albert and his Mexican cartel partners prove to be brick walls.

At the urging of his wife, Lana, Will calls on Elijah Kahn, a man he got to know while serving in Vietnam who now runs one of the largest international security firms in the world. The idea of working with men who are rightly known as mercenaries troubles Will, but he knows he’ll never find Maria without Elijah’s help—and when Lana reminds Will of the debt they owe to Tomas Delgado, Maria’s uncle, his hesitation evaporates.

Organized in an hour-by-hour structure, The Bus to Beulah is a taut thriller that culminates in a massive, heatrt-pounding chase to save Maria—before she disappears forever.

Ghostly Shadows by Lily Harper HartGhostly Shadows by Lily Harper Hart:

Harper Harlow has it all, including a new business, a husband she adores, and a best friend she’s determined not to murder even though he’s determined to be the groomzilla to end all groomzillas. Life is good … until it’s not.

Everything is thrown into doubt when her former boyfriend, a grifter on trial for murder, escapes from the county courthouse and starts terrorizing Whisper Cove.

Her husband Jared Monroe is on edge. Quinn Jackson has proven himself to be a threat more than once, and it’s clear Quinn is gunning for Harper because he blames her for being caught in the first place. That means Zander and Shawn – who are in the midst of preparing for their wedding – have to move in so everybody is safe.

It’s a full house and the stakes are high. A dead courthouse guard is their only guide, and he’s not enough.

Harper is determined to get her happily ever after, as well as Zander’s too. That means they have to grapple with Quinn before the big day arrives.

Murder is on the menu and Quinn has nothing to lose. It’s a race to the finish – and down the aisle – and winner takes all.

Strap in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Deceived by Mary KeliikoaDeceived by Mary Keliikoa:

PI Kelly Pruett finally feels like she’s coming into her own. With her personal life well on track, a gig uncovering what drove a client’s granddaughter underground could be good for business. But after her undercover operation at the homeless shelter reveals rampant drug dealing, she’s suddenly kicked off the case… just as another girl goes missing.

Vowing to expose the truth even if it means pro-bono work, Kelly is taken aback when her half-sister helps her hunt down answers in a tent city brimming with distrust. When her investigation doesn’t move quickly enough to save a second woman from a vicious murder, Kelly doubles her efforts unwilling to accept defeat.

Friday the Witchteenth by Amanda M. LeeFriday the Witchteenth by Amanda M. Lee:

Bay Winchester is newly married and happy. Things have been quiet since she returned from her honeymoon, which means trouble is just around the corner. When it comes, it takes the form of a despondent man on a bridge. Despite her best efforts, Bay and the hostage negotiator can’t save him, and death is swift.

That should’ve been the end of it, but a weird symbol on the dead man’s hand piques Bay’s interest, and when the negotiator turns up sick with the same symptoms, she knows that they have a problem on their hands.

Suicide as a contagion? It’s not the fight Bay was expecting, and it’s definitely not the one she was looking for. Still, it’s the problem that keeps on giving … especially when it spreads to Mrs. Little.

In her heart, Bay knows that she shouldn’t care about the woman who has hurt her family at every turn. Ignoring the problem isn’t an option though. If she stands back and does nothing in an attempt to end the chain, she’ll never be able to live with herself. If she gets too close, she could get infected herself.

Bay has never doubted her magic, but the current fight is out of her wheelhouse. Magic is at the core of what’s happening, but their enemy is invisible.

The Winchester witches have never met an enemy they can’t fight … until now. Will they be able to pull together and save Hemlock Cove? Or is the town doomed to fall to a curse without a name and an evil without a soul?

Strap in, because the answer is more than anybody is expecting, and if everybody is to survive, the fight will have to move to an entirely new level.

The game is on. In this one, the winner will take all.

Scavenger Hunt by Duane LindsayScavenger Hunt by Duane Lindsay:

It looked like taking candy from a baby. Until it didn’t…

For a con artist like Dani Silver, the mark’s low-hanging fruit—a recently signed basketball prodigy suddenly worth millions—and too young and naïve to know who to trust. Only one problem–so many people are already trying to scam him there’s literally no way to get to him.

Except, that is, to make a deal with the devil— aka Greville Norquist, a fixer with a reputation as the prince of darkness. The deal: Greville will arrange an intro and in return, Dani must provide him with four seemingly worthless items scammed or stolen from people Greville specifies—one of them being a snuffbox.

It’s a perfect set-up for author Lindsay to work his comic magic, deftly twisting one plot around the other like a couple of puppies in a box. But there are two obstacles— first, the snuffbox owner turns out to be nearly as hard to find as the mark.

And second, the mark turns out to be a sweet kid with an even sweeter fiancée— Leticia’s so lovely Dani’s ally, Foster Stevens the gay apy, more or less falls for her. In fact, pretty soon the whole gang balks at scamming these two. And Dani herself has taken a vow never to cheat a good guy.

So how are they supposed to turn a profit on this one?

As it turns out, it’s the least of their worries—Greville’s declared war on them.

Dog's Honest Truth by Neil S. PlakcyDog’s Honest Truth by Neil S. Plakcy:

Steve and Rochester seek the truth about a neighbor’s murder

There’s a new dog in town – a golden retriever named Luke, in training to be a seeing-eye dog. He and Rochester immediately bond, but there’s something odd about Luke’s human, Ben Ji. How can someone so young afford an expensive townhouse on Sarajevo Way? When Ben is shot, Steve begins to discover the lies he has been telling.

Steve’s also forced to tell the truth about his past, when he deals with a student plagiarist at Eastern College, a professor locked in the stone age, a climate activist with dangerous habits, an angry bartender—and a rifle-wielding assassin.

Will he and Rochester be able to dig up the clues to all these mysteries? Or will a deadly killer go unpunished?

The Exorcist's House by Nick RobertsThe Exorcist’s House by Nick Roberts:

This psychological thriller follows a family to their Appalachian farmhouse, where they encounter an unimaginable horror.

In the summer of 1994, psychologist Daniel Hill buys a rustic farmhouse nestled in the rolling hills of West Virginia.

Along with his wife and teenage daughter, the family uproots their lives in Ohio and moves south. They are initially seduced by the natural beauty of the country setting. That soon changes when they discover a hidden room in the basement with a well, boarded shut and adorned with crucifixes.

Local legends about the previous owner being an exorcist come to light, but by then, all Hell has broken loose.

This 1990s horror novel is perfect for fans of family thriller books, stories of demonic possession, exorcism fiction, the occult, or thrillers like The Exorcist, A Head Full of Ghosts, and The Amityville Horror.

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

Elusive Charity by Wayne StinnettElusive Charity by Wayne Stinnett:

Since the recent death of a wealthy but perverted businessman, Charity Styles has been hiding in plain sight, as if challenging anyone to come after her.

She’s on her own once more, living day to day on her beloved Wind Dancer, anchored near a quaint little Gulf Coast town in the Florida Panhandle. But when the son of a fishing client ends up dead, the father’s employer hires Charity to find the person responsible.

Intrigue mounts faster than the list of suspects and Charity finds new purpose and direction, and possibly a guide. But will her new outlook make her fall prey to the local crime boss? Very few know of her abilities and many have come up short in trying to take her. Will this be Charity’s final downfall from grace?

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

Murder’s a spectacle!

When Ginger Reed ~ aka Lady Gold ~ and Basil Reed’s son Scout runs away to join the circus, it’s not all fun and games. As a disgruntled teen unhappy at boarding school, Scout intends to work with his cousin Marvin, newly (and dishonourably) discharged from the navy. An animal lover at heart, Scout is tickled to assist the animal trainer and develops a particular bond with the matriarchal elephant, Tulip.

The big top event pleases the crowds, but when a performer dies under suspicious circumstances, Scout and Tulip find themselves in real, three ring trouble!

Pineapple Podcast by Amy VansantPineapple Podcast by Amy Vansant:

Pineapple Podcast is packed full of Pineapple Port surprises!

Charlotte hunts a killer with a curious cookie-cutter calling card who seems to be out to impress the local true-crime podcaster. The work keeps her from concentrating on the fact her boyfriend has been acting strange…it seems Declan is ready to make a few major life decisions.

Meanwhile, Mariska and Darla take over a local restaurant while the owner’s out of town, and can’t help but add a few things to the menu… bad idea, since the owner belongs to a true crime club that roots for the killers…

Mix in an earbud-wearing puppy, a starry-eyed deputy, and white-knuckle action and you’ll find yourself wanting to move to Pineapple Port…again!

Immersed in the View by P.D. WorkmanImmersed in the View by P.D. Workman:

A Wake Up Call

Detective “Parks” Pat is back. Now an established and accepted member of the homicide squad, she unexpectedly brings a new case to the table when she stumbles across a body as Canada Day dawns. While it was initially assumed to be an accidental drowning, the autopsy results say otherwise.

Margie is soon off and running, but the lack of witnesses has her going in circles. Meanwhile, the brass wants the investigation put to bed before the city is flooded with Calgary Stampede tourists and dignitaries.

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