Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for April 2020

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, horror, paranormal mysteries, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, YA science fiction, time travel, Steampunk, werewolves, wizards, angels, demons, dragons, pirates of space and of the sea, crime-busting witches, revolutionary witches, rebellious numbers, usurper kings, space marines, supernatural prisons, moon goddesses, teens lost in 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:

The Usurper by James AlderdiceThe Usurper by James Alderdice:

Introducing the Usurper King…And the Road to the Crown is paved in blood…

The Fates weave a tapestry of life and death for young Gathelaus the Sellsword. Now an unexpected opportunity presents itself for the famed mercenary, he has but to claim the blood red crown…

But once you wear the crown, how long can you hold it until that power is turned against you? Follow Gathelaus on a journey through a life of magic, action and intrigue; battling gods and monsters across a mystic realm …

The Usurper is an action-packed heroic adventure in the vein of classic pulp fiction and heroic fantasy. If you like Conan the Barbarian, The Witcher and Logen Ninefingers along with vengeful sorcery, savage duels, larger-than-life characters, and witty humor, then you’ll love James Alderdice’s barbaric tale.

Ever by Odette C. BellEver by Odette C. Bell:

When the future is broken, the present becomes all we have left….

Genevieve wakes in a broken future. Cryogenically frozen in the hopes that one day her illness will be cured, she awakens to find she was never sick. Her disease is a power – one of the greatest in the galaxy. All will fight to control her, and they will bring the Milky Way to the brink of total destruction.

There’s only man who can save her and everyone else – not that he knows it. A transport captain with a rocky past, Scott will have to find the good in his heart before he can rise to the occasion.

Home Front by Lindsay BurokerHome Front by Lindsay Buroker:

Casmir and his allies have struck a devastating blow to the powerful prince who sent invaders into their star system, but war still rages at home. Worse, the prince has escaped with a lethal bioweapon, and he intends to wipe out all human life on Odin. Casmir could lose his parents, his friends, and everyone he holds dear.

On top of all that, the Kingdom fleet commander Jorg has captured two of Casmir’s friends to ensure his “compliance.” But Jorg wants a bioweapon of his own as well as the deadly crushers that Casmir has made. To side with him would be to side with the devil. But if Casmir doesn’t… he may never see his friends alive again.

Tangled Truths by Lindsay BurokerTangled Truths by Lindsay Buroker:

Dealing with dragons is hard. Dealing with a teenage daughter is even harder.

My new mission involves both. Weird things are happening in Northern Idaho, and my boss is sending me to investigate. Unfortunately, my daughter and ex-husband are vacationing in the town that’s at the center of the trouble. Coincidence? Or is someone targeting them to get at me?

I’m a wanted woman right now. Not only by the criminal werewolves, orcs, and trolls that I’m often hired to kill. But by the Dragon Justice Court.

An organization full of arrogant, powerful dragons is exactly as horrible as it sounds. They’re the last beings you’d want after your family. If I can’t get to the bottom of the mystery and convince the dragons I’m not their enemy, I stand to lose far more than my own life.

Boneshaker by Joshua DalzelleBoneshaker by Joshua Dalzelle:

Marine First Lieutenant Jacob Brown is bored.

For months he’s been sitting around on an alien planet, waiting for command to recall his scout team so they could rest and be re-outfitted. The team went through hell during their previous mission, losing both their commanding officer and their ship. For now, Jacob was acting CO of Scout Team Obsidian and their ship was a broken down old surplus combat shuttle they’d stolen from narco-smugglers on a planet called Niceen-3.

When command finally does reach out, however, it isn’t to order Obsidian home for some much needed R&R. Instead, they are being reactivated and sent out into the contested space of the recently conquered Eshquarian Empire to track down a single Terran cruiser called the Eagle’s Talon.

The Talon’s captain has gone rogue and is operating within a fleet of ships bent on open rebellion against the quadrant’s only remaining superpower. If that ship is discovered within the rebel fleet, Earth will bear the brunt of the ConFed’s reprisal. Jacob’s team is in a race against time to locate the missing ship and her rogue captain so that a Navy strike force can swoop in and reclaim her… or destroy her.

The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper by A.J. FitzwaterThe Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper by A.J. Fitzwater:

Dapper. Lesbian. Capybara. Pirate.
Cinrak the Dapper is a keeper of secrets, a righter of wrongs, the saltiest capybara on the sea and a rider of both falling stars and a great glass whale. Join her, her beloveds, the rat Queen Orvilia and the marmot diva Loquolchi, lead soprano of the Theatre Rat-oyal, her loyal cabin kit, Benj the chinchilla, and Agnes, last of the great krakens, as they hunt for treasures of all kinds and find adventures beyond their wildest dreams. Let Sir Julius Vogel Award-winning storyteller A.J. Fitzwater take you on a glorious journey about finding yourself, discovering true love and found family, and exploring the greatest secrets of the deep. Also, dapperness.

The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper includes seven stories about Cinrak and her crew:
•“Young Cinrak”
•“Perfidy at the Felidae Isles
•“The Wild Ride of the Untamed Stars”
•“Search for the Heart of the Ocean”
•“The Hirsute Pursuit”
•“Cetaceous Secrets of the Jewelled Nadit”
•“Flight of the Hydro Chorus”

Witch Confidential by Lily Harper HartWitch Confidential by Lily Harper Hart:

The Big Easy is about to be buried in big trouble.
Again.

For Ofelia Archer, that means she’s knee-deep in an investigation … even though she’s not quite sure how she got there.

Zach Sully thinks he’s in for an easy night at Ofelia’s speakeasy – maybe a little flirting as a lead-up to a date included – when a scream in a neighboring abandoned building draws his attention. Upon further investigation, he finds a young woman dead and a real estate developer traumatized.

The dead girl is a street performer who lived on the edge. That’s bad enough, but when voices from the past cause Ofelia to break open a wall, they find more bodies … and a mystery more than ten years in the making.

The new murder mimics the old deaths, but who are the girls in the wall? Ofelia was a child when stories of street girls going missing were prevalent … and then Hurricane Katrina hit and people forgot their fear in the face of a life-changing storm.

Now, all these years later, Ofelia and Sully are determined to uncover what happened then, tie it to what’s happening today, and find vengeance for all of the victims in the here and now.

That’s easier said than done.

There’s a malevolent force stalking the French Quarter and Ofelia suddenly finds herself in the killer’s path. Someone wants to keep a secret, and he or she is willing to kill to make sure that the past stays buried.

Can Ofelia and Sully evade a killer and uncover the truth? It will be a race to the finish to find out.

Broomstick by A.L. HawkeBroomstick by A.L. Hawke:

I used to not believe in witches.

Until I enrolled in Dr. Alondra Johansen’s metaphysical history class. Bryce, Alondra’s super cute teaching assistant, told me my element sign is Earth. I am, in fact, a pragmatic sort of girl. My name is Cadence Hawthorne, but you can call me Katie.

Darkness fell over me and my family during my sophomore year. I thought maybe Alondra could help me with my grief and visions of ghosts. But there was this guy working with her, with a goatee and sardonic smile, who looked more like the devil than a professor. He did terrible things to my best friend, threatening my growing love for Bryce.

Do you believe in ghosts? How ‘bout witches? I do. See, it was at Hawthorne University that I learned all about them. Come take a look in my grimoire. I wrote it all down here in Broomstick.

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

Velocities by Kathe KojaVelocities: Stories by Kathe Koja:

From the award-winning author of The Cipher and Buddha Boy, comes Velocities, Kathe Koja’s second electrifying collection of short fiction. Thirteen stories, two never before published, all flying at the speed of strange.

 

 

 

 

Fate of Wizardoms by Jeffrey L. KohanekFate of Wizardoms by Jeffrey L. Kohanek:

1,000 pages of magic, adventure, & intrigue. Where wizards rule, magic reigns supreme.

Power. The ambitious thirst for it. But when a power-hungry wizard lord seeks to expand his rule, he triggers events unforeseen.

The balance of magic is altered, races of old return, and beasts of legend stalk the land.

A squad of unlikely heroes armed with magical objects are drawn into the conflict:

Jerrell “Jace” – A clever thief whose outrageous exploits force him to hide his identity.
Narine – A wizardess caught between her mad wizard lord father and jealous brother.
Rhoa – A determined acrobat, armed with enchanted blades and a thirst for revenge.
Rawk – Exiled for urges he cannot control, this dwarf possesses unique magic abilities.
Brogan – Once a renowned warrior, he labors beneath the weight of his regrets.

These characters lead a compelling and memorable cast including ruthless wizards who vie for thrones able to grant the power of a god.
How do you defeat a god?

Sinfully Delicious by Amanda M. LeeSinfully Delicious by Amanda M. Lee:

Stormy Morgan left her hometown of Shadow Hills, Michigan, with one goal: to write the great American novel and strike it rich. She sold her novel not long after college, did relatively well, and then fell off a cliff into obscurity. Now, without a book contract, she’s back at her family restaurant in a one-stoplight town … and she’s convinced things couldn’t possibly get worse.

That feeling only lasts until her first shift, when on a trip to the storage building behind the restaurant, she literally trips over a body.

Roy Axe, Shadow Hills most hated “Axehole,” died a hard death only feet from the restaurant (and the second-floor apartment Stormy currently resides in). The detective on the case is none other than Hunter Ryan, Stormy’s high school boyfriend, and the man who occasionally still calls to her in dreams. Hunter only cares about solving a mystery – nothing else – so their reunion is tense.

In an attempt to distract herself from what’s happening, Stormy and her cousin Alice get drunk one night and pull out their great-grandmother’s old Ouija board, and it sets off a strange string of events, most of which seem magical … if you believe in that sort of thing, and Stormy isn’t sure she does.

Stormy has trouble deciding which problem to focus on, so she avoids them all until things start blowing up in her face.

Shadow Hills is a small town but the secrets that plague it run deep. Stormy is a woman – or maybe a witch – lost in a sea of magic and despair … but murder might just lead her out of it. That is if she can survive to solve the case, that is.

Kitra by Gideon MarcusKitra by Gideon Marcus:

Stranded in space: no fuel, no way home…and no one coming to help.Nineteen-year-old Kitra Yilmaz dreams of traveling the galaxy like her Ambassador mother. But soaring in her glider is the closest she can get to touching the stars–until she stakes her inheritance on a salvage Navy spaceship.On its shakedown cruise, Kitra’s ship plunges into hyperspace, stranding Kitra and her crew light years away. Tensions rise between Kitra and her shipmates: the handsome programmer, Fareedh; Marta, biologist and Kitra’s ex-girlfriend; Peter, the panicking engineer, and the oddball alien navigator, Pinky.Now, running low on air and food, it’ll take all of them working together to get back home.

Ex Nihilo by Nazri NoorEx Nihilo by Nazri Noor:

In the beginning…

Mason Albrecht was a regular kid until the day he turned eighteen, when golden flames seared holy sigils into his skin, when the angels came to exterminate him. The demons came not long after, hungry for a taste of his nephilim flesh.

Fighting off heaven and hell with his bizarre new gifts, Mason speeds towards the only beacon his awakened eyes can see in a world gone mad: a pillar of light emanating from a distant city, where he may yet find sanctuary… or certain doom.

Ex Nihilo is the prequel to the Sins of the Father urban fantasy series, from Nazri Noor, author of the Darkling Mage saga. Experience Mason’s awakening in Ex Nihilo, a humorous, high-impact supernatural suspense story filled with demons, divinity, and plenty of danger.

QUARN by D. RomanQUARN by D. Roman:

On August 5th, 2044, humanity will learn that the number of things we take for granted is almost as limitless as the hubris that guides us.

 

 

 

 

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

In the shadows, treachery and betrayal grow unseen.

The state funeral of Princess Olivia at Port Ruth marks the end of the Queen of the Desert’s reign of terror. As Lucinda, Magda and Ascara attend this grand ceremony, all is not as it seems. A storm of secrets and lies emerge from the shadows and the darkness threatens to destroy them all.

No matter where Magda goes, her heritage calls to her. Even when they make their way home, peace and safety are still not theirs. Malice and betrayal, hidden and out of sight, finds the three women and threatens to pull them under the waves of death and pain once more.

For the Trinity of Truth: Raven, Fire and Ice, there can be only one way forward, but at what price?

This is the third in the Towers of the Earth fantasy adventure series.

Beneath Black Sails by Clare SagerBeneath Black Sails by Clare Sager:

Sometimes it takes a pirate to catch a pirate.

With weather magic on her side, Lady Vice is the bane of the high seas, but she isn’t captain of her own ship. Yet. If she can persuade her captain to give her a command, she’ll be in charge of her own fate.

To pay off his family’s debts, Knigh Blackwood hunts pirates for the Royal Navy. And he’s damn good at it. When the bounty on Lady Vice increases, he’s determined to make her face justice, even if that means using unorthodox methods.

Forced to work together, neither can deny their mutual attraction. As they face battles at sea and schemes amongst their crew, they discover hints about a long-lost treasure that could be the answer to both their problems.

But treasure isn’t the only thing buried. Secrets best-forgotten lie in wait that could blast them apart. And the closer Vice and Knigh grow, the greater the threat – to her freedom and to his family. Because for one to succeed, the other must fail.

Arrested by Magic by Avery SongArrested by Magic by Avery Song:

Homeless at the age of twelve. Misfit among my peers at sixteen. Unemployed by eighteen. I have bad luck, but never thought I’d be in handcuffs by the golden age of twenty.

Some would blame the universe for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I know better. So does the Alpha wolf hidden inside me. Our potential is massive, but we can’t get a bloody break in a world full of crime, corruption, and hate…and someone did this to us on purpose.

Misfits like me often fall into traps made by higher shifters, and this is no exception. Five supernatural beings hold the key to my shackles, intent in the belief that my wolf holds the key to something powerful…something lethal.

They may be right.

Imprisonment is inevitable, but behind bars, a new world is waiting for me. One where captivity can be a blessing in disguise, creating the opportunity for my wounded walls to crumble in total submission.

I’m ready for it all. I’ll be a misfit no more. I will rise, and those responsible for my captivity will receive capital punishment at my paws.

Relics of Eternity by Glynn StewartRelics of Eternity by Glynn Stewart:

The edge of Imperial expansion
Far from Earth and the other homeworlds
Here lie the secrets of ancient gods
Here…there be dragons

Seeking to escape the shadow of Annette Bond’s success, Captain Morgan Casimir has taken a posting on the far side of the A!Tol Imperium. Here she hopes to begin a legend for herself that stands apart from her stepmother, the Duchess.

A chance encounter introduces her to the xenoarchaeologist Rin Dunst—and to the strange mystery cult that tried to silence him. There are darker secrets in these stars than the A!Tol and their human allies ever guessed…and if they can’t find answers, the Precursors’ mistakes might yet destroy the galaxy.

Again.

Access Point by David StormAccess Point by David Storm:

Ford’s life used to be simple. Travel the post-apocalyptic wasteland, find parts to repair the only working computer in the world, dodge roving marauders, rinse, and repeat. But he is getting a little long in the tooth and life after the end of the world can be hard on the young and old alike. During one journey he comes across a teenage girl named Apinya who enlists him to rescue her captured tribe. He doesn’t want to help but something tells him that this girl, and the USB drive hanging around her neck, may have answers to the questions that have plagued him his entire life. Where did the people who lived here before go? How did their world end? And more importantly, will it happen again?

Time Grab by Al TraverskyTime Grab by Al Traversky:

What if you were told you could re-write your past to solve the problems of your present life and save your future?

Farah Wendell is scared. Her life is falling apart. She’s started waking up in increasingly terrifying and dangerous situations with no memory of how she got there and no understanding of why these events are happening.

She’s desperate to find out the cause and to put a stop to it.

And then a mysterious visitor appears to offer Farah hope.

But could you trust a stranger who says that the solution to your problems lies in lucid dreams, time travel and telepathy? Or when they tell you the cause of this new horror in your life is a sadistic psychopathic killer from a dystopian future?

Can Farah channel her inner female heroine to save her family and her own future?

The Witch and the Revolution by Daniel SugarThe Witch and the Revolution by Daniel Sugar:

As the Tsar’s subjects turn against him, Lilly Parris races to save Anastasia Romanov and her brother Alexis – the heir to the Russian throne.

The Witch and the Revolution is a fast-paced, brand-new take on the Russian Revolution.

 

 

 

Fallen Earth by James David VictorFallen Earth by James David Victor:

Sometimes you just have to go back to where the problem all started to find a solution

The Earth has been lost to time, but there are those that believe it is the key to the future. When Anders, Dalia, and their team bet the fate of the galaxy, it becomes their only chance at survival. Can humanities ancient home save their future or will mankind fall the same way Earth did so many centuries ago?

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

Arterial Bloom by Mercedes M. YardleyArterial Bloom, edited by Mercedes M. Yardley:

Lush. Brutal.
Beautiful. Visceral.

Crystal Lake Publishing proudly presents Arterial Bloom, an artful juxtaposition of the magnificence and macabre that exist within mankind. Each tale in this collection is resplendent with beauty, teeth, and heart.

Edited by the Bram Stoker Award-winning writer Mercedes M. Yardley, Arterial Bloom is a literary experience featuring 16 stories from some of the most compelling dark authors writing today.

With a foreword by HWA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Linda D. Addison, you are invited to step inside and let the grim flowers wind themselves comfortably around your bones.

The line-up includes:
The Stone Door by Jimmy Bernard
Dog (Does Not) Eat Dog by Grant Longstaff
Kudzu Stories by Linda J. Marshall
Dead Letters by Christopher Barzak
The Darker Side of Grief by Naching T. Kassa
Welcome to My Autumn by Daniel Crow
Still Life by Kelli Owen
Three Masks by Armand Rosamilia
Doodlebug by John Boden
Happy Pills by Todd Keisling
What Remained of Her by Jennifer Loring
Blue Was Her Favorite Color by Dino Parenti
In the Loop by Ken Liu
The Making of Mary by Steven Pirie
Mouths Filled with Sea Water by Jonathan Cosgrove
Rotten by Carina Bissett

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for April 2020

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

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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mystries, 1950s mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, domestic thrillers, legal thrillers, spy thrillers, action thrillers, police procedurals, romantic suspense, noir, private investigators, amateur sleuths, police officers, district attorneys, spies, assassins, terrorists, industrial espionage, domestic abuse, little doubts, shocking confessions, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime and murder in New Orleans, Michigan, California, Yorkshire, Edinburgh, the Hamptons, the Lake District 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 by Twilight by Blythe BakerMurder by Twilight by Blythe Baker:

When Alice Beckingham answers an urgent summons to her sister’s home in Yorkshire, she has no idea what dangers are in store for her. From the moment she crosses the threshold, she is enveloped in the same sinister shadows that seem to lie like a mist over the surrounding moorlands.

Determined to discover who is behind an attempt on her sister’s life, Alice soon finds herself doubting everyone around her, even her most reliable allies. Without her clever cousin Rose or the protective Sherborne Sharp on hand, can Alice put together the pieces of the haunting puzzle in time to save those dearest to her?

Murder Most Odd by Beth ByersA Murder Most Odd by Beth Byers:

June 1926

Violet and Jack are the matron of honor and best man at Rita and Ham’s wedding. Rita’s father is so excited, he’s bought the couple a country house near Vi’s and arranged a several day long celebration culminating in a wedding, wedding breakfast, and wedding ball.

On the first day, there is a large picnic in the ruins near the house. One the second day, there is a snipe hunt and the winner receives a shocking prize. On the third day, the bright young winner falls dead in his soup. Who would kill the lively young man? And why?

Nomad by Mark CheyenneNomad by Mark Cheyenne:

He doesn’t have a name. He doesn’t have any friends or family. He is a man without a past.

His codename is Nomad. And he is an assassin. He works for the Syndicate: a mysterious international organization whose main objective is to hunt down and eliminate warlords, terrorist leaders, crime bosses, and other wicked persons the world could do without.

After Nomad eliminates his last target, a male assassin gets on his tail. He is as skillful and dangerous as Nomad himself.

Who is he? Why is the assassin after Nomad? Who hired him? Who wants him dead? Is it the Syndicate? If the answer is yes, then for what reason has the organization put him on its assassination list?

Nomad has a lot of questions and no answers. But he knows one thing for sure: the mysterious assassin is getting closer and closer.

8 Tales of Noir by J. David Core8 Tales of Noir by J. David Core:

8 Tales of Noir is just what the title would lead you to expect, eight stories about the darker side of the human condition. Six short stories lead in to two novella-length tales.

Two desperate men at a standoff on a residential inner-city street…

A high school prank with unexpected – and deadly – results…

When you grab the wife of a small-time construction company owner for ransom, make sure he’s not from the family…or smarter than you….

A man intent on collecting a debt…

A heist gone wrong…

A prodigal son whose sins follow him home…

A moment of reckless anger puts a sad-sack on the wrong side of the law and leads to an unexpected comradeship with the forlorn bounty hunter sent to bring him in…

Finally, a high school dean, a construction worker, and an off-duty cop head out for a night on the prowl. When each agrees to seek out and introduce another of the trio to his ideal woman, only the annoying fly that keeps buzzing the table is privy to all the behind-the-scenes goings-on in this quirky black comedy.

Betrayal by Adam CroftBetrayal by Adam Croft:

In Edinburgh, the British Prime Minister prepares to launch a worldwide project to tackle climate change. But there’s a far more sinister motivation behind her plans.

After successfully thwarting a terrorist attack in London a few months earlier, Sam Barker is tasked with investigating a scheme which will turn his life — and the world — upside down.

As he delves deeper into the network of players, Sam uncovers a conspiracy which leads to the one person he loves the most — his son.

But in revealing the facts, Sam risks flushing out a far more sinister, unknown enemy — a rogue agent inside The Firm who will stop at nothing to stop Sam from exposing the truth.

The District Attorney by John EllsworthThe District Attorney by John Ellsworth:

Have you ever tried to outrun a past that was always ahead of you?

Meet Assistant District Attorney Lettie Portman, a prosecutor whose past tries to run her todays. The sex crimes prosecutor didn’t get into sex crimes by accident: her own past demanded it. When a fourteen-year-old girl is savagely attacked by mother’s live-in boyfriend, Lettie is called to the hospital. There, she meets a sweet young girl whose only goal is to go to school and come home to a safe environment. But mom’s boyfriend makes the girl’s world anything but safe. Soon, the abuse gets worse and Lettie, the prosecutor, goes to the grand jury with the case.

Will Lettie’s own past interfere with her prosecution of San Diego’s Terrible Man of the Year? Will she be able to make peace with her own abuse and move on to become the hard-hitting prosecutor the young girl deserves right now?

Lettie Portman is a woman you won’t ever forget, as you join with her in her march to freedom from her past. A John Ellsworth legal thriller by the master of the genre.

Witch Confidential by Lily Harper HartWitch Confidential by Lily Harper Hart:

The Big Easy is about to be buried in big trouble.
Again.

For Ofelia Archer, that means she’s knee-deep in an investigation … even though she’s not quite sure how she got there.

Zach Sully thinks he’s in for an easy night at Ofelia’s speakeasy – maybe a little flirting as a lead-up to a date included – when a scream in a neighboring abandoned building draws his attention. Upon further investigation, he finds a young woman dead and a real estate developer traumatized.

The dead girl is a street performer who lived on the edge. That’s bad enough, but when voices from the past cause Ofelia to break open a wall, they find more bodies … and a mystery more than ten years in the making.

The new murder mimics the old deaths, but who are the girls in the wall? Ofelia was a child when stories of street girls going missing were prevalent … and then Hurricane Katrina hit and people forgot their fear in the face of a life-changing storm.

Now, all these years later, Ofelia and Sully are determined to uncover what happened then, tie it to what’s happening today, and find vengeance for all of the victims in the here and now.

That’s easier said than done.

There’s a malevolent force stalking the French Quarter and Ofelia suddenly finds herself in the killer’s path. Someone wants to keep a secret, and he or she is willing to kill to make sure that the past stays buried.

Can Ofelia and Sully evade a killer and uncover the truth? It will be a race to the finish to find out.

Rich by Janet Elizabeth HendersonRich by Janet Elizabeth Henderson:

She has secrets, and he has the training to uncover them.

Rachel Ford-Talbot has nothing to do with her family or their pharmaceutical business. And she likes it that way. As one of four partners who own an internationally renowned security business, Rachel prefers to leave her past, with all its secrets, deeply buried.

But when a series of thefts reveal that the family business is being targeted for industrial espionage, her father begs Rachel to investigate. His illness makes it hard for her to refuse, but Rachel wonders if he truly understands what he’s unleashing on his company. Because she isn’t the same bright-eyed graduate that walked through their doors years earlier. Now, she’s strong, powerful, and somewhat terrifying. A woman who doesn’t suffer fools lightly and who is afraid of nothing.

She also isn’t alone.

This time, she has the might and expertise of Benson Security at her back. And an ex-CIA agent at her side—because Michael “Harvard” Carter has appointed himself her bodyguard for the duration. Even though Rachel doesn’t need, or want, the annoyingly sexy man’s help. But while the world sees a first-class bitch when they look at her, Michael sees only someone who intrigues him. Which makes him the biggest threat of all.

Some Like It Shot by Zara KeaneSome Like It Shot by Zara Keane:

“Danger was part of my job description, but none of my contingency plans anticipated an attack by a Maine Coon.”

It’s summer on Whisper Island. Ex-cop-turned-private-investigator Maggie Doyle is looking forward to sun, fun, and romance. Instead, she gets bills, an assault allegation, and a busted wrist. To add insult to injury, there’s a movie being filmed on the island, and Maggie’s diva sister has been cast in it—her debut role. While other residents clamor for parts as extras, Maggie wants nothing to do with the shoot.

But when hotshot director Con Ryder asks Maggie to investigate a series of suspicious accidents on the movie set, she can’t afford to refuse. Maggie and her UFO-obsessed assistant, Lenny, go undercover as extras, with Lenny intent on enjoying every second of the experience, and Maggie determined to solve the mystery and leave as quickly as possible. Maggie’s hopes for a quick-fix solution are shot to pieces when the woman who accused her of assault turns up dead.

How will Maggie get out of this take? Grab a copy and find out today!

Sinfully Delicious by Amanda M. LeeSinfully Delicious by Amanda M. Lee:

Stormy Morgan left her hometown of Shadow Hills, Michigan, with one goal: to write the great American novel and strike it rich. She sold her novel not long after college, did relatively well, and then fell off a cliff into obscurity. Now, without a book contract, she’s back at her family restaurant in a one-stoplight town … and she’s convinced things couldn’t possibly get worse.

That feeling only lasts until her first shift, when on a trip to the storage building behind the restaurant, she literally trips over a body.

Roy Axe, Shadow Hills most hated “Axehole,” died a hard death only feet from the restaurant (and the second-floor apartment Stormy currently resides in). The detective on the case is none other than Hunter Ryan, Stormy’s high school boyfriend, and the man who occasionally still calls to her in dreams. Hunter only cares about solving a mystery – nothing else – so their reunion is tense.

In an attempt to distract herself from what’s happening, Stormy and her cousin Alice get drunk one night and pull out their great-grandmother’s old Ouija board, and it sets off a strange string of events, most of which seem magical … if you believe in that sort of thing, and Stormy isn’t sure she does.

Stormy has trouble deciding which problem to focus on, so she avoids them all until things start blowing up in her face.

Shadow Hills is a small town but the secrets that plague it run deep. Stormy is a woman – or maybe a witch – lost in a sea of magic and despair … but murder might just lead her out of it. That is if she can survive to solve the case, that is.

Little Doubt by Rachel LynchLittle Doubt by Rachel Lynch:

Some places make their own laws…

When Ella Watson, a woman of wealth and status, is brutally stabbed to death in broad daylight it sends a shockwave through the Lake District community. Later that day, Keira Bradley meets the same fate. But whereas Ella’s murder is a tragedy, Keira’s death on the notorious Beacon Estate is just another statistic in a dangerous place.

DI Kelly Porter has the unenviable job of running simultaneous investigations. Her efforts aren’t helped by a boss driven by protecting his reputation and a housing estate where fear rules and no one dare speak out. Kelly knows the answers can only be found by winning the trust of the residents at Beacon Estate. A task so hard it may be impossible.

Kelly puts everything she has into finding justice for both victims. The only thing she hadn’t anticipated was a traitor in the ranks. When the evidence points to someone in her team, Kelly has to put feelings aside and work the case – no matter where it leads. By the time it is over, nothing in her world will ever be the same…

A dark and gripping police procedural

Shocking Confessions by Walter MarksShocking Confessions by Walter Marks:

A pair of grisly crimes challenges East Hampton Detective Jericho. One involves a body under a bridge. The other is generated by the discovery of a human arm in a shark’s belly.

Kirkus review: “This latest entry in Marks’ (Tumbling Down, 2018, etc.) series featuring Jericho and his cohorts is a taut, fast-paced mystery that skillfully weaves together the investigations of two seemingly unrelated crimes while developing subplots introduced in previous installments. Although Jericho remains the series’ primary protagonist, Officer Vangie Clark becomes an important character in the story as she rises within the department from a 911 dispatcher to detective…”

All Bleeding Stops Eventually by Timothy SheardAll Bleeding Stops Eventually by Timothy Sheard:

When two LGBT hospital workers are denied paid parental leave for their newborn children, militant shop steward Lenny Moss takes up the fight for equal rights. Their union contract’s guidelines for paid leave, written before gay/lesbian marriage was legal in Pennsylvania, only requires unpaid leave. As the union mobilizes community support for LGBT rights, Lenny agrees to try and help a nurse who was fired when a patient under her care mysteriously disappeared. Did the patient elope, was she abducted, or was she murdered?

 

Murder on the Boardwalk by Lee StraussMurder on the Boardwalk by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s such a shock!

When Rosa Reed—aka WPC Reed of the Metropolitan Police—and her cousin Gloria decide to spend a fun-filled afternoon in 1956 at the fair on the boardwalk in Santa Bonita, California, they’re in for a shocking surprise. After a ride assistant’s death by electrocution is determined to be murder, Rosa finds herself entangled once again with her high school sweetheart, Detective Miguel Belmonte. Should she catch the next flight to London before she loses her heart again? Or worse, her life?

Deviant Souls by Amanda WilhelmDeviant Souls by Amanda Wilhelm:

Once I saw her, I had to have her.

Sam McIntyre had it all. Brilliant surgical career. Wealth. The begrudging respect of the best in the profession. Everything except someone to share it with.

Terri Malone is young, beautiful and a bit naïve. So what if Sam is a little possessive, a little pushy? Sam knows more about the world, about life, than Terri does. Of course Sam is going to make most of the decisions.

They look like the kind of couple everybody envies. The big house. The fabulous weekend getaways. The fast track to marriage and a family. As far as anyone knows, everything is perfect. And Sam will do whatever it takes to keep it that way.

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Cora is a Hugo Finalist!

I already posted about this over at my personal blog, but as I went through everything that needs to be updated, I realised that I really ought to blog about this over here as well.

As you may know, the finalists for the 2020 Hugo Awards and the 1945 Retro Hugo Awards have just been announced. Both ballots are very good this year and I promise you that the detailed analysis of the finalists, which I know you’re all waiting for, is coming as soon as I can get it written over at my personal blog. In the meantime, you can read Camestros Felapton’s comments about the 2020 Hugo finalists. And if you want to get started reading the finalists (never too early), JJ has put together a handy list where to find the finalists for the 2020 Hugo Awards for free at File 770.

But for now, I want to focus on just one category, namely the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Fanwriter. Cause if you take a look at that category, you will find – among most excellent company – my name.

Yes, I’m a Hugo finalist for Best Fanwriter!

I’ve known about this for about two weeks now (for those who don’t know, the Hugo coordinators contact you beforehand to ask if you want to accept the nomination), but I’m still in shock. When I got the e-mail from CoNZealand, I initially didn’t even know what it was. I was waiting for an e-mail from my ISP and for my Disney Plus activation mail, so when I saw a mail from CoNZealand in my inbox instead, I thought it was a newsletter or progress report.

It’s a great honour to be a Hugo finalist and I want to thank everybody who nominated me. I’m also thrilled that my friends of Galactic Journey are finalists again in the Best Fanzine category and that my friend Paul Weimer is a fellow finalist in the fanwriter category.

Unfortunately, with CoNZealand going virtual due to the corona pandemic, there won’t be a traditional Hugo ceremony nor the reception beforehand nor the Hugo Losers’ Party afterwards. But thankfully, I got to experience all that last year in Dublin as the designated accepter for Galactic Journey. And on the plus side, it means that I can follow the Hugo announcements in my pyjamas, which is a lot more comfortable than an evening gown and tiara.

I also have a request. Like all Hugo finalists, I will be asked to put together a selection of writings for the Hugo voters packet. And that’s why I need your help. Which 2019 articles or essays of mine should go into the Hugo Voters packet? There is a full list here, so let me know in the comments which ones you think should go into the packet.

How can you vote for the 2020 Hugos and 1945 Retro Hugos? I guess pretty much everybody here knows how it works, but for those who don’t, it’s quite simple. If you buy a supporting membership for CoNZealand, the 2020 Worldcon, you can vote for the Hugo and Retro Hugo Awards as well as vote to select the location of the 2022 Worldcon. You also receive all of the convention publications and get access to the Hugo Voters’ packet, which contains most of the nominated works either in part or as a whole. If you buy an online attending membership, you can also attend the virtual Worldcon panels and other events online.

As I said above, the detailed analysis of the 2020 Hugo and 1945 Retro Hugo ballot is coming soon, probably tomorrow. But for now, I just want to say thank you for nominating me.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for March 2020

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, dark fantasy, YA fantasy, paranormal mysteries, paranormal romance, science fiction romance, science fantasy,  space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, YA science fiction, vampires, werewolves, wizards, demons, dragons, zombies, necromancers, succubi, crime-busting witches, crime-busting weretigers, missing giants, missing kings, space mages, space pirates, space rebels, teens lost in 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:

Rebel by Krista D. BallRebel by Krista D. Ball:

Trust is the rarest of commodities.

From the moment she stepped onboard Liberty’s Pleasure, Rebecca St. Martin knew something was off. Before she could sound the alarm, she was kidnapped and pulled into a conspiracy that made her question every single relationship she’d made.

Even as Rebecca questioned, she looked around at her co-captives and decided it didn’t matter. She wouldn’t let anyone harm these people for one minute longer than necessary. They had no hero coming to rescue them. Just her.

Rebecca will have to put aside a lifetime of fear and be the hero these people need. Anyone wanting to hurt them would have to go through her first.

Balancing the Scales by Annie BelletBalancing the Scales by Annie Bellet:

Never fear an ending. For every end is a beginning, too. Even the darkest night is broken by the dawn…

Jade Crow faces her biggest challenges yet, and the consequences just might be world-ending…

This is the tenth book and the exciting conclusion to The Twenty-Sided Sorceress urban fantasy series!

 

 

Battle Bond by Lindsay BurokerBattle Bond by Lindsay Buroker:

If you think having one dragon around messes up your life, imagine what it’s like when a second one shows up.

I’m Val Thorvald, assassin of magical bad guys and tenuous ally to the dragon lord Zav.

He still calls me a mongrel and thinks I’m a criminal, but he healed my wounds after we fought those dark elves together. That’s progress, right? Maybe one day, he’ll deign to use my name.

Not that this is my primary concern. I’m busy with a new assignment. Nin, the awesome lady who makes my magical weapons, has a werewolf problem. Specifically, sleazy loser werewolf competitors who want to drive her out of business. Or worse.

Normally, a couple of werewolves wouldn’t be a big deal, but these ones have powerful allies. And then there’s that new dragon.

It turns out he’s one of Zav’s enemies, and he wants to use me against him.

I don’t know why he’s picking on me—it’s not like I mean something to Zav—but somehow I’ve gotten stuck in the middle of dragon politics. If you think that sounds like a nightmare, you’re right.

If I can’t figure out a way to help my friend with the werewolves while keeping these dragons from tearing me apart, we’re both going to end up flatter than the deck chairs when Zav lands on the roof of my apartment building.

Apple of My Eye by Alyssa DayApple of My Eye by Alyssa Day:

A detective who turns into a tiger. A pawn shop owner who can see how you’ll die. The criminals never had a chance.

If you enjoyed Sookie Stackhouse and True Blood, you’ll love Tess Callahan and the Tiger’s Eye mysteries. Tess and sexy shapeshifter Jack solve mysteries with supernatural flair, and the laughs fly as fast as the clues.” — New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn.

When Tess starts receiving mysterious gifts from a stalker, addressed to “The Apple of My Eye,” she starts to worry. Because it’s Dead End, Florida, where dead bodies have been piling up faster than competitive pecan pies at the county fair. But when the gifts turn deadly, she and Jack know they have to solve the mystery and track down the stalker before they find another dead body … and this time it might be Tess!

Luckily, Tess has Jack to help her solve this case … because sometimes it takes a tiger’s eye to see the truth.

Daughter of Winter by Corina DouglasDaughter of Winter by Corina Douglas:

Some choose to fight the darkness; others become it.

Darkness and danger enter Brydie MacKay’s life in the form of an unforeseen inheritance.

Ignorant of her turbulent birthright, and unaware that she is marked by an ancient prophecy wielded by the gods, Brydie becomes prey to a powerful adversary who seeks vengeance for the curse laid upon him thousands of years before.

When her life is threatened, and the lives of the people she cares for are placed in jeopardy, Brydie must choose to embrace her legacy and fight the darkness or lose everything she loves.

Daughter of Winter is the first book in a gripping fantasy series based on the legends behind the winter goddess, Cailleach Bheur. The series draws you into a world of Celtic mythology, powerful Druids, dark magic, and fated mates.

Wizard's Hatchling by James EggebeenWizard’s Hatchling by James Eggebeen:

The age of Dragons has returned…

Kedrik was just another promising student at the wizard’s school in Amedon. He thought saving the last dragon egg was the right thing to do. Little did he know he was going to be stuck raising the troublesome hatchling.

Expelled from the school for losing control of their magic and run out of every town they entered, Kedrik and his dragon, Sul’ing must learn to control their wild magic, but the threat to the dragon realm has them chasing their tails.

Bones TradersBone Traders by Rachel Ford:

A missing giant. A sinister conspiracy. A decision that will change the fate of a jarldom.

The bone trade is big business. Black market buyers will offer many silvers for fresh giant bone, to carve into charms or use in dark enchantments.

When cloaked men kidnap the giant Njal Frostborn, everyone knows why. He’s destined to be murdered and sold in that terrible trade.

His best friend, apprentice wizard Idun Wintermoon, is determined to save him from that terrible fate. But to do so, she must defy the head of her order, and face powers far beyond her ability. To survive, she’s going to need an ally. Luckily for her, Lissette Forlatt – a down-on-her-luck sellsword – is on the case. Together, they’ll brave worse than the elements and rogue mages in their quest to save Njal. What they discover might shake the jarldom to its core.

If they live long enough to tell the story.

No Quarter by Rachel FordNo Quarter by Rachel Ford:

Sometimes, old debts cost dearly.

War breaks out when the Union’s newest member planet is attacked by an age-old rival. Now every planet or star system with a grudge is capitalizing on the unrest.

And every available hand is drafted into service, to help keep the peace. That includes privateers Kay Ellis and Captain Magdalene Landon, whose honeymoon is cut short when the Black Flag is assigned to the far reaches of Union space.

It’s supposed to be a quiet mission: a simple show of force to deter mischief makers and reassure the border colonies that they haven’t been forgotten.

What they find instead is a ruthless enemy, who will stop at nothing to oust the Union – and anyone flying her colors.

Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus by Jonathan FortinLilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus by Jonathan Fortin:

England, 1876. Twenty-year-old Maraina Blackwood has always struggled to adhere to the restrictive standards of Victorian society, denying the courage and desire that burn within her soul. But after a terrifying supernatural encounter, Maraina’s instincts compel her to action.

Maraina soon discovers a plot to unleash a new world—one of demonic aristocrats, bloody rituals, and nightmarish monsters. Putting her upbringing aside, Maraina vows to fight the dark forces assuming control of England. But as her world transforms, Maraina finds that she too must transform…and what she becomes will bring out all that she once buried.

Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus is the first chapter in an epic dark fantasy saga, proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

Wicked Reunion by Lily Harper HartWicked Reunion by Lily Harper Hart:

Ivy Morgan was convinced she was heading toward a smooth future … until she was arrested and charged with criminal trespass. Sure, she was saving a woman from certain death at the time, but in order for the criminal case to hold up against a murderer, she has to face the music.

Fear is the one thing Ivy hates more than anything else, so in order to make herself feel better, she decides to fix her Aunt Felicity’s love life. That includes tracking down an old love … who just so happens to have set up shop one town over.

While visiting, Ivy is horrified when a battered woman straggles through the door and is immediately shot dead by a masked man. Traumatized, horrified, she calls her fiancé Detective Jack Harker for help. By the time he arrives, though, things are already spiraling out of control.

Ivy was always a good girl – although sometimes with a bad attitude – but now she’s a murder suspect thanks to some overzealous police officers … and a criminal record that’s fresh in the minds of everyone concerned.

Jack is determined to protect Ivy, but there’s only so much he can do. That means he needs to work with her to solve the crime. Otherwise, it could haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Who would be so brutal, though? That’s the question of the day.

A dangerous game of cat and mouse is afoot, and it’s going to take both Jack and Ivy working together to figure it out.

Kiss of Death by Kelly HashwayKiss of Death by Kelly Hashway:

The only life Alex Montgomery knows is raising the dead and having zombie servants, normal stuff for an Ophi.

Alex is a necromancer descended from Medusa—or at least he will be once he comes into his powers. So far his life is training to use abilities he doesn’t yet possess, which gets him beaten up by zombies on more than one occasion. And his parents Victoria and Troy won’t tolerate anything less than perfection from Alex. He has a lot to live up to, and they remind him of it every day.

So when an innocent birthday kiss turns deadly, Alex has to work twice as hard to master his Ophi abilities. He isn’t the Chosen One, but he’s still a Montgomery, which means he’s expected to run the Ophi school one day. With a new group of students coming to the school, Alex needs to learn fast because he’s about to be sent on the biggest mission of his life.

No Crone Unturned by Amanda M. LeeNo Crone Unturned by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall is on the verge of getting information about her past. Patience has never been one of her virtues, though. As she’s waiting for her source to get settled, a new problem arises … and it has fangs.

When she was a kid, a chance encounter in a park left Scout questioning the existence of monsters. Now, one of those potential monsters is back … and he’s taken up residence in Hawthorne Hollow. He isn’t alone either.

Vampires are on the prowl and it’s up to the Spell’s Angels to figure out what they want and eradicate them through any means necessary. That’s easier said than done, though.

Scout can’t shake the feeling that something bigger than the obvious is happening, and when her boyfriend’s close friend is infected, she realizes she has to increase her efforts if she wants to save as many people as possible.

One vampire is deadly. A nest, though? That can be catastrophic. In this particular case, the head vampire trying to infiltrate Hawthorne Hollow has a plan … and it involves turning as many people as possible.

It’s a race against time. Scout has to keep those closest to her safe while expanding her search for answers. In the end, she might get more than she bargained for on both fronts … if she can survive long enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Alpha and Omega by Carol T. LunaAlpha and Omega by Carol T. Luna:

Ao never believed in monsters—not after being branded one since childhood. Exiled, he lives with his adoptive guardian, Kaisei Aizawa, amidst verdant valleys surrounded by desolation.

Humanity only had themselves to blame for the wretched landscape. Their war poisoned the seas. Their greed coveted the fertile and the green.

Their ambition set it ablaze.

One hundred years had passed since the war banished Talus to the skies. Doomed to chase the sun, the once proud nation survives as a floating city. But the fallen always hunger for more.

When the Talarians descend to claim the earth as their own, Ao escapes capture—but nothing is without its price. The only man he ever saw as family, Kaisei, is imprisoned instead.

Ao vows to rescue him, no matter the cost—even if it means taking a stand against the most powerful nation left on earth. He knows of the risks. He knows of the dangers. But never would he know that someday, somehow, he would finally believe in monsters.

Kitra by Gideon MarcusKitra by Gideon Marcus:

Stranded in space: no fuel, no way home…and no one coming to help. Nineteen-year-old Kitra Yilmaz dreams of traveling the galaxy like her Ambassador mother. But soaring in her glider is the closest she can get to touching the stars–until she stakes her inheritance on a salvage Navy spaceship.On its shakedown cruise, Kitra’s ship plunges into hyperspace, stranding Kitra and her crew light years away. Tensions rise between Kitra and her shipmates: the handsome programmer, Fareedh; Marta, biologist and Kitra’s ex-girlfriend; Peter, the panicking engineer, and the oddball alien navigator, Pinky.Now, running low on air and food, it’ll take all of them working together to get back home.

Unbroken Vows by Christine PopeUnbroken Vows by Christine Pope:

Hell hath no fury like a demon back from the dead.

Rosemary McGuire thought the past was dead. Unfortunately, she’s dead wrong…because it’s standing on her doorstep, very much alive. But this time, Caleb Lockwood’s target isn’t the hidden hard drive with the footage that proves demons are real. His target is Rosemary.

When Will Gordon comes home to find Rosemary gone, he trusts his instincts and reaches out to a network of friends forged in the fires of too many demon battles. Soon he, Michael, Audrey, and Glynis are casting supernatural nets far and wide in a desperate search. And Will is torn between hurling ungodly curses at who — or what — took the love of his life, and falling to his knees to pray for her safe return.

The truth isn’t just a nightmare — it’s a night terror. And Rosemary faces the terrible choice of surrendering everything she is to an unspeakable evil…or losing everyone she loves.

Unbroken Vows concludes the six-part Project Demon Hunters series.

Marek by Liza ProbzMarek by Liza Probz:

Jazmine

Being a thief was never my life’s ambition, but there’s something I need to find, and I’ll go to any length to do it.

It’s a matter of life and death. And no one is willing to help.

A few mishaps later, I find myself in trouble with the feline king and it’s time to RUN.

But I don’t get very far. A handsome humanoid is wanting company for a long trip and he’s offering just the help I need.

For a cost…

Marek

One year. That’s all I get before I’m to step up as rightful king of my people.

A people believed to be extinct by the surrounding worlds.

Even though I’m the eldest and most responsible, I’m in need of an adventure and a beautiful woman to help keep my blood warm.

Finding a human thief who needed a transport around the galaxy was not part of the plan, but once I laid eyes on her, I knew she was mine.

She might plan on ripping me off and not paying up on her half of the bargain, but that’s all right. I don’t only want her body.

I want everything she’s got to offer.

Forever.

Magically Poisoned by Joynell SchultzMagically Poisoned by Joynell Schultz:

The Mayor was murdered?
And a magical plant from my garden is to blame?

Even if I wanted that jerk dead, running my Bed & Breakfast takes all my time. There’s no way I could have snuck a murder into my busy schedule, but obviously, someone I know did.

They stole a plant from my garden and poisoned the Mayor. It couldn’t be my hard-working assistant, the delivery driver, or my gardener, could it be? And I’m sure it wasn’t the sexy water witch who spends an absurd amount of time staying at my little Bed & Breakfast…but he does know way more than he should about magical plants.

When the police ask for my cooperation, I begin to investigate myself. Who would steal from me? Frame me? None of my friends look like they could murder anyone…but what does a murderer look like?

But don’t worry, I have this all under control.

I’m a potion witch and have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Mountains of Mars by Glynn StewartMountains of Mars by Glynn Stewart:

The Mage-King of Mars is dead
Chaos rocks Olympus Mons
A new monarch must rise – but she does not stand alone!

As the celebration of the victory at Legatus cools, a shuttle accident claims the lives of the Mage-King of Mars and his heir. The Crown and the Mountain fall to the Mage-King’s daughter, sixteen-year-old Kiera Alexander. She recalls Damien Montgomery, her father’s First Hand, to stand as her Lord Regent.

The pair are unprepared to govern but are thrust into the heart of Protectorate politics as the Mage-King had left behind everything from an unfinished war to an incomplete new Constitution.

Even as they get a handle on the list Kiera’s father left them, Damien is grimly certain of one thing: when it comes to the deaths of Kings, he doesn’t believe in accidents.

Auxiliary's Revenge by Jeff Tanyard Auxiliary’s Revenge by Jeff Tanyard:

Jerry Harper is back home, recovering from his injuries. It won’t be for long. He’s a strategic asset now, and the government is eager to send him back into action. They want to protect him better on his next war patrol, so he’s assigned to a new station: the Agrarian Commonwealth’s new battleship. He and the fleet soon jump out and begin their mission.

While in space, horrifying news arrives. The Reliants have invented a doomsday weapon, a virus that targets the Agrarian genetic code. They begin deploying it, and Agrarians are killed by the billions. Jerry is tasked with using his electrokinesis to find the virus’s production facility so that a coordinated attack can be made. It might be the only chance the Commonwealth gets before the galaxy’s Agrarians are exterminated.

Jerry’s health is in rapid decline due to his electrokinesis. He can’t afford to push himself. But a Rifleman does his duty, even if it kills him.

The Black Raider by John TriptychThe Black Raider by John Triptych:

In command of the most notorious pirate outfit in known space, Captain Dangard is a mystery- a man without a past, until a stowaway triggers an event that reveals long buried secrets.

Before the legend, a young military officer chose honor over duty. His actions led to betrayal and then exile to the worst prison imaginable. Within that forsaken world there were infinite ways to die, yet only one path led to freedom and ultimately, vengeance.

For somewhere in the shadows of deep space, a black ship waited—ready to unleash her unholy power across the entire galaxy.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for March 2020

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

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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mystries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, domestic thrillers, legal thrillers, noir, private investigators, amateur sleuths, police officers, FBI agents, lawyers, missing persons, domestic abuse, crime-busting witches, crime-busting realtors, crime-busting journalists, crime-busting writers, crime-busting weretigers, murdered mayors, murdered Santas, dark family secrets, crime and murder in New York City, Nashville, Florida, Oregon, California, Virginia, Michigan, Damascus and much more.

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

Murder in the Early Hours by Blythe BakerMurder in the Early Hours by Blythe Baker:

When Alice Beckingham finally uncovers the truth about her brother’s death, she must set off for New York City in search of the powerful criminal responsible. An unexpected family reunion pulls her cousin Rose and the famous detective Achilles Prideaux into the case, even if Rose seems mysteriously reluctant to be involved.

Alice’s search for her brother’s killer will lead her from the streets of the city to the highest echelons of New York society as she closes in on the shadowy villain.

With the murder of an informant destroying Alice’s best hopes of cornering her enemy, will she ever find justice for her family? Or will the painful mystery that has tormented her for years go forever unsolved?

Death in Damascus by Karen Baugh MenuhinDeath in Damascus by Karen Baugh Menuhin:

A 1920s Murder Mystery – Death in the desert with intrigue, adventure and a dog of distinction.’

There’s a damsel in distress and accusations of attempted murder flying around, but it’s not in the comfortable confines of the English countryside, it’s in the very distant city of Damascus.

Lennox must go and investigate, although he’s not too keen on exotic locations, and his old retainer, Greggs is distinctly averse to the very idea.

Nevertheless, ex-Chief Inspector Swift persuades them and they reach the ancient city to discover a movie crew, a spy and a couple of mysterious ladies. Nobody seems to be telling the truth, they all have secrets, and there’s one secret in particular that’s drawn them like bees to the honeypot. But what is it? And then there’s murder, and mysteries from the ancient past, and a handsome Sheik who remains in the shadows. Heathcliff Lennox and Swift must investigate and use all their ingenuity to unravel the enigma that lies hidden deep below the dusty streets of ancient Damascus.

Major Heathcliff Lennox, ex-WW1 war pilot, six feet 3 inches, unruly dark blond hair, age around 30 – named after the hero of Wuthering Heights by his romantically minded mother – much to his great annoyance. Death in Damascus is the fourth book in the Lennox series.

Killer Deals by Jenna BennettKiller Deals by Jenna Bennett:

Savannah Martin has always been a good girl, doing what was expected and fully expecting life to fall into place in its turn. But when her perfect husband turns out to be a lying, cheating slimeball, Savannah kicks him to the curb and embarks on life on her own terms. With a new apartment, a new career, and a brand new outlook on life, she’s all set to take the world by storm.

If only the world would stop throwing her curveballs…

A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS – #1

Everyone has warned new-minted realtor Savannah Martin that real estate is a cutthroat business. But Savannah doesn’t think she’s supposed to take the warning literally … until an early morning phone call sends her to an empty house on the ‘bad’ side of town, where she finds herself standing over the butchered body of a competitor, face to face with the boy her mother always warned her about.

Rafe Collier is six feet three inches of testosterone and trouble; tall, dark, and dangerous, with a murky past and no future—not the kind of guy a perfect Southern Belle should want to tangle with. In any way. But wherever Savannah turns, there he is, and making no bones about what he wants from her.

Now Savannah must figure out who killed real estate queen Brenda Puckett, make a success of her new career, and avoid getting killed—or kissed—by Rafe, all before the money in her savings account runs out and she has to go back to selling make-up at the mall.

HOT PROPERTY – #2

When Savannah Martin’s fellow Realtor and friend Lila Vaughn is robbed during an open house, Savannah rushes to the rescue with tea and sympathy, or at least a really good lunch and a shoulder to cry on. However, Lila seems more peeved than distraught, and her main gripe is that the sexy robber who tied her to a kitchen chair—for her own good—didn’t follow her suggestion to tie her to the bed instead.

Lila’s description of the man fits Savannah’s old school-mate Rafael Collier to a T. Rafe has recently turned up in Savannah’s life again, and he isn’t above doing a little breaking and entering. Metro Nashville Homicide Detective Tamara Grimaldi is of the same opinion, and when Lila turns up dead, tied to her bed and strangled, Rafe becomes a suspect.

Now Savannah must get busy finding the real murderer before Detective Grimaldi can arrest the wrong man.

Death Between the Pages by Beth ByersDeath Between the Pages by Beth Byers:

April 1937

When Georgette Dorothy Aaron first started writing books, she little expected to affect real life. When she dives into writing crime novels with Robert, she little expects to see fiction come to life once again.

Once before she wrote a book and changed the fate of her neighbors. Was it happening again? When the book she and Robert Aaron write together seems to be coming to life, Georgette can’t help but wonder if the gods are playing games with them.

Once again, Georgette and her family turn to the crime in front of them and work together to discover just what happened, why it happened, and what to do next.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Country Bumpkin by Sam CheeverRudolph the Red-Nosed Country Bumpkin by Sam Cheever:

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Bumpkin, died a very shiny death…

Rudy-Bob Hortmann has never quite gotten the hang of making friends. He doesn’t much like people, mostly preferring the company of his pot-bellied pig, Ethel Squeaks to humanoid types. But there’s one exception. Rudy-Bob loves kids. So for Christmas every year he gives himself a present. He plays Santa at the annual Deer Hollow Christmas party. Only this year, Rudy-Bob doesn’t make it out of the Santa suit when the Pageant is done. Instead, Deputy Sheriff Arno Willager finds Rudy-Bob literally chillin’ in a snowbank, his bulbous nose flashing red through the snow.

That’s where I come into the picture. I’m Joey Fulle and I’m pretty good at finding bodies around my place on the outskirts of Deer Hollow. I didn’t actually find this one, of course. But I’m fully invested in locating his killer. ’Cause, with the help of my handsome PI boyfriend Hal, my sweet and goofy Pitbull Caphy, and my opinionated Siamese cat, LaLee, I’m also pretty good at finding killers. Sometimes, even before they find me…

Family Secrets by Stacy ClaflinFamily Secrets by Stacy Claflin:

Some questions are better left unasked.

Like whose blood is on the knife upstairs.

Kenzi Brannon’s life was turned upside down when she moved into her family’s abandoned home to raise her niece. Problems compound when her aging mother starts to remember things.

And clues the police find regarding the knife don’t match anything Kenzi knows about her family.

Things go from bad to worse when she and her niece discover something horrifying in their house. But not even that compares to the strange ways her mom is acting.

Can they get to the bottom of it all, or will their house—a local legend that goes bump in the night—and the family secrets destroy them all?

Hush, Hush by Niki DanforthHush, Hush by Niki Danforth:

She’s living proof that 55 is the new 35, but this case could send the rookie P.I. into permanent retirement.

Private detective Ronnie Lake has a few wins under her belt, but she’s still proving she’s got what it takes, including to her biggest critic…herself. Eager to solve more crimes, the recently-licensed sleuth accepts a job to track down a young runaway. Her search quickly points to a far more sinister crime.

Sniffing out clues with her loyal German Shepherd, the determined investigator uncovers a brutal crime and meddling authorities. The abduction may be part of a dark conspiracy that’s out of her league, and following a trail that leads to shadowy powerbrokers could put her directly in their crosshairs.

Can she solve the case before one missing person turns into two dead bodies?

A smart heroine, fast-paced action, and now a dash of political intrigue, Hush, Hush is the page-turning fourth standalone book in the Ronnie Lake Mystery Series.

The House in the Woods by Mark DawsonThe House in the Woods by Mark Dawson:

Four murders. Two detectives. One mystifying crime.

On Christmas Eve, DCI Mackenzie Jones is called to a shooting at a remote farmhouse. Ralph Mallender believes his father lies dead inside. When three more bodies are discovered, it’s clear a festive family gathering has turned into a gruesome tragedy.

At first it seems like an open and shut case: a murder suicide committed by Ralph’s volatile brother Cameron. Then new evidence makes Mack suspect the man who reported the crime is in fact the perpetrator.

But Mack isn’t the only one with a stake in the case. Private investigator Atticus Priest has been hired to get Ralph acquitted. That means unearthing any weaknesses in Mack’s evidence.

Irascible, impatient and unpredictable, Atticus has weaknesses of his own. Mack knows all about them because they share a past – both professionally and personally. This time round, however, they aren’t on the same side. And as Atticus picks at the loose ends of the case, everything starts to unravel in a way neither of them could ever have predicted…

Apple of My Eye by Alyssa DayApple of My Eye by Alyssa Day:

A detective who turns into a tiger. A pawn shop owner who can see how you’ll die. The criminals never had a chance.

If you enjoyed Sookie Stackhouse and True Blood, you’ll love Tess Callahan and the Tiger’s Eye mysteries. Tess and sexy shapeshifter Jack solve mysteries with supernatural flair, and the laughs fly as fast as the clues.” — New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn.

When Tess starts receiving mysterious gifts from a stalker, addressed to “The Apple of My Eye,” she starts to worry. Because it’s Dead End, Florida, where dead bodies have been piling up faster than competitive pecan pies at the county fair. But when the gifts turn deadly, she and Jack know they have to solve the mystery and track down the stalker before they find another dead body … and this time it might be Tess!

Luckily, Tess has Jack to help her solve this case … because sometimes it takes a tiger’s eye to see the truth.

The Post Office by John EllsworthThe Post Office by John Ellsworth:

This is the story of Rachel, the world’s bravest girl.

She is very sick and needs a lawyer to get the right medical care. Enter Thaddeus Murfee, who takes up her case and starts doing what lawyers do. Her family and Thaddeus travel from California to Oregon, where the laws are friendlier. There, they set up housekeeping in a campground. Their group includes a young male nurse named Johann.

Johann takes a package to the USPO to mail. Waiting in line, he happens to glance at the FBI Wanted posters. Only to find–he’s wanted, too! The chase is on. Who could that possibly be in the poster if not him? And the name on the poster is his own name. Frantically, he places a call to Thaddeus Murfee.

The trials begin, a race to live, a race to die…

Wicked Reunion by Lily Harper HartWicked Reunion by Lily Harper Hart:

Ivy Morgan was convinced she was heading toward a smooth future … until she was arrested and charged with criminal trespass. Sure, she was saving a woman from certain death at the time, but in order for the criminal case to hold up against a murderer, she has to face the music.

Fear is the one thing Ivy hates more than anything else, so in order to make herself feel better, she decides to fix her Aunt Felicity’s love life. That includes tracking down an old love … who just so happens to have set up shop one town over.

While visiting, Ivy is horrified when a battered woman straggles through the door and is immediately shot dead by a masked man. Traumatized, horrified, she calls her fiancé Detective Jack Harker for help. By the time he arrives, though, things are already spiraling out of control.

Ivy was always a good girl – although sometimes with a bad attitude – but now she’s a murder suspect thanks to some overzealous police officers … and a criminal record that’s fresh in the minds of everyone concerned.

Jack is determined to protect Ivy, but there’s only so much he can do. That means he needs to work with her to solve the crime. Otherwise, it could haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Who would be so brutal, though? That’s the question of the day.

A dangerous game of cat and mouse is afoot, and it’s going to take both Jack and Ivy working together to figure it out.

New Media & Old Grudges by Amanda M. LeeNew Media & Old Grudges by Amanda M. Lee:

Avery Shaw likes to win. Unfortunately, her single-minded focus on being declared victor tends to get her into trouble. That’s never more true than when she decides to take on her archnemesis Tad Ludington.

With an election coming up, Avery is ready to let her freak flag fly in an attempt to get Tad to show his true colors on television … thus sabotaging his chance at getting into office. That backfires when, after a truly epic meltdown, Tad is shot and left for dead in his own home.

Sheriff Jake Farrell knows Avery isn’t guilty but his belief doesn’t matter when the case is taken away from him and given to the Michigan State Police. The incoming investigator zeroes in on Avery almost instantly … and makes her life a living hell.

In addition to Tad, who is fighting for his life in the hospital, Avery also has to grapple with Eliot’s former employee Fawn, a woman who won’t stop flapping her lips about Avery’s probable guilt … all because she holds a grudge and finally has a platform to express it.

Avery is in a bind. She’s been banned from covering Tad’s attack and the election, and she’s being called a “suspect” on every television station in the state. If she wants to clear her name, she’s going to need help.

There’s little more she loathes than asking for help. She has no choice this time.

Avery has always attracted weirdos. This go-around, those weirdos are going to come to her defense. It’s going to take a motley band of colorful characters to save Macomb County’s favorite intrepid reporter.

Will they be up for the challenge?

No Crone Unturned by Amanda M. LeeNo Crone Unturned by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall is on the verge of getting information about her past. Patience has never been one of her virtues, though. As she’s waiting for her source to get settled, a new problem arises … and it has fangs.

When she was a kid, a chance encounter in a park left Scout questioning the existence of monsters. Now, one of those potential monsters is back … and he’s taken up residence in Hawthorne Hollow. He isn’t alone either.

Vampires are on the prowl and it’s up to the Spell’s Angels to figure out what they want and eradicate them through any means necessary. That’s easier said than done, though.

Scout can’t shake the feeling that something bigger than the obvious is happening, and when her boyfriend’s close friend is infected, she realizes she has to increase her efforts if she wants to save as many people as possible.

One vampire is deadly. A nest, though? That can be catastrophic. In this particular case, the head vampire trying to infiltrate Hawthorne Hollow has a plan … and it involves turning as many people as possible.

It’s a race against time. Scout has to keep those closest to her safe while expanding her search for answers. In the end, she might get more than she bargained for on both fronts … if she can survive long enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Girl Next Door by A.J. RiversThe Girl Next Door by A.J. Rivers:

Complete silence filled the room until an unexpected sound brought Emma out of her slumber and into the mystery of the girl next door.

Sherwood is a sleepy little town. A town full of friendly faces, and even friendlier neighbors.

Which is why FBI agent Emma Griffin isn’t surprised when her new neighbor starts stopping by to chat.

Turns out her neighbor has a dark past and secrets that made her run.

As much as Emma wished it wasn’t true, dark past and secrets are things that she is far too familiar with, especially now more than ever.

A chilling unknown filled the air of Sherwood, Virginia.

Strange things are happening around Emma.

Things that no one can explain, and many don’t believe.

And when Emma witnesses two figures hidden by sheer curtains, strangling a smaller figure.

A figure she can only assume to be Ruby’s.

She becomes a witness to the murder of the girl next door.

But what do you do when no one believes that the girl even existed?

Emma’s world starts to spin, and she begins to wonder…

Is someone taunting her and taking lives to torment her? Or has she truly gone crazy?

Magically Poisoned by Joynell SchultzMagically Poisoned by Joynell Schultz:

The Mayor was murdered?
And a magical plant from my garden is to blame?

Even if I wanted that jerk dead, running my Bed & Breakfast takes all my time. There’s no way I could have snuck a murder into my busy schedule, but obviously, someone I know did.

They stole a plant from my garden and poisoned the Mayor. It couldn’t be my hard-working assistant, the delivery driver, or my gardener, could it be? And I’m sure it wasn’t the sexy water witch who spends an absurd amount of time staying at my little Bed & Breakfast…but he does know way more than he should about magical plants.

When the police ask for my cooperation, I begin to investigate myself. Who would steal from me? Frame me? None of my friends look like they could murder anyone…but what does a murderer look like?

But don’t worry, I have this all under control.

I’m a potion witch and have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Murder at High Tide by Lee StraussMurder at High Tide by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s all wet!

It’s 1956 and WPC (Woman Police Constable) Rosa Reed has left her groom at the altar in London. Time spent with her American cousins in Santa Bonita, California is exactly what she needs to get back on her feet, though the last thing she expected was to get entangled in another murder case!

If you love early rock & roll, poodle skirts, clever who-dun-its, a charming cat and an even more charming detective, you’re going to love this new series!

Haftmann's Rules by Robb WhiteHaftmann’s Rules by Robb White:

It was another kiddie hunt. Ex-cop Thomas Haftmann is a private investigator in the resort town of Jefferson-on-the-Lake. What do you want me to do?” he asked the man sitting across the desk from him. “I want you to find her and bring her home,” he replied.” Haftmann countered “I have to ask this, you understand. What if she’s dead?” The answer: “Then tell me where she’s buried so I can bring her home.” Thus Haftmann faces another case, another venture into that dark world of murder and madness.

 

Deviant Souls by Amanda WilhelmDeviant Souls by Amanda Wilhelm:

Once I saw her, I had to have her.

Sam McIntyre had it all. Brilliant surgical career. Wealth. The begrudging respect of the best in the profession. Everything except someone to share it with.

Terri Malone is young, beautiful and a bit naïve. So what if Sam is a little possessive, a little pushy? Sam knows more about the world, about life, than Terri does. Of course Sam is going to make most of the decisions.

They look like the kind of couple everybody envies. The big house. The fabulous weekend getaways. The fast track to marriage and a family. As far as anyone knows, everything is perfect. And Sam will do whatever it takes to keep it that way.

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Luck and Magic 2020 – A Round-Up of Indie St. Patrick’s Day Speculative Fiction

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

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

As always with my round-up posts, this round-up of the best indie holiday speculative fiction is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

Feeling Lucky by Kathy BrysonFeeling Lucky by Kathy Bryson:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky Lion by Lola KiddLucky Lion by Lola Kidd:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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Luck and Crime 2020 – A Round-Up of Indie St. Patrick’s Day Crime Fiction

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

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

As always with my round-up posts, this round-up of the best indie holiday mysteries is also crossposted to the Indie Crime Scene, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things crime fiction several times per week.

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Shamrock Shenangigans by Kathi DaleyShamrock Shenangigans by Kathi Daley:

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

Shammed by Bernadette FranklinShammed by Bernadette Franklin:

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

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

She’s never been so wrong in her life.

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Indulge yourself in a sweet slice of murder!

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

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

Lucky Strike by Madison JohnsLucky Strike by Madison Johns:

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

Lucky You by Mark ParkerLucky You by Mark Parker:

SOME KILLERS ARE BORN, SOME ARE CREATED…

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for February 2020

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, gaslamp fantasy, YA fantasy, paranormal mysteries, paranormal thrillers, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, science fantasy, fantasy romance, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, Steampunk, vampires, werewolves, demons, dragons, telepaths, hell escapees, immortals, crime-busting witches, murderous chefs, magical assassins, fairy godmothers, intergalactic prospectors, dying worlds, clockwork magicians, paladins 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 Imposter's InheritanceThe Imposter’s Inheritance by C.J. Archer:

A sordid scandal rocks the Glass household and threatens to ruin Matt’s family unless he can suppress it. But after word gets out, and a rare magical coronet is stolen, he and India find themselves scrambling to recover the heirloom and suppress the gossip before reputations are ruined.

To make matters worse, someone is sending threatening letters to the magicians of London, stirring up trouble between the artless and magicians. Tensions are rising, but India and Matt choose not to investigate – until the author of the letters is assaulted.

As if they don’t have enough on their plate, Willie is jailed. The reason for her arrest is…complicated.

Dinner With a Demon by Iokasti ArgiriouDinner With a Demon: It’s Valentine’s Day After All by Iokasti Argiriou

Apparently it’s Valentine’s day. A day dedicated to love? What in Aphrodite’s name is happening?

Anath – or Leda to Persa as she always refuses to call her by her demonic name – approaches Persa after all this time and she chooses this specific day. Is it a coinsidence? And then, out of the blue, the strangest thing happens. She asks Persa out on a date. A real date.

Ok, it was Persa’s suggestion, actually, but she never thought that Leda would go along with it. Now Persa cannot bow out and…she really hopes that this Valentine dude knows what he’s doing. Please, don’t let him be a sham!

Berenice Jacquette by S. Ann AustinBérénice Jacquette, Part 1 by S. Ann Austin:

The Past:
She was taken from a rundown farmhouse and brought to an isolated cabin. The sounds of a little girl crying echoes across the bayou. No one can hear her. No one will rescue her.

The Present:
Twenty-seven-year-old Bérénice Jacquette survived a horrific childhood in the swamplands of Louisiana only to wind up trapped in a bitter, loveless marriage. In spite of a traumatic past still haunting her, she is determined to find her independence. Harboring ambitions to be a successful author, she attempts to pen a work of fiction.

The chef of a popular restaurant in New Orleans, she believes no one suspects her of committing murder through the use of black magic while writing a realistic crime novel.

When a handsome and charismatic homicide detective named Gary Northcutt steps into her life she doesn’t wonder if he knows her secrets. She thinks only about how he can be useful to her.

Half-Born by Ivy BaumHalf-Born by Ivy Baum:

She never wanted magic. But to survive, she’s going to need it.

Kes Adler had the perfect life—until her father disappeared. Now she’s a pariah at school and strange visions make her question her sanity. Life can’t get any worse, right?

Wrong.

The night she accepts a ride home from the mysterious Sol Kyrion, she learns there’s another world out there. A world of magic—and danger.

Marked for Death…

The good news is that Kes isn’t crazy. She’s descended from an ancient, powerful race…and her magic is finally waking up.

But as a half-blood, Kes is marked for death. Her pureblood relatives know she’s out there, and they’ll stop at nothing to hunt her down.

Now she’s on the run with Sol—a half-blood who’s sarcastic, infuriating, and determined to save her life. But the magical world is changing, and pureblood hunters aren’t the only danger out there.

Soon there will be no place on earth that’s safe for half-bloods…

Better off Dead by Odette C. BellBetter off Dead by Odette C. Bell:

Death comes to all – or at least, that’s the promise.

Eve’s got a problem – a big one. She can’t die. She’s cursed to be resurrected, no matter what happens. You’d think that’d be a blessing. You’d be dead wrong. One of the most powerful – and handsome – generals of Hell has promised to kill her once and for all. He’s left her alone for a decade, but now he’s back.

When Eve is dragged into a shady mission, she doesn’t realize he’s at its heart. It’s going to take her a lot longer – and a lot of blood and tears – to realize he’s always been in her heart, anyway.

Ascendant by Richard DenoncourtAscendant by Richard Denoncourt:

What if a mind could be a weapon of mass destruction…and it belonged to a teenager?

When Michael Cairne discovers he is telepathic, a single mistake causes a corrupt police force to descend on him. His family murdered in the ensuing battle, he manages to escape by joining a group of rebels who claim to know why his psychic power is so sought after…and so dangerous.

Having reached a safe haven in the post-apocalyptic ruins of what used to be a Colorado mountain town, Michael meets other gifted teens and learns of the top-secret military experiment that created them. But Michael is different—one of a kind. Known as an “Ascendant,” his gift is coveted by a cruel dictator, who intends to win a war by genetically engineering child soldiers that can kill with a single thought.

Surrounded by many who fear and hate him—and hunted by a psychic assassin with a devastating weapon in his arsenal—Michael does what he can to survive and train. But he soon discovers his worst enemy is himself. As his power grows fiercer and more unstable, so does something else: the desire to see the world changed, even if it means tearing it apart at the seams.

Sinister Magic by Lindsay BurokerSinister Magic by Lindsay Buroker:

I’m Val Thorvald, and I’m an assassin.

When magical bad guys hurt people, I take care of them. Permanently.

This doesn’t make me popular with the rest of the magical community—as you can tell from the numerous break-ins and assassination attempts I’ve endured over the years. But thanks to my half-elven blood, a powerful sword named Chopper, and a telepathic tiger with an attitude, I’ve always been able to handle my problems with aplomb. Maybe some cursing and swearing, too, but definitely aplomb.

That changes when my boss is afflicted with a mysterious disease, a government agent starts investigating me, and a godforsaken dragon shows up in the middle of my latest job.

I’ve taken down vampires, zombies, and ogres, but dragons are way, way more powerful. And it doesn’t look like this one is going to like me.

Worse than that, he wants to use his magic to compel me to do his bidding, as if I’m some weak-minded minion.

That’s not going to happen. I’d die before being some dragon’s slave.

But if I can’t figure out a way to avoid him, save my boss, and get rid of the government spook, I’m screwed. Or dead. Or screwed and dead. And that’s never comfortable.

Lucidium Run by M.D. CooperLucidium Run by M.D. Cooper:

Without Lucidium, galactic civilization will fall…

For centuries, the Central Systems have dominated the galaxy, maintaining their rule through control of the essential ore: Lucidium. But after millennia of exploitation, supplies of the mineral are running dangerously low.

Samara, captain of the Heron’s Flight, has joined a group of prospectors who are taking advantage of a government bounty on the discovery of new Ludicium deposits. The reward for success is staggering, but so are the risks.

Cypris is a world on the fringe of Central Systems control, known for its lush natural habitats and simple way of life; a resort world where the people welcome a small trickle of visitors every year.

All that changes when the prospectors arrive and find Lucidium in the Corralas Mountains. The deposits are rich enough to make them wealthy beyond imagining—at the expense of Cyrpis and its people.

Now Samara has a choice. She can risk everything to aid the people of Cypris or to do what she must, honoring her contract and keeping her ship and crew safe. No matter the choice she makes, a world hangs in the balance.

Love Potion Sold Seperately by Nicole DragonBeckLove Potion Sold Seperately by Nicole DragonBeck:

Maggie Baker can’t think of anyone to ask to wear her corsage at this year’s First Days Celebration. After a visit from her fairy godmother, Maggie concocts her own Prince Charming, but when Charle arrives, things get more complicated than she bargained for.

 

 

 

Dying World by Chris FoxDying World by Chris Fox:

Our world is tumbling into the sun

The quakes have leveled cities. Soon the continents themselves will break apart. The ships are gone. There’s no way off. But I’m not giving up. I’m a Relic Hunter…an archeologist with a gun, and I have a plan.

Our people arrived on Kemet thousands of years ago in the wake of a terrible space battle. The Great Ships are still up there, ancient derelict hulks powered by a combination of technology and magic, created by gods we no longer remember or understand.

If I can get one of those ships active, maybe I can save myself. Maybe I can save everyone.

Clockwork Magician by W.R. GingellClockwork Magician by W.R. Gingell:

Peter has lived most of his life in the assurance of two comfortable convictions. One, that he is always the cleverest person in the room; and two, that when it comes to magic, he does not make mistakes.

His ability to make—or keep!—friends has been less successful, and despite the fact that Peter enters the University of Mechanics as the youngest student in all of his classes, the disquieting conclusion that he might not always be the cleverest person in the room slowly begins to creep over him.

When he tries to impress his classmate, Miss Stoneflange, with his latest time-altering device, things go disastrously wrong.

Now, Peter has a new conviction: namely, that whenever Miss Stoneflange is involved, something will inevitably go wrong. Worse, it doesn’t seem possible for him to stop making mistakes around her.

Peter will need to decide who is the biggest threat to the timely continuation of the Two Monarchies: Miss Stoneflange and her ability to set things wrong, or himself and his own rash determination to be always right…

Birth of the Colossus by Nicole GrotepasBirth of the Colossus by Nicole Grotepas:

In the absence of the Heart, a new power rises.

Holly Drake knew that her victory would be short-lived. Things never felt right after what happened. It was too little. Too much. A contradiction of all the emotions that the revelations shook up in her.
If things can get worse. They will.

She’s learned that much. Without her crew watching her back, she’d be lost. No. That’s not true. She’s strong and tough. As a new power rises and pecks at the fringes of her peace, she’s got nothing to fear.
Whatever comes, she’ll face it. And take it out.

The 6 Moons crew witnesses the birth of a new monster. A new beast. The threat is more than anything they could have imagined. If they don’t take it out, the colossus that forms from the skeletal remains of what once was will be more brutal and dangerous than even they could have known.

Boot Scootin' Boogeyman by Lily Harper HartBoot Scootin’ Boogeyman by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok didn’t know she was a witch but now that she’s embracing her destiny, she can’t wait to learn about magic. Given the trouble that seems to find Casper Creek on a regular basis, that’s probably a good thing.

Cooper Wyatt is enjoying watching Hannah open up and learn about herself. He’s there to lend a helping hand but also eager for her to strike out on her own … until the unthinkable happens. On their first official date, Cooper and Hannah bear witness to a horrifying scene. A local woman, who had gone missing days before, jumps off a downtown building and kills herself. The question is: Why?

There’s more than one missing woman, magic sparking at every turn, and a monster on the hunt. It’s up to Hannah, Cooper, and the rest of their friends to discover exactly what’s going on … and figure out how to solve the problem. That’s easier said than done, though.

Casper Creek’s magic runs deep and Hannah is going to have to tap into it if she expects to keep her friends safe.

She’s up to the challenge.

At least she hopes she is.

Things are about to get messy as the Wild West gets wickeder and wickeder.

Toskaheart by Alia HessToskaheart by Alia Hess:

Is happiness worth the risk when your life is the wager?

In the depressing gray landscape of 2170 Moscow, Sasha Roborovskiy is fighting to make something of his life. Alcoholism, government-mandated medication, and a dead-end job create impossible hurdles, pushing Sasha into a daily routine of isolation, fatigue, and confusion. He dreams of a place free from the crushing thumb of Russia—blue skies, open roads, and a clear mind.

When a bizarre website on the darknet offers him a chance at a new life with a research team in America, it seems too good to be true. But no one has set foot in the Americas in over a hundred and fifty years, after a devastating virus wiped out much of the continent. Even if the stories of monsters and roving gangs aren’t real, the risk of contracting the virus is, and the experimental vaccine needed to live there doesn’t always work.

Freedom and a fresh start are just what Sasha needs, because he can’t survive his life of oppression much longer. But taking the trip to uncharted America is permanent—and fatal if the vaccine fails.

Continuum by G.S. JennsenContinuum by G.S. Jennsen:

Humanity has seized its destiny among the stars. But space remains vast and untamed, and nothing has prepared us to face the dangers rising from the deep shadows of the void.
Fourteen years after The Displacement flung humanity into a universe teeming with alien life, a tenuous alliance has taken root among humans, Anadens, and numerous other species. The wounds of war and revolution have begun to heal, peace and prosperity are within reach, and the architects of The Displacement, Alex Solovy and Caleb Marano, are enjoying an idyllic existence on the living planet of Akeso.

But growing troubles fester beneath the surface of this alliance. An upstart species offers allegiance with one hand but readies weapons of mass destruction with the other, while the Anadens, leaderless and adrift for years, increasingly refuse to play by humanity’s rules.

As tensions simmer, Nika Kirumase, leader of the Asterions—a splinter group of former Anadens thought aeons dead—arrives bearing a warning of a terrifying enemy advancing across the void. Known as the Rasu, the powerful race of shapeshifting metal has already killed tens of thousands of Asterions in its quest to control all of known space.

Nika’s people have struck a blow against the Rasu, and now they race against time to prepare for the coming reprisal. An alliance with humanity stands to give them a fighting chance against their enemy. But for humanity, such an alliance may cost them everything, pushing the fragile peace they fought so hard to achieve to the breaking point and beyond.
*
In Amaranthe, where exotic alien life, AIs, wormholes, indestructible starships and the promise of immortality rule the day, no feat seems out of reach for humanity. But when the worlds of Aurora Rhapsody and Asterion Noir collide and the Rasu horde descends upon them both, more will be asked of heroes past and future. More will be given and more taken, and when the dust settles the very fabric of Amaranthe will be changed forever.

Paladin's Grace by T. KingfisherPaladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher:

Stephen’s god died on the longest day of the year…

Three years later, Stephen is a broken paladin, living only for the chance to be useful before he dies. But all that changes when he encounters a fugitive named Grace in an alley and witnesses an assassination attempt gone wrong. Now the pair must navigate a web of treachery, beset on all sides by spies and poisoners, while a cryptic killer stalks one step behind…

From the Hugo and Nebula Award winning author of Swordheart and The Twisted Ones comes a saga of murder, magic, and love on the far side of despair.

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

Mystic Caravan Circus is in flux. Things are shifting in the organization, new faces are joining the fray, and manager Poet Parker isn’t certain how to deal with it. Unfortunately for her, she doesn’t have time to figure it out.

Kentucky is on the horizon, and a roadside accident that claims a family has caught Poet’s attention. She’s haunted by what she sees … and dreams that show her nothing but snapping teeth and flowing blood.

They’ve been to the area before – Mammoth Caves is a big draw – but something appears to be amiss. It isn’t long until Poet realizes exactly what that something is … vampires. They’re nesting and taking over the entire town.

Vampires are nothing new when fighting monsters with a paranormal circus. These vampires, however, are different. They’re stronger … and faster … and deadlier. In fact, they’re something older and more ruthless, and Poet has no idea how to take on this new enemy.

When the vampires come for one of Mystic Caravan’s own, the time for debate is over. They live as a family. They’ll die as one, too, if need be.

Poet has fought wars before but this one is going to get bloody. It’s going to take everyone working together to overcome this enemy. Even then nothing is guaranteed.

To Hell and Back by Raquel LyonTo Hell and Back by Raquel Lyon:

My name is Conner Lovell: werewolf and Hell escapee.

I wish I could say that meant I had my life back, but it would be a lie. Word got out about my return and the supernatural hierarchy weren’t best pleased.

Now I’m stuck killing demons to pay off a debt I didn’t even know I owed, alongside the one person I’d hoped to forget.

Oh, and to top it all off, turns out I’ve got a serial killer on my tail.

Yeah, my life’s a whole lot like Hell.

Skyborn: Ignite by Hannah ParkerSkyborn: Ignite by Hannah Parker:

Ever since her village burned, Alina has been afraid of fire. But when she discovers a mysterious gem inside dying embers, she becomes enthralled by the strange object. Where did it come from? Who left it there? And why, just for a moment, did she forget her fear?

When an army of marauders attacks her new home, intent on finding the stone and destroying all who stand in their way, Alina soon finds herself thrown into a world of danger and uncertainty.

Determined to keep the stone from the army, and with nobody but her friends at her side, she must travel to the Ethereal Realm to uncover the origins of the gem – and with it, the truth about herself.

Forced to face her fears, and the only one who can hope to stop the army’s rampage, will Alina be able to harness the power of the stone? Or will her new life burn just like her village?

A Wing and a Prayer by Christine PopeA Wing and a Prayer by Christine Pope:

His life has gone to hell. Now his heart is about to go to the dogs.

Beelzebub has the perfect job: manager-in-chief of Hell…until the number of condemned souls nosedives, and God slaps an “Out of Business” sign on the Fiery Gates. Now Beelzebub is just a laid-off demon banished to live out a mortal life in his idea of perdition: Los Angeles. Complete with nosy neighbors and a yappy, pint-sized dog that won’t stay off his lawn.

Jillian Torres is finally free of one hellish relationship and has no interest in going down that road again. So what if her best friend reports that their new neighbor is super-smoking-hot? Jillian’s hands are too full running a Chihuahua rescue to notice or care…until Rufus, one of her escape-artist rescue dogs, makes a beeline for the man’s yard.

Three things hit her immediately when she meets Benjamin Blake. He’s definitely super-hot. His grumpy attitude doesn’t quite hide the sadness in his smoky hazel eyes. And Rufus adores him. Thus begins Jillian’s subversive quest to win Ben’s heart — for Rufus. But along the way, Ben and Jillian find everything they never thought they wanted.

Judgment of Honor by Joyce Reynolds-WardJudgment of Honor by Joyce Reynolds-Ward:

THE STAGE IS SET…LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

After defeating Waykemin’s Witches Council, Katerin Leader and Rekaré Kinslayer face new challenges. Waykemin’s overseas ally, Chatain, Emperor of Daran, has abducted Katerin’s daughter Witmara. A new threat arises from the East which requires Katerin’s attention, so it falls to Rekaré to aid Witmara—which supports Rekaré’s vow for vengeance upon Chatain.

Meanwhile, Chatain’s estranged half-sister Betsona aids Witmara’s escape, and encourages her to overthrow Chatain. When Rekaré arrives in Daran, Betsona helps her. But does Betsona intend to use Rekaré and Witmara to become Empress?

At the same time, the rift between the Seven Crowned Gods splinters beyond recovery. How do the actions of Rekaré, Katerin, and Witmara play into the war between the Gods?

Battles at the Nerean Gate and the Spring Festival in Daran decide the fates of Gods and humans…and things will never be the same.

Auxiliary's Revenge by Jeff TanyardAuxiliary’s Revenge by Jeff Tanyard:

Jerry Harper is back home, recovering from his injuries. It won’t be for long. He’s a strategic asset now, and the government is eager to send him back into action. They want to protect him better on his next war patrol, so he’s assigned to a new station: the Agrarian Commonwealth’s new battleship. He and the fleet soon jump out and begin their mission.

While in space, horrifying news arrives. The Reliants have invented a doomsday weapon, a virus that targets the Agrarian genetic code. They begin deploying it, and Agrarians are killed by the billions. Jerry is tasked with using his electrokinesis to find the virus’s production facility so that a coordinated attack can be made. It might be the only chance the Commonwealth gets before the galaxy’s Agrarians are exterminated.

Jerry’s health is in rapid decline due to his electrokinesis. He can’t afford to push himself. But a Rifleman does his duty, even if it kills him.

The Quantum Well by James David VictorThe Quantum Well by James David Victor:

When your enemy has a bigger gun than you do, your only choice is to find new allies. Even if that means going somewhere you didn’t even know existed.

The Eternal Empress has unleashed the full might of her planet-destroying weapon. When Anders, Dalia, and their friends flee the destruction, they find themselves in the furthest reaches of the galaxy, in place known only in legend. Can they escape and find a place thought lost in history? If not, humanity may be doomed.

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

Age of Deception by T.A. WhiteAge of Deception by T.A. White:

War hero and daughter to two Houses, Kira is just beginning to learn how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Agreeing to accompany her father’s people back to their homeworld, Kira Forrest prepares for the fight of her life. She’s agreed to undertake the Trial of the Broken, a rite of passage every member of her father’s House must pass. It offers a path to independence and freedom that is too tempting to deny.

Not everyone welcomes this lost daughter of Roake. There are those who fear what her presence might bring to light. Betrayal stalks the halls of Kira’s birthplace—its roots embedded deep in the events that claimed her parent’s lives and set her on her current path.

Walking the wire’s edge between truth and deception will test the person Kira has become as she separates ally from betrayer. An old enemy has put into motion a plan that could topple the balance of power in the universe. Letting them succeed spells doom—but the price might be more than Kira is willing to pay.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for February 2020

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

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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, holiday mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, historical mysteries, Victorian mysteries, Jazz Age mystries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, paranormal thrillers, police procedurals, romantic suspense, amateur sleuths, police officers, ex-spies, serial killers, domestic abuse, suspicious suicides, crime-busting witches, crime-busting tour guides, murderous Valentines, crime and murder in London, Paris, New Orleans, Miami, Los Angeles, Indiana, Wisconsin, Warsaw 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:

Death by Baguette by Jennifer A. AldersonDeath by Baguette: A Valentine’s Day Murder in Paris by Jennifer S. Alderson:

Paris—the city of love, lights … and murder? Join tour guide Lana Hansen as she escorts five couples on an unforgettable Valentine-themed vacation to France! Unfortunately it will be the last trip for one passenger…

Lana Hansen’s future is looking bright. She has money in her bank account, a babysitter for her cat, and even a boyfriend. Regrettably she won’t get to celebrate Valentine’s Day with her new beau, Chad. Instead, she will be leading a lovers-only tour in France. Luckily for Lana, her best friend, Willow, and her partner, Jane, will be joining her.

Things go downhill when Lana’s new boyfriend shows up in Paris for her tour—with his wife. Chad is not the website developer he claimed to be, but a famous restaurant critic whose love of women rivals his passion for food.

After Chad drops dead during a picnic under the Eiffel Tower, a persistent French detective becomes convinced that he was poisoned. And the inspector’s sights are set on several members of the tour—including Lana!

While escorting her group through the cobblestone streets of Montmartre, the grand gardens of Versailles, and the historic Marché des Enfants Rouges market, Lana must figure out who really killed Chad before she has to say bonjour to prison and adieu to her freedom.

Introducing Lana Hansen, tour guide, reluctant amateur sleuth, and star of the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series. Join Lana as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that, unfortunately for Lana, often turn deadly.

The Imposter's InheritanceThe Imposter’s Inheritance by C.J. Archer:

A sordid scandal rocks the Glass household and threatens to ruin Matt’s family unless he can suppress it. But after word gets out, and a rare magical coronet is stolen, he and India find themselves scrambling to recover the heirloom and suppress the gossip before reputations are ruined.

To make matters worse, someone is sending threatening letters to the magicians of London, stirring up trouble between the artless and magicians. Tensions are rising, but India and Matt choose not to investigate – until the author of the letters is assaulted.

As if they don’t have enough on their plate, Willie is jailed. The reason for her arrest is…complicated.

What Lies Beneath by David ArcherWhat Lies Beneath by David Archer:

Fresh out of high school and off to college, Cassie thought she had the world by its tail, and then she met Mike. Tall, handsome and a police detective to boot, he swept her off her feet and into a whirlwind relationship that led to an engagement ring.

But things aren’t always as they seem, and Cassie comes to discover that Mike has a dark side. When she learns just how dark it can be, she comes face-to-face with the greatest forward she could imagine, and it leaves her burned and scarred for the rest of her life.

Cassie isn’t one to wallow in misery. She takes her experiences and a degree in psychology and sets out to help other women avoid the kind of thing that happened to her, but then one of her clients comes to her in desperation. Her abusive husband has kidnapped her daughter, and it’s up to Cassie to find the girl before it’s too late.

Of course, then the only trick is how to survive.

Berenice Jacquette by S. Ann AustinBérénice Jacquette, Part 1 by S. Ann Austin:

The Past:
She was taken from a rundown farmhouse and brought to an isolated cabin. The sounds of a little girl crying echoes across the bayou. No one can hear her. No one will rescue her.

The Present:
Twenty-seven-year-old Bérénice Jacquette survived a horrific childhood in the swamplands of Louisiana only to wind up trapped in a bitter, loveless marriage. In spite of a traumatic past still haunting her, she is determined to find her independence. Harboring ambitions to be a successful author, she attempts to pen a work of fiction.

The chef of a popular restaurant in New Orleans, she believes no one suspects her of committing murder through the use of black magic while writing a realistic crime novel.

When a handsome and charismatic homicide detective named Gary Northcutt steps into her life she doesn’t wonder if he knows her secrets. She thinks only about how he can be useful to her.

Murder by Candlelight by Blythe BakerMurder by Candlelight by Blythe Baker:

A dramatic death…

When an evening’s entertainment unexpectedly turns into a night of death, Alice Beckingham must discover the motive behind a very public murder. But with hundreds of witnesses, narrowing down her suspects isn’t easy. Worse, her investigation makes Alice a target for a killer who doesn’t want to be caught.

With the always aloof Sherborne Sharp assisting, can Alice stay alive long enough to solve the puzzle? Or will the next curtain rise on yet another murder – her own?

Illusions of Warsaw by David BradwellIllusions of Warsaw by David Bradwell:

A suspicious suicide. A vengeful girl. Connecting the dots could send a group of friends to the morgue..…

Warsaw, 1997. Fugitive journalist Clare Woodbrook refuses to ignore a colleague’s questionable death. Teaming up with a fellow reporter, she uncovers a trail of corruption that could expose the killer. But when they get too close to the truth, they’re framed for a series of bloody crimes.

London. Secretive, bright-eyed Louise arrives on Anna Burgin’s doorstep, claiming to be Clare’s long-lost niece. But her true agenda is simple and deadly: revenge for her father’s murder. And her ill-conceived plan to infiltrate a crew of con artists puts both Anna and her in a vicious gangster’s crosshairs.

As Clare discovers shadowy links between Poland and Britain, she races against time to clear her name and reveal the culprit before more body bags fill. But with Louise and Anna caught up in the mess in England, it might be too late to save everyone…

Can the unlikely team catch a sinister mastermind before they’re ruthlessly erased?

Illusions of Warsaw is the sixth book in the twisty Anna Burgin mystery-thriller series. If you like fearless characters, Nineties nostalgia, and pulse-pounding suspense, then you’ll love David Bradwell’s breathless tale.

Mystery on Valentine's Day by Beth Byers and Lee StraussMystery on Valentine’s Day by Beth Byers and Lee Strauss:

The worlds of Ginger Gold and Violet Carlyle collide in this fun Valentine Mystery short story by bestselling authors Lee Strauss and Beth Byers.

While both Ginger and Violet had plans for a romantic evening of dinner and dancing to celebrate Valentine’s Day with their husbands, something goes terribly awry. One by one, female patrons discover that they are missing jewelry.

In this closed room mystery filled with a brigade of colorful characters, Violet and Ginger join forces to put their skills of deduction to work. Can they unveil the culprit and solve the mystery in time for dessert?

Don’t miss this delectable bite-sized tale. Pairs perfectly with a box of chocolate and a comfy chair!

No Trivial Pursuit by John EllsworthNo Trivial Pursuit by John Ellsworth:

No Trivial Pursuit. Not When It’s Your Own Daughter Missing.

A front-page murder is assigned to LAPD Detective Harley Ellis and her partner. Hollywood studio head Ira Spielman has been murdered. His widow says he had no enemies. Except one, says Harley, and she must discover who that is and why. She knows he sometimes interviewed actresses alone in his Hollywood office. Harley wonders: did he make a wrong move? It’s not much, but it’s a starting point. She would know: her own daughter had a screen test with Spielman before he was killed.

Robbery-Homicide Division begins an investigation that obtains the name of Harley’s daughter. Is she a suspect? No, but she’s a person of interest. Charges get filed. The LAPD investigation is put beneath the microscope. Will Harley’s investigation of a totally different suspect be vindicated? The amazing conclusion to this thoughtful investigation culminates in a final chapter few will see coming.

Chow Down by Mike FaricyChow Down by Mike Faricy:

Life gets complicated!

Former cop, Dickie Mullins, owns the Emporium of Dance. A sleazy pick-up bar with lousy food and about to go broke.
Rae Nell, Dickie’s ex-wife, is having an affair with NFL washout, Terry Taggert.
Terry is starting a steak business. Delicious, unique steaks.
Rae Nell thinks it would be a good idea if Dickie improved his menu.
Meanwhile, Terry’s principal investor, ‘Dr.’ Craig Cullen wants out, NOW!
Terry has just the plan for the ‘Dr.’ Cullen.

The Heartless Valentine by Kacey GeneThe Heartless Valentine by Kacey Gene:

Roses are red; violets are blue
Is a lover from the dead here to kill you?

Valentine’s Day. 2020. Middlebridge, Wisconsin. When the quick-witted second grade teacher and amateur sleuth, Jennifer Hunter, receives a gift from a secret admirer on Valentine’s Day, she heartily investigates who her cupid could be. When she opens the box, though, she doesn’t find chocolates; she finds a human heart wrapped in red tissue paper.

And that’s not all. Her admirer has written a note confessing their desire to watch Jennifer die. That’s when Jennifer’s best friend and Middlebridge’s Police Lieutenant, Jake Hollow, steps in.

Jake and Jennifer put their dynamic duo focus on finding Jennifer’s deranged valentine, and that leads them to the recently deceased body of David Bird IV. He looks like an average dead guy except for one fact — his heart has been removed. Jennifer must investigate this heartless valencrime; otherwise, she fears she’ll be the next victim. Yet, her attempt to protect her own heart leads her to a set of love letters that tell the story of broken hearts from the past.

Valentine’s Day. 1910. Salem, Massachusetts. Clay Trunkett, a twenty year old hard-working journalist, is scheduled to hang for assaulting a man. His accuser? David Bird II, son of the wealthiest man in Salem. Clay’s true crime? Falling in love with Meghan White, the woman David has his heart set on marrying.

The love triangle of 1910 holds the clues Jennifer needs to find the heart snatcher of 2020, but with her own crazed valentine delivering threatening messages and bits of heart like they’re candy, Jennifer struggles to piece together this crime of passion from 1910.

And, Jennifer’s own passions get in the way when she discovers that her best friend, Jake, has a girlfriend — one that he’s been hiding from Jennifer for months. Betrayal runs high as masquerade parties, craft sales, murder mystery dinners, and a strange encounter at the local diner all distract Jennifer from her one mission: To find out who’s making her Valentine’s Day the most horrifyingly heart-filled in history. The problem is, Jennifer’s discoveries may end her friendship with Jake, and that’s a heartbreak she can’t take.

This clean cozy mystery will keep reader’s hearts pounding as they flip through love letters from the past and the alternating stories of Jennifer Hunter and Clay Trunkett. Jennifer’s down-to-earth and lovable personality plunges into new territory as she must assess her relationship with Jake and the type of love she wants in her life. She goes on crochet benders; she attends parties where she gets to be someone other than herself; and all the time she’s piecing together a crime that makes this Valentine’s Day anything but sweet.

Nest of Vipers by Natalie HamesNest of Vipers by Natalie Hames:

Seeing is deceiving.

A layer of freezing fog hovered on the ground, nipping at Andrea Rossi’s ankles as she ran along the secluded trail in Kensington Gardens. It was no ordinary day. In a few hours time, she would be facing a prolific child killer in a legal battle that would change her career, forever. But Andrea would never see the inside of a courtroom, again. Nor would she reach the end of her favourite trail. A few more paces, and Andrea Rossi would be dead.

DI Dalton and DS Nash embark on an investigation to find the killer. They do not have to look very far before they come across Mark Templeton, a man with a history of violence and the father of a murdered child. He has motive and an insurmountable rage making him highly capable of carrying out the brutal slaying. Grace and Ryan proceed with caution and question him to find he has no sympathy for the young Barrister’s death. But as they gather more information, they unearth more suspects and more motives. Initially obvious theories become increasingly blurred as details of Andrea’s private life gradually unfold. Did Mark Templeton really kill her for defending his son’s killer, or are there far deeper and darker motives at play?

Boot Scootin' Boogeyman by Lily Harper HartBoot Scootin’ Boogeyman by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok didn’t know she was a witch but now that she’s embracing her destiny, she can’t wait to learn about magic. Given the trouble that seems to find Casper Creek on a regular basis, that’s probably a good thing.

Cooper Wyatt is enjoying watching Hannah open up and learn about herself. He’s there to lend a helping hand but also eager for her to strike out on her own … until the unthinkable happens. On their first official date, Cooper and Hannah bear witness to a horrifying scene. A local woman, who had gone missing days before, jumps off a downtown building and kills herself. The question is: Why?

There’s more than one missing woman, magic sparking at every turn, and a monster on the hunt. It’s up to Hannah, Cooper, and the rest of their friends to discover exactly what’s going on … and figure out how to solve the problem. That’s easier said than done, though.

Casper Creek’s magic runs deep and Hannah is going to have to tap into it if she expects to keep her friends safe.

She’s up to the challenge.

At least she hopes she is.

Things are about to get messy as the Wild West gets wickeder and wickeder.

Valentines & Victims by Donna MuseValentines & Victims by Donna Muse:

After being snowbound for much of the winter, amateur detective duo Geneva Pomolo and Iris Reeves are looking forward to a Valentine’s Day getaway with a few older friends at Bittersweet Lodge, a ski resort in the chilly foothills of southern Indiana. Both women are looking forward to a weekend of dance contests, luaus, roasted pigs, and toboggan scavenger hunts. Tensions mount when one of their friends comes down with a sudden illness. Geneva fears the worst: someone is poisoning the lodge’s guests.

The case takes a deadly swerve when Horace Weatherspoon—millionaire head of a railroad empire—dies in a toboggan accident. The old man had been deathly afraid of toboggans and Geneva knows there is malice at work: one of their fellow guests is a murderer. As Iris and Geneva begin to investigate, they uncover a trail of secrets leading back more than thirty years, and one person will kill again to keep those secrets buried.

Be My Valencrime by Amy M. ReadeBe My Valencrime by Amy M. Reade:

It’s Valentine’s Day in Juniper Junction and love is in the air. Or is that just a dark cloud?

Lilly’s shop assistant, Harry, is about to pop the question to his girlfriend, Alice Davenport. He’s got the ring, he’s planned a romantic dinner, and he’s even thought of a gracious escape if Alice says no.

The only thing missing is…Alice.

Lilly wants to do all she can to help find Alice, even if that means interfering with a police investigation. But as she begins to learn more about Harry’s sweet, unassuming girlfriend, she discovers that Alice is hiding a shocking secret that will complicate everything.

And when Lilly suffers a lapse in judgment, the consequences are swift and painful. Can she pull herself together enough to help her daughter through a tunnel of teenage angst, deal with her mother’s dementia-related wanderings, and still help Harry find his Happily Ever After?

The Girl in the Manor by A.J. RiversThe Girl in the Manor by A.J. Rivers:

The sound of a blood curdling scream echoed through the manor.

Her pleas ignored, her screams unheard. Tomorrow would not come for Everly Zara…

What does the death of a young child, and the sudden death of the girl in the manor have in common?

Was it simply just a coincidence, or is there something far more disturbing than anyone could ever imagine?

Everly Zara, a beautiful young woman, is found dead in the bedroom of the manor. The bedroom which she shares with her new fiancé.

She is naked and hanging. Her ankles are bound. There are words written on her body.
The news is shocking and disturbing to everyone who knows her.

Could Everly no longer bear the sadness and guilt of the little boy’s death, and killed herself to escape it?

But the heartbreaking death of a beautiful young woman accused of a horrible act may not be as straightforward as everyone thought.

The further Emma dives into the case, the more she realizes, everything is not as it seems.
As secrets from Everly’s past rise to the surface and the shocking nature of it discovered.
Emma must unravel the truth before she becomes a victim herself. In the close-knit town of Sherwood, something or someone is coming for Emma Griffin.

With her past constantly haunting her, and the disturbing nature of this mystery. Nothing is what it seems, yet everything feels so familiar. Emma is left to wonder if she is really losing her mind.

How deep down the rabbit hole will Emma go to find out the truth of her past?

How far will she go to find out the truth behind Everly Zara’s death?

One thing’s for certain, Emma’s entire world will be forever changed once the truth is revealed.

Run Girl Run by Willow RoseRun Girl Run by Willow Rose:

When a mother and her child are pulled out of the harbor in their car, the case seems pretty straightforward for Miami PD and Detective Harry Hunter.

Everything points to a murder-suicide.

They were homeless, living in their car, and the mother decided to end it all for them both by driving into the water.

But the case is not what it looks like, Detective Harry Hunter soon realizes.

Harry’s daughter is carrying devastating knowledge about their deaths, and soon she becomes the killer’s next target.

As Harry races to protect her, he is betrayed by someone he thought he knew, leaving him terrified of trusting anyone in a town filled with liars.

The Paladin by T.L. SchaeferThe Paladin by T.L. Schaefer:

Redemption. Love. Betrayal. An ancient evils stirs. Unleashing… The Paladin.

James Goltree put Mariposa in his rearview mirror five years ago, escaping a past and a family he’s desperately ashamed of. But now the Air Force Office of Special Investigations agent must return after the death of his grandfather. The grandfather he helped send to prison.

Emergency room LPN Madison Campbell’s quiet life is turned upside down when her son inherits enough money from James’ grandfather to settle all their financial woes. But there are strings.

James and Madison throw sparks neither has ever felt before. But now isn’t the right time for a man unwilling to commit and woman still crippled by betrayal to fall in love.

Not when a killer has once again come to town, one with an unfathomable, unbelievable agenda.

James and Madison must embrace and overcome their pasts to defeat evil and find a love that transcends time.

Murder on Fleet Street by Lee StraussMurder on Fleet Street by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s a Deadly Secret!

Mrs. Ginger Reed—the former Lady Gold—thought her past was dead and buried, but when the mysterious death of a British secret service agent threatens to expose her own Great War secrets, she’s faced with an unimaginable dilemma: break her legal vow to the Official Secrets Act or join the agency again, something she’s loathe to do.

Because once they own your soul, there’s no getting it back.

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Masks and Magic 2020 – A Round-up of Indie Mardi Gras Speculative Fiction

Masks and Magic banner
Our monthly round-ups of new speculative fiction and new crime fiction releases by indie authors are a perennially popular feature. Therefore, we now offer you a round-up of our favourite Mardi Gras speculative fiction by indie authors.

These Mardi Gras stories cover the broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have a lot of urban fantasy, horror and paranormal mysteries, but also historical fantasy, dark fantasy, religious fantasy, fairy tales and even science fiction. There are angels, demons, Lucifer himself, dragons, ghosts, ghost whisperers, vampires, werewolves, witches, monsters, zombies, voodoo, ancient legends, family curses, cursed doubloons, human sacrifices, voodoo gods, kidnapped nuns, evil twin sisters, space cruises, precognition and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set on or around Mardi Gras.

As always with my round-up posts, this round-up of the best indie holiday speculative fiction is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

Southern Monsters by Cora BuhlertSouthern Monsters by Cora Buhlert

Three tales of monsters and terror in the Louisiana bayous.

When a young bride goes missing on her wedding day in Acadiana, the locals blame the Terror, the legendary monster that stalks the Crimson Bayou.
Remy Theriault does not believe in the Terror and he’s pretty sure the bride has done a runner. But the groom is his cousin and family is family. So Remy goes out to look for the runaway bride, only to find that sometimes, the old legends are true…

When their car crashes into the bayou on a dark Louisiana night, the swamp creature known only as Big Puffball might just be one family’s salvation…

When fishing boats go missing on the Mississippi River Delta, few people link these disappearances to the mysterious light that lit up the Louisiana sky only weeks before. But an astronomer from Tulane University makes the connection and discovers the horror that is the sphere that ate the Mississippi delta.

This is a collection of three short horror stories of 7700 words or approximately 27 print pages altogether.

Krewe of Souls by Elaine CallowayKrewe of Souls by Elaine Calloway:

Mardi Gras, Mayhem, and Murder…

Tristan Pleasance is a ghost whisperer extraordinaire, but talking to his living father is another story. Family conflict prompts Tristan to bolt from his lifelong home in St. Francisville, Louisiana, to make a new life in New Orleans. But six months later, a family tragedy forces him to return home and he is thrust into a murder investigation where his past and future will collide.

Grace Lansing is a New Orleans columnist who yearns to write feature articles rather than puff pieces. To prove herself to her editor, she travels to the quaint town of St. Francisville to research their big Mardi Gras Krewe competition. But what seems an innocent cultural practice quickly turns into a web of intrigue—and getting too close to the handsome Tristan puts her in danger of becoming collateral damage.

Together, Tristan and Grace must find out who is responsible for the murders—before the Krewe of Souls is trapped forever.

Mardi Gras Maiden by Michael Dreysher Sr.Mardi Gras Maiden by Michael Dreysher Sr.

New Orleans 1854: A young woman, driven by curiosity sneaks into a brothel and stumbles into a Mardi Gras masquerade. She discovers that the ball is in reality an erotic ritual paying homage to Lucifer, the Great Prince of Evil and she is the guest of honor. The Archangel Gabriel sends four warriors from a dying world to rescue her but they arrive too late; the cult has slaughtered the girl, offering her as a sacrifice to Lucifer.

Rural Pennsylvania 1954: The same cult takes control of an entire town when their High Priestess seduces the land baron who owns it. They engineer a series of extramarital affairs among the residents which culminates in ritual debauchery. Gabriel has his avengers return to Earth with orders to wipe out the cult but Heaven has a dark side. A rogue spirit with an agenda of its own plans to kill these out-world warriors and the archangel’s champions find themselves defenseless in the center of a titanic struggle between two opposing forces from the Kingdom of Heaven.

Carnival in Sorgenbach by Raymund EichCarnival in Sorgenbach by Raymund Eich:

Hans returned from the Great War, haunted. Not only by the horrors of the trenches, but haunted by visions of a more terrifying war to come. Would the parties and parades of Carnival 1919 offer him love and hope? Or doom him and his country to the devastation he foresaw?

 

 

 

Trapt by Rene FolsomTrapt by Rene Folsom:

Mardi Gras is coming, and no one is more excited than Jolie—The Big Easy’s resident good witch. Amidst the festivities, darkness creeps under the blissful veil of love she is entangled with. Her twin sister, the evil witch Melanie, is out to destroy Jolie before her powers can usurp her own, willing to stop at nothing to do so. Jolie, aided by Asher and his seven-man wolf pack, are set to keep New Orleans safe from Melanie’s sorcery, or die trying.

Enjoy the story of Jolie and Asher, a modern-day retelling of the classic tale Snow White.

Death Dealer by Graylin FoxDeath Dealer by Graylin Fox:

My name is Cimmerian. I’m a dragon shifter living in New Orleans. Someone is screwing up my pre-Mardi Gras plans by leaving mutilated human bodies all over town. I have to find out whether or not a demon is behind this. If so, are they building a human to animate with demon magic? If not, we have a human serial killer just in time for the town to flood with tourists.

Things were so much quieter on vacation.

Damn, I’m glad to be back at work.

Creole Moon: Book of Roots by S.T, HolmesCreole Moon: Book of Roots by S.T. Holmes:

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is the perfect locale for a treasure hunt. When it coincides in the year of the Luperci festival, the magic world is turned upside down, and the feast of forgiveness turns into a fight of wickedness. This Mardi Gras festival is like non ever seen before or will ever see in the future.

Experience sibling rivalry at its finest as two sisters square off against each other for control of the book of roots. Unite with our hero, George Genois, as he is drawn deeper into the realm of magic and the forces of good and evil. If he thought his adventures with Mamuska and Ophelia were harsh before, then he is in for an even wilder time with these sisters. Each sister wants him as an ally, but George is interested in righting a wrong done only to him. Does George get his revenge?

A Rose at Midnight by Sylvie KurtzA Rose at Midnight by Sylvie Kurtz:

He abandoned her to save her life. Now he must convince her he still loves her before the stroke of midnight on Mardi Gras . . . or condemn her to her death.

Nine years ago, Christiane Lawrence fell hard for a mysterious young music student. Even after he left her without a goodbye, the memory of Daniel Moreau haunts Christi every day when she looks at their daughter’s face.

Whenever Christi asked about her mother’s family, she was warned to stay away from the birthplace her mother fled. Now, grieving her parents’ death in a car accident, an invitation from Gabriel Langelier, a cousin she’d never met arrives, promising answers. This is her chance to give her daughter a taste of the family roots she never had.

What Christiane doesn’t know is that her mother’s warning sprang from real fear. Gabriel is obsessed with the legend of Rose Latulippe. He’s sure only someone from Christiane’s bloodline can fulfill his quest for eternal life. He must have her heart at midnight on Mardi Gras.

To save the woman he loved, Daniel made a bargain with the devil and abandoned her without explanation. And now she’s back in the middle of danger, bringing their daughter with her.

To have a second chance and earn Christiane’s forgiveness, Daniel has to convince Christi he still loves her before the stroke of midnight on Mardi Gras . . . or send her to her death.

Voodoo Dreams by Alana LorensVoodoo Dreams by Alana Lorens:

When her big trial goes bad, corporate attorney Brianna Ward can’t wait to get out of Pittsburgh. The Big Easy seems like the perfect place to rest, relax, and forget about the legal business. Too bad an obnoxious–but handsome–lawyer from a rival firm is checking into the same bed and breakfast.

Attorney Evan Farrell has Mardi Gras vacation plans too. When he encounters fiery and attractive Brianna, however, he puts the Bourbon Street party on hold. He’d much rather devote himself to her–especially when a mysterious riddle appears in her bag, seeming to threaten danger.

Strangely compelled to follow the riddle’s clues, Brianna is pulled deeper into the twisted schemes of a voodoo priest bent on revenge. To escape his poisonous web, she must work with Evan to solve the curse. But is the growing love they feel for each other real? Or just a voodoo dream?

Battlefield Z: Mardi Gras Zombies by Chris LowryBattlefield Z: Mardi Gras Zombies by Chris Lowry:

He found them!

Two of his three children are alive and now that he’s found them he won’t let them out of his sight.

It’s time to find his youngest daughter.

The last he knew she was heading to a refugee camp with her Mom and step-dad. He’s got a map of the camps back at Fort Jasper waiting.

All he has to do is keep his kids safe as they search for answers and a trip back to Alabama. The safest route floats them down the river. It keeps the Z at bay, but delivers them straight into a fortress that feels like paradise.

He has a choice. Hide behind the walls with two thirds of his heart and let the world burn or take a chance and continue the hunt.

An easy job if it weren’t for all the damn zombies.

The Outer-Universe Cruise Ship Mardi GrasThe Outer-Universe Cruise Ship Mardi Gras by E. Miguel:

Space, there is a lot of it. Like really, a lot. As much space as there is though, it also happens to be very crowded. It is for this exact reason the Outer-Universe Cruise Ship Mardis Gras was created. While other cruises throughout the universe offer excitement and adventure, the Mardis Gras offers the mundane for those vacationers that are allergic to such excitement and adventure. The ship’s only constant inconstant is a Mardis Gras party held every other day.

Unfortunately for two passengers on the ship, this week’s cruise offers more than they signed up for. Escape pods, a slumbering Old God, and a Voodoo priestess robot all happen to show up on the unplanned itinerary this week.

Nocturne by Irene Preston and Liv RancourtNocturne by Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt

It’s Mardi Gras, cher, but this year le bon temps kick off with murder…

For generations, the White Monks have treated the vampire Thaddeus Dupont as a weapon in their battle against demons. However, when a prominent matron drops dead at a party, Thaddeus and his lover Sarasija are asked to find her killer. Their investigation leads them to an old southern family with connections everywhere: Louisiana politics, big business, the Church, and an organization just as secret as the White Monks.

Meanwhile, an esoteric text containing spells for demon-summoning has disappeared, Thaddeus is losing control of le monstre, and Sara is troubled by disturbing dreams. These nightmares could be a side-effect of dating a vampire, or they could be a remnant of his brush with evil. As the nights wear on, Sara fears they are a manifestation of something darker – a secret that could destroy his relationship with Thaddeus.

Krewe of Hecate by Sim ShattuckKrewe of Hecate by Sim Shattuck:

A group of Mardi Gras wizards descend to the Underworld and capture the goddess Hecate so that they can display her during Carnival. But they didn’t understand that having the goddess of the Uncanny upon the face of the Earth would do to three unlucky New Orleans residents.

 

 

 

Burgundy Doubloons by T.J. Spencer JacquesBurgundy Doubloons by T.J. Spencer Jacques:

You caught a doubloon at a Mardi Gras Parade – that was a bad thing.

Trent McGowan is going home. Home to his ailing mother. Home to the city of his childhood. Home to New Orleans. As Trent deals with the peculiar circumstances surrounding his mother’s illness, his family gets swept up in the excitement of Mardi Gras and all of the festivities of that intoxicating day. The jubilant crowds, breathtaking carnival floats, and oh yes, the throws! His youngest daughter Zoe catches one of those throws, a sparkling red doubloon, and that is where the story ends and begins.
Burgundy Doubloons is more than just a suspense thriller, it is everything that makes New Orleans the party capital of the world: only bloodier and darker.

For those who love a parade, Burgundy Doubloon answers a terrifying question: What if your child simultaneously caught a bead, and a murderous spirit? In this heart-palpating novel, you will meet the entire McGowan family, and the people determined to destroy them.

Finally, a paranormal thriller that takes place in New Orleans – as told by a native son who knows where the bodies are buried.

Poison and Wine by C.H. Valentino and Eldon HughesPoison and Wine by C.H. Valentino and Eldon Hughes:

Welcome to the Crescent City

Danni Toussaint has a nail in her chest as a mark of her debt to The Baron Samedi – a debt she can only repay with the souls he forces her to steal.

Michael Belew is desperate. Someone is kidnapping nuns in the Ninth Ward where he was raised an orphan, and he suspects a powerful enemy armed with voodoo magic.

When Michael asks for Danni’s help to find the kidnapper – or killer – they become pawns in a vicious game between The Baron Samedi and his brother, Lacroix.

The prize? Control of the most powerful source of magic in New Orleans.

Now, to protect the people of his city and save Danni from Samedi, Michael may have to sacrifice his soul.

Razor Valentine by Roland YeomansRazor Valentine by Roland Yeomans:

MARDI GRAS … MAGIC … MURDER

In 1947 New Orleans THREE KINGS DAY marks the start of the official Carnival Season. Carnival, coming from the Latin words, carne vale, meaning “farewell to the flesh.”

Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte, Our Lady of Holy Death, is stalking the French Quarter streets killing apparently at random. What does the psychotic actress, Irene Dupré, know of this entity and what lies behind the murders? She remains silent, only smiling. Santa Muerte’s strange acolyte lurks in the shadows watching, waiting. Waiting for what?

Frank Capra is filming a historical fantasy in the city with Jimmy Stewart, Cesar Romero, and the enigmatic Irene Dupré. Former O.S.S. operative, now the film’s Prop Master, Lucas, finds himself in the middle of the mystery with more questions than answers.

His lost love back from the dead, Ingrid Durtz, and his best friend, Mitchell Mack, are at a loss on how to stay alive, much less catch a supernatural killer.

Then, there is Lucas’ former O.S.S. team mate, Father Darael, whose gift of a Seraph Blade is literally a two-edged blessing. You see, Darael is a Seraphim Provocateur. And Lucas is unsure whose side he is really on, the Celestial or the Fallen?

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