Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for September 2021

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have urban fantasy, epic fantasy, adventure fantasy, YA fantasy, paranormal mystery, paranormal romance, fairy tales, space opera, military science fiction, planetary romance, post-apocalyptic fiction, cyberpunk, biopunk, LitRPG, cosmic horror, historical horror, psychological horror, vampires, dragons, demons, angels, fae, giants, space marines, aliens, fae princes, space mages, Martian invasions, Victorian zombies, crime-busting witches, crime-busting ghosts, amnesiac jailers, troubled insomniacs, Cthulhu 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:

Floaters by Gareth BoatmanFloaters by Gareth Boatman:

Fire and plague. Certainly no strangers to London Town. But when legions of living dead rise from the Thames’ fetid waters to feast upon the living, the city teeters on the brink of antihalation. And while floaters seek blood, another army takes advantage of the chaos. Boiling out of their rookeries of crime, marauders swarm through London’s affluent neighborhoods looting and burning.

Hooligans vs the Living Dead: A Victorian Zombie Adventure!

With the beleaguered police and the Queen’s army battling twin plagues—human and inhuman—London’s criminal youth gangs join forces to save their city. Will Tagget, leader of the Lambeth Lads, together with his enemies Bill Drummond of the Drury Lane Gang, bull-necked George Fish of the Elephant and Castle Gang, shillelagh-wielding Dirk Bogart of the New Cut Gang, Quincy Bird of City Road, along with their female counterparts—Lambeth Kate, Queen Jane, New Cut Beth, Razor Lil and Dirty Deidre—set out on an adventure the telling of which might earn a man a lifetime of free drinks. If he lives to tell it.

Will these violent gangs put aside their rivalries long enough to get the job done?

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

Mind over Magic by Lindsay BurokerMind Over Magic by Lindsay Buroker:

As a bookish, introverted database programmer, Morgen Keller never thought she was a candidate for a midlife crisis. That was before her husband divorced her, her boss let her go, and her grandmother died. Forty wasn’t supposed to look like this.

When Morgen heads up to the small town of Bellrock, Washington, to settle the estate, she looks forward to taking a peaceful break from life and figuring out what she’s going to do next.

But peace isn’t to be had. The old farmhouse is full of witch paraphernalia, a fearsome werewolf has claimed the property, and contrary to what the family was told, Grandma didn’t die of natural causes.

Embroiled in a mystery, and heir to powers she knew nothing about, Morgen must turn to the only person who might be able to help: the werewolf who threatened to rip her throat out for trespassing.

This isn’t the fresh start on life that Morgen had in mind.

A Witch in Wolf Wood is perfect for fans of mystery, magic, slow-burn romance, and second chances.

Realmshaker by A.J. EpikosRealmshaker by A.J. Epikos:

Rhonda is a noble giant, a huge savage beauty learning to become a ranger and a chieftess. But five centuries after a terrible war eliminated the noble giants’ civilization, Rhonda wakes up alone on a runic ritual site far from home. Her culture is plundered, erased, and nearly forgotten. Terrible beasts roam the land, and smaller beings are taking over. Stranger yet, there’s a mystical mechanism revealing to Rhonda her class, attributes, perks, star power, and more.

It’s the Star System!

And its master could be an eldritch thing covering the world, unknown to all except the giantess herself.

Follow Rhonda and her friends on an epic CONQUEST to collect star power, go berserk on their enemies, and make an impact no one can ignore. The noble giants’ civilization may have fallen, but it’s Rhonda’s birthright to shake the realm.

The Recruit by Rachel FordThe Recruit by Rachel Ford:

How much is freedom really worth?

The world ended five years ago. Caleb Franks has lived in the shadows ever since, scraping together a meager existence on his homestead with his faithful friend, a Great Pyrenees named Elim.

Then the North American People’s Army shows up, promising a new way of life: ready food, security, community, and maybe even a family someday, if he proves himself worthy. All they ask in return is absolute loyalty.

Caleb will need to make a choice: security, or freedom. All that hangs in the balance is everything.

This is a post-apocalyptic novelette. It is a work of speculative fiction and though in no way graphic, may contain elements that some readers will find disturbing.

Simultaneous Times Vol. 2.5 edited by Jean-Paul GarnierSimultaneous Times Vol. 2.5., edited by Jean-Paul Garnier:

From Space Cowboy Books in Joshua Tree, California: A free e-book companion to the Space Cowboy Books Presents: Simultaneous Times science fiction anthology podcast.

Featuring stories by: Cora Buhlert, Kim Martin, Brent A. Harris, Renan Bernardo, RedBlueBlackSilver, Robin Rose Graves, Douglas A. Blanc, Michael Butterworth & J. Jeff Jones – with illustrations by: Austin Hart, Dante Luiz, Chynna DeSimone, Douglas A. Blanc, & Zara Kand.

Once Bitten by Tina GlasneckOnce Bitten by Tina Glasneck:

He saved my life, only to steal it away with his dragon’s blood.

Midlife was supposed to be steady, where I’d find everything I needed and finally get it together.

Nope. Hollywood lied. Because here I was, again, trying to get my legs under me.

Literally.

I’d lost my job, fallen into the Atlantic, and woken up changed forever. Forever as in eternity forever because the blood my rescuer gave me to save my life had one itty bitty unforeseen consequence.

It made me a vampire.

I know, fang my life.

Now I’d need a miracle just to get through the day. And that miracle is Alistair, the handsome dragon shifter who saved my life and really shouldn’t exist. But he is very much a real man–and a real temptation.

And he’s offering me a fresh start that comes with a secret organization of supernaturals who live in the shadows.

Looks like I’m getting a chance to start over.

I just had to die to finally start living.

Ghostly Endeavour by Lily Harper HartGhostly Endeavour by Lily Harper Hart:

Harper Harlow is ready to move forward with her business, which just so happens to include taking ownership of the beleaguered Whisper Cove Cemetery. She and her partner Zander Pritchett have big plans … until the day they close on the property and discover a body on one of the well-worn pathways.

Cassie Clifton is recently divorced, a devoted runner, and an individual with a lot of secrets. She was estranged from her parents before her death and apparently desperate to get out of town. Why, though? Harper is determined to figure answers, no matter how hard she has to dig.

Harper’s husband Jared Monroe is on the case but the proximity of death to his new wife has him spinning. It was supposed to be a fun business endeavor, a way for Harper to continue running her cemetery tours without oversight. It’s turned into so much more.

Harper and Jared join together, and when they uncover ties between Cassie and one of their closest friends, they’re thrown for a loop. Have they embedded themselves with a killer?

It’s a race to the finish to find Cassie’s murderer and bolster Harper’s new business in the process. It’s going to take everything they have – every member of their motley crew of friends working together – to cross the finish line safely.

Death is stalking Whisper Cove again. Will they all survive to see another day?

Phantom Masquerade by A.L. HawkePhantom Masquerade by A.L. Hawke:

And here is where I fall.

Mina Daaé dreams of performing on Broadway. Like her great ancestor, Christine Daaé, who sang at the prestigious Palais Garnier a hundred years before, Mina has the voice of an angel. But after graduating from Conservatoire de Paris, fortune fails her. Until the circus comes to town.

Mina’s close friend Toni Vollini offers her a role in his new Broadway play mixing Mozart with clowns. Known as The Harlequin, the musical is an inimitable adaptation of the opera Don Giovanni. Toni says Mina will soar, but with pathologic acrophobia, she’s afraid she’ll fall. And the ghost in her head says she will.

Toni and a ghost vie for her love, but Mina thinks her ghost is just another hallucination. Or is her ghost a phantom of the opera?

Phantom Masquerade is a contemporary adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera integrating romance and the paranormal.

Cthulhu Wants You by Rhys HughesCthulhu Wants You by Rhys Hughes:

A collection of short stories inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. These stories are not parodies or pastiches but darkly ironic fantasies that connect with the Mythos at a tangent. Open-minded devotees of Lovecraft may find amusement in the offbeat ideas, paradoxical plots, whimsical language and strange originality of these tales. But whether you know what you want or not, be assured of one thing: Cthulhu wants you!

 

 

A Dance with the Fae Prince by Elise KovaA Dance with the Fae Prince by Elisa Kova:

She knew her hand in marriage would be sold. She had no idea a fae prince was the buyer.

Katria swore she’d never fall in love. She’s seen what “love” means through the cruelty of her family. So when she’s married off to the mysterious Lord Fenwood for a handsome price, all Katria wants is a better life than the one she’s leaving. Feelings are off the table.

But her new husband makes not falling in love difficult.

As their attraction begins to grow, so too do the oddities within her new life: strange rules, screams in the night, and attacks by fae that Katria never thought were real. When she witnesses a ritual not meant for human eyes, Katria finds herself spirited away to the land of Midscape.

Surviving the fae wilds as a human is hard enough. Katria must survive as a human who accidently pilfered the magic of ancient kings – magic a bloodthirsty king is ready to kill her for in order to keep his stolen throne – and her new husband is the rightful heir in hiding.

The power to save the fae is in her hands. But who will save her from a love she vowed never to feel?

A Crone to Pick by Amanda M. LeeA Crone to Pick by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall knows what she is, more than a witch, more powerful than she ever thought imaginable. She’s only hit the tip of the iceberg on what she can do. Now she has to grapple with another problem.

When her former partner Evan was believed dead in a vampire attack, she blamed herself, mourned, and tried to move on. Now he’s back, and he’s more than anybody ever imagined, too. Unfortunately, nobody can find him.

When news reaches Scout that there’s been a potential vampire attack in neighboring Hemlock Cove, she packs her bags and hits the parnormal tourist destination with her boyfriend Gunner as backup. She’s not prepared for what she finds, including a gaggle of witches who like to cause trouble wherever they go.

Evan is there, lurking in the shadows and struggling with an identity he didn’t ask for, but death is stalking the town from multiple directions. Murder, mayhem, and monsters are afoot and Scout is determined to get to the bottom of it all … even if her life is in danger in the process.

The baddest motorcycle gang in the Midwest is about to meet the Winchester witches. The world will never be the same.

Blood and Jade by Ken LizziBlood and Jade by Ken Lizzi:

When an ancient sorcerer pursues an enchanted blade at any cost, only one man stands in his way.

Archaeologists uncovering a lost Mayan city unearth a magic artifact. An earthquake disturbs the operations of neighboring narcotraffickers. An ancient sorcerer and his mercenary henchmen arrive to claim the artifact.

When these three factions converge, Karl Thorson, ex-Special Forces, is thrust into action.

Dexicos Megistos, a nigh immortal sorcerer, wants to retrieve a mystical jade dagger. Alejandra Matamoros-Lopez wants to smuggle narcotics through the tunnels beneath the ruins, avoiding the notice of rival cartels. Professor May Chen wants to see if any sparks remain from her relationship with the head of the archaeological dig.

Karl Thorson just wants to do his job, and maybe have a cold beer.

Can he safeguard the archaeologists, especially the lovely Professor May Chen? Can he defeat a murderous band of narcotraffickers? And can he deprive the sorcerer Dexicos Megistos of the jade dagger?

The Black Parade Boxed Set by Kyoko M.The Black Parade Boxed Set by Kyoko M.:

Praised by Publishers Weekly as “slickly paced” and “overflowing with witty banter,” The Black Parade (Book One), She Who Fights Monsters (Book Two), and The Holy Dark (Book Three) tell the tale of Seer Jordan Amador, her snarky partner and paramour Michael, and a siege of ghosts and murderous demons out to cause Hell on Earth.

The Black Parade (Book #1):
Jordan Amador. 21. New Yorker. Waitress. Mild alcoholic. Murderer.

Two years ago, Jordan accidentally shot and killed a Seer: a person who can see, hear, and talk to ghosts with unfinished business. Her crime came with a hefty price, too. She has two years to help a hundred souls cross over to the afterlife or her soul is bound for hell. Tough break.

As if that weren’t bad enough, two days before her deadline a handsome pain-in-the-ass poltergeist named Michael strolls into her life. His soul is the key to her salvation, but the cost just might be more than she can handle. Solving his death puts her right in the crosshairs of Belial: a vain, bloodthirsty archdemon who won’t rest until she’s his slave. Can she rescue Michael and save her own soul, or will they both be dragged down into the clutches of the eternal black parade?

She Who Fights Monsters (Book #2):
The dynamic supernatural duo of Seer Jordan Amador and her husband the archangel Michael is back in the sequel to the bestselling urban fantasy novel, The Black Parade, trying to solve a deadly case. Someone is methodically hunting down and murdering Seers one by one. After six months with no leads on the killer, Jordan and Michael are forced to work with their worst enemy—the archdemon Belial: a self-professed Prince of Hell who is dead set on stealing Jordan for himself. However, with the archdemon’s help, they pick up on the trail of the serial killer and plan to stop him no matter what the cost.

When the shocking truth behind the murderer’s identity is revealed, Jordan begins asking herself if she is still fighting for the good guys or has she become one of the monsters she is desperately trying to stop?

The Holy Dark (Book #3):
Sarcastic demon-slayer extraordinaire Jordan Amador has been locked in a year-long struggle to hunt down the thirty silver coins paid to Judas Iscariot. The mere touch of these coins is enough to kill any angel.

Jordan’s demonic opposition grows more desperate with each coin found, so they call on the ultimate reinforcement: Moloch, the Archdemon of War. Moloch puts out a contract on Jordan as well as her estranged husband, the Archangel Michael. Now Jordan and Michael will have to find a way to work together to survive against impossible odds and stop Moloch’s plan, or else he’ll wage a war that will wipe out the human race.

Flight to Bern Village by Jason OsiarFlight to Bern Village by Jason Osiar:

While a war rages in space, a revolutionary group of humans, shapeshifters, and telepaths gather to prove their races can live together in peace. They believe in peace enough to erase their memories and begin a primitive city on a secluded planet, Vastus.

Generations later, conflicts on Vastus force people to flee their city. Meanwhile, a few Peace Bringers arrive on a broken-down space station to observe the inhabitants on Vastus. What they see is anything but encouraging, and they must deal with problems of their own. Vastus Station is falling apart, and the relationships between the occupants are equally precarious.

The Awakening by Dusk PetersonThe Awakening by Dusk Peterson:

Barrett Boyd has awakened from death to a new and baffling life. He knows that he is a guard in the queendom’s royal prison, the Eternal Dungeon. But why do the prisoners matters so much to him? Who are these other guards who appear to have claims over him? And how will he survive while he finds his new place in this world?

As Barrett seeks to make sense of his surroundings, he must contend with a would-be love-mate, a grumbling rebel, deadly enemies, and the challenge of how to wield his expanded skills.

This suspenseful novel can be read on its own or as the first volume of Dungeon Guards, an alternate history series about nineteenth-century prison workers who seek love and companionship as they fight together against danger.

Dungeon Guards is part of Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of alternate history series about disreputable men on the margins of society, and the men and women who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as in a future that never existed, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times.

Now the Midcoast nations of this world have reached a turning point: the old order is about to be overthrown. Brought together in friendship and romance by the danger of rising events, the people of the Midcoast nations must learn to adjust to a new world.

Honored six times in the Rainbow Awards for LGBTA literature, Turn-of-the-Century Toughs presents an epic tale of adventure, friendship, romance, and class struggles.

Black As Night by Anthea SharpBlack As Night by Anthea Sharp:

One princess. Two realms. And a reckless choice that could destroy kingdoms…

Rose Valrois has escaped the sorcerous red priests and returned to the castle beside the enchanted Darkwood, but her troubles are far from over. Her stepsister, Princess Neeve, is more secretive than ever, and as war threatens, Rose’s mother pushes her toward a political alliance, even as her heart is torn between a heroic prince and the Dark Elf guardian of the forest.

But when Neeve makes a terrible choice, the fate of two kingdoms hangs in the balance. Rose must risk her freedom, her world, and even her heart to save her sister. Can she bear to make that sacrifice? Does she even have the choice?

Mage Commander by Glynn StewartMage Commander by Glynn Stewart:

Some soldiers are the shields of innocent souls
Others are the fanatics of their cause
And for them…no war is ever truly over!

Tempered on the anvil of the war against the secessionist UnArcana Worlds and tested against the evil of Project Orpheus, Mage-Commander Roslyn Chambers has risen through the ranks of the Royal Martian Navy to serve as second-in-command of one of their most prestigious battlecruisers, Duke of Magnificence.

A desperate call for help sends Roslyn and her new ship deep into the frontiers of Protectorate space, where they discover that hold-outs of the UnArcana Worlds’ fleets have returned to plunder innocent ships across the Fringe.

To protect the innocent and serve her Queen, Roslyn Chambers must rise to the task before her. She must learn to command—both herself and a warship of the Mage-Queen of Mars!

Murder at Magic Lake by Sandra Ulbrich AlmazanMurder at Magic Lake by Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

After losing her job, twenty-nine-year-old Abigail Ritter isn’t looking forward to returning to her hometown of Magic Lake, Wisconsin, for her grandmother’s birthday party. All she has to offer her family is her own special fruit juice and tea blend. But when Grandma suffers a fatal accident in her apartment building, The Grand, Abigail’s cousin Brian is blamed. Abigail will have to step up and investigate with the help of her best friend Sam, an intriguing detective, and a magical stuffed fox named Sherlock. Abigail’s got a plan for the Grand and its shuttered restaurant, but will she solve the case or drown in a sea of suspects?

Armagarden by Bryon VaughnArmagarden by Bryon Vaughn:

Getting away from NeuralTech was the easy part.

Staying out of the far-reaching sight of Brenna and the Garden is another matter. It doesn’t help that the Department of Defense is still hunting Jenny Mercado and her man Leo like dogs, and now there is a new mysterious force that threatens to destroy everyone they hold dear.

The very concept of escape is quaint in this brave new world of surveillance, and when their world is brutally shattered, Jenny and Leo must decide whether to keep running, or to find the courage to punch back.

ARMAGARDEN is the thrilling conclusion to the NeuralTech Rising trilogy, and will have readers pondering the nature of memory, and of reality, long after they have read the last page.

Martian Invasion by James David VictorMartian Invasion by James David Victor:

The stakes are escalating and no place in the galaxy seems to be safe, but Earth still has the Breaker Marine on their side.

Holly Cropper and her squad of Marines are finally being recognized for their accomplishments, but not even an awards ceremony is safe. When they are attacked by more of the very robots they just defeated, the entire planet of Mars might become collateral damage. Can Holly and her team track down and destroy all these robots or will they destroy everything on the red planet?

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

Evolving Crane by Dave WelchEvolving Crane by Dave Welch:

An alien massacre brings the multiverse to war…

When Agent Lawson moves to London, Crane (her known felon boyfriend) is left to raise their child alone.

But as matters send him over the edge, Crane is abducted by aliens.

Now, trillions of galaxies away, the battle rages on, steering death across the stars. Uncanny events occur when Crane is molecularly augmented and shoved into this cosmic war.

Chrystine's Sleep Solution by Daniella WilliamsChrystine’s Sleep Solution by Danielle Williams:

It’s been over a year since insomniac Chrystine Brown got a full night’s rest. So she’s astounded—and relieved—when her new sleep music app puts her in a sound slumber and keeps her there.

But the app’s soothing interface conceals a horrifying secret.

A secret that’s become a part of her.

A secret she may never escape…

* * *

If you’re looking for scares that unnerve instead of nauseate, look no further. Horror stories from Danielle Williams lean towards slow-burn scares and the unsettling. If you take your creeps with a PG-13 sensibility—think The Sixth Sense, The Outer Limits, or The Twilight Zone—this is a story for you.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for September 2021


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

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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have hardboiled mysteries, cozy mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, WWII mysteries, traditional mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, spy thrillers, psychological thrillers, revenge thrillers, action thrillers, adventure thrillers, historical thrillers, police officers, private investigators, amateur sleuths, FBI agents, ex-CIA agents, spies, reformed thieves, con artists, assassins, organised crime, serial killers, missing persons, stalkers, influencers, real estate fraud, murderous circuses, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting journalists, crime-busting ghosts, murder and mayhem in London, New Orleans, Denver, Florida, Wisconsin, Malta, Syria, India and much more.

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

Impact by Mark David AbbottImpact by Mark David Abbott:

An honest man in a dishonest world.

Detective Inspector Rajiv Sampath still believes he can make a difference.

Fifteen years ago when he joined the Indian Police Service as a fresh recruit, he was full of big ideas and pure ideals about how he could make the world a better place by upholding the law.

Now, after years of working in a world that seems to reward dishonesty and self-interest, he could be forgiven for turning a blind eye.

But he won’t give up.

Follow Inspector Sampath as he does whatever it takes to make sure justice is served… even if sometimes he has to skirt the boundaries of the law.

Followers by Christina BerglingFollowers by Christina Bergling:

You never know who is on the other side of the screen.

Sidney, a single mother with a dull day job, has big dreams of becoming a full-time horror reviewer and risqué gore model. Between managing a cellphone store, honoring her soccer mom duties, and wrangling her hostile ex-husband, it seems building her following and interacting with her fans is the only authentic outlet she has—and the validation it gives her is proving to be a little addictive. She’ll overlook her responsibilities for it. She’ll neglect her real-life friendships for it. She’ll even pose nude in bathtubs of blood for it.

If her growing pool of online followers is any indication, her efforts are working, and things are looking good for her Elvira-esque aspirations. Her website is gaining traction, and every day it seems more and more people are sliding into her DMs to chat with her and tell her how amazing she is. In fact, Sidney has so many followers that chatting with them is getting to be a job in itself. More than a job, it might even be getting a little risky….

When Sidney travels to the mountains to attend a horror film festival, she is flattered to find that one of her followers has come to meet her. But he might not be the only one who has gone out of his way to get up close and personal with her. When Sidney is attacked on the way back to her hotel late one night, she learns that real-life horror is not a game, and being stalked isn’t flattering—it’s terrifying, and it could get her killed.

Believing the incident to be a fluke, Sidney decides to forget the attack and focus on her life again. Only this might not be so easy. Because Sidney—and her loved ones—are in serious danger. This stalker isn’t just your average stalker. He knows her every movement, and he knows each step of her routine. In fact, he’s right behind her…and when he gets close enough, he won’t take no for an answer.

Followers is a mystery and thriller with a strong female protagonist that blends women’s fiction with horror.

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

Viper's Nest of Lies by Daniella BernettViper’s Nest of Lies by Daniella Bernett:

Twice dead… A living nightmare

The discovery of a blood-encrusted stiletto knife in journalist Emmeline Kirby’s bag at Heathrow Airport sets in motion a chain of events that ensnares everyone she holds dear. The body of Sebastian Jardine is soon found in the boot of Superintendent Oliver Burnell’s car, leading to accusations that he and Emmeline conspired to commit murder. Desperate to clear their names, she turns to Philip Acheson of the Foreign Office for help. But when two Special Branch officers arrive to arrest him, he is forced to go on the run.

Gregory Longdon, Emmeline’s husband and a jewel thief/insurance investigator with ties to the criminal classes and MI5, is the only man Philip can trust. Gregory is on his own quest to prove her innocence in a game that makes no sense. Jardine was no stranger. His old friend was a former Interpol agent, who soured on the law and succumbed to his baser instincts. The real problem is Jardine died five years earlier. A fancy pink diamond with a murky provenance that men are willing to kill to possess holds the key to the truth. From London to Malta, Emmeline and Gregory are drawn into a web of corruption and revenge. Will they forfeit their lives for justice?

A Lesson in Murder by Verity BrightA Lesson in Murder by Verity Bright:

When Lady Swift is invited to her old school, she walks through familiar classrooms, finds her favourite books in the library… and surely that’s not a body? Time for a lesson in murder!

Autumn, 1921. Lady Eleanor Swift is invited to her old school, St Mary’s, as a guest speaker. Her favourite teacher, Mrs Wadsworth, has asked that Eleanor talk about her intrepid travels around the globe – travelling the Silk Road by bicycle, crossing the Himalayas and even befriending the Maharaja of India. But in the circumstances, perhaps it would have been a good idea to talk about her career as a daring detective…

Because no sooner has Eleanor brushed up on her times tables then she is greeted by terrible news: Mrs Wadsworth has been murdered. Eleanor is utterly devastated but she owes it to her dearest teacher to find out who killed her and why. So, alongside Gladstone the bulldog, it’s best paw forward to track down a villain.

But when the art teacher is also found dead, Eleanor is sure someone is trying to do away with the people who taught her everything. As Eleanor delves into possible motives, she discovers a clue in the most unlikely place: her mother’s old school diary. Does the route to the murderer lie within a secret passageway her mother uncovered? Can Eleanor nail the culprit in time or is the killer coming for her next?

Something Wicked by Beth ByersSomething Wicked by Beth Byers:

Smith is a man who knows when to say no. He avoids the cases where he’ll never get paid. The cases for which no resolution is possible. And, most of all, the heart-rending cases. The ones that start with the tear-filled eyes of a mother, a sister, or a friend. The ones that haunt a man. The ones that push him to his limits. He says no before he gets pulled in, and he doesn’t look back.

His wife, Beatrice, however, does not. And thus begins the adventure that will push their love to the limits and cause them to risk everything that matters. And this time, they don’t have their friends to help them along the way.

Florida Sinking by David CrosbyFlorida Sinking by David Crosby:

Water, water everywhere–

Deadlier than you’d think!

In Will Harper’s latest hardboiled, action-packed adventure, Floridian families are shocked–and occasionally killed–when their brand-new houses start falling into the earth. The culprit? Lethal sinkholes worsened by climate change. But government officials and one particularly greedy developer keep turning a blind eye.

And as the homeowners suddenly realize their sinkhole-ridden land is worthless, they’re sometimes driven to homicidal behavior…

Will, a semi-retired investigative reporter turned amateur sleuth, is too big-hearted not to get involved. While researching a hard-hitting expose on climate change and the quality of water in Florida, he discovers the deceitful real estate developer is constructing an entire development on top of a massive sinkhole. Whole neighborhoods could slide into the muck!

The developer will stop at nothing to conceal his intricate fraud, but luckily, Will comes equipped with his ever-sharp prose, his commitment to Florida social issues, his beloved trawler, The Wanderlust, and a little help from his friends.

Still, the shoddy real estate cartel’s a behemoth— fortunately for the reader, it won’t be easy!

Beyond Sacrifice by Alicia DillBeyond Sacrifice by Alicia Dill:

Concepcion Chapa, an Army veteran, FBI special agent, and the orphaned daughter of two CIA agents, has lived a life of sacrifice for her country. When she learns that her parents may not be dead, just undercover, she allows herself to be recruited as a killer-for-hire for the CIA. Faking her death and undergoing surgery to change her looks, Concepcion leaves everything behind-her friends, family, and country. Under the identity of Sofia Paltrini, she travels the globe doing the dirty work of the US government. But in a world of subterfuge and hidden motives, no one is quite who they seem. Concepcion is left not knowing who to trust and wondering if there’s a way to live a life for herself that’s beyond sacrifice.

Eye for an Eye by Rachel FordEye for an Eye by Rachel Ford:

First mistake: they kidnapped his niece and nephew.
Second mistake: they didn’t kill him when they had the chance.
Now, they’re going to rue the day they were born.

Former Army intelligence analyst Owen Day is on vacation in Random Lake, Wisconsin with his niece and nephew. It was supposed to be a quiet getaway.

But sometimes the best place to hide is in plain sight. When Owen crosses paths with a band of dangerous fugitives posing as tourists, his family becomes a target.

When they take his niece hostage in a desperate endgame, there’s only one way to ensure her safety: find the fugitives, and eliminate them. Down to the last man.

Ghostly Endeavour by Lily Harper HartGhostly Endeavour by Lily Harper Hart:

Harper Harlow is ready to move forward with her business, which just so happens to include taking ownership of the beleaguered Whisper Cove Cemetery. She and her partner Zander Pritchett have big plans … until the day they close on the property and discover a body on one of the well-worn pathways.

Cassie Clifton is recently divorced, a devoted runner, and an individual with a lot of secrets. She was estranged from her parents before her death and apparently desperate to get out of town. Why, though? Harper is determined to figure answers, no matter how hard she has to dig.

Harper’s husband Jared Monroe is on the case but the proximity of death to his new wife has him spinning. It was supposed to be a fun business endeavor, a way for Harper to continue running her cemetery tours without oversight. It’s turned into so much more.

Harper and Jared join together, and when they uncover ties between Cassie and one of their closest friends, they’re thrown for a loop. Have they embedded themselves with a killer?

It’s a race to the finish to find Cassie’s murderer and bolster Harper’s new business in the process. It’s going to take everything they have – every member of their motley crew of friends working together – to cross the finish line safely.

Death is stalking Whisper Cove again. Will they all survive to see another day?

A Crone to Pick by Amanda M. LeeA Crone to Pick by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall knows what she is, more than a witch, more powerful than she ever thought imaginable. She’s only hit the tip of the iceberg on what she can do. Now she has to grapple with another problem.

When her former partner Evan was believed dead in a vampire attack, she blamed herself, mourned, and tried to move on. Now he’s back, and he’s more than anybody ever imagined, too. Unfortunately, nobody can find him.

When news reaches Scout that there’s been a potential vampire attack in neighboring Hemlock Cove, she packs her bags and hits the parnormal tourist destination with her boyfriend Gunner as backup. She’s not prepared for what she finds, including a gaggle of witches who like to cause trouble wherever they go.

Evan is there, lurking in the shadows and struggling with an identity he didn’t ask for, but death is stalking the town from multiple directions. Murder, mayhem, and monsters are afoot and Scout is determined to get to the bottom of it all … even if her life is in danger in the process.

The baddest motorcycle gang in the Midwest is about to meet the Winchester witches. The world will never be the same.

Hard Hitting and Misleading by Amanda M. LeeHard Hitting and Misleading by Amanda M. Lee:

Avery Shaw is back from her honeymoon and on the prowl for a story. She wants to prove that marriage hasn’t softened her – nothing ever could – and the way she’s going to do that is by rocking the news world with something monumental.

Then a body drops in her neighborhood, only blocks away from her house, and the hunt is on.

The victim is divorced, having an affair with a married co-worker, and generally unlikable. Avery has multiple places to look for a suspect … and then another woman dies only a block away from Avery’s house and the entire dynamic of the story changes.

Avery’s new husband Eliot is worried, enough so that he taps Sheriff Jake Farrell to help. Avery’s anger with Jake hasn’t diminished but now they’re working as a group to track down a deadly killer.

Avery doesn’t want help but she needs it, because someone is watching her house and, more importantly, her. Eliot is beside himself and begins upgrading their security system but it doesn’t feel like enough.

Avery is supposed to cover the news, not become part of it. This time the headline that’s coming for her includes the word “victim,” however, and she’s having none of it.

She’s a strong, capable woman, and if she has to take down a serial killer, she’s going to do it … as long as she’s not taken down first.

Her team is large and in charge and it’s going to take all of them working together. Even then, they may not be strong enough to stem the tide of death washing over Macomb County.

It’s time. Avery is ready for war.

Ricochet by Ty PattersonRicochet by Ty Patterson:

Cutter Grogan came to Syria to search for a missing woman.
He found old enemies who greeted him with violence

A missing woman in the Middle East isn’t the assignment Cutter would take on, but when an old client makes the request, he can’t refuse.

Samira Latif’s disappearance is shrouded in darkness. His client doesn’t have much information for him. The missing woman’s connection to one of the most powerful people in the US remains unexplained.

On arriving in Syria, he finds everything he was told was a lie. His old enemies haven’t forgotten him and have laid out a welcome.

Was he set up from the start?

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

I’m all alone now… But I just have to make it there.
I need to keep going… Keep…

A beautiful woman’s body is found frozen on the ground.
And many questions that no one can answer arises.

When Emma Griffin joined the FBI, she had hopes that she could find out the truth about her own past. But over time she realized that it was more than just herself. She wanted to be a voice for the victims. To bring justice for those that are no longer with us. To rid this world of evil doers, hunt down those who destroyed lives, and be the voice for the voiceless.

But what happens when she’s asked to help someone who not only inflicted unbearable pain to her life, but to the lives of many?

After Emma’s wedding is disrupted by a phone call from a voice from the past that starts her on a new chase, she’s forced to face one of the most difficult decisions of her career.

Would you exonerate a killer in the search for truth and justice?

Only Emma can put the clues together.
Could she clear the name of the man she loathes, or will all clues lead back to him?

Truth has consequences.
And the big bad is back and this honeymoon is coming to an end…

Deliver Us From Darkness by L.T. RyanDeliver Us From Darkness by L.T. Ryan:

An unexpected clue in his son’s disappearance leads Mitch Tanner to Denver. But there are forces at work who will stop at nothing to send Tanner – and his son – home in a body bag.

When Tanner’s search for his son leads him to Denver, Colorado, an old friend is ready to help out. But things go sideways when Bridget Dinapoli is assigned a similar case. Nothing is as it seems as Tanner and Bridget race to stop a suspect. But when the trail goes cold, they find themselves being pulled into something much more sinister. It will take everything they have to save Tanner’s son, and themselves.

The Seer by Eva ShawThe Seer by Eva Shaw:

It’s February 1942. War grips the world. Asian hate runs rampant, and New Orleans is a dangerous place for Chinese-English scientist Thomas Ling as he collides with self-proclaimed psychic Beatrix Patterson. She’s a good liar with an excellent memory, which in truth is her only gift—well, that and conning the well-heeled out of their money and secrets.

Hired by the US Army to use her connections to expose Nazi saboteurs and sympathizers, Beatrix recruits the reluctant Thomas. Together, they pit their skills against a government conspiracy, terrorist cells, kidnappings, and murderous plots. As Beatrix grapples with the truth of her own past, she must come to terms with her ruse. Exposing the Nazi war machine about to invade the country could cost Beatrix everything she’s worked so hard to build. But the information she and Thomas uncover could change the outcome of the war.

The question remains: will anyone believe a liar and a suspected traitor?

Murder on Mallowan Court by Lee StraussMurder on Mallowan Court by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s afoot!

As Mrs. Ginger Reed~also known as Lady Gold~waits impatiently for the coming of her baby, new neighbours move onto Mallowan Court. The Foote family is very much like Ginger’s own, if not the mirror opposite: Mr. and Mrs. Foote an unhappy couple; Mr. Rothwell an aging, irate patriarch; Miss Charlotte, whom Scout finds to be a tantalizing, if confusing specimen of young ladyhood; along with a similar collection of staff.

The sudden passing of a Foote family member is determined to be unsuspicious, but something about this strange family doesn’t sit right with Ginger.

When the doctor banishes Ginger to her bed to await the coming birth, she has to depend on the information brought to her by her good friend and former sister-in-law, Felicia.

Can the two ladies solve the crime before the baby comes?

Murder at Magic Lake by Sandra Ulbrich AlmazanMurder at Magic Lake by Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

After losing her job, twenty-nine-year-old Abigail Ritter isn’t looking forward to returning to her hometown of Magic Lake, Wisconsin, for her grandmother’s birthday party. All she has to offer her family is her own special fruit juice and tea blend. But when Grandma suffers a fatal accident in her apartment building, The Grand, Abigail’s cousin Brian is blamed. Abigail will have to step up and investigate with the help of her best friend Sam, an intriguing detective, and a magical stuffed fox named Sherlock. Abigail’s got a plan for the Grand and its shuttered restaurant, but will she solve the case or drown in a sea of suspects?

Pineapple Circus by Amy VasantPineapple Circus by Amy Vasant:

Now in the center ring… murder!

Newly-minted private detective Charlotte Morgan, resident orphan of the Pineapple Port 55+ community, discovers she might not be an orphan after all. Stunned by the news, she distracts herself with a cat burglar who left a smear of make-upped whiskers on a sliding glass door, and a path straight to “Clown Town” a retirement community for retired circus performers. When a fortune-teller doesn’t see her own death in the cards, Charlotte’s burglary becomes a murder investigation!

Charlotte’s neighborhood moms, Mariska and Darla, can’t help with this one. They’re busy infiltrating an underground golf cart racing ring, led by a shady operator and her toady sidekick…

When another circus performer falls victim to the Big Top Killer and Stephanie goes missing, Charlotte finds herself walking a highwire of danger…this killer isn’t clowning around!

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New Kurval Adventure Available: The Frozen Citadel

As the title of the post indicates, this is a new release announcement.

Simultaneous Times Vol. 2.5However, it’s actually a double new release announcement, because I also have a story in Simultaneous Times Vol. 2.5, a free e-book anthology published by my friends of Space Cowboy Books, a science fiction bookstore in Joshua Tree, California.

The story in question is “Little Monsters”, which so far was only available in audio, produced by the Simultaneous Times podcast. Now, you can also read it and enjoy the beautiful illustration by Austin Hart, which captured the story perfectly.

So what are you waiting for? Get your copy of Simultaneous Times Vol. 2.5 today! It’s chock-full of great science fiction and – best of all – free.

The other new release I have to announce is the latest story in my Kurval sword and sorcery series.

The Frozen Citadel is the first story out of the 2021 July Short Story Challenge to see publication. Like The Plains of Shadow and The Wolf of Rajala, this is another Kurval story set before his time as King of Azakoria, when Kurval was plying his trade as a mercenary and kinghood seemed impossible far away.

Like many of the July Short Story Challenge stories, The Frozen Citadel was inspired by several pieces of fantasy art, namely this one, this one and this one, all by Nele Diel. Another inspiration was a throwaway line in King’s Justice that Kurval had slain the serpent Khalikidai at some point in his past.

King's Justice by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertAnd talking of King’s Justice, it has got a great new cover by Marin Iurii, which you can see on the left. Not that the old cover by Mike Heywood was bad, but the CGI art didn’t match the more painted look of the other covers anymore.

The Frozen Citadel introduces a new character to the Kurval series, namely Kurval’s friend and fellow mercenary Tsabo. Tsabo initially was created because Kurval needed someone to talk to while wandering across the icy wasteland. The character then strutted into my brain fully formed, as a big black man with a shaven head.

Tsabo was originally created only for this one story. But even though sword and sorcery is normally characterised by loner heroes, my characters tend to acquire a regular supporting cast. And so Tsabo will reappear in the Kurval adventure Twelve Nooses, which is coming soon.

But for now, accompany Kurval and Tsabo, as they venture into…

The Frozen Citadel
The Frozen Citadel by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertBefore Kurval became King of Azakoria, he plied his trade as a wandering mercenary and sword for hire.

Kurval and his friend and fellow mercenary Tsabo are planning to take up service at the citadel of Harjula in the frozen north of the kingdom of Simola. But when they finally reach the citadel, they find it deserted, its inhabitants in the thrall of dark magic…

The new sword and sorcery adventure by two-time Hugo finalist Cora Buhlert and her occasional alter ego, 1930s pulp writer Richard Blakemore. This is a short story of 5900 words or approx. 22 print pages in the Kurval sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

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

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for August 2021

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have urban fantasy, epic fantasy, portal fantasy, historical fantasy, gaslamp fantasy, YA fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal mystery, paranormal women’s fiction, dystopian noir, space opera, military science fiction, hopepunk, solarpunk, occult thrillers, horror, vampires, werewolves, dragons, fae, gargoyles, ghosts, space marines, aliens, superheroes, bounty hunters, mercenaries, crime-busting witches, spooky railroads, frozen citadels, living swords, satanic cults, shattered gods, supernatural circuses 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:

Codename W. by Odette C. BellCodename W by Odette C. Bell:

It doesn’t matter what’s after you. The only thing that counts is who’s in your corner.

Bessie is just meant to be an ordinary journalist. Okay, she’s kinda scatty, bolshie, and has never backed down from a story – or a fight. But when a fight comes to her that could consume the whole city, there’s only one person she can turn to.

Xavier Kilmer is a ghost vampire. He’s also Bessie’s sworn enemy. The animosity isn’t mutual. Three years ago, he met her and sparks flew. Ever since, every paper in town has promised she’s his true mate.

But right now, all Bessie needs is a miracle. When a shadowy force called the Ghost King reaches through the dark to claim her as his bride, only Xavier can help. But all help comes at a cost.

The Frozen Citadel by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Frozen Citadel by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

Before Kurval became King of Azakoria, he plied his trade as a wandering mercenary and sword for hire.

Kurval and his friend and fellow mercenary Tsabo are planning to take up service at the citadel of Harjula in the frozen north of the kingdom of Simola. But when they finally reach the citadel, they find it deserted, its inhabitants in the thrall of dark magic…

The new sword and sorcery adventure by two-time Hugo finalist Cora Buhlert and her occasional alter ego, 1930s pulp writer Richard Blakemore. This is a short story of 5900 words or approx. 22 print pages in the Kurval sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

Broken by Magic by Lindsay BurokerBroken by Magic by Lindsay Buroker:

Even before our heroes discovered a portal to other realms, Jak Freedar wanted to seek out powerful allies to help overthrow the tyrannical wizard rulers of his home world. Instead, he chanced across a dragon egg and is now the surrogate father of a hatchling.

Since he found the egg, taking care of the young dragon is his responsibility. Even as King Uthari forces the team to prepare for another mission, Jak must do his best not only to care for the hatchling but to keep it safe from those who want to use it for their own gain.

As he soon learns, it’s not only the wizards of his own world who would love to control a dragon. It turns out that powerful enemies in other realms want a hatchling too. And they’re willing to kill for it.

Shadow Rite by D.D. CroixShadow Rite by D.D. Croix:

A desperate Fayte Guardian trapped in a distant world. A ruthless fae queen craving revenge. Can justice prevail in this dangerous clash of wills and dark magic?

Ripped from her world and her Fayte Guardian friends, Jane Shackle finds herself captive to a vengeful queen in a strange, otherworldly realm filled with mythical creatures, dangerous magic, and shocking clues to the secrets in her past.

When an old ally comes to her rescue, Jane discovers redemption for her past wrongs may be within reach—until a bittersweet revelation changes everything. Since her life isn’t the only one hanging in the balance, Jane must forge new alliances and fight harder than ever to survive and protect those she loves.

Can she defeat her powerful enemy and find a way back to her own world where true love awaits, or will the fight follow her home and destroy everything she holds dear?

SHADOW RITE is the final episode in The Queen’s Fayte trilogy, a thrilling dark fantasy adventure that weaves captivating mystery into the hidden corners of history to keep you spellbound. If you like clever heroines, ruthless villains, and a slow-burn romance tangled up in the Victorian world, then you’ll love this enchanting series from best-selling author D.D. Croix!

Railroad Tales, edited by Trevor DenyerRailroad Tales, edited by Trevor Denyer:

Have you ever been on a train going to a destination you don’t want to reach? What about a train travelling through the night, where you are the only passenger in the carriage? Or maybe standing alone on a platform, waiting for a train you hope will come?

Have you ever wondered about the history behind a train journey, or a station? How many people have travelled the line, or died during its construction?

Has a shiver ever run up your spine as dead leaves scrape across the platform, propelled by a breath of wind on a quiet night? Have you ever wondered whether what you heard was a sigh, or a whisper, or just your imagination?

There are many stories involving railroads, trains, stations, junctions and crossings. Stories about people journeying towards unknown futures that may involve life changing events, or death, or revelations.

The 23 stories in this anthology play upon those fears and uncertainties. Each one explores the journeys we might take into horrific, supernatural or extraordinary futures. Guilt, unresolved desires and disbelief all play their part in creating vivid and disturbing nightmares from which there is no escape, or from which a frightening lesson is learned.

The train awaits, ready to carry you along tracks that disappear into darkness. Somewhere out there are the horrors that we all imagine and hope will never happen.

Enjoy the journey…

Party by Karen DiemParty by Karen Diem:

As it turns out, being a masked, superpowered vigilante isn’t entirely legal. Who knew?

When a critically ill teenager with powers disappears, part-time superhero and full-time trouble magnet Zita Garcia is on the case. Unfortunately, the girl isn’t the only person to have disappeared, and the culprit isn’t a mystery. It’s a conspiracy.

A shadowy government agency has escalated from irritating robocalls to the obvious next steps, kidnapping and murder. If an intolerant new party can use rising anti-metahuman sentiment to win an upcoming election, their actions might not even be a crime. All Zita and her friends have to do is save the missing and avoid the bad publicity of doing something stupid that would tip the delicate political situation the wrong way…

They’re doomed.

Party is the sixth in the Arca superhero urban fantasy series and contains lame sexual innuendo, immoderate language, and comic book violence.

Paperclip by Seb DoubinskyPaperclip by Seb Doubinsky:

In New Babylon, leader of the Western alliance of the city-states, armament mogul Kurt Wagner has a secret dream: to build a space station to save mankind. Little does he know that he is the target of competing plots involving geopolitics and black magick. In the background, a film director with a political conscience, a bodyguard with a secret mission, a driver with an occult hobby and a talking bird are trying to make sense of their world, hoping to see their wishes come true – which they will, but not in the way they might have expected.

 

Shattered Gods by Chris FoxShattered Gods by Chris Fox

Fated to destroy the world. Determined to save it.

My name is Xal and I live in the dims, a walled prison where my people are kept by our cruel masters, until we are needed to fight once more. One member of every family must answer The Call, for our blood bears the magic of a demonic god, and all the terrible power that brings.

We march to war against the Fomori, an unstoppable army of giants, and their behemoths. If we do not, then our families are put to death. The Hasrans use us as cannon fodder, and worse. They used up my father, and he never came home. Die resisting. Die fighting. My choice isn’t if it happens, but rather how I sell my life.

If by some miracle I survive I will be granted entrance to the Imperial Academy, where every noble house will vie to architect my end. They cannot allow the void-blooded to live. They cannot allow us to thrive, or to gain more magic from the bodies of other dead gods. They cannot allow us to win. They fear the rise of another dreadlord. And they are right to fear. I will pull down an empire, and that is just the beginning.

My Brew Heaven by Lily Harper HartMy Brew Heaven by Lily Harper Hart:

Ofelia Archer should be riding high after a blissful week spent with her boyfriend Zacharias “Zach” Sully. Sun, fun, and cocktails make for a great break … until she gets home. Then she realizes exactly how far things can fall apart in only a few days.

It seems in her absence Ofelia’s mother Marie Charles has been taken in by a cult, and Ofelia is convinced it’s not the sort of group who worship beignets over chaos and bloodshed. When Ofelia tries talking to her mother she finds a different woman waiting for her … and she’s beyond concerned.
The French Quarter attracts weird people but this time the strife is different. When she starts digging, she finds more than she bargained for … and yet the answers are less than she was hoping for.

Ofelia is a witch with a plan but even she’s at a loss. When her brother Felix is hurt in the pursuit of reclaiming Marie, the Quarter’s favorite magical maven swears revenge … and she’s going to need Sully to help her deliver it.

Their new enemy is powerful and he’s hiding behind a gaggle of innocent humans. Freeing the French Quarter from his grip leads Ofelia down a dark path. Only Sully can help her … and together they will bring their city back from the brink.

The question is: Will they both survive to enjoy the fruits of their labor once they make it to the other side?

Becoming Crone by Lydia M. HawkeBecoming Crone by Lydia M. Hawke:

She wanted purpose. She got dark magic and war.

Claire Emerson is adrift. After a lifetime as a wife, mother, and grandma, she never saw divorce or loneliness coming and is desperate for some sense of purpose. But when her sixtieth birthday brings a snarky gargoyle, an annoyingly sexy wolf shifter, and an unknown magical calling, she thinks she’s losing the only thing she has left: her sanity.

Refusing to believe she’s the powerful defender of humankind her so-called protectors claim, Claire attempts a return to her safe life… only to have her powers ignite when she’s attacked by dark supernatural creatures. And without the training she was supposed to have received, she has no idea how she’ll defeat sinister mages plotting her demise.

Can Claire overcome creaky joints and major hot flashes in time to save the world – and her own life?

Becoming Crone is the page-turning first book in The Crone Wars paranormal women’s fiction series. If you like spunky heroines, snappy banter, and triumphing over self-doubt, then you’ll love this ageless adventure.

The Living Sword 3: Burden of Legacy by Pemry JanesThe Living Sword 3: The Burden of Legacy by Pemry Janes:

Leraine has finally returned home, but the welcome is not as she imagined it. Tension is rising within the Mochedan Federation as many advocate for an end to the long peace and a return to the glory of war.

She sets off to the most important festival of the Mochedan, hoping to preserve the peace for at least a little while longer. Eurik joins her, to help his friend and to finally find the answers about his parents he’s been chasing since he left the island.

What they find is theft, murder, and a conspiracy to end their world.

Sons of Brutality by Daniel JeudySons of Brutality by Daneil Jeudy:

A SATANIC SNUFF CLUB

A RUTHLESS VIGILANTE

AN INTRICATE WEB OF DECEPTION

WHO CAN YOU TRUST?

Los Angeles is a city under siege.

When Detective Addison Mowbray begins investigating the murders of two young women in the Hollywood Hills, he can’t imagine where the case will lead. He suspects the crimes were inspired by an occult fascination, due to some missing body parts and the inverted Christian cross branded on the victims’ breasts. But apart from Addison’s temperamental partner, Jed, the only other person keen on them pursuing that line of investigation is Lilly Coniglio, a medical examiner from the Coroner’s Department. The LAPD is already under immense public pressure due to all the bad press another killer – a vigilante – has brought to their door: it’s been over a year since the first organized-crime figure showed up full of holes, with a plastic police badge beside his body.

As Addison and Jed navigate a murky, disturbing occult landscape in search of answers, they uncover something even more terrifying than a killer hiding in the shadows: an organization so vile and powerful that it changes their lives forever. These two troubled detectives are all that stand between this organization and a spectacular season of carnage.

Set against a backdrop of urban bleakness and social inequality, Sons of Brutality combines deeply flawed protagonists with human monsters, integrating strong dialogue, violent action and gripping Suspense.

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

Winter break is upon Mystic Caravan, which is supposed to mean a full month of rest and relaxation. Upon arriving at their destination, however, Poet and company find that murder isn’t far behind.

Their off-season park is full of paranormals – something that normally makes Poet comfortable – but the death of a local girl points to one of their own being the culprit. Even though she’s supposed to be taking it easy, Poet can’t stop herself from digging … and it leads her on a wild ride.

Florida is hot, humid and bursting at the seams with supernatural friends. Unfortunately for Poet, it’s also home to an ex-boyfriend who can’t quite let go. Since he’s a police officer … and looking at Mystic Caravan’s cadre of weirdos as potential murder suspects … that only makes things all the more difficult.

It’s up to Poet to find the real culprit even as a shadowy and powerful figure stalks her. Kade’s magic is growing but he’s still learning, which makes for some hard battles. On top of that, he’s keeping a secret with Luke, which has Poet teetering on the edge of sanity.

It’s supposed to be a break, not a break from reality, but Poet is ready to fight for her future. It’s going to take everybody working together to figure out the truth … and give Poet the one thing she’s always wanted above all else.

Peace.

Impulse by Ken LozitoImpulse by Ken Lozito:

Over the years, Connor has pieced together evidence of a mysterious group of aliens who roamed the multiverse and have been to New Earth.

Setting off to make new discoveries about them is straightforward enough, but this is New Earth, and Connor Gates has a knack for finding trouble.

For over twenty years, Connor and Diaz have been friends. They’ve survived two wars and have seen the best and the worst of each other. When a terrorist attack takes the life of Diaz’s son, their friendship will be pushed to the breaking point.

To find who is responsible, Diaz is willing to cross as many lines as it takes. Connor will do everything he can to protect his friend, even from himself. It’ll take everything he’s got to find who is responsible while preserving a peaceful coexistence with New Earth’s inhabitants.

Sometimes protecting your friends is a lot tougher than fighting your enemies.

The Raven Thief by Ashley OlivierThe Raven Thief by Ashley Olivier:

Enya has a few very simple goals in life.

Take down a tyrannical king, give her gang a decent life, become the leader of Skeyya’s rebellion, and maybe become slightly more rich along the way.

Okay, so maybe those goals aren’t so simple. And everything comes at a cost in the capital streets of Arden; King Eamon is after her head, and shadows lurk around every corner, waiting to spill secrets and blood.

After being captured and sentenced to death in the esteemed royal palace, Enya never expected to run into three princes who need her help—and especially not ones thought to be dead for over a decade. An impossible quest is proposed; an ancient evil is rising, and only they can stop it. The Crimson Witch, a faerie demon imprisoned in the Black Lake, along with her undead army of ghouls.

Enya has now found herself caught in a web of darkness and deceit as she guides these princes and her right-hand man, Carson, on a journey to track down the magical artifacts needed to take down the Crimson Witch once and for all.

Love, friendship, and bravery will all be tested. Can three princes and a thief save the world?

Revelation by Rick PartlowRevelation by Rick Partlow:

Ryan Hendrix is dead…
…Or so his family, his girlfriend, and his fellow Marines think.

Terribly wounded during the battle for Hermes, Ryan Hendrix was repaired with cybernetics, transformed into a weapon by Fleet Intelligence…and covertly dropped onto the enemy-occupied colony at Aphrodite to sabotage the enemy and build up a civilian resistance.

While Ryan fights the real battle behind enemy lines, Travis Miller and Jessica Leer struggle with politics…and their new commands. The Earth government is too scared of losing more cruisers to try to take back the occupied colonies, so Travis and Jessica find themselves stuck raiding enemy outposts, trying to draw their attention away so Ryan and the rest of his commandos can do their job.

But Travis Miller didn’t get to be the head of the largest task force in human history by sitting back and doing what he’s told. And when one of those raids turns up key intelligence, Travis will do whatever he has to in order to get back in the real fight.

Tales of Fál by Kyle Alexander RominesTales of Fál by Kyle Alexander Romines:

Welcome to the world of Fál.

A murderous outlaw confronts his past.
A princess has a monster at her mercy.
A desperate woman turns to a dark sorcerer for help.
A young magician learns to follow her heart.
An aging warrior makes his last stand.

Dive into a new fantasy world full of monsters and magic in the Tales of Fál, featuring over 500 pages of stories of heroes, villains, and everything in between.

Fortitude by Glynn StewartFortitude by Glynn Stewart:

An offer that no one else could match
A mission that no one else could achieve
An enemy only a few know they share…

Commodore Kira Demirci is now the commander of a small but powerful mercenary force—one of the most dangerous in the cluster of stars she now calls home. Her own actions have brought peace to the Syntactic Cluster, though, and a mercenary is in limited demand.

A mutual interest brings her into the circle of the heir to the Royal Crest, a wealthy kingdom dozens of light-years away. Jade Panosyan has a nightmare brewing—and a plan to deal with it.

In the Crest, a powerful political party beholden to Kira’s own enemies is maneuvering to remove Jade’s father before he can free a dozen star systems from the clutches of the Equilibrium Institute. If they are to fail and the Institute’s plans be thwarted once more, Jade Panosyan needs someone to complete an impossible mission.

The payment? The fleet carrier Fortitude, unmatched by any ship within a hundred light-years.

The catch? Kira Demirci has to capture the carrier—from the elite forces of her employer’s nation!

Metal Warrior: Fist of Steel by James David VictorMetal Warrior: Fist of Steel by James David Victor:

Sometimes, your only option is to surrender to a higher power. Of course, that option usually isn’t very good either.

A military sci-fi adventure from Amazon All-Star author James David Victor

Humanity is in shambles and its defenses have been destroyed. With no other apparent options, the Council of Worlds decides to seek peace with the Exin. Sure that this can come to no good, Dane Williams and the remaining metal warriors set out on a desperate mission to make peace the only way that will truly work. To put an end to the Exin threat once and for all. Can Dane stop the unstoppable alien force or is humanity truly doomed?

Metal Warrior: Fist of Steel is the last book in the Mech Fighter series. If you like fast-paced space adventures with engaging characters and exciting battles, you will definitely want to see how the Metal Warriors save mankind, or if they can.

Foxhunt by Rem WigmoreFoxhunt by Rem Wigmore:

In a lush solarpunk future, plants have stripped most of the poison from the air and bounty hunters keep resource hoarders in check. Orfeus only wants to be a travelling singer, famed and adored. She has her share of secrets, but she’s no energy criminal, so why does a bounty hunter want her dead? Not just any bounty hunter but the Wolf, most fearsome of all the Order of the Vengeful Wild. Orfeus will call in every favor she has to find out, seeking answers while clinging to her pride and fending off the hunters of the Wild. But she isn’t the only one at risk: every misstep endangers the enemies she turns into allies, and the allies she brings into danger. There are worse monsters than the Wolf hiding in this new green world.

“It’s an inclusive, optimistic vision of the future, rounded out by beautiful imagery and an effortlessly diverse cast. This enthralling story is a winner.” Publishers weekly (starred review)

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for August 2021


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

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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have hardboiled mysteries, cozy mysteries, historical mysteries, retro mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, 1950s mysteries, 1960s mysteries, British mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, psychological thrillers, occult thrillers, revenge thrillers, action thrillers, adventure thrillers, sea adventures, dystopian noir, police officers, private investigators, amateur sleuths, prosecutors, assassins, FBI agents, ex-CIA agents, ex-spies, organised crime, serial killers, con artists, terrorism,  drug trafficking, human trafficking, satanic cults, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting surfers, crime-busting girl scout leaders, murder and mayhem in Los Angeles, London, New Orleans, Chicago, Southern California, Ohio, Iowa, Venezuela, Miami, Cornwall and much more.

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

The Fool on the Hill in a Convertible by Donna Amis DavisThe Fool on the Hill in a Convertible by Donna Amis Davis:

It’s 1967. Beatles’ songs are playing everywhere.

In the sleepy little beach community of Mission Cove in Southern California, surfers search for the perfect wave, while across the Pacific, a war grinds on.

Torrey helps her dad and brother in the family’s surf shop, but her heart is full of pain. Her camera captures the beauty of the ocean and the joy of the surf, as it helps to soothe her soul. But on this day her camera ensnares her in a mystery she’d rather escape.

The Fool on the Hill in a Convertible is a cozy mystery novella introducing Donna Amis Davis’s new ‘60s Surf Shop Mysteries which are set in the fictional community of Mission Cove, California.

Journey back to the ’60s and relive that groovy era when skirts were short, hair was long, and the music was good.

Murder on the BoardwalkMurder on the Boardwalk by Beth Byers:

Vi and friends miss the sea and each other, so they gather up and head to the seaside. While there, they run into old friends and new troubles.

Once again, things turn sideways when a body is found by the boardwalk. All evidence points to the person they once knew almost as well as they know themselves. Is it possible their friend has turned to murder? Or is something else going on? Either way, they’re determined to find the truth. Even if it puts them into harm’s way.

 

The Grifter by Sean Camplbell and Ali GunnThe Grifter by Sean Campbell and Ali Gunn:

One will rise. The other will fall.

Kent Bancroft’s rise to fame and fortune was nothing short of meteoric. Once a simple teacher in London’s East End, he’s now on course to become Britain’s youngest billionaire.

But his success has come on the back of those he’s trodden upon to get there. Among them is a man whose fall was as swift as Kent’s rise. He used to be a sparky until a freak accident robbed him of one leg.

And then Kent Bancroft robbed him of everything else.

Forget forgiveness. Forget turning the other cheek. And forget waiting for karma.

This is a victim who won’t stand idly by.

He wants revenge.

And he’s going to get it.

Kent Bancroft will never see him coming.

Subtle Blood by K.J. CharlesSubtle Blood by K.J. Charles:

Will Darling is all right. His business is doing well, and so is his illicit relationship with Kim Secretan–disgraced aristocrat, ex-spy, amateur book-dealer. It’s starting to feel like he’s got his life under control.

And then a brutal murder in a gentleman’s club plunges them back into the shadow world of crime, deception, and the power of privilege. Worse, it brings them up against Kim’s noble, hostile family, and his upper-class life where Will can never belong.

With old and new enemies against them, and secrets on every side, Will and Kim have to fight for each other harder than ever—or be torn apart for good.

Left For Dead by Stacy Claflin and Nolon KingLeft For Dead by Stacy Claflin and Nolon King:

What’s an innocent assassin to do?

Brad Morris was just cleared of murdering one annoying neighbor when another one turns up dead. Luckily, he was at a party with everyone on the block when the body was found, but that doesn’t stop fingers from pointing his way. Especially since the murder weapon was a BlueBlade, the knife company that Brad’s boss, Kurt, uses as a front for the real work that Brad and his fellow assassins do.

Kurt demands that Brad find the real killer — without blowing his cover or dragging BlueBlade into the investigation. If he can’t, he’ll be thrown to the wolves. Or worse, “retired.”

Does one of Brad’s suburban neighbors hate him enough to frame him for murder? Or does he have a much more dangerous enemy lurking within the fellowship of assassins?

Paperclip by Seb DoubinskyPaperclip by Seb Doubinsky:

In New Babylon, leader of the Western alliance of the city-states, armament mogul Kurt Wagner has a secret dream: to build a space station to save mankind. Little does he know that he is the target of competing plots involving geopolitics and black magick. In the background, a film director with a political conscience, a bodyguard with a secret mission, a driver with an occult hobby and a talking bird are trying to make sense of their world, hoping to see their wishes come true – which they will, but not in the way they might have expected.

 

My Brew Heaven by Lily Harper HartMy Brew Heaven by Lily Harper Hart:

Ofelia Archer should be riding high after a blissful week spent with her boyfriend Zacharias “Zach” Sully. Sun, fun, and cocktails make for a great break … until she gets home. Then she realizes exactly how far things can fall apart in only a few days.

It seems in her absence Ofelia’s mother Marie Charles has been taken in by a cult, and Ofelia is convinced it’s not the sort of group who worship beignets over chaos and bloodshed. When Ofelia tries talking to her mother she finds a different woman waiting for her … and she’s beyond concerned.
The French Quarter attracts weird people but this time the strife is different. When she starts digging, she finds more than she bargained for … and yet the answers are less than she was hoping for.

Ofelia is a witch with a plan but even she’s at a loss. When her brother Felix is hurt in the pursuit of reclaiming Marie, the Quarter’s favorite magical maven swears revenge … and she’s going to need Sully to help her deliver it.

Their new enemy is powerful and he’s hiding behind a gaggle of innocent humans. Freeing the French Quarter from his grip leads Ofelia down a dark path. Only Sully can help her … and together they will bring their city back from the brink.

The question is: Will they both survive to enjoy the fruits of their labor once they make it to the other side?

Mark of Justice by Robin JamesMark of Justice by Robin James:

What he did to her…

As Maumee County, Ohio’s top prosecutor, Mara Brent has faced down killers before. But the murder of Haley Chambers is different. The evidence left behind at the crime scene paints a horrifying picture of Haley’s last hours. Her killer took his time. Planned. Hunted. Executed.

No one will believe it…

When local mechanic and family man, Cal Emmons is charged with the crime, the town rallies to his defense. Everyone knows him. Everyone trusts him. His supporters bring their protests right to Mara’s front door. But they don’t know. They haven’t seen what Mara and the police found at his house.

But there is one more victim out there…

The police connect physical evidence in Haley’s murder to a cold case abduction. Only that victim lived. Her harrowing, firsthand account of what she endured haunts Mara and provides a Rosetta Stone for Haley’s murder. But Mara’s star witness never saw her attacker’s face. She has lied to the police before. Is she lying now?

If Mara loses this one…more will die.

To win, Mara must ultimately step inside the mind of a sadistic killer. But this time when evil touches her, it may not let her go.

Sons of Brutality by Daniel JeudySons of Brutality by Daneil Jeudy:

A SATANIC SNUFF CLUB

A RUTHLESS VIGILANTE

AN INTRICATE WEB OF DECEPTION

WHO CAN YOU TRUST?

Los Angeles is a city under siege.

When Detective Addison Mowbray begins investigating the murders of two young women in the Hollywood Hills, he can’t imagine where the case will lead. He suspects the crimes were inspired by an occult fascination, due to some missing body parts and the inverted Christian cross branded on the victims’ breasts. But apart from Addison’s temperamental partner, Jed, the only other person keen on them pursuing that line of investigation is Lilly Coniglio, a medical examiner from the Coroner’s Department. The LAPD is already under immense public pressure due to all the bad press another killer – a vigilante – has brought to their door: it’s been over a year since the first organized-crime figure showed up full of holes, with a plastic police badge beside his body.

As Addison and Jed navigate a murky, disturbing occult landscape in search of answers, they uncover something even more terrifying than a killer hiding in the shadows: an organization so vile and powerful that it changes their lives forever. These two troubled detectives are all that stand between this organization and a spectacular season of carnage.

Set against a backdrop of urban bleakness and social inequality, Sons of Brutality combines deeply flawed protagonists with human monsters, integrating strong dialogue, violent action and gripping Suspense.

Mosquito Bite Murder by Leslie LangtryMosquito Bite Murder by Leslie Langtry:

In her career as a spy, Merry Wrath had her share of camping trips—from glamping in a yurt at Oktoberfest with drug lord Carlos the Armadillo to an awkward team building campout in the backyard of a Yakuza mob boss who thought “trust falls” should have lethal consequences. So when the former CIA turned Girl Scout troop leader has the opportunity to take six girls from her troop into a vast, private nature preserve in search of an abandoned scout camp, she jumps at it. The fact that she can secretly use this as a chance to meet up with another spy who has asked for her help just seems to be an added bonus.

Of course she doesn’t expect to find a guy named Chad in a shallow grave. He’s still alive, at least for the moment, and he insists on accompanying them further into the woods. Merry’s contact is a no-show, but another, more dangerous colleague surprises them on the trail. And just when she thinks she might be able to handle things, the group find themselves confronted by a hostile group of senior citizen hermits.

From the strange noises in the night, to vampire ticks, and the constant fear of being invaded by Communists, everything in Merry’s world appears to be dangerously off kilter. When she’s accosted by a 200lb snapping turtle named Old Eisenhower, Merry realizes that not everything is what it appears to be. Can Merry figure it out who is behind the stranger occurrences before the camping trip ends up with a body count?

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

Winter break is upon Mystic Caravan, which is supposed to mean a full month of rest and relaxation. Upon arriving at their destination, however, Poet and company find that murder isn’t far behind.

Their off-season park is full of paranormals – something that normally makes Poet comfortable – but the death of a local girl points to one of their own being the culprit. Even though she’s supposed to be taking it easy, Poet can’t stop herself from digging … and it leads her on a wild ride.

Florida is hot, humid and bursting at the seams with supernatural friends. Unfortunately for Poet, it’s also home to an ex-boyfriend who can’t quite let go. Since he’s a police officer … and looking at Mystic Caravan’s cadre of weirdos as potential murder suspects … that only makes things all the more difficult.

It’s up to Poet to find the real culprit even as a shadowy and powerful figure stalks her. Kade’s magic is growing but he’s still learning, which makes for some hard battles. On top of that, he’s keeping a secret with Luke, which has Poet teetering on the edge of sanity.

It’s supposed to be a break, not a break from reality, but Poet is ready to fight for her future. It’s going to take everybody working together to figure out the truth … and give Poet the one thing she’s always wanted above all else.

Peace.

Filthy Rich by Duane LindsayFilthy Rich by Duane Lindsay:

GUY WALKS INTO A STRIP CLUB…
AND COMES OUT FILTHY RICH

Down-and-out comedian “Filthy” Rich wasn’t always living on the edge– he was once famous. Now he tells viciously dirty jokes in the seediest possible strip clubs–his routine is so filthy that it’s actually illegal, since 1960’s Chicago has harsh blue laws.

Rich wasn’t always living on the edge, though– he was once famous for a clean routine, until his estranged wife ran off with Rich’s best jokes. With his act missing, he’s hellbent on tracking down the missing dame before he gets caught spewing the grossest jokes this side of Lake Michigan.

Enter Lou Fleener– expert streetfighter and ace private eye. Rich hires Lou to find the missing jokes– and the wayward wife. Which seems easy enough, right? But unfortunately, Lou’s clues lead him down a perilous rabbit hole of deceit, lies, and frame ups.

Plus, the irrepressible Cassidy, his wife turned partner-in-crime, and Monk, his improbably handsome yet socially awkward best friend, are knee deep in their own rollicking thrillers. The whole team is in imminent danger, each facing their own bad guy. And to top it all off, this team of witty Chicago sleuths is flat broke. Again.

Lou Fleener will be a treasured read for both cozy lovers and hard-boiled aficionados. And especially for readers looking for laughs. Lou and his team’s humorous yet action-packed adventures that will please fans of such diverse authors as Donald Westlake, Raymond Chandler, and Lawrence Block in his “burglar” mode.

Never Ever by Willow RoseNever Ever by Willow Rose:

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

Eva Rae has risked everything,

-her career,

-her newfound love,

-her freedom.

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

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

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

THE PERFECT ESCAPE…

Gabrielle Adams has it all – brains, beauty, a handsome fiance?, and a dream job in publishing. Until, one day, everything changes.

‘The Tube Killer’ takes his victims when they least expect it: standing on the edge of a busy London Underground platform, as they wait for a train to arrive through the murky underground tunnels of London.

Gabrielle soon learns that being a survivor is harder than being a victim, and she struggles to return to her old life. Desperate to break free from the endless nightmares, she snatches up an opportunity to run a tiny bookshop in a picturesque cove in rural Cornwall.

She thinks she’s found the perfect escape, but has she swapped one nightmare for another?

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

Steady As She Goes by Wayne StinnettSteady As She Goes by Wayne Stinnett:

Jesse McDermitt is starting a new chapter in his life. As captain of the research vessel Ambrosia, his stated mission is to study the oceans and seafloor, searching for rich oil deposits. His unstated mission is to locate and eradicate the enemies of society on behalf of Armstrong Research, a secretive organization funded by some of the wealthiest people on the planet.

When word gets out about a massive drug and human trafficking cartel moving tons of illegal drugs, along with hundreds of slave laborers, out of Venezuela, Jesse is tasked with finding them at all cost.

But how can one man find the traffickers amid the thousands of ships coming and going from Venezuela’s ports, moving hundreds of thousands of containers every year?

Can Jesse close on and engage the traffickers in time to save dozens of innocent lives?

Murder in London by Lee StraussMurder in London by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s a trip!

It’s early 1957, and Rosa Reed and her new beau Detective Miguel Belmonte fly from California to London to follow up on the cold case: the murder of Rosa’s good friend Lady Vivien Everleigh.

The investigation is complicated, if not awkward, as the deceased is the sister of Rosa’s former fiancé. Thankfully, Rosa’s parents, Ginger (aka Ginger Gold of Lady Gold Investigations) and Basil Reed are there to help.

Rosa stumbles onto a dangerous truth. Can she find her friend’s killer and save her own life too?

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!

A Murderous Affair in Mayfair by Lynda WilcoxA Murderous Affair in Mayfair by Lynda Wilcox:

Private enquiry agent Lady Eleanor Bakewell returns in another tale of murder, intrigue, and romance set in 1920s London.

Who had the nerve to commit murder at an elegant high-society party in Mayfair?

Who among the other seven people playing cards that evening with Lord George Bancroft, notorious womaniser and gambler, pun a knife in his back?

Lady Eleanor Bakewell doesn’t know, but when a young parlourmaid ask for her help in proving her innocence, the socialite sleuth is soon on the case.

So, too, are Military Intelligence which puts a new and unwelcome angle on the case for Eleanor.

Mired in suspects and questions about the dead man’s background, Eleanor feels overwhelmed. She will need all her wits about her to find the killer before the parlourmaid is wrongly arrested for a crime she did not commit.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for July 2021

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have urban fantasy, dark fantasy, YA fantasy, science fantasy, paranormal mystery, science fiction mystery, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, steampunk, horror, vampires, werewolves, demons, space marines, alien spies, alien parasites, crime-busting witches, crime-busting single moms, washed-up country singers 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:

Ariadne, I Love You by J. Ashley-SmithAriadne, I Love You by J. Ashley-Smith:

Jude is dragged out of Alt Country obscurity, out of the dismal loop of booze and sadness baths and the boundless, insatiable loneliness, to scrub up and fly to Australia for a last, desperate comeback tour. Hardly worth getting out of bed for—and he wouldn’t, if it weren’t for Coreen.But Coreen is dead. And, worse than that, she’s married. Jude’s swan-song tour becomes instead a terminal descent, into the sordid past, into the meaning hidden in forgotten songs, into Coreen’s madness diary, there to waken something far worse than her ghost.

 

Forgotten Stars by Odette C. BellForgotten Stars by Odette C. Bell:

A new realm has awoken. A new threat has emerged. So new warriors must take the helm.

Amber is an ordinary ensign whose only claim to fame is throwing toast on the most important soldier on the station. Then everything changes. When she’s lost on an alien world and her true powers awaken, she must keep them secret from the Coalition or pay the price.

But it’ll be hard to keep her secret around the ever-watchful Commander Starsmith. When she draws his eye, he can’t look away. For deep within him, something is arising. Let it sink, and the station might survive. Let it rise, and the Coalition will never be the same again.

An Uneasy Alliance by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. CheneyAn Uneasy Alliance by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. Cheney:

The war is over. Peace has at last descended over the humanity . . . or so it would appear.

The Centaurs may no longer pose a threat, but a new war is on the horizon, though it hides in the shadows of two empires.

Rumors of alien tech have set governments against each other, and with attention focused on defeating the Centaurs, criminal elements have gotten their tentacles firmly entrenched in the very fabric of civilization.

Staff Sergeant Rev Pelletier of the Perseus Union Marine Corps has now been assigned to the Home Guard, the elite unit made up of members from each military force in human space.

A new age is upon us. An age of exploration, treaties, and new enemies. But with tensions rising, can the Home Guard function as a viable, unified force to combat the growing lawlessness throughout the galaxy?

Vapor Trails by Joshua DazelleVapor Trails by Joshua Dazelle:

Marine Lieutenant Jacob Brown was on borrowed time, and he knew it.

He was a rogue element, disobeying orders and pursuing mission goals of his own. His Scout Team had been burned, disavowed by his chain of command and the owner of the stolen ship he was flying was after them to get it back. To make matters even more complicated, the man Jacob had stolen the ship from is an infamous outlaw and mercenary named Jason Burke… his father.

Being hunted down by both the United Earth Navy and the mercenary group that called itself Omega Force, Jacob has only one chance to keep his team out of a military prison and bring down the head of the One World terrorist faction that always seemed to be three steps ahead of him… and that was only if his father didn’t catch him first.

Wicked Magic by Margot de KlerkWicked Magic by Margot de Clerk:

Nathan is a vampire hunter on the cusp of graduation. He’s been training for this his entire life: the moment he qualifies and joins the rest of his family in their noble calling.

If only it were that simple.

His grades are a mess, his social life is a disaster, and what’s worse, his best friend is a witch! Add to that, his vampire uncle is back in town and his crush might just be supernatural too, and you have one big melting pot of potential parental disapproval. Nathan doesn’t think he can take much more, and then the dark mages come to town.

As bodies begin piling up in the streets, Nathan finds himself pulled deeper into political intrigue and a deadly plot that will pit him against his own family. When the girl he likes comes under threat, Nathan races against time to solve the mystery… well aware that with every step he takes, he comes closer to his father exposing all his secrets.

The Builders by Chris FoxThe Builders by Chris Fox:

All things must end. Welcome to the final Deathless novel.

The builder Yoggoth has arrived in our Solar System, but his goal is not to conquer our world. He has locked the sun in a Yoggothian Sphere designed to siphon our star of all power.

Earth is hurled into darkness, denied the lifegiving heat of our sun, even as Yoggoth’s fleets move upon our world. Our heroes, led by Blair, Liz, and Isis, must deal with the new winter before they can even hope to oppose them.

In Australia Jordan has used the intervening five years for one purpose. To become a Builder-slaying dino-enhanced death machine. Under Uluru’s tutelage he has mastered combat, and stands ready to face Yoggoth, whatever the cost.

Outnumbered and outmatched Liz leads a desperate assault on Yoggoth’s flagship, where Excalibur’s destiny will finally be realized. If the blade breaks our world will be annihilated. If it holds, then Liz will provide Blair one chance to save everyone.

One desperate gamble to rewrite history

Atmospheric Pressure 3: Last Breath by Aaron FraleAtmospheric Pressure 3: Last Breath by Aaron Frale:

Olson returns to the Union to discover he can breathe the noxious outside air. However, he soon finds out that he isn’t the only one involved in the sinister plan Erik is hatching. Both of the cities that weathered the apocalypse now depend on Olson unraveling what Erik has in store.

Meanwhile, a small community not too far from these cities sees the buildings burning from Erik’s coup of the government. They possess a nuclear warhead from the forgotten world and send a small team to see what is happening.

In the St. Paul Collective, Natalie is pregnant with Olson’s offspring. She finds out that her unborn child is wanted by the people in power for study because of Olson’s natural ability. She will do anything to protect her kid.

Find out how it all plays out in the third and final installment of the Atmospheric Pressure series.

Sibyl Sue Blue by Rosel George BrownSibyl Sue Blue by Rosel George Brown:

Stop a murder, save two planets!

Who she is: Sibyl Sue Blue, single mom, undercover detective, and damn good at her job.

What she wants: to solve the mysterious benzale murders, prevent more teenage deaths, and maybe find her long-lost husband.

How she’ll get it: seduce a millionaire, catch a ride on his spaceship, and crack the case at the edge of the known galaxy.

A thrilling, ground breaking story of mystery, crime, action and romance!

Awakening the Gods by Kristin GleesonAwakening the Gods by Kristin Gleeson:

A failed barista, a reclusive blacksmith. Can they avoid the call of the Irish Gods?

Saoirse knows playing traditional music once a week in a local Dublin pub won’t get her a career, but it’s all she’s got, especially after she’s fired from her barista job. But then her father dies and her life is set into a spin, especially when an unknown grandmother comes calling..

Music is Smithy’s one joy that is left to him that has a residue of the magic he lost long ago. Creating things in his forge, tucked away in rural Cork, increasingly reminds him of what he’s lost and why he must resist the requests of the Tuatha De Danann. They want him to join their efforts to battle their biggest nemesis,a powerful god who is threatening the destruction of Eire, the land they hold so dear. But events and gods conspire to bring Saoirse and Smithy to the path that was meant to be. It’s time for the gods to awake and answer the call to defend the land. But answering that call could mean risking death.

A music-filled romantic urban fantasy with a Celtic twist that will delight fans of Charles de Lint.

Wicked Whispers by Lily Harper HartWicked Whispers by Lily Harper Hart:

Jack Harker says the honeymoon will never be over, but it’s back to reality for him and his wife Ivy. Unfortunately for them, that means murder is on the menu … and this newest body is dropped in Ivy’s nursery parking lot.

Jack is a mess when he realizes a sniper took out a local woman. Ivy, although shocked because it happened right in front of her eyes, is also intrigued. When the duo starts digging, they find themselves drawn into an ugly underworld that’s happening right under their noses.

Shadow Lake might be a quiet town but it has an ugly side … and apparently there are a group of people looking to profit. The harder Jack and Ivy look, the more ugliness they uncover.

Ivy’s abilities are growing by leaps and bounds but even she can’t fight off a bullet. When her busybody nature makes her a target, it’s going to take everything she has in her arsenal to fight off the inevitable.

Jack loves his wife. Ivy will do whatever it takes to protect her husband. Will one of them have to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the other in the end?

It’s a hot race to the finish, and Ivy’s magic will have a say in the outcome.

Galaxy Bound by Vidar HokstadGalaxy Bound by Vidar Hokstad:

The Centauri Gate has opened, and humanity has taken its first steps into the unknown.

When an Earth freighter is destroyed in Centauri space, Zara Ortega and the crew of the Black Rain are sent to investigate, accompanied by an Earth military officer and a Centauri diplomat.

It’s apparent something is wrong, and when they chase down the leads, they end up facing off against heavily armed warships that should not be there.

Soon they are in another desperate race to survive. They seek shelter in a Centauri colony near Proxima. But those following them mount a brutal assault, and they pay a high price to flee.

They need to get word out, or it means war.

Absolute Unit by Nick KolakowskiAbsolute Unit by Nick Kolakowski:

Absolute Unit is a dark carnival ride through the underside of the American Dream, where hustlers and parasites fight to survive against gun-toting furries, sarcastic drug kingpins, old ladies who are startlingly good with knives, and angry ex-girlfriends. It’s a hardboiled slice of modern American horror that asks the deepest question of all: Is the human race worth saving?

Bill is a nobody, a health inspector who’s not above taking a few dollars to overlook a restaurant’s mouse problem, and hated by nearly everyone except his long-suffering girlfriend. His nephew, Trent, isn’t much better: sexually and morally confused, he’s probably the worst teenage con artist on the East Coast. But today, these two losers are going to become the most important people in the world.

That’s because Bill and Trent harbor a sentient parasite with a sarcastic sense of humor and a ravenous appetite. As the parasite figures out how to control its new human hosts, the focus of its desires grows from delicious cheeseburgers and beer to something much darker and more dangerous.

The apocalypse might come from within us…

Great Hexpectations by Amanda M. LeeGreat Hexpectations by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter thought she was getting a grip on the paranormal world she never knew existed until recently. She was wrong. In the shadow of a massive shifter retreat, she finds she knew absolutely nothing.

Her live-in love Galen Blackwood has his hands full with the conference. Not only is his mother pressuring him to make his presence known but it’s also up to him to keep the not-so-friendly factions from going to war. Things only get stickier when a member of the Michigan wolf contingent ends up dead on the docks.

Hadley wants to help Galen, as does his cousin Aric Winters, who has brought his magical mage wife Zoe and their daughter to the island at the behest of his father. Aric prefers distance when it comes to shifter politics but he’s happy to see his cousin, and be introduced to Hadley for the first time.

Because they’re not shifters, Hadley and Zoe are considered outsiders. That allows them to join together to track down a murderer.
Hadley is out of her element but she’s determined to help Galen by any means necessary. Unfortunately for her, the other wolves don’t like it … and decide to make it an issue worth dying for.

A wolf war is brewing and Hadley is at the center of it. Not only that but she’s a target. It’s going to take all of her witchy energy – plus a little help from a new friend – to make it through to the other side.

Somebody else has different plans … and they’re deadly. It might be the wolves warring, but Hadley is the one who might die on the battlefield.

The Sightless City by Noah LemelsonThe Sightless City by Noah Lemelson:

Kidnapping.
Enslavement.
Murder.

Those are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to actions some will take to protect their interests in æther-oil, the coveted substance that fuels the city of Huile.

As both veteran and private investigator, Marcel Talwar knows this firsthand, and he likes to think he’d never participate in such things. However, that naïve idea comes to a crashing end when he takes on a new case that quickly shatters his world view. A trail of evidence points to someone in Marcel’s inner circle who’s using him as a pawn to conduct grisly experiments-experiments that could lead to genocide.

Now, Marcel is more determined than ever to discover who’s pulling the strings to this sinister plot. But the further he gets, the larger the target on his back becomes, and it’s not long before Marcel has to ask himself how much and how many he’s willing to sacrifice to get to the truth.

Kingdom Come by Nazri NoorKingdom Come by Nazri Noor:

Hell hath no fury.

Mason Albrecht’s anger issues have finally come to a head, attracting another member of the Seven. The Prince of Wrath reveals his hand, striking at Mason where it hurts the most: his mother. Abaddon possesses Josephine Albrecht’s body, then disappears, taking her with him.

Plunged into despair, Mason and his allies rush to find Abaddon, and a way to stop the Prince of Wrath. How can he destroy the demon hiding inside his mother’s body? Mason must swallow his pride, bare his soul, and beseech old friends and enemies… one of the Seven among them.

Baswin by Aurora SpringerBaswin by Aurora Springer:

An alien spy on the run.
Two human sisters chosen to train as astronavigators.
Their paths are destined to converge.

Psychic sensitives, Holly Moon and her sister Rosie, are chosen as candidates for Warrish training as hyperspace navigators. The sisters are eager to promote humanity’s advance into space. Will they succeed? They must pass a series of rigorous tests and adapt to the alien neuro-implants.
Alien merman, Baswin Kenton Tallis, Second of his Triad, lives on Earth disguised as a human. When Earth agents discover the secret identity of his older brother, Baswin must flee to the Warrish embassy in the Pacific Ocean.

Holly and Baswin are swept together on an island in the Pacific Ocean, but their destiny lies farther away and many forces threaten to drive them apart. Can they overcome the obstacles and find a haven?

Follow the adventures of the three brothers of the Flaming Comets Triad in Baswin, Book 5 in Taxyon Space.

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

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

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

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

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for July 2021


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

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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have hardboiled mysteries, cozy mysteries, historical mysteries, retro mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, 1960s mysteries, humorous mysteries, paranormal mysteries, science fiction mysteries, steampunk mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, horror thrillers, police procedurals, police officers, private investigators, amateur sleuths, lawyers, burglars, assassins, FBI agents, organised crime, serial killers,  murdered wives, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting realtors, crime-busting single moms, murder and mayhem in Bloomington, Indiana, New York City, San Francisco, Hawaii, London, outer space and much more.

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

The Glass Alibi by John BurnsThe Glass Alibi by John Burns:

There is no mystery on this journey to hell. You are witness the to the crimes dealing the death sentences, each justified by liberal application of the seven deadly sins.

Enter the glamorous but insidious world of San Francisco’s ultra-wealthy socialites and dive into an immersing character study, filled with envy, greed, and cold blooded murder.

Sinister • Hard Boiled • Relentlessly Paced • Savagely Funny

Stealing Murder byx Beth ByersStealing Murder by Beth Byers:

April 1961

Cat Clarke tends towards the naughty. You know…a little vengeful pickpocketing. A smidgeon of well-aimed fraud. A dabbling of burglary from the deserving.

She’s a woman with her eye on the prize, and with her unexpected team, she might have planned her greatest heist yet. Only while she’s in the act of cutting the painting from the frame, she hears a murder.

If Cat doesn’t catch the killer first, the feds may never stop chasing her. Time for her team to accomplish their greatest feat yet: find the killer, leave him gift-wrapped for the feds, and disappear into the night.

Book ONE in the Cat Clarke 1960s Adventures. It’s time for a new adventure, and you’re going to love Cat Clarke and her family.

One-time orphans turned family, Cat might be fiendish, but her mother, Louisa, is all-good. Then there is the pragmatic Albert and the loyal Thea. This family sticks together no matter what hijinks Cat drags them into. Prepare yourself for a series of mysteries and heists and grab onto something, because it isn’t just her family that Cat will charm.

The Unexpected Flavor of Forever by Beth ByersThe Unexpected Flavor of Forever by Beth Byers:

Severine and friends have arrived in a new village once again, and they’re ready for nothing more than a place to call home. With large forests to walk in, a beach to stroll by, locals who are friendly, it is everything that they could have ever wanted.

On one of Severine’s long walks, however, she stumbles over a grisly scene. Now it’s up to her friends to clear her name before their chance of a home that fits them perfectly is ruined.

 

Dead For Good by Stacy Claflin and Nolon KingDead For Good by Stacy Claflin and Nolon King:

When your only alibi is a dead man, you don’t have much of a defense.

Brad Morris likes to think of himself as one of the best: an assassin at the top of his game. For years, he’s juggled work and family — attentive husband and loving father by day, cold-blooded killer by night.

But when the charismatic neighbor that Brad openly despises turns up dead on the same night he was out on a hit, Brad suddenly finds himself a prime suspect. His wife lies to the police but her lie only lands him deeper in trouble, and it’s clear she thinks he might be guilty too.

Brad’s being framed and he knows it, but it’s nearly impossible for him to prove his innocence without admitting he’s an assassin.

Can he catch the killer without endangering his family — or blowing his own cover?

RICO Rocky by John EllsworthRICO Rocky by John Ellsworth:

The police are after…the police. An outsider is needed to hunt down the bad ones. Call up Thaddeus Murfee.

Thaddeus Murfee gets the call from the Los Angeles District Attorney, a crime-buster nicknamed RICO Rocky. There’s a ring of police on the take…and worse. The DA is known for his RICO criminal cases, RICO for Racketeer Influenced Criminal Organizations. RICO Rocky enlists Thaddeus to file a RICO indictment and take them down. Only problem is, it’s going to be very dangerous. Will be necessary to go undercover. Yes, bring your investigator, Marcel. He’ll need to go undercover, too. Thaddeus takes on the assignment. Can he take down the bad apples? Or, will he find that it isn’t the police who are dirty, but the District Attorney’s Office itself?

War breaks out: a battle of psychology, lawyers, and of dark deeds. And a hanging.

Dublin Moon by Mike FaricyDublin Moon by Mike Faricy:

US Marshal Jack Dillon, assigned to An Garda Síochána, Special Branch is just about to settle into an enjoyable evening with his neighbor Tara when his phone rings. Against his better judgment, he answers… Good thing he does. It’s his boss, Detective Chief Inspector McCabe. There’s been a shooting in Dublin and it’s all hands on deck. Turns out two police officers have been murdered. US Marshal Jack Dillon and Detective Inspector Paddy Suel begin an investigation that seems to be going nowhere— and yet… It’s bad enough two officers have been murdered, but apparently, that’s just the beginning. The bodies begin to pile up and Dillon and Suel can’t seem to get ahead of the game or find out who is responsible.

The Jack Dillon Dublin Tales series is written by Mike Faricy and was originally released under the pseudonym, Patrick Emmett. Faricy also writes The award-winning Dev Haskell series, the award-winning Corridor Man series, and the Hotshot series.

Without Sin by Rachel FordWithout Sin by Rachel Ford:

A city in fear. A serial killer who crossed the line.

The Nursery Rhyme Killer took his brother. Now Owen Day will stop at absolutely nothing to find him.

A brutal killer haunts the streets of Kennington, leaving dead bodies in his wake – dead bodies, gruesome murder scenes, and nursery rhymes. The media dubs him NRK, the Nursery Rhyme Killer.

When NRK targets his brother, ex-military intelligence analyst Owen Day taps into the skills he developed in the Army to bring the killer to justice – before he strikes again.

‘He that is without sin, let him first cast a stone…’

Owen’s own hands are far from clean. But to wrest the city from the death grip of a madman, Owen will need to confront the demons of his past.

Sometimes, a man with blood on his hands is the only one who can stop a killer.

Sibyl Sue Blue by Rosel George BrownSibyl Sue Blue by Rosel George Brown:

Stop a murder, save two planets!

Who she is: Sibyl Sue Blue, single mom, undercover detective, and damn good at her job.

What she wants: to solve the mysterious benzale murders, prevent more teenage deaths, and maybe find her long-lost husband.

How she’ll get it: seduce a millionaire, catch a ride on his spaceship, and crack the case at the edge of the known galaxy.

A thrilling, ground breaking story of mystery, crime, action and romance!

Wicked Whispers by Lily Harper HartWicked Whispers by Lily Harper Hart:

Jack Harker says the honeymoon will never be over, but it’s back to reality for him and his wife Ivy. Unfortunately for them, that means murder is on the menu … and this newest body is dropped in Ivy’s nursery parking lot.

Jack is a mess when he realizes a sniper took out a local woman. Ivy, although shocked because it happened right in front of her eyes, is also intrigued. When the duo starts digging, they find themselves drawn into an ugly underworld that’s happening right under their noses.

Shadow Lake might be a quiet town but it has an ugly side … and apparently there are a group of people looking to profit. The harder Jack and Ivy look, the more ugliness they uncover.

Ivy’s abilities are growing by leaps and bounds but even she can’t fight off a bullet. When her busybody nature makes her a target, it’s going to take everything she has in her arsenal to fight off the inevitable.

Jack loves his wife. Ivy will do whatever it takes to protect her husband. Will one of them have to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the other in the end?

It’s a hot race to the finish, and Ivy’s magic will have a say in the outcome.

Beach Front Hunt by CeeCee JamesBeach Front Hunt by CeeCee James:

Life is good for Stella O’Neil. She’s found her mother at last and is finally getting a chance to get to know her after 20 years apart. She’s also just landed the listing of a lifetime!

Trouble always seems to find Stella though and this time it feels personal. When she goes with her client to visit the beautiful remote mansion, her client is brutally murdered. No one else is around for miles. Stella becomes the prime suspect. It’s up to Stella to clear her name and find the killer.

She has no clues to follow until files start disappearing from her computer. Soon a threat follows. Stella is sure if she can find the person responsible, the hacker can lead her to the killer. But she doesn’t have much time until she herself is arrested and tried- will she go to prison after her mother was just released?

Absolute Unit by Nick KolakowskiAbsolute Unit by Nick Kolakowski:

Absolute Unit is a dark carnival ride through the underside of the American Dream, where hustlers and parasites fight to survive against gun-toting furries, sarcastic drug kingpins, old ladies who are startlingly good with knives, and angry ex-girlfriends. It’s a hardboiled slice of modern American horror that asks the deepest question of all: Is the human race worth saving?

Bill is a nobody, a health inspector who’s not above taking a few dollars to overlook a restaurant’s mouse problem, and hated by nearly everyone except his long-suffering girlfriend. His nephew, Trent, isn’t much better: sexually and morally confused, he’s probably the worst teenage con artist on the East Coast. But today, these two losers are going to become the most important people in the world.

That’s because Bill and Trent harbor a sentient parasite with a sarcastic sense of humor and a ravenous appetite. As the parasite figures out how to control its new human hosts, the focus of its desires grows from delicious cheeseburgers and beer to something much darker and more dangerous.

The apocalypse might come from within us…

Great Hexpectations by Amanda M. LeeGreat Hexpectations by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter thought she was getting a grip on the paranormal world she never knew existed until recently. She was wrong. In the shadow of a massive shifter retreat, she finds she knew absolutely nothing.

Her live-in love Galen Blackwood has his hands full with the conference. Not only is his mother pressuring him to make his presence known but it’s also up to him to keep the not-so-friendly factions from going to war. Things only get stickier when a member of the Michigan wolf contingent ends up dead on the docks.

Hadley wants to help Galen, as does his cousin Aric Winters, who has brought his magical mage wife Zoe and their daughter to the island at the behest of his father. Aric prefers distance when it comes to shifter politics but he’s happy to see his cousin, and be introduced to Hadley for the first time.

Because they’re not shifters, Hadley and Zoe are considered outsiders. That allows them to join together to track down a murderer.

Hadley is out of her element but she’s determined to help Galen by any means necessary. Unfortunately for her, the other wolves don’t like it … and decide to make it an issue worth dying for.

A wolf war is brewing and Hadley is at the center of it. Not only that but she’s a target. It’s going to take all of her witchy energy – plus a little help from a new friend – to make it through to the other side.

Somebody else has different plans … and they’re deadly. It might be the wolves warring, but Hadley is the one who might die on the battlefield.

The Sightless City by Noah LemelsonThe Sightless City by Noah Lemelson:

Kidnapping.
Enslavement.
Murder.

Those are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to actions some will take to protect their interests in æther-oil, the coveted substance that fuels the city of Huile.

As both veteran and private investigator, Marcel Talwar knows this firsthand, and he likes to think he’d never participate in such things. However, that naïve idea comes to a crashing end when he takes on a new case that quickly shatters his world view. A trail of evidence points to someone in Marcel’s inner circle who’s using him as a pawn to conduct grisly experiments-experiments that could lead to genocide.

Now, Marcel is more determined than ever to discover who’s pulling the strings to this sinister plot. But the further he gets, the larger the target on his back becomes, and it’s not long before Marcel has to ask himself how much and how many he’s willing to sacrifice to get to the truth.

Killer Surprise by Sonia ParinKiller Surprise by Sonia Parin:

After several delays, postponements and reschedules, Eve’s parents are finally coming for a belated Christmas lunch and Eve is determined to give them a perfect Christmas feast. Everything is set for the family reunion at Eve’s Seabreeze Inn and she has everyone organized. Or, so she thinks.

When Detective Jack Bradford knocks on her door, Eve immediately goes into denial. There’s been a death on the island and she might be indirectly involved. Despite her reluctance to snoop around, Jack trusts her instincts. The more she learns, the more she realizes the truth could be staring her in the face.

The Labyrinth by Owen ParrThe Labyrinth by Owen Parr:

SHE WAS THE PERFECT WIFE…

SO WHO KILLED HER?

The widower says his wife was killed by gangs— but now he’s running for Mayor of New York City. Just to be sure (or else to portray himself as a properly mourning husband), he hires P.I.s Joey Mancuso and Father Dom to solve the murder. Only they can’t help noticing he’s pushing them to come to the gang conclusion as well. Hey, is something fishy here?

Joey Mancuso, his priest half-brother–Father Dom–and their crack team have got their work cut out for them. A year ago, a Brooklyn politician’s wife was brutally murdered, seemingly in a terrible burglary gone wrong. But no one really knows: the case remains unsolved. The mourning politician hires Mancuso to solve the cold case–right before announcing his plan to run for mayor of New York City. Oh, and in that same speech, the politician blames his wife’s death on gang violence. And the politician tries to convince Mancuso to come to the same conclusion.

Well….none of the gangs in Brooklyn seem to have it out for the politician’s family. Plus, the politician may have a straying eye–there are rumors of the affair. It’s a labyrinthine puzzle, the kind Joey (forever inspired by his hero, Holmes) delights in. Mancuso and Co. take to their office–which doubles as a bustling, Lower Manhattan cigar bar–and delve into Joey’s strangest mystery yet.

Joey Mancuso’s latest adventure is a gritty tour of a side of Brooklyn that’s rarely seen anymore; any fan of The Wire will find a lot to love in the gripping gang politics. Plus, author Parr weaves in the ritzy drama of upper class New Yorkers, all of whom have sordid secrets…

The Girl and the Dragon's Island by A.J. RiversThe Girl and the Dragon’s Island by A.J. Rivers:

A lifeless body, brought onto shore by the shifting tides.
A tranquil setting disguising the darkness behind a puzzling death.

While the nature of the world seems undisturbed.
And billions continue living.
There is one that carries with her the memory of the dead.
She has no choice but to replay the very beginning.
A beginning and ending that leads her back to Dragon’s Island…

For FBI Agent Emma Griffin, making the unsettling link among several cases has propelled her forward to finding the elusive truth.

The murder of her ex-boyfriend Greg has haunted her for years and as she spirals closer toward the final answer, she realizes it is more disturbing and painful than she could have ever imagined.

Her investigation brings her deep into what he went through during his disappearance. Forcing her to face questions about moments in her past and her future.

Now, the answers that have plagued her nightmares are finally revealing themselves.

But they just might be ones she never wanted.

Every ending gives birth to a new beginning…

Ring. Ring.
“I’m back.”

Cold Consequences by David RohlfingCold Consequences by David Rohlfing:

Deadly Dealings in Bloomington, Illinois

Ashley Cummins, the granddaughter of a powerful judge, is unexpectedly shot while buying drugs from her dealer late one night on a city street. As detective Sasha Frank investigates her murder, all of his possible suspects start showing up dead or missing. Who is behind the killings? As pressure builds on Sasha to solve the case, he uncovers new information that begins to unravel a complicated web of evidence. Will Sasha be able to prove who the killer is and take down the person responsible for the murders?

Cold Consequences is the exciting second book in David Rohlfing’s Detective Sasha Frank Mystery Series, serving as a prequel to Deliberate Duplicity. In this gripping new tale, full of exciting twists and turns, Sasha pursues every lead to find the killer. You won’t be able to put it down until the final thread is unraveled.

Not Like Us by Ava StrongNot Like Us by Ava Strong:

She barely escaped a serial killer in the Pacific Northwest—and now, he is hunting her again. Or is he? Ilse Beck, a niche expert in serial killer survivors, has faced many monsters, and seen shocking cases—but this one may be the worst of all.

In this bestselling mystery series, FBI Special Agent Ilse Beck, victim of a traumatic childhood in Germany, moved to the U.S. to become a renowned psychologist specializing in PTSD, and the world’s leading expert in the unique trauma of serial-killer survivors. By studying the psychology of their survivors, Ilse has a unique and unparalleled expertise in the true psychology of serial killers. Ilse never expected, though, to become an FBI agent herself.

Nothing can prepare Ilse for her new patient, a survivor from a near murder by a serial killer. The patient, paranoid, believes she is still being watched by the killer. And when the killer claims a new victim, the FBI needs Ilse’s help to solve it.

This case and this killer, though, strike too close to home for Ilse’s comfort. When she realizes that she herself is being targeted, the trauma of her own past comes full circle.

Can Ilse use her brilliant instincts to enter the mind of this killer and stop him before he strikes again?

And will she save herself?

Aloha Alibi by Jasmine WebbAloha Alibi by Jasmine Webb:

Most people flee to Hawaii for gorgeous weather, white-sand beaches, and cocktails at sunset. Charlotte Gibson, however, is fleeing for her life after a vengeful mobster leaves a severed finger on her doorstep as a warning. Message very much received.

That’s how Charlotte—Charlie to everyone except her mom— finds herself on Maui with six dollars to her name, living with a mother who can’t stop giving her advice on how to land herself a husband. But when a businessman is murdered and his company offers a reward to whoever finds the killer, Charlie sees an opportunity: with that kind of cash, she could afford her own place and start a new life here away from the people who want her dead. After all, how hard can hunting down a murderer be?

Teaming up with a couple of old ladies with more spunk than Betty White, Charlie is sure she’s on the right track to snag the reward money. However, the infuriating-but-smoldering-hot cop trying to keep her away from his case has other ideas. Throw in a day job at an ice cream shop, corrupt local politicians, and a best friend trying to act as the voice of reason, and Charlie has her work cut out for her.

Will she be able to find the killer, or is Charlie’s time in paradise going to go straight to hell in a handbasket?

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for June 2021

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal mystery, science fiction romance, space opera, space westerns, military science fiction, horror, time travel, first contact, vampires, wizards, dragons, black knights, barbarian kings, blood cults, aliens, monsters, space cruises, intergalactic smuggler, crime-busting witches, crime-busting ghosts 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 Rogue Wolf by K.T. BeltThe Rogue Wolf by K.T. Belt:

Billions dead, entire worlds under siege, and no end in sight.

The most destructive war in the history of the galaxy has arrived and every able-bodied man and woman is mobilized, save one. Carmen Grey has been released from the facility into an uncertain future. The young Clairvoyant can fly and read minds and has been trained since the age of six to do one thing and one thing only: kill. Yet Carmen struggles with an entirely different battle—how to ring up customers without them running away from her.

As she tries desperately to keep her life from falling apart, everything changes when someone close to her is swept into the conflict. Carmen vowed to never fight again, but she will have to rely on her best skill in a race against time. When everything is on the line, will she be able to stay good?

The Black Knight by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Black Knight by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

The Lords of Angilbert have been a thorn in the side of the Kings of Azakoria for decades, refusing to pay taxes or to accept the authority of the throne.

King Kurval of Azakoria inherited the conflict with the Black Knight of Angilbert from his predecessor. Determined to bring the Black Knight to heel once and for all, Kurval besieges Castle Angilbert. But when he finally comes face to face with the mysterious Black Knight, he’s in for a shock.

The law demands that the Black Knight be executed for treason. However, Kurval does not want to sentence the Black Knight to death, especially once he learns that the Lords of Angilbert have a very good reason to hate the Kings of Azakoria.

But is it even possible to find a peaceful solution or can the feud with the Black Knight of Angilbert end only in bloodshed and death?

The new sword and sorcery adventure by two-time Hugo finalist Cora Buhlert and her occasional alter ego, 1930s pulp writer Richard Blakemore. This is a novella of 33400 words or approx. 112 print pages in the Kurval series but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

Warning: This is a dark story, which contains scenes of a violent and sexual nature.

The Bridge by J.S. BreukelaarThe Bridge by J.S. Breukelaar:

Meera and her twin sister Kai are among thousands of hybrid women—called Mades—bred by the Father in his Blood Temple cult. Meera is rescued by a mysterious healer and storyteller, Narn, but her sister, Kai, does not survive the Father’s “unmaking.” Years later, when the cult is discovered and abolished, Meera, still racked with guilt and grief, enrolls in college to take advantage of a generous new Redress Program. When Narn’s conjure stories buy Meera a free ride to a notorious horror reading series, she is soon the darling of the lit set, feted by the other students, finally whole, finally free of the idea that she should have died instead of her sister. But college is not all it seems—Narn has lost a sister too, and Meera agrees to try and find her if Narn will keep feeding Meera the stories that are opening her up to memories she’s never acknowledged, secrets she’s never wanted to know, about Narn’s and the Father’s connection to a violent campus stalker.

The Art of the Hunt by Lindsay BurokerArt of the Hunt by Lindsay Buroker:

Our heroes have escaped with the ancient dragon gate, but powerful enemies are right behind them.

If they can’t figure out the magic of the mysterious artifact, and find great allies and resources in another world, their hopes of overthrowing their tyrannical wizard rulers will end as surely as their lives.

 

 

Jury Duty by Peter CawdronJury Duty by Peter Cawdron:

FIRST CONTACT is a series of stand-alone novels that explore the concept of humanity’s first interaction with extraterrestrial life.

The United Nations is thrown into chaos when an alien spacecraft is discovered buried beneath the ice in Antarctica. With no one nation able to lay claim to the craft, a multinational effort is undertaken to salvage the vessel, which is estimated to have crashed several hundred thousand years ago. Rather than leaving key decisions to hostile governments or their armies, a jury is established to represent the average global citizen, being selected from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Their job is to review findings and guide the process of discovery.

The FIRST CONTACT series is like BLACK MIRROR or THE TWILIGHT ZONE in that it is based on a common theme rather than common characters. This allows the series to be read in any order. Technically, they’re all first as they all deal with how we might respond to contact with an alien intelligence. This series explores the social, political, religious and scientific aspects of First Contact.

A Grimoire for Gamblers by Amanda CreiglowA Grimoire for Gamblers by Amanda Creiglow:

Magic may be secret, but it’ll kill you anyway.

Small town mayor’s assistant Elizabeth has enough on her plate grieving her father’s suicide. She doesn’t need his stash of magical knowledge in the attic. She doesn’t need the hidden supernatural subculture of monsters it pulls her into. And she certainly doesn’t need hints that her father’s madness might have been a smokescreen for something far darker.

But uncovering her father’s secrets could be the only way Elizabeth can stop a string of suspicious suicides… if the local wizard doesn’t rip the memories out of her mind, first.

Wizards, right?

Simultaneous Times Vol. 2 editec by Jean-Paul GarnierSimultaneous Times Vol. 2, edited by Jean-Paul Garnier:

From Space Cowboy Books in Joshua Tree, California. The second volume of the companion book series to the Space Cowboy Books Presents: Simultaneous Times science fiction anthology podcast. In Simultaneous Times Volume Two Space Cowboy Books brings you a collection of science fiction short stories from our local Hi-Desert authors, featuring both stories that have been featured on the podcast, as well as some appearing for the first time. An eclectic mix of approaches to the science fiction genre which range from rebellions against oppressive robots to alien encounters to pure campy fun, with writing styles varying from traditional to experimental. The collection features nine different authors, each paired up with five different illustrators to bring each story to life with original artwork.

Galaxy Cruise: The Maiden Voyage by Marcus Alexander HartGalaxy Cruise: The Maiden Voyage by Marcus Alexander Hart:

Humanity needed a hero. It got a karaoke DJ.

Leo MacGavin is not the brightest specimen of humanity. But when he inadvertently rescues a flirty alien heiress, he’s promoted from second-rate lounge entertainer to captain of the galaxy’s most sophisticated cruise ship.

Before he can flee in terror, a human-hating executive gives Leo an ultimatum—complete the vessel’s maiden voyage or mankind’s last colony will be turned into a sewage dump. To make matters worse, a militant cyborg is undermining his authority, a giant spider is terrifying the passengers, and a sentient plant keeps stealing all the beer.

If Leo ever wants to see his home again, he’ll have to keep the guests happy through seven days of onboard antics and madcap shore excursions. As strange malfunctions tear the ship apart, can he hold his rag-tag crew together, or will he flush the last bastion of humanity down the crapper?

Bloody Magic by N.R. HairstonBloody Magic by N.R. Hairston:

The second I enter the world Pilo, I get a fireball hurled towards my face. My crew and I end up in a fight that has nothing to do with us. Now we’ve offended some very powerful people, and they’re coming for us.

We’re used to fighting, but they made the mistake of going after our loved ones. Now we’re coming for them. No Mercy.

This is a fight to the death. These people mean to kill us and everyone we love. My crew and I can’t let that happen. We’ll fight to our last breath.

They call me the World Breaker. They call my crew the Wrath Bringers. We never back down from a fight, but this time I wonder if any of us will make it out alive.

Bourbon Street Ghosts by Lily Harper HartBourbon Street Ghosts by Lily Harper Hart:

Harper Harlow-Monroe and Zander Pritchett have been excited for their upcoming ghost conference in New Orleans for years, since before they were involved with their significant others. What was once a trip for two has now become a trip for four … but that doesn’t make them any less excited.

Ofelia Archer has just found out that her bar Krewe is about to be inundated with ghost hunters … and she’s beyond excited. She’s looking forward to a good week, which means more money to funnel into her next business venture.

Two worlds collide when Harper and Ofelia meet in Jackson Square, a ghost catching their attention. Before they realize what’s happening, they’re embroiled in a huge mystery … one that involves New Orleans’ colorful past and worry for the future.

Harper and Ofelia have a lot in common and they bond quickly. That adds a colorful edge to their friendship. Add Zander to the mix and the Big Easy is in for big trouble.

Hang on because it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Between ghosts, Zander’s attitude, and Ofelia’s mother … it’s going to be a very strange trip. It could also be deadly.

Note: This is a crossover book between Harper Harlow and Ofelia Archer. It’s set after Ghostly Travels and Hex, Drugs & Rock and Roll.

The Asylum Aberration by Amanda M. LeeThe Asylum Aberration by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes has spent her entire life wondering who she is, why she was abandoned as a child, and what’s behind the magical powers she can wield in the blink of an eye.

She’s finally getting her answers.

Now that she’s been reunited with her birth mother and brother, the search is on for her father. He’s supposed to be somewhere in Boston … but where? He’s fallen out of touch and finding him is virtually impossible.

Thankfully for Charlie, the Legacy Foundation’s next assignment is in a suburb of the very city where she lives, which means there’s plenty of time to find her father and solve the mystery of a haunted former hospital that’s apparently eating construction workers on a regular basis.

Heavenstone Asylum was considered the height of sophistication in psychiatric circles back in the day. In the years since the facility closed, the main doctor’s legacy has been tarnished by horror stories of treatments gone wrong and disappearing patients.

The second Charlie walks into the building, she recognizes that the past is hardly buried within the walls. There are tortured souls at every turn, and it’s her job to help them.

Heavenstone’s history makes for interesting reading but the harder Charlie digs, the more horrifying the story. Somehow she needs to uncover the truth … and survive the ghosts long enough to free them.

It’s going to take everything she’s got to see things through until the end.

All Charlie wants are answers. She’s going to get them. Surviving long enough to do anything with them is another story.

It’s about to be the Legacy Foundation’s finest hour … or is it?

Thunder Moon Tussle by Torn MacAlesterThunder Moon Tussle by Torn MacAlester:

Nils Carmike, a fallen from grace astronaut turned smuggler, forges a new life on the lunar frontier. Harassed by the strikingly beautiful and demanding Deputy Miller, he is faced with fines and conflict, resulting in a tumultuous relationship and ultimatum he can’t refuse. Running for their life they struggle against their pasts, hoping to outsmart the common faceless enemy and forced to focus on the only rule that matters: survive!

 

 

Blue Sun Armada by Scott MoonBlue Sun Armada by Scott Moon:

War is coming.
Duke Uron Marlboro led his mighty house to victory in the Zezner war. The last thing he expected was for his allies to turn on him.

With a new civil war brewing, the Duke and his family have one option to survive the king’s wrath—

They must flee.
Will they survive the political games of their past? Can they escape their doomed planet and find a new place to thrive before their once great house is destroyed… forever.

Blue Sun Armada is the first in a new epic space opera set in the far-flung future. Legendary mech battles, intense fleet engagements, and deadly politics all make Blue Sun Armada a magnificent read. Pick your side and buy now to start the fight for survival!

Blood Moon by Nazri NoorBlood Moon by Nazri Noor:

All vampires suck. Sterling just happens to be very good at it.

Vainglorious vampire Sterling is forced to trade his big city hedonism for a trip to a sleepy mountain town, where mangled dead bodies have been discovered. Soon he’s entangled with snooty vampire nobles, territorial werewolves, and a society of law-enforcing sorcerers.

The locals aren’t so bad, like the luscious young lady at the fruit shop, or the hunky electrician whose smile sends out sparks. But they’re distractions from the hunt for the mountain murderer. And then there’s the eerie enigma: why are all these corpses missing their faces?

Catalyst by Amanda Quintenz-FiedlerCatalyst by Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler:

When a serious accident triggers dangerous medical episodes, 25-year-old Taylor must unravel the clues in her past to save her own life.

Taylor’s old life is just a memory. No more dinners with friends, afternoon gardening, or partying with her sister. Seemingly at random, violent episodes catapult her body into shock and her mind into her past. She’s lonely, depressed and confined to a hospital. What’s worse, she’s surrounded by medical professionals who don’t know what’s wrong with her and won’t let her leave.

When a handsome young doctor’s interest ignites Taylor’s desire to live, she and another patient set out to solve the riddle of her mysterious illness themselves. But as the clues mount, Dr. Riaz begins to doubt her sanity. And as the physical toll of her fits escalates, Taylor discovers the only way to solve the riddle is from inside an episode.

Can Taylor discover the key to the illness that plagues her in time to save her life and build a future worth living?

With elements of science fiction, mystery and romance, Catalyst is the fast-paced first installment of Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler’s riveting Möbius Syndrome trilogy.

You See the Monster by Luke SmitherdYou See the Monster by Luke Smitherd:

The sound hits Guy in some low, forgotten part of his psyche – a part of him that understands the truth about shadows. The part of him that knows the deep, dark truth behind fairy stories and myths.

Guy is about to finish writing his breakthrough online article. He overheard the story by chance in a pub and it’s guaranteed to go viral – all he needs to do is persuade the World’s Unluckiest Man to talk to him. His best friend Larry’s quest for killer clickbait material has led him to a recently-appeared shanty town in Glasgow, where he finds some kind of urban voodoo cult. Ex-cop Sam has already come face to face with the terrifying force behind both these phenomena, but he’s been trying to put it out of his mind.

When Larry is killed in inexplicably gruesome circumstances, Guy knows he’s also a target. The evidence of malevolent power is suddenly proliferating – but why now? Together, Sam and Guy enter a shadow world of ancient monsters and modern curses, in a battle to figure out the rules of the game and bring them to the light before it’s far too late.

Drifter's Folly by Glynn StewartDrifter’s Folly by Glynn Stewart:

An enemy on the run to neutral space
An elite squadron beyond the reach of any backup
A secret deal that could doom the whole sector…

When United Planets Alliance Captain Henry Wong and Ambassador Sylvia Todorovich attempted to bring peace to the Ra Sector, they turned to the Drifters for neutral ground. Instead, the nomadic spacers betrayed the summit and attempted to kill everyone there.

With peace forged despite the Drifters’ betrayal, Henry and Sylvia take an elite squadron in pursuit of the Drifter Convoy. Their enemies have friends at every turn, neutral worlds who will give them shelter—and if the UPA breaches that neutrality, everything Henry and Sylvia have worked for could crash down in flames.

If the UPA is to keep the peace in the stars of a fallen empire, their diplomats must be untouchable, their honor unblemished. But as Henry’s superiors prepare for all-out war, his ships fly ever closer to a deadly trap laid by an enemy that knows them all too well…

Find(H)er by Charles WelchhFind(H)er by Charles Welch:

Laurie is a woman with a penchant for displaying impatience and judgement. She does not like to be bothered, particularly when she is in a hurry, which is a most unfortunate thing. One morning on her way to an important appointment, Laurie is confronted by a homeless woman who wants a small amount of money, and respect.

Instead, of respect, Laurie tells the woman that she is a lost soul, feeding off the back of humanity.

What Laurie doesn’t know is that this particular homeless woman is not simply an unfortunate, down on her luck member of society.

She is a powerful, ancient God, as old as time itself. A God who has been escorting mankind to the Land of the Dead for an eternity. Soon, Laurie finds herself lost in this timeless, corrupt land.

Boone is a man who desires nothing more than to be known as ordinary. He does not like attention from others and detests physical touch. Boone lives a life of contentment, until the day that he discovers his new gift. It is a gift that Boone has not sought, and one that he does not want, for he suddenly has acquired the gift to find things that have been lost.

Amid his struggle to comprehend where his gift has come from, and why it has selected him, Boone’s best friend, the only person he trusts, Sly, comes to him with a request.

Sly asks him find Laurie.

The Land of the Dead is a poisoned land. It is a land filled with angry and vengeful Gods who protect the Hall of Truth from those who have not yet been judged for their sinful existences.

Sly will stop at nothing to find his lost love, Laurie.

Can Laurie be saved before she is judged in the Hall of Truth?

Boone and Sly will need to survive the dangers of a lost world to save her.

They will need to overcome a wasted land, and the evil that desires their death, to Find(h)er.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for June 2021


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

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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, historical mysteries, retro mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, 1960s mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, action thrillers, adventure thrillers, spy thrillers, police procedurals, police officers, amateur sleuths, burglars, spies, FBI agents, ex Navy SEALs, drug dealers, cold cases, missing princess, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting ghosts, crime-busting cats, murder and mayhem in Washington DC, New Orleans, London, Northern England, the Bahamas, the Caymans, Brazil, Australia 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 at the Fair by Verity BrightMurder at the Fair by Verity Bright:

Summer flowers, warm sunshine, a maypole dance and… is that another murder? A tricky case is afoot for Lady Swift!

Summer, 1921. Lady Eleanor Swift, the best amateur sleuth in the country, is delighted to be in charge of the prize-giving at her village summer fair. But the traditional homemade raft race takes a tragic turn when the local undertaker, Solemn Jon, turns up dead amongst the ducks. Jon was the life of any party and loved by the entire village. Surely this was simply an awful accident?

But when a spiteful obituary is printed in the local paper, Eleanor realises there may be more to Jon’s death than first thought. Despite handsome Detective Seldon giving her strict instructions not to interfere, Eleanor owes it to Jon’s good name to root out the truth. So with her partner in crime, Gladstone the bulldog, Eleanor starts digging for clues…

When another local dies in a riding accident, the police refuse to believe he was murdered. But a second vindictive death notice convinces Eleanor of foul play. Solemn Jon’s assistant, a bullish banker and a majestic marquess make her suspect list, but it isn’t until she finds a dusty old photograph that she knows the true culprit behind both crimes. Then another obituary appears – her own! Can Eleanor nail the killer before she too turns up dead among the ducks?

Murder on a Yacht by Beth ByersMurder on a Yacht by Beth Byers:

August 1926

After a long slog of dark days, Vi and friends buy a yacht and go for some time on the sea. It’s what they need. Their nightmares come to an end along with the gray days too many of them have been fighting. They stop in at Monaco and, to their surprise, find old school friends. A few days of revelry, an evening party, and–of course—a body.

Once again, they’re pulled into another round of questions and investigations. This time, they’re the suspects. Forced into working to solve another murder, will they lose the peace they’ve found? Or will they find a way to navigate the murder and maintain a level of happiness?

Murder in England by Dianne HarmanMurder in England by Dianne Harman:

When an employee of the English pub where you’re staying during your vacation is murdered, and it happens on the first night you’re there, it’s definitely not the way to start a vacation!

A vacation in Northern England with three friends is a dream come true for Kat. Many famous authors lived and worked there, and Kat, who is an author, was looking forward to learning more about them. But the ugly hand of murder upset her plans when Sam, a popular employee at the pub, is murdered on his way home from work.

Kat’s been involved in several successful murder investigations at her home back in Kansas (her husband is the local District Attorney), and she feels she has to help investigate his murder. And even though she’d promised her husband she wouldn’t become involved in any more murder investigations, she can’t turn her back on Sam’s uncle, the owner of the pub, who has no idea what to do. She can see that he desperately needs her help.

Kat can’t get rid of the thought that Bailey, Sam’s Belgian Malinois dog, must have known who the murderer was because he didn’t try to protect Sam from the killer. After all, he’d come to Sam’s rescue before, so why didn’t he protect Sam on the night the murder took place? Had he recognized the murderer? Was it someone Sam knew and was on friendly terms with?

Join Kat and her friends as they explore the Northern England countryside while they help the local authorities solve a murder.

Bourbon Street Ghosts by Lily Harper HartBourbon Street Ghosts by Lily Harper Hart:

Harper Harlow-Monroe and Zander Pritchett have been excited for their upcoming ghost conference in New Orleans for years, since before they were involved with their significant others. What was once a trip for two has now become a trip for four … but that doesn’t make them any less excited.

Ofelia Archer has just found out that her bar Krewe is about to be inundated with ghost hunters … and she’s beyond excited. She’s looking forward to a good week, which means more money to funnel into her next business venture.

Two worlds collide when Harper and Ofelia meet in Jackson Square, a ghost catching their attention. Before they realize what’s happening, they’re embroiled in a huge mystery … one that involves New Orleans’ colorful past and worry for the future.

Harper and Ofelia have a lot in common and they bond quickly. That adds a colorful edge to their friendship. Add Zander to the mix and the Big Easy is in for big trouble.

Hang on because it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Between ghosts, Zander’s attitude, and Ofelia’s mother … it’s going to be a very strange trip. It could also be deadly.

Note: This is a crossover book between Harper Harlow and Ofelia Archer. It’s set after Ghostly Travels and Hex, Drugs & Rock and Roll.

Bloody Bay Rum Club by Nicholas HarveyBloody Bay Rum Club by Nicholas Harvey:

An idyllic Caribbean island. An exclusive resort. A deceptive façade.

While on holiday in Little Cayman, dive boat operator AJ Bailey expects a peaceful getaway. Nothing sounds better than uniquely-aged rum, crystal-clear water, and world-class diving.

But, beneath the surface, the Bloody Bay Rum Club is hiding a dangerous secret, and when AJ uncovers the truth, things turn deadly.

Bloody Bay Rum Club keeps you on the edge of your seat in book 10 of this exciting series.

The Cold Light of Death by Scott HunterThe Cold Light of Death by Scott Hunter:

July, 1976 – Thames Valley, UK. Long, scorching days of blue skies, water shortages, and record temperatures. A newly promoted Detective-Sergeant is tasked with investigating the murder of a local shop owner – an investigation that goes tragically wrong…

Fast-forward forty-five years to 2021, when a chance discovery exposes a grim secret that forces a reexamination of the circumstances surrounding the ill-fated murder inquiry.

DCI Brendan Moran is assigned this coldest of cases, and it soon becomes apparent that he is dealing with a cold and calculating criminal mind. Can Moran and his team piece together the events of that long forgotten summer and unmask the killer before history repeats itself?

Catastrophe in the Library by CeeCee JamesCatastrophe in the Library by CeeCee James:

A mysterious mansion, a suspicious death, and a cat too smart for its own good…

Laura Lee and her secret book club, led by Hank the marmalade cat, find themselves in the heart of their deepest mystery yet! Laura Lee’s efforts to bring the beautiful but decrepit old manor back to life uncover even more secrets that the ancient house has been keeping from her.

Hank, hiding from the workmen, gets himself stuck under a broken board. Rescuing him, Laura Lee finds not only a small root cellar, but a nearly intact skeleton holding a sheaf of papers. How long has it been there? Who was it? And why were those papers so important?

It’s not just a lesson in history; someone who’s very much alive is trying to stop them from discovering the secret . It will take the entire book club’s help to discover the truth as every clue they find takes them in a different direction and puts them in unknown danger.

Extracted Asset by Ethan JonesExtracted Asset by Ethan Jones:

The Storm they weren’t expecting…

Elite extractor Jack Storm is pulled into a sinister new operation in hopes that it will lead him to key information as to what happened to his missing family…

Information he would do anything for…

Jack’s operation is to find and retrieve a missing Saudi princess whose secret escape has greatly embarrassed her royal family.

A secret they will do anything to hide…

As Jack is thrust into a world of betrayal and deception, he searches the Caribbean for the princess and soon realizes he’s not the only one. Cold-blooded assassins are closing in. But they have no idea what’s raging towards them. Knowing the retrieval is now a rescue, how can Jack desperate for his own answers, save the princess with no place to run?

The Asylum Aberration by Amanda M. LeeThe Asylum Aberration by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes has spent her entire life wondering who she is, why she was abandoned as a child, and what’s behind the magical powers she can wield in the blink of an eye.

She’s finally getting her answers.

Now that she’s been reunited with her birth mother and brother, the search is on for her father. He’s supposed to be somewhere in Boston … but where? He’s fallen out of touch and finding him is virtually impossible.

Thankfully for Charlie, the Legacy Foundation’s next assignment is in a suburb of the very city where she lives, which means there’s plenty of time to find her father and solve the mystery of a haunted former hospital that’s apparently eating construction workers on a regular basis.

Heavenstone Asylum was considered the height of sophistication in psychiatric circles back in the day. In the years since the facility closed, the main doctor’s legacy has been tarnished by horror stories of treatments gone wrong and disappearing patients.

The second Charlie walks into the building, she recognizes that the past is hardly buried within the walls. There are tortured souls at every turn, and it’s her job to help them.

Heavenstone’s history makes for interesting reading but the harder Charlie digs, the more horrifying the story. Somehow she needs to uncover the truth … and survive the ghosts long enough to free them.

It’s going to take everything she’s got to see things through until the end.

All Charlie wants are answers. She’s going to get them. Surviving long enough to do anything with them is another story.

It’s about to be the Legacy Foundation’s finest hour … or is it?

White Haron by J.J. MarshWhite Heron by J.J. Marsh:

For Ann Sheldon, the past no longer exists. All she wants is a place to run and hide. Where better than a tiny shack between the Brazilian jungle and the Atlantic Ocean to appreciate the natural world and obliterate her memories?

Hermit-style living goes well until a local is murdered in shocking circumstances. Violence has followed her 5,000 miles to a remote fishing village? Against her will, Ann is drawn into a murder investigation, in close proximity to the last thing she needs: a smart cop.

Erasing history is a challenge but unlearning experience is impossible. Ann knows trouble when she sees it. Surfers are dealing drugs and the man in snakeskin boots is their supplier. She tells herself it’s not her problem. But when drug wars come to the beach, it’s everyone’s problem.

She knows it will end in blood and tears.

Must she take flight again?

Such a Good Girl by Willow RoseSuch a Good Girl by Willow Rose:

A girl falls from the penthouse floor of an apartment in Washington, D.C.

Media Mogul Richard Wanton owns the apartment and is seen standing on the balcony when the girl falls.

He is accused of killing her, but the FBI struggles to find enough solid evidence to convict him.

They have a witness, someone who was in the apartment when it happened, but she doesn’t want to talk to them.

She’ll only speak to one person, ex-FBI profiler Eva Rae Thomas. The problem is, Eva Rae Thomas has no interest in talking to her.

As a matter of fact, she’d rather see this woman dead than have to face her.

But Eva Rae Thomas isn’t someone who can leave a case alone, especially not when she starts to ask questions and things aren’t adding up.

As she digs in deeper—with the entire world watching—she soon finds herself in too deep and realizes she can’t trust anyone’s motives.

But by then, it is too late, and the killer is already tracking her down.

Goodbye Port Alma by Anne ShilloloGoodbye Port Alma by Anne Shillolo:

A beautiful teen is killed on a glorious June afternoon, hidden in plain sight, and discovered by an anonymous caller.

Did her secrets die with her? Or are they still alive – with the power to seduce and destroy the lives of a select few?

DC Holly Towns is on the team that has to untangle a far-reaching web of sex, drugs, and money, and solve a crime that threatens to tear the city apart. Are the victim’s two best friends the next targets? With a suspect list of movers and shakers, even with all the hard work in the world, no one has more to lose than Holly herself if the killer strikes again.

As a new Detective Constable, Holly gets a second chance to prove herself in a job where even her friends wonder if she can succeed. She likes police work, but her future is a coin-toss. She’s either on the way out, courtesy of a vindictive former boss, or on the way up, thanks to her intuition and stubborn persistence. And some days are a struggle to tame her own demons and escape her past.

If you like complex characters, twisty plots, and a fast-paced story, the Port Alma Murder Mysteries series is for you.

Murder in Belgravia by Lee StraussMurder in Belgravia by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s a piece of cake!

Wedding bells are ringing in Belgravia, and Ginger couldn’t be happier to attend the nuptials of Felicia Gold and Lord Davenport-Witt. If only she could put her mind at ease about the things she knew about the groom’s past.

When a death occurs at the wedding party, Ginger is placed in a frightfully difficult position. Betray her vow of secrecy to the crown, or let a killer go free.

 

A viable Threat by Ed TejaA Viable Threat by Ed Teja:

They want to kill a Senator

Stopping it calls for running a hair-brained, off-the-books abduction, grabbing a Dutch national from a private island in The Bahamas. It doesn’t help that the senator whose life is in danger is Martin’s ex-wife, Polly. And then there is the minor detail that the intelligence for the mission, the idea of running it, was arranged by a US Navy Admiral who just happens to be Polly’s current husband. The presence of a hard-nosed (and very sexy) DEA agent with her own agenda, one who forced her way into the center of a mission she shouldn’t have even known about… well, it’s complicated.

But hey, it’s all part of a normal day in the life of an ex-SEAL who only wants to be an average freighter captain in the Caribbean — at least Martin would like to think so.

The Girl Who Was Forgotten by Amy VasantThe Girl Who Was Forgotten by Amy Vasant:

Life was supposed to start feeling like a permanent vacation.

After years on the run from a vengeful killer, Shee McQueen is home at her father’s beach hotel. The Loggerhead Inn doubles as a retreat for sunburned tourists and a haven for recovering ex-military — men and women who help right wrongs for people in need of their particular skills.

What could be more relaxing?

Unless…

…Shee’s estranged boyfriend — the only man she’s ever loved — has discovered her darkest secret and the reason she left him so many years ago…
…or her first job for her father has ended in a double homicide…
…or that her very presence is driving the hotel’s regulars to prove their worth by starting dangerous covert missions of their own…

Wait. It couldn’t be a botched kidnapping is started looking more like the work of a deranged serial killer?

Hm.

Maybe hold the tanning lotion.

This might take a minute.

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New Kurval Sword and Sorcery Novella Available: The Black Knight

This June is turning out to be sword and sorcery month for me. Two weeks ago, I had a sword and sorcery story called “The Gate of Mist” come out in Whetstone Magazinea story which got this nice response by my fellow Whetstone contributor J.T. Howard.

And today, I’m pleased to announce that The Black Knight, the next story in my Kurval sword and sorcery series, is now available wherever e-books are sold.

“The Black Knight” is longer than the previous Kurval stories, since it’s a full length novella. It is also darker, which is why it has a content warning.

The Kurval series is strongly influenced by Robert E. Howard, particularly the Kull stories and three King Conan stories (“The Phoenix on the Sword”, “The Scarlet Citadel” and “The Hour of the Dragon”), while my other sword and sorcery series, the Thurvok series, is more influenced by Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and Gray Mouser.

“The Black Knight” brings in yet another influence, namely C.L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry. I revisited the first two Jirel of Joiry stories, “Black God’s Kiss” and “Black God’s Shadow”, last year, which also gave me some insight into the core themes of that particular branch of sword and sorcery. All of this eventually influenced “The Black Knight”.

Sword and sorcery protagonists are usually loners, but my own characters tend to acquire supporting casts. Thurvok was initially supposed to be a lone adventurer, but by the end of the first story, he picks up Meldom. Sharenna joins the team in the third story, Lysha in the fourth.

Kurval has also acquired a supporting cast of his own by now. There’s the vizier Izgomir, who basically serves as a foil to Kurval. Count Ragur Falgune and his wife Nelaira were originally intended as one-of characters, but they stuck around. We also learn a bit more about Ragur (and more about Kurval and his background, for that matter) in this story. Finally, there is Ungolf, the executioner who takes great pride in his work. Ungolf also appears in King’s Justice, the first Kurval story written, though he doesn’t acquire a name until this story. Finally, Kurval also picks up yet another supporting character in “The Black Knight”, a characters we will certainly see again.

So accompany Kurval, as he faces…

The Black Knight
The Black Knight by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Lords of Angilbert have been a thorn in the side of the Kings of Azakoria for decades, refusing to pay taxes or to accept the authority of the throne.

King Kurval of Azakoria inherited the conflict with the Black Knight of Angilbert from his predecessor. Determined to bring the Black Knight to heel once and for all, Kurval besieges Castle Angilbert. But when he finally comes face to face with the mysterious Black Knight, he’s in for a shock.

The law demands that the Black Knight be executed for treason. However, Kurval does not want to sentence the Black Knight to death, especially once he learns that the Lords of Angilbert have a very good reason to hate the Kings of Azakoria.

But is it even possible to find a peaceful solution or can the feud with the Black Knight of Angilbert end only in bloodshed and death?

The new sword and sorcery adventure by two-time Hugo finalist Cora Buhlert and her occasional alter ego, 1930s pulp writer Richard Blakemore. This is a novella of 33400 words or approx. 112 print pages in the Kurval series but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

Warning: This is a dark story, which contains scenes of a violent and sexual nature.

More information.
Length: 33400 words
List price: 2.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, Vivlio and XinXii.

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