Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for August 2019

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

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some 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 epic fantasy, urban fantasy, YA fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, science fiction romance, science fiction mystery, space opera, military science fiction, feminist science fiction, vintage science fiction, humorous science fiction, dystopian fiction, Steampunk, gaslamp fantasy, time travel, witches, mermaids, shapeshifters, pirates, space marines, crime-busting witches, grim reapers, arranged marriages, time travelling taxmen, cyborg gladiators, sword and sorcery courtroom dramas, rediscoverey women authors of the Silver Age 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:

Buy and Spell by Stacey AlabasterBuy and Spell by Stacey Alabaster:

Sometimes you just need to solve a mystery because you’re the main suspect

Ruby Swift is settling into her life as a private investigator while protecting her secret magical life. When her new, unwanted neighbor turns up dead, she must find the real killer to clear her own name. Can Ruby come up with a spell to buy her way out of trouble?

Buy and Spell is part of the Private Eye Witch Cozy Mystery series. If you like fun paranormal mysteries, you will love Ruby Swift and her magical adventures.

Get Buy and Spell and start solving your next supernatural mystery today!

Claiming T-Mo by Eugen BaconClaiming T-Mo by Eugen Bacon:

In this lush interplanetary tale, Novic is an immortal Sayneth priest who flouts the conventions of a matriarchal society by choosing a name for his child. This act initiates chaos that splits the boy in two, unleashing a Jekyll-and-Hyde child upon the universe. Named T-Mo by his mother and Odysseus by his father, the story spans the boy’s lifetime — from his early years with his mother Silhouette on planet Grovea to his travels to Earth where he meets and marries Salem, and together they bear a hybrid named Myra. The story unfolds through the eyes of these three distinctive women: Silhouette, Salem and Myra. As they confront their fears and navigate the treacherous paths to love and accept T-Mo/Odysseus and themselves, the darkness in Odysseus urges them to unbearable choices that threaten their very existence.

The Night Court by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Night Court by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

The city of Vanadur suffers under the thumb of the Night Court, whose bailiffs snatch random people off the streets and whose masked judges know only one verdict: guilty.

Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, is one of those who are snatched off the streets and put on trial by the Night Court. The accusation: murder. But while Meldom may have done many questionable things in the past, he knows that he did not commit this particular murder.

However, the Night Court is not inclined to believe him and so it’s up to Thurvok, Sharenna and Lysha to save him from the gallows.

This is a short story of 7100 words or 25 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

Knight Protector by Lindsay BurokerKnight Protector by Lindsay Buroker:

An arranged marriage she can’t escape.
A sexy bodyguard who will protect her at all cost.
A forbidden love she can’t give in to…

As one of the sultan’s fourteen daughters, and a successful businesswoman who puts money in the family’s coffers, Princess Nalini thought she would escape an arranged marriage.

She thought wrong.

Her father insists that an alliance with the savage and ambitious Star Kingdom is the only way to avoid a war at home, and for some reason, Prince Jorg—a man she’s never met—wants to marry her.

As if that weren’t bad enough, her father believes the betrothal may make her a target and is assigning her a bodyguard, the victor of one of his odious gladiator matches. She doesn’t want some brutish stranger intruding on her privacy.

But her new protector—Tristan—is not the brute she expected. He has a quick wit, a sexy smile, and even sexier things under the smile.

Unfortunately, Nalini can’t let herself fall in love with Tristan, not when she’s soon to be betrothed to another man. As her father’s daughter, it’s her duty to help her people by cementing this alliance. No matter how much she wishes otherwise…

~

As Tristan grew up on the streets, his father a convict and his mother a drug addict, all he ever wanted was to become one of the Star Kingdom’s elite knights, something that very few commoners ever achieve. After Tristan labors for years as a squire, the king is ready to appoint him a knight… if he accomplishes one simple task. He must infiltrate the sultan’s palace, gain the trust of Princess Nalini, and make sure she doesn’t run away from her marriage with Prince Jorg.

There’s just one problem.

Nalini isn’t the spoiled rich brat he expected—she spends her days working as hard as he does—and he soon develops feelings for her. With her betrothal looming, and the career he’s worked his whole life for at stake, Tristan can’t let himself act on those feelings.

But can he stand back while a man who doesn’t deserve her claims her for his wife?

Mermaid's Wish by Stacy ClaflinMermaid’s Wish by Stacy Claflin:

Every other princess prepares to rule her kingdom after her father’s death. Me? I have to get ready to rule all underwater kingdoms—after killing my father.

I already fulfilled the prophecy once. Kind of. I have no interest in killing again.

But no one asked what I want.

It’s this stupid Queen Sirena prophecy. My father—my real, biological father—is obsessed. And he’s the king, so he gets what he wants. Namely me, embracing a destiny I fear.

As I come to terms with my new reality, I find myself alone, cut off from my best friend and boyfriend and unable to convince my parents this is all a terrible idea.

My father, the king, wants me to kill him. He’s set plans in motion to make it happen.

I’m too weak to refuse. And hopefully too strong to succeed.

Peavley Manor by Robert DahlenPeavley Manor (Or, Introducing Macalley) by Robert Dahlen:

Alice Peavley was a sales clerk in a book shop, until her rich uncle left her his estate in his will. She moves to the manor, meets her new tenants and neighbors, and adjusts to life in the eccentric town of Darbyfield with the help of her valet, a sardonic gnome named Macalley. Alice gets mixed up in misadventures involving a concert gone askew, a chaotic baking competition, and a mischievous squatter, but there is a more sinister plot afoot to steal her land and her fortune. Can Alice get to the bottom of the conspiracy and save Peavley Manor? Find out in this comedy of manners, mayhem and magic!

Gullible's Travels and Taxing Rabble by Rachel FordGullible’s Travels and Taxing Rabble by Rachel Ford:

A shadowy interdimensional organization. A special assignment. A bizarre alternate universe.

When a recruitment agent from the Interdimensional Bureau of Temporal Investigations knocked on his door, there was no way Alfred Favero, Senior Analyst with the Internal Revenue Service, could just walk away. How could a man of law and conscience turn down the chance to stop crime across dimensions and times?

Now, he’s in bizarre alternate dimension, where suspicion is fact and fact is suspect. To succeed, he must question everything he thinks he knows about this new world – and even the mission itself.

Otherwise, Alfred Favero might have taken his last trip through time.

The Robin Hood of Couches by Aaron FraleThe Robin Hood of Couches by Aaron Frale:

Reese investigates corporate fraud and discovers some joker has been giving away free couches to the needy, because when a person can no longer afford the subscription service fees, all their furniture disappears. The bearer of sofas ends up in a ditch when blunt force trauma snuffs out the poor’s best chance of not living in an empty room their whole life. Reese rolls up his sleeves. Time to get to work.

 

 

Defender by Anna HackettDefender by Anna Hackett:

Rescued from alien slavers, the only place she feels safe is in the brawny arms of a big, gruff cyborg.

Astrophysicist Dr. Jayna Lennox’s life imploded the day her ship was attacked by aliens. Through months of captivity, she’s survived by shutting down and not feeling. Then she’s freed by the House of Rone cyborgs and finds herself in the arms of huge, tough Mace. Struggling to heal, Mace is the only thing that makes her feel safe. The only person who makes her feel like she isn’t broken. But there are more of her crew members imprisoned in Carthago’s desert, and Jayna will have to delve into her darkest memories to help save them.

Born to fight and bred for rage, Mace barely survived his gang-ridden homeworld. Thanks to Imperator Magnus Rone, he’s found a place at the House of Rone. Unlike the other cyborgs, he feels, but only anger and annoyance. When a small, wounded human woman works her way under his skin, Mace finds himself feeling things he’s never felt before…along with a powerful need to keep her safe.

Jayna vows to help find her fellow humans, even if it means revisiting her nightmares and being part of a dangerous mission into the desert. But as the passion between her and Mace explodes, she finds herself with two battles on her hands: the battle to free the humans from their captors, and the war to win Mace’s scarred heart.

Dark Dancer by B.R. KingsolverDark Magic by B.R. Kingsolver:

One Master survived the inferno that destroyed the Order of the Illuminati. He may know that I survived, but does he suspect that I betrayed the Order?

Rudolf Heine has sent Hunters flooding into Westport, wreaking carnage on vampires, shifters, and mages. Normal humans are taking notice, and the shadow world teeters on the verge of being revealed.

The Hunters also may be hunting me. Do I stay and fight for my new life and my friends, or run again?

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

Poet Parker put the past behind her. At least she thought she did.

Life on the streets wasn’t what she had in mind for her forever and she jumped at the chance to join Mystic Caravan Circus when an invitation was extended. She didn’t look back.

That was ten years ago, and now Poet is going back to the exact area she used to haunt … and she’s nervous.

The friends she left behind are scattered. Some are dead. Some have moved on to other things. Some turned out to be something else entirely. Others simply disappeared into the wind.

Unfortunately for Parker, forgetting isn’t easy … especially when a group of banshees start infringing on Mystic Caravan’s territory and the creatures seemingly have ties to the people Poet left behind.

Between the reapers also working the case – a crazy family called the Grimlocks who can’t stay out of trouble – and the guilt weighing Poet down given the way she fled, she has her hands full.

Someone is controlling the banshees, stealing girls from the streets and creating a merry band of monsters. It’s up to Poet to find out who and protect two street girls who remind her of herself.

Poet doesn’t want to look back but she has no choice … what she finds might be more evil than she ever imagined.

Rediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958 - 1963), edited by Gideon MarcusRediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958 – 1963), edited by Gideon Marcus, foreword by Dr. Laura Brodian Freas Beraha

  • Fourteeen uncut Silver Age science fiction stories by women
  • Fourteen introductions providing historical, biographical, and literary context
  • One foreword by Dr. Laura Brodian Freas Beraha
  • One introductory essay by Gideon Marcus

From the team that produces the Hugo-nominated Galactic Journey:

The Silver Age of Science Fiction saw a wealth of compelling speculative tales — and women authors wrote some of the best of the best. Yet the stories of this era, especially those by women, have been largely unreprinted, unrepresented, and unremembered.

Until Now.

Rediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958-1963) features fourteen selections of the best science fiction of the Silver Age by the unsung women authors of yesteryear, introduced by today’s rising stars:

Unhuman Sacrifice (1958) by Katherine MacLean, introduced by Natalie Devitt
Wish Upon a Star (1958) by Judith Merril, introduced by Erica Frank
A Matter of Proportion (1959) by Anne Walker, introduced by Erica Friedman
The White Pony (1960) by Jane Rice, introduced by T.D. Cloud
Step IV (1960) by Rosel George Brown, introduced by Andi Dukleth
Of All Possible Worlds (1961) by Rosel George Brown, introduced by Cora Buhlert
Satisfaction Guaranteed (1961) by Joy Leache, introduced by A.J. Howells
The Deer Park (1962) by Maria Russell, introduced by Claire Weaver
To Lift a Ship (1962) by Kit Reed, introduced by Gideon Marcus
The Putnam Tradition (1963) by Sonya Hess Dorman, introduced by Lorelei Marcus
The Pleiades (1963) by Otis Kidwell Burger, introduced by Gwyn Conaway
No Trading Voyage (1963) by Doris Pitkin Buck, introduced by Marie Vibbert
Cornie on the Walls (1963) by Sydney van Scyoc, introduced by Rosemary Benton
Unwillingly to School (1958) by Pauline Ashwell, introduced by Janice Marcus

“Female authors wrote stories about coming of age…cautionary tales…stories set beyond our universe…You’ll find these themes and more in this anthology. I hope that as you read their stories you don’t try to ‘feminine’ versus ‘masculine’ elements. What you are about to read is really good science fiction, plain and simple.” -from the foreword by Dr. Laura Brodian Freas Beraha

Wrecked Intel by Mandy M. RothWrecked Intel by Mandy M. Roth:

Operative: Cody Livingston (Shark-Shifter)

Wereshark and former Immortal Op Cody Livingston has spent decades keeping his head down and staying off the grid. Ever since he volunteered to be part of a test group when the government attempted to create super soldiers, he’s been in a fight for his life and those of the men he sees as brothers—fellow Outcasts. You see, his own government turned against him when the DNA manipulation attempts didn’t go as planned.

Now Cody spends his days trying to right the wrongs left in the wake of the experiments and protecting any innocents caught in the crossfire. This is easier said than done when he’s had to escape the clutches of a madman hell-bent on possessing Cody’s healing gifts and longevity. As old foes resurface, the stakes get even higher when Cody realizes he not only has a mate but that she’s in the crosshairs of the enemy as well.

Origins of the Tainted Bloodline by Rosie ScottOrigins of the Tainted Bloodline by Rosie Scott:

Alastor Cerberius is a troubled man.

After over a century enslaved in the oppressive underground, he and his best friend, Koby Bacia, escape their chains. They emerge onto the surface: a new world full of the unknown, freedom, and discovery. Desperate to leave his tragic past behind, Alastor changes his name to Calder and delves into the dangerous blood science of shapeshifting. With the new ability to transform into a lethal lizard at will, Calder finally has power after a lifetime of captivity.

Calder and Koby answer the ocean’s call with dreams of smuggling illegal goods as mercenary sailors. This is easier said than done, for the seas are full of horrors of their own, and each time Calder transforms into the beast, it further scars his damaged psyche. Worst of all, a botched business deal puts them at odds with a criminal ring of pirates that are determined to remain the greatest threat on the seas.

The Screening Routine by SMAThe Screening Routine by SMA:

[Tell me the secret you keep from yourself.]
It knows your joy.
It knows your fear.
It knows your desire.

After decades of war, a battered Earth begged the Routine—our most powerful artificial intelligence—to take control of the solar system and unite humanity.

Now, forbidden lovers must help the AI solve the mystery of a rising threat:

Itself.

A SCIFI ADVENTURE BEGINS
Weeks away from graduating into blissful civilian anonymity, Owen discovers that his fate has been hijacked by the Routine. Trapped within the Screening Complex, training school for the Routine’s chosen leaders, Owen is determined to resist the influence of his all-seeing artificial taskmaster.

…If only he could stop dreaming of the man with dark eyes.

Who is that stranger, and why has his presence stirred a new hunger in Owen—one more desperate than he’d ever imagined? Questions lurk around every corner, but there’s one truth Owen will never forget:

The Routine is lying to us all.

Join the discovery as Owen pursues the mysteries of the Routine—and learns the endless bounds of love and his own desire.

Exile by Glynn StewartExile by Glynn Stewart:

A dying world, shattered by a broken machine
A desperate flight, their only hope for refuge
A robotic race, ally and destroyer alike

The Republic of Exilium has grown in strength and confidence at the far end of the galaxy from the rest of mankind, sending out scout ships to survey the worlds around them as they try to learn more about the mysterious Construction Matrix AIs.

Finding one of the genocidal rogues of that mysterious “race” in the process of destroying an inhabited world, Captain Octavio Catalan takes his ship into a desperate battle. He is victorious—but he is too late. The world of the strange aliens he has encountered is doomed.

The distant Republic can barely help, but the honor of their leaders will not permit them to stand idly by. Ships and crews are set into motion to commence a desperate evacuation of their newfound friends, and debts with the strange Matrices are called in.

One branch of Matrices destroyed the planet. Another may well save it—but the AIs have their own agenda and the price they ask may be beyond the Republic and its new allies…

Conquest of Earth by James David VictorConquest of Earth by James David Victor:

When all else fails, blow up a bunch of stuff and hope for the best.

Solomon and the Outcast Marines have been pushed to the brink, but are still standing strong. When the Ru’ut plot is fully revealed, they must go on one last desperate mission to save humanity. If humanity has any hope, they must stop the invading aliens from conquering Earth. Can Solomon overcome his past, and his genetics, and save his friends and all of humankind?

Conquest of Earth is the ninth book in the Outcast Marines series. If you like science fiction with “heroes” who are anything but, the Outcast Marines will suck you into their battle to save humanity, from itself and the rest of the galaxy.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for August 2019

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 speculative 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 cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, jazz age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, action thrillers, spy thrillers, police procedurals, private investigators, amateur sleuths, lawyers, FBI agents, missing persons, serial killers, spies, terrorists, cold cases, crime-busting witches, crime-busting realtors, modern day pirates, murders in small towns and big cities, aboard cruise ships and in country inns, in Louisiana, Southern California, London, Hawaii, Maine, Miami 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:

Buy and Spell by Stacey AlabasterBuy and Spell by Stacey Alabaster:

Sometimes you just need to solve a mystery because you’re the main suspect

Ruby Swift is settling into her life as a private investigator while protecting her secret magical life. When her new, unwanted neighbor turns up dead, she must find the real killer to clear her own name. Can Ruby come up with a spell to buy her way out of trouble?

Buy and Spell is part of the Private Eye Witch Cozy Mystery series. If you like fun paranormal mysteries, you will love Ruby Swift and her magical adventures.

Get Buy and Spell and start solving your next supernatural mystery today!

Alex Mercer Thrillers Boxset by Stacy ClaflinAlex Mercer Thrillers Boxset by Stacy Claflin:

Read the first three Alex Mercer thrillers in this convenient bundle…

GIRL IN TROUBLE
He gave up his daughter years ago, but now he’ll risk his life to save hers.

Alex Mercer is no stranger to kidnappings. The emotional scars still run deep from his sister’s disappearance years earlier. His daughter Ariana remains safe long after her adoption, and he cherishes the few times a year he gets to see her. The joy is palpable when he takes her on their first one-on-one outing. At least until he pauses to answer a text and Ariana disappears…

Wracked with guilt and determined to find answers, Alex teams up with an unlikely ally at the police department. As the clues reveal a pattern of missing girls, the kidnapping case becomes a race against time to save Ariana. What cost is Alex willing to pay to keep his daughter alive?

Girl in Trouble is the first book in a series of thrilling stand-alone novels spun off from the USA Today bestselling Gone Trilogy. If you like heart-pounding suspense, page-turning action, and characters you’ll never forget, then you’ll love Stacy Claflin’s engrossing new series.

TURN BACK TIME
A dangerous cult disbanded years ago. Now they’re back, and they want revenge.

Alex Mercer spends his spare time operating a blog for missing children—a pastime inspired by his daughter’s recent disappearance. Another relative goes missing. As he follows up on leads coming into his site, the police department is inundated with a rash of missing persons cases. The incidents seem unrelated until evidence ties the cases to a dilapidated apartment building known for its unsavory clientele. Suspicion falls on a disbanded cult. The same cult Alex’s own relatives had managed to escape from and bring down a decade earlier.

The cult leaders, recently released or escaped from prison, reassemble their members and mandate a new mission to capture and kill all those responsible for the breakdown of their community. After another loved one disappears, Alex is ready to rescue the missing people from certain death. But will he get there in time?

LITTLE LIES
He’s dedicated his life to saving missing persons, but will it be enough to save himself?

Alex Mercer traded in his troubled past to protect the powerless. His blog for tracking down missing persons got his foot in the door at the police academy. But on his first day of training, a heroic act drops him into the hands of the captors he once hunted.

Zoey planned to tell Alex how she felt the night he disappeared. As she and Alex’s family discover the bloody signs of his fate, past regrets and dark secrets begin to come to light. It’s enough to tear Alex’s loved ones apart.

Without hope of rescue, Alex must rely on his cunning to escape captivity. In his line of work, he knows all too well that each passing hour could kill his chances of survival…

Haunting in the Hallway by Kathi DaleyHaunting in the Hallway by Kathi Daley:

A heartwarming cozy mystery series about losing everything, taking a chance, and starting again.

After suffering a personal tragedy Abby Sullivan buys a huge old seaside mansion she has never even seen, packs up her life in San Francisco, and moves to Holiday Bay Maine, where she is adopted, quite against her will, by a huge Maine Coon Cat named Rufus, a drifter with her own tragic past named Georgia, and a giant dog with an inferiority complex named Ramos. What Abby thought she needed was alone time to heal. What she ended up with was, an inn she never knew she wanted, a cat she couldn’t seem to convince to leave, and a new family she’d never be able to live without.

In book 5 in the series, the new bank president, who happens to be the son of the man who founded the community bank, is found dead and buried in his own grave. The man was not popular in the small community after making a lot of changes with his fathers passing and the list of possible suspects who might want him dead is extensive.

Meanwhile, it is October and the inn is hosting Halloween themed events. The haunted weekends are just for fun but when guests report hearing noises in the hallway, Abby wonders if the inn might actually be haunted for real.

La Jolla Law by John EllsworthLa Jolla Law by John Ellsworth:

A California beach town, a murder at a Presidential reception, a detective who finds herself in hot water for sexual harassment…

Add to the mix a gifted boy band traveling cross-country and a tech billionaire who functions on cocaine with a plastic wife who refuses to return home from Paris where her lover does hair for Vogue. Now you have the opening chapters of La Jolla Law, the new series featuring attorney Thaddeus Murfee.

The Maseratis pull over when the President of the United States comes to town to kickoff his reelection campaign. Unfortunately, he has chosen the home of the tech billionaire to spend the night. Suddenly, that night erupts with police streaming through the doors. There, on the golden shoreline, a true American tragedy hits CNN at daybreak. Thaddeus is called into the rock-and-roll world of the beach dwellers when a gifted loner is accused of the crime.

Thaddeus arrives in Southern California thinking he’s already seen everything in his fifteen years of law practice.

La Jolla Law will show him just how wrong he is.

Sleeping Beauties by Skylar FinnSleeping Beauties by Skylar Finn:

The sleepy town of Barksdale, Louisiana isn’t known for much: except for its unusually high rate of disappearances.

When the daughter of a prominent businessman and a wealthy debutante vanishes, Reese Lindley returns to her hometown to cover the case for her podcast. Confronted by the past and her estranged family, Reese learns that the quiet town has more secrets to hide than she ever could have imagined.

 

Raging seas by Lily Harper HartRaging Seas by Lily Harper Hart:

For years, Rowan Gray has been searching for answers. She’s finally going to get them.

The group of people haunting her, the society that ripped her family apart, are due to arrive on The Bounding Storm … and nobody believes their goals are altruistic. That’s only proven true when death visits The Bounding Storm in their wake, leaving a mountain of questions and not enough answers.

Who are these people?
What do they want?

Quinn Davenport, head of security and Rowan’s boyfriend, is determined to figure out their plan, fight the effort, and eradicate the shadow that’s hanging over the future he plans on sharing with Rowan. They’re going to stand and fight together, no matter the outcome. To carry out the mission, they’re going to need a little help.

Rowan’s father and uncle board the ship in an undercover capacity, so it’s all hands on deck for the final ride. Before it’s over, Rowan will know the truth … and come face to face with an enemy she didn’t see coming.

This is the end, but it could lead to a new beginning.

Mid-Century Modern Murder by CeeCee JamesMid-Century Modern Murder by CeeCee James:

Stella’s mid-century modern listing was on track to be her easiest commission ever… until the buyers asked about the rumors of a girl who drowned nearby.

As part of her due diligence, Stella starts searching for answers and finds a cold case that makes no sense. A teenage girl who was a State swim team champion… drowned. Something about the case keeps tugging at the edges of her memory but Stella can’t quite put her finger on it.

Meanwhile, Stella’s quest to find out exactly what happened with her mother is finally gaining some traction. She’s close to getting the whole story; she can feel it. But the more determined she is to find out the truth, the more her family members warn her that she won’t like the answers.

As the decades-old drowning case becomes clearer, Stella is shocked to find her own history entwined with that of the dead girl. With each new revelation about her mother, she starts to wonder if her family is right but she just can’t stop herself until she knows every secret.

Agent Recruit by Ethan JonesAgent Recruit by Ethan Jones:

What price would you pay to learn the truth?

Russian FSB Agent Max Thorne is recovering from a daring assignment in the United States, which led to shocking discoveries about his mysterious past. As he begins the search to put together the missing pieces, Max learns that the elusive truth is buried deep under decades of secrecy, betrayal, and deception involving the CIA and KGB.

Barely able to stay one step ahead of powerful forces set on protecting those secrets at all costs, Max is determined to do the right thing. But what price will Max have to pay to learn the bittersweet truth, and can he protect the ones he loves?

Join Max as he faces the darkness that is the secret service the only way he knows how … head on.

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

Poet Parker put the past behind her. At least she thought she did.

Life on the streets wasn’t what she had in mind for her forever and she jumped at the chance to join Mystic Caravan Circus when an invitation was extended. She didn’t look back.

That was ten years ago, and now Poet is going back to the exact area she used to haunt … and she’s nervous.

The friends she left behind are scattered. Some are dead. Some have moved on to other things. Some turned out to be something else entirely. Others simply disappeared into the wind.

Unfortunately for Parker, forgetting isn’t easy … especially when a group of banshees start infringing on Mystic Caravan’s territory and the creatures seemingly have ties to the people Poet left behind.

Between the reapers also working the case – a crazy family called the Grimlocks who can’t stay out of trouble – and the guilt weighing Poet down given the way she fled, she has her hands full.

Someone is controlling the banshees, stealing girls from the streets and creating a merry band of monsters. It’s up to Poet to find out who and protect two street girls who remind her of herself.

Poet doesn’t want to look back but she has no choice … what she finds might be more evil than she ever imagined.

Rzor Rocks by Toby NealRazor Rocks by Toby Neal:

Paradise is plundered by pirates.

Someone is attacking and robbing luxury yachts as they sail the Hawaiian Islands leaving their passengers missing and presumed dead. Sergeant Lei Texeira, with her typical leap first look later style, dives into a case with the Coast Guard to find answers that lie as deep as Davy Jones’ locker.

He’s taking back what was stolen.

The Pirate King has a hidden agenda that’s bigger than the pillage of luxury yachts, and he’ll stop at nothing to reign on the sea.

If She Fled by Blake PierceIf She Fled by Blake Pierce:

When another 50 year old woman is found dead in her home in a wealthy suburb—the second such victim in just two months—the FBI is stumped. They must turn to their most brilliant mind—retired FBI agent Kate Wise, 55—to come back to the line of duty and solve it.

What do these two empty nesters have in common? Were they targeted?

How long until this serial killer strikes again?

And is Kate, though past her prime, still able to solve cases that no one else can?

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.

Murder on Eaton Square by Lee StraussMurder on Eaton Square by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s Bad Karma. . .

Life couldn’t be better on Eaton Square Gardens where the most prestigious families lived, until one of their own dies and it’s murder.

Ginger and Basil are on the case, but it’s not a simple glass of bubbly fizz. The more the clues present themselves, the trickier the puzzle gets, and Ginger feels she’s on a wild goose chase.

But as someone close to the victim so aptly quips, “One shouldn’t commit murder. It’s bad karma.”

Reaping what one sows is hardly a great cup of tea.

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Cora goes to WorldCon 77 in Dublin, Ireland, and TitanCon in Berfast, Northern Ireland

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This week, I’m off to Ireland for WorldCon 77 in Dublin and TitanCon, the 2019 EuroCon in Belfast the weekend after. I’ll be leaving early on Tuesday morning and am really looking forward to the experience. I’m particularly excited to the be attending the Hugo ceremony as the designated accepter for best fanzine finalist Galactic Journey.

So there will be light to no blogging for the next two weeks and plenty of photos and con reports, Retro Hugo and Hugo discussion (come on, you know there’ll be Hugo discussion) once I get back. You can also get live updates of what I’m up to on Twitter.

In the meantime, the Speculative Fiction Showcase and the Indie Crime Scene will still be chugging along, including (somewhat truncated) link round-ups.

But should you find yourself in Dublin for WorldCon 77 or Belfast for TitanCon, say hello to me.

You can also find me and several other fine folks on the following panels:

Non-English language SFF television

Format: Panel

15 Aug 2019, Thursday 13:00 – 13:50, Wicklow Room-2 (CCD)

Interest in TV from different countries is increasing. There are many good SFF TV shows produced in non-English speaking countries, and they are getting easier to find. The panel discusses their favourites and what makes them worthwhile to watch.

Harun Šiljak (Trinity College Dublin, CONNECT SFI Centre for Future Networks and Communications), Cora Buhlert, Lionel Davoust, J. Sharpe (Zilverspoor), Claudia Fusco (M)

Notes

Example of shows: Ad Vitam (France), (Ijon Tichy, Raumpilot (Germany), Dark (Germany), The Rain (Denmark), Äkta människor (Sweden), Goblin (Korea), but there are a lot more.

Speed crafting – session 1

Format: Workshop

15 Aug 2019, Thursday 15:30 – 17:20, Warehouse Art Demo Area (Point Square Dublin)

It’s like speed dating for handicrafts. Have you ever wanted to try your hand at something new, but haven’t managed to take the ‘plunge’? We will provide the materials and instructors. Each session will have different handicrafts, and you will try each one. You won’t end up with something you can take away, but maybe you’ll be inspired. Sign-ups in advance will be required for this workshop (limited to 15 people).

Session 1: knitting, crochet, lucet.

Rebecca Hewett (M), David Demchuk, Nina Niskanen, Cora Buhlert

Introduction to SFF romance

Format: Panel

16 Aug 2019, Friday 15:00 – 15:50, Wicklow Hall 2B (CCD)

SFF romance is as varied and creative as the speculative genre as a whole but, along with other romantic sub-genres, has often been dismissed and undervalued. From shapeshifting billionaires to far future secret agents, vampire brides to Highland flings, this panel will provide a broad introduction to SFF romance in all its glory as well as providing a range of reading recommendations.

Darlene Marshall, Cora Buhlert (M), D.A Lascelles (Zig Zag Education), Jeffe Kennedy (SFWA)

The global multiverse: the comics scene worldwide

Format: Panel

17 Aug 2019, Saturday 13:30 – 14:20, Odeon 3 (Point Square Dublin)

Darna! Storm Riders! The Metabarons! These are just some of the comic book titles found outside the dominant US comics or manga industries. Whether it’s bande dessinée from France, manhua from China, or self-published ’zines from the Philippines, come and discover not just one new world, but a multitude!

Christopher Hwang (Dublin 2019) (M), Cora Buhlert, Fulvio Gatti, Geoff Ryman (African Speculative Fiction Society)

The full programme is available here.

TitanCon presents EuroCon 2019

At TitanCon, you can find me on the following panel:

Food. glorious food

24 Aug 2019, Saturday 11:00 – 12:00, Lagan A (Hilton Belfast)

A look at the nature and significance of Food in SFF

Cora Buhlert , Dr Gillian Polack

You can find the full TitanCon programme here.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for July 2019

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, YA fntasy, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, science fiction romance, science fiction mystery, space opera, military science fiction, YA science fiction, science fantasy, dystopian fiction, postapocalyptic fiction, Steampunk, Cyberpunk, time travel, werewolves, vampires, zombies, dragons, aliens, space pirates, space marines, superheroes, spell speakers, crime-busting witches, Nazi-punching witches, undead detectives, telepathic dogs, dragon fight clubs  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:

Crossfire by Lindsay BurokerCrossfire by Lindsay Buroker:

For the first time in his life, roboticist Casmir Dabrowski is headed to another star system as an advisor for the Kingdom space fleet. He’s being given a chance to prove himself to King Jager by helping find the ancient artifact he inadvertently lost. It’s best not to think about what might happen if he fails…

But with technologically advanced astroshamans after the artifact, not to mention the deadly mercenary captain Tenebris Rache, it’s not long before the mission collides with disaster.

Soon, Casmir and his friends are caught between warring factions, and he must choose between what the king would want and what he knows is right.

Pursuits Unknown by Ellen ClaryPursuits Unknown by Ellen Clary:

Amy and her kelpie-shepherd mix, Lars, work with a search team that specializes in finding lost people. Despite his average-mutt appearance, Lars is no ordinary dog. He and Amy have a telepathic connection. While Lars has a lot to learn about human language, their bond allows them to communicate in unusual ways and is a boon to their success rate.

When Amy and Lars find a missing scientist suffering from the Alzheimer’s-like disorder “Disorientation,” Amy and her support team realize this is not a typical lost-person case. Instead, this assignment appears to be an attempt to steal this man’s highly sensitive research on nanotechnology—which, in the wrong hands, could be used to wipe out undesirables from their overpopulated world. Forced to go undercover to seek out the truth, Amy will have to confront—and surpass—her own limitations.

Witch Hunt by L.R. DeneyWitch Hunt by L.R. Deney:

Strange kidnappings are taking place throughout Seattle. In the wake of a problematic election in America, the crimes seem to be racially motivated. Left behind at the scene of each disappearance is the symbol of the Black Sun, a symbol that is connected to Naziism.

It’s up to Staci Drenvauder, a witch and mistress of the Dark Arts, to investigate the kidnappings. But the Nazis appear to be infecting everything, even the secret, magical city of Azramoas seems to be affected with strange happenings taking place on the ruling Council. To complicate matters further, a demonic force from Staci’s past makes itself known once more.

Snark, gloom, and romance intermix within this riveting tale. Join Staci in her quest to punch Nazis.

A Dark and Stormy Day by Charon DunnA Dark and Stormy Day by Charon Dunn:

3748 crashes to a halt as Sonny Knight visits Times Square to ring in the New Year.

He’s a little sad because his girlfriend – one of the terrorist clones holding his family prisoner (but she’s one of the nicer ones) – has dumped him. Or maybe she’s being held prisoner by a different band of terrorists, and would appreciate being rescued?

Sonny’s going to have to pull himself together if he’s going to help her. He needs to deal with his grief issues, residual anxiety from everything that happened to him in the last two books, and a blossoming substance problem. Then there’s his fresh anxiety from all the new and exciting dangers that befall him in this one.

Which include more pliosaurs, explosions, avalanches, crowds, true love, assault, battery … the usual.

This is the conclusion of the Adventures of Sonny Knight trilogy.

The Heisenberg Corollary by C.M. DuryeaThe Heisenberg Corollary by C.H. Duryea:

A radical new technology. A horde of homicidal aliens. A snarky would-be girlfriend. Science never used to be like this.

Zeke Travers is a brilliant theoretical physicist on the verge of a breakthrough: a prototype drive capable of transporting a spacecraft to parallel universes. His place in the annals of scientific history seems all but assured. But when an alien warship materializes in Earth orbit and commences blasting everything in its path to atoms, Zeke and his team must make a choice between annihilation–or becoming test subjects in their own interdimensional experiments.

As they careen from continuum to continuum, some ruled by technology, others by magic, Zeke and his band of geeky, over-educated scientists will have to discover their inner ass-kickers if they’re going to survive the perils of the Multiverse.

Legend of DreamwalkerLegend of Dreamwalker by Timothy Ellis:

Chris Ecclestone has had a full on day. And it isn’t over yet!

He’s done the impossible, been promoted, called a legend, and now he’s alone with his girlfriend and about to get the reward he really wants.

Tomorrow is another day, and a badly needed boring one at that.

But there’s a war on, and romance has to wait when allies call for help, and boring is what happens between battles and exhaustion.

Combat awaits, and this time, he’s a senior officer contemplating how fast he’s failing upwards.

The Imperium is spread too thin, and the Trixone are attacking in too many places.

When your war comes down to you and your fighter pilots, what must be done to survive?

And when survival includes the fate of the Imperium, will his lack of senior officer skills be a help, or their downfall?

Fate has been messing with Chris all his life, and all he wanted to be was a fighter pilot.

Instead, he’s the Legend of Dreamwalker.

And he doesn’t have the time to not like it.

Lee Shores by Rachel FordLee Shores by Rachel Ford:

Sometimes still waters are the most dangerous.

Murder turns a quiet month of shore leave into a nightmare for Chief Engineer Kay Ellis and Captain Magdalene Landon of the Black Flag. When a member of their crew is implicated in the killing of a young woman, the privateers find themselves pawns in an interplanetary diplomatic struggle that predates any of them.

With little evidence to support their claims of innocence, an alien government eager to make examples of the human visitors, and the eyes of two superpowers watching their every move, every passing day brings them closer to ruin.

If they don’t find the real killer soon, they’ll swing for a crime they didn’t commit. And the Union will be hung out to dry with them.

Incarnation by Kevin HardmanIncarnation by Kevin Hardman:

Jim (aka Kid Sensation) is no stranger to difficult and dangerous tasks. Having faced down everything from ruthless aliens to sadistic supervillains, he’s shown that he can more than hold his own under almost any circumstances. But now he’s facing a situation unlike anything he’s ever encountered before.

Recruited by a colleague for a mysterious mission and transported to a realm beyond space and time, Jim finds himself thrust into the company of Incarnates – individuals with powers and abilities so vast that they can do almost anything, including warp reality. But these esteemed personages are plagued by a dark issue, for which they turn to Jim for help: one amongst them is a murderer.

Charged with finding this killer, Jim soon realizes the inherent folly of pursuing an individual who is power personified and able to alter reality with the wave of a hand. With the fate of the universe hanging in the balance, he must find a way to defeat a murderous, nigh-omnipotent foe who can not only match his powers, but also negate them – fully and permanently.

The Day I Died by Aya KnightThe Day I Died by Aya Knight:

She had to die, to find the truth.

Oshin Fletcher lives by three rules: obey authority, don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself, and above all else, never leave the city walls.

Some say that rules are meant to be broken. For Oshin, her world shattered on the day she was betrayed. A secret meeting leads her beyond the safety of her city. Lured by the ignorance that comes with being lonely and hopeful, Oshin was about to discover just how severe consequences could be. Lost and alone, she waited; no one came. But they did. The infected, the decaying, the undead.

Oshin wakes to find herself in an abandoned house, deep within the forest. Her body was changing, her desire to feed, uncontrollable. She was a marionette—her hunger, the puppeteer. She pivots on a line between life and death. They say the undead are mindless, but Oshin was very much aware. She sets out in an unknown world where the worst evils aren’t the undead, but humanity itself. With only days before the effects of the disease take hold and decay sets in, Oshin must race to find a way back home for a cure. She soon discovers that home is not everything she thought it to be. Dark secrets have been in play since the moment she was born.

An emotionally intense zombie survival story.

To Spell With It by Amanda M. LeeTo Spell With It by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter thinks she’s seen everything – okay, maybe not everything but a lot of things – but she’s never seen a cupid convention.When her good friend Booker’s fellow cupids descend on Moonstone Bay, she thinks it’s going to be fun and games. Instead, it’s mayhem and mystery when a rash of suicides and attempted suicides hit random island residents.That means it’s off to the races to solve another mystery.Hadley has been doing a lot of thinking about her life. She wants a career, not a job. She also wants to uncover a murderer. Even though her boyfriend Galen tries to keep her out of the case, she’s bound and determined to be in the thick of things.Galen’s fears come to fruition when something starts calling to Hadley in her dreams and he’s convinced whatever creature convinced the others to try to kill themselves is now after Hadley.Between egocentric cupids who are at war with each other, a big mystery regarding the origin of some of Hadley’s favorite paranormal friends, and her own determination, Hadley isn’t giving up without answers.She’s used to having magical backup at every turn. This time, she’s going to have to fight the ultimate battle alone.Is she up to the challenge? She’d better be. Everyone she loves is in danger and she’s the only one who can save them.It’s time to witch up … and she’s ready.

The Spell Speakers by Day LeitaoThe Spell Speakers by Day Leitao:

He was raised to resist them. Now he has to join them.

14-year-old Darian was raised in an isolated village in Whyland, among people who resisted the oppression of the King and his army. When his life takes a tragic turn, he ends up living in the King’s castle, forced to train in the military academy, closer to his enemies than he has ever dreamed. His only solace is Cayla, a girl he befriends at the castle, who helps him smile and feel whole again, with whom he slowly falls in love, whose identity he ignores at his own peril.

But the castle holds more dangers than expected. Darian has to thread carefully if he wants use his position to help Whyland find freedom and remain alive.

Spell Speakers is a coming-of-age fantasy novella introducing characters featured in the upcoming series Portals to Whyland.

Of Dawn and Embers by Kyoko M.Of Dawn and Embers by Kyoko M.:

It’s been six months since Dr. Rhett “Jack” Jackson and Dr. Kamala Anjali had their dragon cloning project shut down by the government. Just when they think they’ve gotten their lives back together, an agency within the government hits them with another suckerpunch: a criminal organization has cloned dozens of dragons in order to hold vicious dragon fighting rings. The government recruits Jack and Kamala to help them track down the organization. Jack and Kamala set out to put a stop to the illegal fights before any more dragons die…or worse, escape.

Of Dawn and Embers is the third novel in Kyoko M’s sci-fi/contemporary fantasy series, following Of Cinder and Bone and Of Blood and Ashes.

Apatura Iris by Jon MessengerApatura Iris by Jon Messenger:

Magic is an abomination—one that has grown tired of being hunted.

The Inquisitors have hunted magical creatures for a dozen years, striking fear into the monsters that dare to escape the Rift. In the swamps in Northern Ocker, however, a new evil arises—one that’s not afraid of Inquisitors. One that’s hunting Inquisitors.

One that’s killing Inquisitors.

Still reeling from the pain of recent events, Simon is more than willing to walk into danger. But now he and Luthor must hunt this new evil into the very house of madness: The Sanitarium. And the madness seems to be catching…

Apatura Iris is the fourth book in the Magic and Machinery series by Jon Messenger.

The Gathering by Vanessa NelsonThe Gathering by Vanessa Nelson:

Scarred by a brutal past, she has sworn to help those in need.

As one of the Hundred, Yvonne cannot ignore a plea for help, even if all she wants is a quiet life, somewhere safe for her adopted children to grow into adulthood.

Safety is in short supply. Young people, some of them children, are going missing in large numbers, leaving bewildered and grieving families behind. It’s not something she can ignore.

She finds an unexpected ally in an arrogant goblin lord, who seems intent on following her from place to place. With her skills in magic, and his resources, can they track down the kidnappers and return the children home?

The Gathering is the first book in a new fantasy trilogy series. If you like your fantasy with plenty of mystery and magic, and a strong heroine, you’ll love this new trilogy by Vanessa Nelson.

Get your copy of The Gathering now, to start reading Yvonne’s story.

Memory Aether by Reesha RugrodenMemory Aether by Reesha Rugroden:

Earth is at war, and a secret mission depends on Alexia modifying her boyfriend Michael’s memory, erasing herself completely from his mind. She holds onto his memories in the hope that someday she can reinstate them. But something goes wrong and Michael is captured as a prisoner of war, held on a distant moon. Alexia must work with old friends to decode the memories she extracted. A government agent with his own agenda shows up at just the right time, equipping them with what they need. Alexia doesn’t trust him, but working with him is the only way she can save Michael.

The Girl from the Sea by Jessica RydillThe Girl from the Sea by Jessica Rydill:

When Aude steps out of the sea, she changes three lives; her own and that of a brother and sister born under a curse.

Exiled from her castle home in the far north, Aude is a Doxan, follower of the Mother Goddess, Megalmayar; Yuste and Yuda are Wanderers, a race the Goddess cursed to live without a homeland until the return of her Son.

But the twins are also shamans, destined to wield remarkable powers when they come of age, a time that is drawing near.

Together, the children face a terrible enemy that rises from a lost city under the sea. Will they survive the perils of adolescence in their world, and defeat the threat from beneath the waves?

Canticle of the Midnight Moon by Val St. CroweCanticle of the Midnight Moon by Val St. Crowe:

An uneasy alliance between the former vampire king, Viggo Heathcote, Camber Fordham, and her new mate Landon Bowie, has been formed to search for those stolen by the powerful dark figure.

Viggo claims to love Camber’s sister Desta, and says he will do anything to rescue her, but Camber doesn’t trust him, and Landon straight-up hates him. This doesn’t make it easy to deal with attacking bloodhounds and faulty blood magic, even in the best of circumstances.

But then the three of them are captured by the dark figure as well. Now, in order to save the people she cares about, Camber must also escape. And there is no way out.

Refuge by Glynn StewartRefuge by Glynn Stewart:

A dying world, shattered by a broken machine
A desperate flight, their only hope for refuge
A robotic race, ally and destroyer alike

The Republic of Exilium has grown in strength and confidence at the far end of the galaxy from the rest of mankind, sending out scout ships to survey the worlds around them as they try to learn more about the mysterious Construction Matrix AIs.

Finding one of the genocidal rogues of that mysterious “race” in the process of destroying an inhabited world, Captain Octavio Catalan takes his ship into a desperate battle. He is victorious—but he is too late. The world of the strange aliens he has encountered is doomed.

The distant Republic can barely help, but the honor of their leaders will not permit them to stand idly by. Ships and crews are set into motion to commence a desperate evacuation of their newfound friends, and debts with the strange Matrices are called in.

One branch of Matrices destroyed the planet. Another may well save it—but the AIs have their own agenda and the price they ask may be beyond the Republic and its new allies…

Jane Bond: Dark Side of the Moon by V.R. TapscottJane Bond: Dark Side of the Moon by V.R. Tapscott:

In this sequel to Jane Bond, Jane finds some very interesting things in the basement left behind when Kit went away. Among them is a fully operational space ship.

Of course, the catch is, how can Jane fly it? Once Jane overcomes that hurdle, she and her friends are on the way again – and a new friend by the name of Olive comes along to pilot the ship – and make pancakes.

Who knew pancakes were so important!

But – will pancakes be enough to deal with what lies on the Dark Side of the Moon?

New Enemy by James David VictorNew Enemy by James David Victor:

As if one unstoppable alien force isn’t enough.

Jack and Sam have made it back to the fleet, but have not received a warm welcome. Treated as traitors and scientific curiosities, they must fight to free themselves from their own kind. And if the internal enemy isn’t enough, there’s a new enemy on the horizon that even the Devex fear. Can Jack free himself from his own kind and save humanity from two deadly alien forces?

New Enemy is the fourth book in the Jack Forge, Lost Marine series. If you like fast-paced military science fiction, you will love watching Jack fight for the freedom of all.

The InBetween by Dick WybrowThe InBetween by Dick Wybrow:

Painter Mann is a one-of-a-kind private investigator. He may even be the world’s best, but mainly that’s because he’s dead.

Assisted by his “Temps”— a select few of the very old who are so close to death they can actually hear him— Painter has sworn to help the murder victims stuck in The InBetween by revealing their killers so they can move on.

But, a new mass murder case threatens everything after Painter recognizes the killer’s face as the person who murdered him.

Exposing them will free dozens of ghosts but will also clear Painter, leaving no one to help the souls trapped in The InBetween.

Also, he’s really into the whole private investigator thing. When alive he was never really good at much. Dead? He’s a hell of a PI.

Is Painter willing to risk it all to save those he’s sworn to help?

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for July 2019

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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, culinary mysteries, historical mysteries, jazz age mysteries, WWII mysteries, paranormal mysteries, science fiction mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, action thrillers, spy thrillers, paranormal thrillers, police procedurals, private investigators, amateur sleuths, lawyers, profilers, missing persons, organised crime, wrongful convictions, crime-busting witches, crime-busting bakers, crime-busting grannies, crime-busting sports agents, undead detectives, telepathic dogs, murders in small towns and big cities, at the seaside, at the circus and in country manors, in Florida, Southern California, Northumbria, Scotland, the Louisiana bayous 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:

Frosted Donuts and Fatal Falls by Cindy BellFrosted Donuts and Fatal Falls by Cindy Bell:

Joyce and Brenda walk a tightrope of danger as they race to find the truth before the circus moves on and the murderer disappears!

The circus is in town and Joyce and Brenda are excited that Donuts on the Move will be one of the vendors at the event. The circus has a close-knit, fun, eclectic bunch of performers and crew, and Joyce and Brenda are looking forward to getting to know them and to watch them in action.

But when one of the performers falls to his death, Joyce and Brenda find themselves right in the middle of a murder mystery. They land up juggling a long list of suspects and clues in order to help uncover the truth. But will they drop the ball before the murderer is caught?

It is a race against time for Joyce and Brenda to find the murderer before the circus moves to its next destination.

Murder by Chocolate by Beth ByersMurder by Chocolate by Beth Byers:

July 1925

Lady Violet is Mrs. Wakefield now, and she’s settled rather comfortably into her life. During a trip to her country house, she meets a chocolate artisan, she decides that nothing else will suit than an evening at home—with chocolate—as a married woman.

When she invites her friends to her house, she little expects her home to be christened not by chocolate but by murder. Yet again, Vi, Jack, and friends are dragged into a murder investigation. Just who would commit the crime of poisoning chocolate? And why?

Pursuits Unknown by Ellen ClaryPursuits Unknown by Ellen Clary:

Amy and her kelpie-shepherd mix, Lars, work with a search team that specializes in finding lost people. Despite his average-mutt appearance, Lars is no ordinary dog. He and Amy have a telepathic connection. While Lars has a lot to learn about human language, their bond allows them to communicate in unusual ways and is a boon to their success rate.

When Amy and Lars find a missing scientist suffering from the Alzheimer’s-like disorder “Disorientation,” Amy and her support team realize this is not a typical lost-person case. Instead, this assignment appears to be an attempt to steal this man’s highly sensitive research on nanotechnology—which, in the wrong hands, could be used to wipe out undesirables from their overpopulated world. Forced to go undercover to seek out the truth, Amy will have to confront—and surpass—her own limitations.

Cajun Fried Felony by Jana DeLeonCajun Fried Felony by Jana DeLeon:

Venus Thibodeaux had a reputation for being trouble. Some said she started at birth. When she finally left Sinful shortly after turning eighteen, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. When she blew back into town four years later, no one was happy about her return. She immediately launched into her same old scams, picking off Sinful residents with ease before disappearing again as quickly as she’d appeared.

Everyone assumed she’d headed back to New Orleans.

But when an accident at the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Run uncovers her body, everyone Venus took for a ride becomes a suspect. The man at the top of that list sees the writing on the wall and hires Fortune to figure out who killed Venus, before he goes to prison for a murder he didn’t commit. Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie start poking around into Venus’s complicated life, hoping to find the killer. And to solve their first official case.

Tight Lies by Ted DentonTight Lies by Ted Denton:

Ted Denton’s explosive debut novel is an exhilarating action thriller pitching the privileged seductive world of a professional sports’ agent against a backdrop of political double dealing, corporate corruption and brutal violence. A young Daniel Ratchet arrives in Spain to begin his dream job as a golf agent on the European Tour. In London, the Russian Rublex Corporation, with its history mired in ‘Vory’ mafia criminality, is working on a huge gas deal off the Falkland Islands with the British government. Veteran civil servant Derek Hemmings is tasked to rubber-stamp the deal for the Foreign Office. But things are not what they seem … With the help of Wallace, a cantankerous old golf coach, Daniel discovers match fixing, fraud and corruption on the Tour, all at the seeming behest of Rublex. A thorn in the Russians’ side, Daniel is kidnapped before he can expose the truth. Wallace, needing help, contacts an old army buddy who deploys violent loose cannon Tom Hunter on the mission to save him. A tense race against time ensues – both to rescue Daniel from the clutches of the ‘Vory’ and for Hemmings in Whitehall to prove that the deadly deal is corrupt. The stakes are high. As the body count mounts will the volatile Hunter get to the truth or will he be just too late? Dead or alive. The truth always comes at a cost.

On a Quiet Street by J.L. DoucetteOn a Quiet Street by J.L. Doucette:

When the fiancée of a prominent attorney is murdered, Dr. Pepper Hunt joins forces again with Detective Beau Antelope of the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Department to search for the killer.

Prosecutor Connor Collin’S dreams are shattered when Stacy Hart is found strangled in their home a month before their wedding. He’s convinced Jack Swailes, the contractor who found the body, killed her in a jealous rage. And Jack looks guilty when he mysteriously disappears later that day.

The investigation takes a different turn when Pepper uses her clinical skills to probe below the surface of the perfect couple’s lives. Chilling secrets and sinister motives that lead back to unsolved crimes with a direct link to Stacy’s murder are finally brought to light.

Ann's War: Victory by Hannah HoweAnn’s War: Victory by Hannah Howe:

The war is over and Ann’s community is preparing for the VE Day celebrations. However, not everyone is in a celebratory mood. Ann’s husband, Emrys, has returned from France, a shadow of the man who left to serve his country. What happened in France? What thoughts are weighing heavily on Emrys’ mind?

Meanwhile, Doris Michael hires Ann to find her brother, Glyn, a man she hasn’t seen for two years. What has happened to Glyn? And what crucial part did he play in determining the outcome of the war?

As Ann seeks answers, she realises that even though the war is over, the true battle has only just begun, the battle to win the peace.

18 Minutes by Ethan Jones18 Minutes by Ethan Jones:

What choice can he make with only 18 minutes?

FSB Agent Max Thorne might be shy and lack confidence, but he has never lost any of the high-value detainees he transports … yet. Assigned a daunting new mission, Max must lead a two-man team and transfer a high-profile banker to a safehouse in Moscow. Meanwhile, overwhelming opposition is determined to free the banker at any cost.

With no safehouse, no backup, and no options, Max must make an impossible choice.

But can he do it in only 18 minutes?

Turtle Cove by Marc LandauTurtle Cove by Marc Landau:

“It’s a shell of a beach read!”

Nolan Parker just wants to relax, paint some turtles, and toss a ball with the dog. But like much of life, thing’s aren’t going as planned. The economy is supposedly, “The greatest in the history of the world,” but he’s just scraping by. What starts out as a side hustle to pay for wifi and dog treats, ends up with Nolan chasing a teenage runaway around the beaches of Florida trying not to get killed. Worse, his tropical paradise has been invaded by a crew of wacky Floridians…and maybe an alligator.

Will Nolan find the kid and get the girl? Or will the sunshine state suck him into its swamplands?

To Spell With It by Amanda M. LeeTo Spell With It by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter thinks she’s seen everything – okay, maybe not everything but a lot of things – but she’s never seen a cupid convention.When her good friend Booker’s fellow cupids descend on Moonstone Bay, she thinks it’s going to be fun and games. Instead, it’s mayhem and mystery when a rash of suicides and attempted suicides hit random island residents.That means it’s off to the races to solve another mystery.Hadley has been doing a lot of thinking about her life. She wants a career, not a job. She also wants to uncover a murderer. Even though her boyfriend Galen tries to keep her out of the case, she’s bound and determined to be in the thick of things.Galen’s fears come to fruition when something starts calling to Hadley in her dreams and he’s convinced whatever creature convinced the others to try to kill themselves is now after Hadley.Between egocentric cupids who are at war with each other, a big mystery regarding the origin of some of Hadley’s favorite paranormal friends, and her own determination, Hadley isn’t giving up without answers.She’s used to having magical backup at every turn. This time, she’s going to have to fight the ultimate battle alone.Is she up to the challenge? She’d better be. Everyone she loves is in danger and she’s the only one who can save them.It’s time to witch up … and she’s ready.

Back of the Bayou by Dawn Lee McKennaBack of the Bayou by Dawn Lee McKenna:

Miss Evangeline, a middle-aged Creole woman, takes it upon herself to care for a little Cajun boy when his beautiful mother is killed. The first time she walked down the dirt road to the boy’s remote and ramshackle home, she had no idea she would walk that road for decades. She also had no idea how important that boy would become to her, or how their lives were about to be permanently interwoven.

Back of the Bayou moves through the 50s and 60s with these two beloved characters from the series, and reveals not only the events that made them who they are, but the shared experiences that made them who they are to each other.

Murder in Cold Mud by Emily OrganMurder in Cold Mud by Emily Organ:

Having established themselves as a successful detective duo, pensioners Annabel Churchill and Doris Pemberley face a new case.

The Compton Poppleford Horticultural Society Annual Show is just around the corner but there’s a problem: someone is murdering the competitors. Stories of vegetable rivalry abound as the local constabulary, Inspector Mappin, investigates.

When the death toll increases, Mappin drafts in assistance but refuses to allow Churchill and Pemberley to help. The two ladies decide to solve the case themselves, however their efforts are hampered by the inspector’s accusations of meddling.

Can Churchill and Pemberley battle the odds to find the culprit before another gardener dies? Compton Poppleford’s long-buried secrets are unearthed as the duo close in on the killer in their midst.

Murder in Bloom by Carly ReidMurder in Bloom by Carly Reid:

A bad breakup, a new business…

…and a body in the cellar.

Jessica’s future might be temporarily on hold, but her Aunt Reenie’s could be over. Has Jessica got what it takes to solve the mystery before Reenie runs out of time?

When Jessica Greer comes to Scotland to help Aunt Reenie set up a new flower shop, her plan is to spend the summer getting over her ex-boyfriend and find some distance and comfort in her ancestral home – as well as donning those paint overalls and getting Reenie’s business ready for opening day of course. But when the local estate agent turns up dead in the new shop cellar, and the locals seems keen to pin the crime on an outsider, Jessica finds herself drawn in to the events, secrets and drama of a not-so-sleepy Scottish village.

If you enjoy a classic cozy whodunnit, kick off the Dalkinchie Mysteries with Murder in Bloom.

What You Did by Willow RoseWhat You Did by Willow Rose

Three girls disappear on prom night at the local high school. One of them is the prom queen.

FBI profiler Eva Rae Thomas is chasing her long-lost sister when detective— and boyfriend — Matt Miller asks her to join the investigation of the three girls’ disappearance. They were last seen walking home together after the dance.

When the body of a young girl shows up in her backyard, Eva Rae knows she can no longer watch from the sidelines, and soon she realizes not only is she involved in this investigation, she’s also this killer’s target.

WHAT YOU DID is the second book in the Eva Rae Thomas Mystery Series and can be read as a standalone.

Penshaw by L.J. RossPenshaw by L.J. Ross:

When you sell your soul, the devil gives no refunds…

When an old man is burned alive in a sleepy ex-mining village, Detective Chief Inspector Ryan is called in to investigate. He soon discovers that, beneath the facade of a close-knit community, the burn from decades-old betrayal still smoulders. When everyone had a motive, can he unravel the secrets of the past before the killer strikes again?

Meanwhile, back at Northumbria CID, trouble is brewing with rumours of a mole in Ryan’s department. With everyone under suspicion, can he count on anybody but himself?

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.

Wrongful Conviction by Rachel SinclairWrongful Conviction by Rachel Sinclair:

A young black boy serving life in prison…
A city on fire…
One man stands between a life behind bars and total exoneration…

Christian Davis, a former big-firm lawyer turned social justice warrior, has just been assigned the case of his life by the State of California. Jamel Jackson, a 16-year-old black boy, has just been convicted for the brutal rape of a prominent movie star.

Christian digs into the case with gusto, as he examines the trial court transcript for any hint that the trial court might have erred in Jamel’s case. As he gets into the investigation of the case, he’s shocked at what he has found. Corruption at the highest level is staring him in the face.

The problem is, the person who Christian suspects was actually behind the rape is somebody who is powerful and connected. And this person will stop at anything to make sure that young Jamel stays in prison for the crime.

Christian soon finds himself not only fighting the system, but also trying to stay one step ahead of the man who Christian knows was the one who raped the actress.

Because Christian knows that Jamel will not remain in prison for this rich bastard’s crime.

And he will risk all, even his life, to make that doesn’t happen.

The InBetween by Dick WybrowThe InBetween by Dick Wybrow:

Painter Mann is a one-of-a-kind private investigator. He may even be the world’s best, but mainly that’s because he’s dead.

Assisted by his “Temps”— a select few of the very old who are so close to death they can actually hear him— Painter has sworn to help the murder victims stuck in The InBetween by revealing their killers so they can move on.

But, a new mass murder case threatens everything after Painter recognizes the killer’s face as the person who murdered him.

Exposing them will free dozens of ghosts but will also clear Painter, leaving no one to help the souls trapped in The InBetween.

Also, he’s really into the whole private investigator thing. When alive he was never really good at much. Dead? He’s a hell of a PI.

Is Painter willing to risk it all to save those he’s sworn to help?

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Our Eight Year Anniversary

July 3 marks Pegasus Pulp’s eight year anniversary, so it’s time for another overview post. In the past eight years, our catalogue has grown to 136 titles in two languages. What is more, I also passed the 4000 lifetime sales mark in April, though I missed it and therefore didn’t do a metrics post.

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

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

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

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for June 2019

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal mystery, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, YA science fiction, science fantasy, dystopian fiction, LitRPG, horror, time travel, first contact, witches, ghosts, mermaids, aliens, space pirates, renegades, stowaways, crime-busting witches, crime-busting ghosts,  time-travelling tax collectors, the fae mafia, ancient evils 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:

Hero Code by Lindsay BurokerHero Code by Lindsay Buroker:

Casmir Dabrowski is finally heading back to his home world, determined to gain an audience with the queen and convince her to tell him the secret of his genes. But the terrorists who have been sending robot assassins after him are still there—and still want him dead.

As soon as he lands, the trouble starts. His best friend is whisked off by Royal Intelligence, his new ally walks him into a trap, and he learns the queen isn’t in the city.

But the king is.

Casmir finds himself face to face with the man who has the power to wave a hand and have him and everyone he loves tortured, imprisoned, or even slain. King Jager isn’t pleased with the role Casmir played in keeping Fleet warships from claiming an ancient technology for the Kingdom.

If Casmir can’t convince Jager that he’s worth keeping around, he could lose everything and everyone he cares about.

Renegade Descent by J.N. ChaneyRenegade’s Descent by J.N. Chaney:

The Celestial War has arrived.

Captain Hughes and his team of rebels have created a shaky alliance with the same government that sought to end them, but even that might not be enough.

In order to combat the Celestial threat, Jace will need to convince the Sarkonian Emperor to not only join his cause but lend him the resources he needs to overpower the enemy.

The battle for tomorrow will take more than any single empire can manage.

Each side will have to learn to work together if they ever hope to overcome their shared enemy, but allies are not easily made from enemies, and not everyone will be as eager to stand side-by-side.

With allies like the Union and the Sarkonians, who needs enemies?

Maximum Experience by Misty DaisMaximum Experience by Misty Dais:

A gap year gone wrong,

A spaceship of comatose adults,

A mysterious stowaway on board,

Can the surviving teens work together long enough to survive?

Can a teen from the Sidewalks save them all?

The United Corporations Youth Space Corps Gap Year Program!

For a nothing girl from the Sidewalks a gap year with the United Corporations Youth Space Corps seemed a way to escape her destiny of poverty, or at least delay it. Her plan had been to get some Maximum Experience credentials for her resume and her social media account. Instead of the breezy year of selfies and mundane work experience, she finds herself on a spaceship hijacked by a stowaway and trying to find a cure for the adult crew members that have been stricken by a comatose virus. It could be a good experience for her resume….. but only if she survives

Moonstruck by Dannika DarkMoonstruck by Dannika Dark:

Transporting goods is part of the job, but when Keystone accepts the daunting task of moving precious cargo, the team splits up. Raven has orders to follow, but Christian’s seductive ways draw out her violent soul. Their journey is dangerous, their enemies ruthless, and one misstep could prove fatal.

When one team member mysteriously vanishes, the rest must choose between cutting their losses in the face of chaos or seeing it through to the bitter end. Will Keystone have the fortitude to complete the mission, or will they fall like dominoes?

United they stand, divided they fall.

Heist Online by Victor DeckardHeist Online by Victor Deckard:

Heist Online is an action-packed virtual reality video game about cops and criminals.

If you want to play on the wrong side of the law, you can participate in a variety of heists. You can rob banks, jewelry stores, armored cash vehicles, etc. If you prefer to play as a cop, however, your task is to stop robbers.

Striker plays as a heister. When he and his teammates have been returning from a successful robbery, another team of heisters has attacked them and taken their money away.

Striker then finds out that he and his friends aren’t the only players whom the mysterious gang has robbed. Some of the victims want to get even with them. Still, nobody has achieved any success in tracking them down yet. No one knows who they are, why they rob other heisters, or where to find them.

A few days later, when Striker escapes with stolen money after another successful robbery, he happens to run into the mysterious gang again. They try to rob him, but he manages to repel the attack and ward the players off.

Later on, Striker finds out that the members of the mysterious gang have trashed his home out of revenge. After that, he gets determined to hunt them down. He has a score to settle.

Stephanie's Challenge by M.K. EidemStephanie’s Challenge by M.K. Eidem:

Stephanie Michelakakis worked and sacrificed for her position as a Lieutenant in the Coalition. She was on track to become the first woman ever accepted into a Royal Guard, specifically King Jotham’s Royal Guard. Then a life-altering injury shattered her dreams. Now she must figure out how to move on with her life. Nicholas Deffand was the youngest male ever named as the Captain of King Jotham’s Royal Guard. He served and protected his King to the exclusion of everything else. But now he’s found a woman who not only understood what his job entailed but his dedication to it as well.These two dedicated people never expected to find love. Will they be strong enough to make it work or will their relationship be another sacrifice they must make?

Edge of Magic by Jayne FaithEdge of Magic by Jayne Faith:

A stolen sword, the Fae mafia, and an old crush are about to crash Tara Knightley’s orderly life…

Between paying off a debt to a Fae mob boss, working as a professional thief, and keeping up with her busy three-generation household, Tara Knightley barely has time to eat and sleep. She’s used to the juggling act, but sometimes it feels like she’ll never really have a life of her own. Then she learns of a bounty for a mysterious magical skull. The reward would mean freedom her powerful, manipulative boss.

She must get her hands on that skull.

But just as Tara is ready to go after the prize, her childhood best friend and crush, wolf shifter Judah McMahon, shows up asking for help. It’s been a decade since the falling out that ended their friendship, and Tara knows she shouldn’t get involved. But Judah’s life is threatened, so Tara gives in. The deeper she gets, the more her orderly existence unravels. She’s going to have to choose: her family, Judah, or her freedom.

Absolution by Rachel FordAbsolution by Rachel Ford:

New wars and old conflicts. An empire reborn from blood and ash.

Nikia Idan led an uprising that liberated the Tribari people. Brek Trigan saved his colony from starvation. Captain Drake Elgin protected the citizens of Central from loyalist forces. The worst was supposed to be behind them.

When a loyalist fleet appears in Tribari airspace, the tenuous alliance between military and parliament is strained to the point of breaking. Meanwhile, a rogue governor’s quest for independence will put the empire’s promise of freedom to the test.

The decisions of these few will change the fate of many.

Mob Bosses and Tax Losses by Rachel FordMob Bosses and Tax Losses by Rachel Ford:

A decades old case. A charismatic gumshoe. A sinister don.

Alfred Favero, Senior Analyst with the IRS, shouldn’t have muddled the timeline. But curiosity got the better of him.

There was killing and a cat involved too*, but he’d rather not talk about that. Suffice it to say, a mafia prince is dead, and Alfred is on the run through time with a wrongly accused detective.

To unmask the men framing his new friend, he’ll tangle with New York City’s most sinister criminals. It’ll take all of his knowledge, and investigations across multiple timelines, to get to the bottom of it – before he finds himself sleeping with the fishes.

* No pets are harmed in this book. The cat definitely does not die

Godswar by Chris FoxGodswar by Chris Fox:

Nefarius comes and gods tremble

Nefarius has risen. She is implacable. Unstoppable. God after god is fallen and consumed, and each time the terrible dragon-goddess grows stronger.

Nebiat has stolen the Spellship, depriving Voria of its strength when she needs it most. But Nebiat’s schemes have never been tested by someone like Talifax, and she will finally discover she’s not as clever as she believes.

One possibility of victory remains. Aran, Nara, and Kazon discover their true purpose, left by the elder god Xal when he planned for his own demise. With this contingency they have one chance to oppose Nefarius. One chance to stop the goddess that will devour everything.

If they fail darkness wins, and our universe will be extinguished. Succeeding carries its own price, one Aran must choose for others to live.

The Dirty Coven by Lily Harper HartThe Dirty Coven by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok is at a crossroads in her life. She’s single, out of a job, and living in an apartment she absolutely hates in a suburb of Detroit. All that changes when she receives a registered letter and finds out she’s inherited a performance town.Casper Creek is located in Kentucky, on top of a small mountain, and is fashioned after notorious towns from the old west. Workers dress up, man the saloon, and put on a variety of performances several times a day. A city girl, Hannah is out of her element. She’s determined to give it a shot, though.Cooper Wyatt is head of security at Casper Creek and the last thing he wants to do is break in a new owner … especially one who has no idea about the paranormal world she’s about to be immersed in. You see, Casper Creek is home to a variety of individuals, including two covens of witches who enjoy doing battle.Hannah is barely in town when a body drops and a mystery unfolds. The workers at Casper Creek have more on their minds than performances. Unfortunately for them, Hannah is about to find out their big secret. Even worse, she’s about to find out she comes from a long line of witches … and magic is in her genes.Casper Creek is full of colorful people. They’re all going to have to come together if they want to fight pure evil. Will they manage it in time? It’s almost high noon and the magic fight is about to begin.

The Resurrectionists by Michael Patrick HicksThe Resurrectionists by Michael Patrick Hicks:

Having won his emancipation after fighting on the side of the colonies during the American Revolution, Salem Hawley is a free man. Only a handful of years after the end of British rule, Hawley finds himself drawn into a new war unlike anything he has ever seen.

New York City is on the cusp of a new revolution as the science of medicine advances, but procuring bodies for study is still illegal. Bands of resurrectionists are stealing corpses from New York cemeteries, and women of the night are disappearing from the streets, only to meet grisly ends elsewhere.

After a friend’s family is robbed from their graves, Hawley is compelled to fight back against the wave of exhumations plaguing the Black cemetery. Little does he know, the theft of bodies is key to far darker arts being performed by the resurrectionists. If successful, the work of these occultists could spell the end of the fledgling American Experiment… and the world itself.

The Resurrectionists, the first book in the Salem Hawley series, is a novella of historical cosmic horror from the author of Broken Shells and Mass Hysteria.

Transformation Protocol by David M. KellyTransformation Protocol by David M. Kelly:

Change can be deadly!

With his life crumbling around him, Joe Ballen is close to going out in a blaze, fueled by cheap alcohol and self-hatred. But when something “out there” starts destroying spaceships and stations, the only JumpShip available to investigate is the Shokasta—locked away by Joe in an attempt to get justice for his family.

But when an old friend offers him the chance to return to space in the hunt for a missing ship, it proves more complicated than either of them imagined. With all sides of the political spectrum looking to grab a piece of the newly explored star systems, Joe soon realizes that some people will go to any lengths to get what they want, and are willing to sacrifice anyone in the process.

And when Joe’s past catches up with him in a way he couldn’t have seen coming, he must battle enemies new and old as well as his own inner demons.

Bad Vibe by David MayoBad Vibe by David Mayo:

Something unusual and unique occurs in the mid-forties in the U.S and serves as the seed of change that will transpire eighty years later.

Clayton Atwood is an uncommitted academic pinball, bouncing between college curricula that strike his fancy, unconcerned with scholastic advancement or degrees. Orphaned by his parent’s death early on, he lives with his eccentric uncle. Looking forward a carefree trip to Europe, his plans are interrupted by an innocuous note taped to his front door. It changes the course of his future.

In an unassuming building adjacent to Rice University in Houston, Clay learns that all he knew of his past is wrong and that he is now the center of an astounding scientific project that will help all mankind, but place one peaceful alien civilization in jeopardy, and attract genocidal hatred and retribution from another. In the mix is a ruthless assassin looking to wipe Clay off the face of the earth. It all comes to a brutal and violent conclusion at a secret Nevada military base.

Can earth’s cultures withstand the societal impact that free energy would bring?

Can Clay come to grips with his changing self?

Idimmu by David MayoIdimmu: An Ancient Evil by David Mayo:

Since ancient Sumer it has been imprisoned. It was never meant to escape.

Former Vatican archivist Gwendolyn Myers knew of the legend, but she never expected to discover the truth. The elderly scholar’s curiosity proved fateful.
Gwendolyn’s niece, Anjanette, works as a nurse in Houston where she notices strange similarities in horrifically injured ER arrivals. After Anjanette and her boyfriend, Macon move into her aunt’s house, the horrors follow them home and begin spreading throughout the neighborhood and beyond.

Why does Macon suddenly develop an overriding interest in true-mirrors and psychomanteums that he can’t quite explain?

Can the analytical mind of a police detective deal with the paranormal claims of Anjanette’s small group of friends?

Can Anjanette accept the amazing truth of her birthright?

There is something of indescribable evil starving for blood and terror. A seemingly unstoppable evil has been unleashed that a small group, led by Anjanette, must desperately try to confront.

The Vestal's Steward by Alix NicholsThe Vestal’s Steward by Alix Nichols:

He guards her life, but she’d better guard her heart.

War is coming. Insurrection brews. But royal prioress Aynu Eckme keeps out of politics. To her, only the temple counts.

Aynu is relieved with her recent hire of Rhori Tidryn, a former prizefighter. He’s humble, competent, tough. Just the man to ensure her safety in such troubled times!

It matters not that he stirs something peculiar in her. Something improper and beautiful…

An insurgent by night, Rhori loves his new job as Prioress Eckme’s steward. Even the worst part—drinking a foul goo every week to suppress his baser needs.

Rhori would do anything for the prioress.

When he takes the vow of devotion, he’s prepared to serve her for the rest of his life. He’d die for her without blinking an eyelid. It would be easy, given how much he worships her already.

The problem is, he worships her in all the wrong ways.

The Rule of Yonder by M.A. NillesThe Rule of Yonder by M.A. Nilles:

Despite their narrow escape from the Issan, Zaer’s starship, the Da’Nelgur, was severely damaged. Vel and Shen have tried to fix the hyperdrive, and Nya is sound asleep. Their only chance to repair the ship to continue their journey to Ethal is a crime-syndicate-run remote city in interstellar space.

Yonder Station is not a place where anyone with sense wants to stay long, but it has its advantages. A home to salvagers, dealers, hustlers, and assassins, it is also a valuable trading post for the fringe of the galaxy, especially for information. The latest news is the Da’Nelgur’s involvement with the Issan and the mysterious portals.

When Zaer is taken by one of the crimelords seeking what she knows about the portals, it’s up to Nik and Nya to rescue her. But that same crimelord wants them too. To rescue Zaer, they’ll need to avoid being captured while tracking where she might have been taken. What they discover could get them killed, or it could gain them powerful new allies. What could go wrong?

Shadows of the Overlord by Kevin PotterShadow of the Overlord by Kevin Potter:

A heroine no one knows they need. A reluctant warrior with a dark secret. A crumbling kingdom on the brink of war.

Taliesimon has always dreamed of being the first female Dragoon warrior, but the commander and his lackeys will do anything to ensure she fails.

An itinerant sell-sword, William’s life is nothing like he imagined. His two greatest enemies are the bottle, which he takes no pains to avoid, and his past, which he avoids at all costs.

When the king mysteriously disappears, the kingdom teeters on the verge of collapse. If neither he nor his estranged son, the prince, can be found, the kingdom will fall into the hands of a brilliant mastermind working from the shadows.

As an unknown threat rises, a violent raid brings William and Taliesimon together in an uneasy alliance with tremendous potential for disaster.

With enemies on all sides, can they put their differences aside in time to save humanity from a brutal war unlike anything the world has ever seen?

The Undead Uproar by Amanda M. LeeThe Undead Uproar by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes is living the high life … at least for her. She lucked into a new apartment, her boyfriend Jack is attentive and sweet, and she’s about to head to the Big Easy to hunt for zombies.Yes, a multitude of dreams are about to come true.Charlie has never been to New Orleans and she’s in awe of everything she sees. Jack is determined to make sure she has a good time, which means authentic food, music and haunted tours. He’s happy just to be with her as she investigates the city.The one sore spot of the trip is the talk of zombies. Jack doesn’t believe they exist. Charlie and their boss think it’s possible. Oh, yeah, and dead bodies are rising all over town and no one can explain why.Charlie is at a crossroads in her life. She has magic at her disposal and the people in New Orleans might be the only ones with answers as to why she is the way she is. The question is: Who to trust?The closer Charlie and Jack get, the more she realizes she has to tell him the truth. She’s running out of time, though. She needs to protect the people she cares about most and solve an unthinkable crime. She has no idea how to do it.New Orleans is a magical city and Charlie is a magical girl. She can’t hide forever, though. The truth will come out with at least one person … she just has to survive long enough to explain her side of things in the aftermath.That’s not a given in a world where the dead are rising … and trying to kill everybody they come in contact with.

Wicked on the Beach by Lotta SmithWicked on the Beach: June Bride and Mermaid’s Fury by Lotta Smith:

Beach wedding and a murder… Throw in an angry mermaid threatening to destroy the wedding!

There’s trouble in Paradise, and the Rowling family is on the case.

The island wedding of Mandy’s BFF Fiona and famous exorcist Brian Powers becomes the backdrop for a murder investigation when the body of a notorious loan shark is found in the dunes. But how did a man drown so far from the water?

An angry mermaid threatens to wreak havoc if the killer isn’t caught, but with no spirits to question, does Mandy stand a ghost of a chance to solve the case?

Sword of Mars by Glynn StewartSword of Mars by Glynn Stewart:

A defector with a dangerous lead
A chance to speak for the silent
A perilous quest into enemy stars

When the star system of Legatus was preparing to secede from the Protectorate of the Mage-King of Mars, it was the secret agents of the Legatan Military Intelligence Directorate that laid the groundwork and fought the covert war to make it happen.

Now, as the open conflict draws to a bloody stalemate, LMID has been broken. Their leader is dead, murdered by agents of the Republic they helped birth. Their surviving agents have scattered, following a final protocol that orders them to defect to the Protectorate.

An old friend brings all of this to Damien Montgomery, First Hand of the Mage-King, and begs for his help in unravelling the mystery. The only answers lie where the Hands of Mars should never go: on the worlds of the Republic.

Farling's Wall by Chris TurnerFarling’s Wall by Chris Turner:

A band of adventurers flee from Sloe, the fabled Blue City of the south, as lowly outlaws wanted for stealing a glamorous princess. Their fate—a perilous plod through the Brauvn forest to come to the gates of Farling’s Wall and the realm of the Wickles.

Be wary! not scary, and don’t tarry by the gloom of Farling’s Wall…
—Old limerick

In this rich journey of adventure, villainy, and sophisticated language, heroism prevails and spellcraft brings captivity.

Pirate Bayne by James David VictorPirate Bayne by James David Victor:

If you can’t beat them, join them. Then maybe beat them. Or go down in a blaze of glory.

A space opera in the deep black of space from James David Victor

Bayne and the crew of the Deep Blue have found themselves in the hornet’s nest, so to speak. With nowhere else to go, they are forced into a battle that can have no winners. Can they defeat the enemies on all sides or will the captain go down with his ship, or will he even have a ship. Can Bayne save himself and his crew or are they doomed to a fate none of them ever wanted?

Pirate Bayne is the fourth book in the exciting Deep Black space opera. If you like fast-paced space adventure, rogue pirates, and stories more complex than good vs. evil, you are going to love your visit to the Deep Black.

The Unholy Trinity Series by A.E. WilliamsThe Unholy Trinity Series by A.E. Williams:

The Unholy Trinity Collection

Imperius Wrecks – The first in a series of satirical and humorous looks at one possible future! A nightmare or a dream – you get to decide.
In the far distant future, a nun is tasked with ancient rituals descended from one man’s egotistical grasp for power and immortality. Could this really happen?

Second Coming – Jesus bets His half-brother, Lucifer that the bet God made with him regarding Job can be done, again, and better. The implications are breathtaking! Does the Big J wind up the victor? Or, does the Devil get his due?

Anno Domini – Jesus and Lucifer’s betting is getting out of hand! This time, Jesus bets that the souls of the most outstanding humans ever born can redeem Mankind from original Sin. But, there’s a catch! A Virgin Birth is part of the scheme, but maybe Jesus didn’t think everything through?

Filled with religious references, popular concerns of the day, and a cast of totally fictional characters, this satire puts a spin on current events that will have you spitting coffee all over yourself in shock, from laughing or pure unadulterated rage. You’ll be aghast at the content, the implications and the mirror held up to our world.

Come along as A.E. Williams once more pulls no punches as he slams the One Percent, Religion and Political parties of all stripes!

The Unholy Trinity series of short stories will blow your mind as only A.E. Williams can!

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for June 2019

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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, culinary mysteries, historical mysteries, jazz age mysteries, hard boiled mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, police procedurals, nordic noir, private investigators, amateur sleuths, ex-cons, lawyers, missing persons, amnesiacs, heists, both online and offline, revenge, crime scene investigators, reality TV detectives, black widows, crime-busting witches, crime-busting ghosts, crime-busting bakers, zombies, angry mermaids, the Russian mafia, the Armenian mafia, murders in small towns and big cities, at the seaside and in country manors, in Kentucky, Tasmania, Southern California and Sweden 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:

Mystery Comes in Waves by Agatha BallMystery Comes in Waves by Agatha Ball:

August has rolled around and summer is definitely heating up. Seaside is hosting a bake off, but after a series of cooking disasters, things just might take a dark (chocolate) turn.

Join all your old Seaside friends for another trip to the island in book three of the Paige Comber Mysteries!

 

 

 

The Death of Jessica Ripley by Andrew BarrettThe Death of Jessica Ripley by Andrew Barrett:

Sometimes you can’t forgive and forget.

Jessica Ripley didn’t kill her ex-husband. But everyone thinks she did. After serving twelve years for his murder, it’s time to get her own back on those who put her inside.

During those twelve years, Jessy’s son, Michael, has turned against her. Whatever mercy Jessy had for her intended victims, has gone.

CSI Eddie Collins is having a hard time watching his father enjoying life. He’s also having it tough in the form of two new recruits to his office. One is off his tree on drugs and the other wants his job.

And then the murders begin.

Can Eddie trust the evidence, or is someone out to get even?

And who did kill Jessy’s ex? To find out, buy The Death of Jessica Ripley

The Secret Sins by Solomon CarterThe Secret Sins by Solomon Carter:

Detective Inspector Hogarth planned to spend the weekend savin his superior’s backside from impending disaster, but Hogarth’s plans have tochange when he is called to a mysterious suicide. Locked alone inside her holiday park caravan, Dina Corbett died from a single gunshot wound to the head. A gun is found close by the dead girl’s hand, but no suicide note is in sight.

Suicide is the obvious conclusion, but nagging doubts soon have Hogarth suspecting murder. Trouble is, there’s no evidence of foul play and every witness has a decent alibi… but DI Hogarth can’t let go of his suspicions… not even when his team start to turn against him…

Dina Corbett had her whole life ahead of her, but those who knew her said she was depressed, moody, maybe even bipolar. Dina and her boyfriend Simon Da Costa abandoned their university courses to embark on a year of hedonism, staying at holiday parks and campsites across the country. Griffin Holiday Park, Canvey Island, turned out to be Dina’s last. At Griffin Park, Hogarth finds a sub-culture of miscreants living under the radar. Each one has a dubious tale and incurs his suspicion. If Dina’s death really was murder, which one of them killed the girl, and why? And how did Dina get access to a gun?

The investigation is complicated by the site of the former holiday park next door – a place which has been turned into accommodation for refugees and others in crisis. A lone foreign refugee watches the whole investigation through the fence. Hogarth doesn’t like being watched. He doesn’t like the crime scene, nor the questions lingering at the back of his mind. But in opting for murder, Hogarth stands alone.

And alone he must deal with DCI Melford. Hogarth’s superior is caught in a spiral of self-destruction and looks ready to cross the point of no return. The risks are everywhere. The pressure is mounting. And in working to save Melford, Hogarth must also remember to save himself.

DI Hogarth must make the right calls… or die trying.

Take On Me by Stacy ClaflinTake One Me by Stacy Claflin:

A traumatized girl wakes in the hospital with no memory of how she got there. Or of anything else. Her only thought is to find the one person she remembers—her Uncle Alex.

When the authorities contact Alex Mercer, he rushes to the hospital. He’s surprised to find it’s his cousin Ayla. Shocked to see the condition she’s in. Stunned to learn her parents are missing.

Alex welcomes her into his home, and the family rallies around her as she tries to recover. But progress is slow, and for every step forward, she backslides. Compounding the problem is the mounting evidence that none of this was an accident. And the answers to the mystery are locked in her fragile mind.

Ayla is scared she’ll never remember. Even more frightened she will—and she won’t like what she recalls. But when she comes face to face with the worst memory of all, she realizes so much more than her history is at stake. And it might be too late to do anything about it.

A Veil Removed by Michelle CoxA Veil Removed by Michelle Cox:

Murder is never far from this sexy couple . . . even during the holidays!

Their honeymoon abruptly ended by the untimely death of Alcott Howard, Clive and Henrietta return to Highbury, where Clive discovers all is not as it should be. Increasingly convinced that his father’s death was not an accident, Clive launches his own investigation, despite his mother’s belief that he has become “mentally disturbed” with grief. Henrietta eventually joins forces with Clive on their first real case, which becomes darker—and deadlier—than they imagined as they get closer to the truth behind Alcott’s troubled affairs.

Meanwhile, Henrietta’s sister, Elsie, begins, at Henrietta’s orchestration, to take classes at a women’s college—an attempt to evade her troubles and prevent any further romantic temptations. When she meets a bookish German custodian at the school, however, he challenges her to think for herself . . . even as she discovers some shocking secrets about his past life.

Heist Online by Victor DeckardHeist Online by Victor Deckard:

Heist Online is an action-packed virtual reality video game about cops and criminals.

If you want to play on the wrong side of the law, you can participate in a variety of heists. You can rob banks, jewelry stores, armored cash vehicles, etc. If you prefer to play as a cop, however, your task is to stop robbers.

Striker plays as a heister. When he and his teammates have been returning from a successful robbery, another team of heisters has attacked them and taken their money away.

Striker then finds out that he and his friends aren’t the only players whom the mysterious gang has robbed. Some of the victims want to get even with them. Still, nobody has achieved any success in tracking them down yet. No one knows who they are, why they rob other heisters, or where to find them.

A few days later, when Striker escapes with stolen money after another successful robbery, he happens to run into the mysterious gang again. They try to rob him, but he manages to repel the attack and ward the players off.

Later on, Striker finds out that the members of the mysterious gang have trashed his home out of revenge. After that, he gets determined to hunt them down. He has a score to settle.

Little Moments by K.J. EmrickLittle Moments by K.J. Emrick:

Mystery, murder, and a penguin… it’s just an ordinary day in the life of Dell Powers!

Dell loves summertime in Tasmania. With its heat and insects and the tourists… especially the tourists… she wouldn’t have it any other way.

But when a prominent politician is murdered right inside his room the Pine Lake Inn is about to be thrust into the limelight once again. And not in a good way.

Who would want to kill the man? And why?

With just two possible suspects who have means, motive, and opportunity, it will be easy to sort it out. Won’t it?

While she’s wrestling with the murder Dell stumbles upon another mystery that needs special expertise.

Will she be able to work it all out in time?

The Crime by John EllsworthThe Crime by John Ellsworth:

Thaddeus Murfee is back in this twisted tale of two trials, mother and daughter, each claiming to have shot father…

He couldn’t keep his hands off his stepdaughter. The question becomes, who shot him? The mother or the stepdaughter? Or maybe it was even the woman he was seeing? Or the husband of the woman he seduced?

Thaddeus defends the mother on murder charges. The case goes to trial. Midway, the trial takes an unexpected turn and it looks as if the real killer has been exposed. Thaddeus isn’t finished with the case, however, and soon he’s back in trial yet again. The police and the District Attorney are certain they now have the killer in a death penalty case.

Of all his cases, this one is Thaddeus’ most memorable and most difficult. Enjoy a front row seat as the courtroom whiz takes on the establishment only to find his entire world turned upside down. It’s back and forth, cat-and-mouse until the unthinkable happens.

Can Thaddeus win-over a jury of twelve tough Westerners who aren’t afraid of handing out the death penalty?

A Life Lost by Diana EzzardA Life Lost by Diane Ezzard:

“Tell Sophie Brown she was right,” were Francesca’s dying words before she was brutally murdered. Sophie worked with Francesca to help bring back her memory, lost as a result of a trauma, too horrific to imagine. Over time, Sophie unravels the secrets of Francesca’s past – her son tragically killed, an armed robbery, illicit affairs.

But who wanted her dead before she remembered everything about her past?

And can Sophie find out what she meant before it is too late?

The Dirty Coven by Lily Harper HartThe Dirty Coven by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok is at a crossroads in her life. She’s single, out of a job, and living in an apartment she absolutely hates in a suburb of Detroit. All that changes when she receives a registered letter and finds out she’s inherited a performance town.Casper Creek is located in Kentucky, on top of a small mountain, and is fashioned after notorious towns from the old west. Workers dress up, man the saloon, and put on a variety of performances several times a day. A city girl, Hannah is out of her element. She’s determined to give it a shot, though.Cooper Wyatt is head of security at Casper Creek and the last thing he wants to do is break in a new owner … especially one who has no idea about the paranormal world she’s about to be immersed in. You see, Casper Creek is home to a variety of individuals, including two covens of witches who enjoy doing battle.Hannah is barely in town when a body drops and a mystery unfolds. The workers at Casper Creek have more on their minds than performances. Unfortunately for them, Hannah is about to find out their big secret. Even worse, she’s about to find out she comes from a long line of witches … and magic is in her genes.Casper Creek is full of colorful people. They’re all going to have to come together if they want to fight pure evil. Will they manage it in time? It’s almost high noon and the magic fight is about to begin.

The Undead Uproar by Amanda M. LeeThe Undead Uproar by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes is living the high life … at least for her. She lucked into a new apartment, her boyfriend Jack is attentive and sweet, and she’s about to head to the Big Easy to hunt for zombies.Yes, a multitude of dreams are about to come true.Charlie has never been to New Orleans and she’s in awe of everything she sees. Jack is determined to make sure she has a good time, which means authentic food, music and haunted tours. He’s happy just to be with her as she investigates the city.The one sore spot of the trip is the talk of zombies. Jack doesn’t believe they exist. Charlie and their boss think it’s possible. Oh, yeah, and dead bodies are rising all over town and no one can explain why.Charlie is at a crossroads in her life. She has magic at her disposal and the people in New Orleans might be the only ones with answers as to why she is the way she is. The question is: Who to trust?The closer Charlie and Jack get, the more she realizes she has to tell him the truth. She’s running out of time, though. She needs to protect the people she cares about most and solve an unthinkable crime. She has no idea how to do it.New Orleans is a magical city and Charlie is a magical girl. She can’t hide forever, though. The truth will come out with at least one person … she just has to survive long enough to explain her side of things in the aftermath.That’s not a given in a world where the dead are rising … and trying to kill everybody they come in contact with.

Random Melody by William MichaelsRandom Melody by William Michaels:

Did you ever make a decision, which didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but it led to another decision, and another, and now you’re in big trouble, and you don’t know how it started?

Rick Singleton is working hard to become a successful songwriter, but just can’t break through. Along comes Candy Carter, an up and coming pop diva with big money behind her. If Rick can only get Candy to use his songs on her upcoming album, he might just make the leap from obscurity to musical fortune.

One big problem: Rick is in debt to Doc Miles, a tough drug dealer who is looking for legitimate investments to cover his illicit activities. One of Doc’s customers, Dwayne “Outta Here” Coleman, is an edgy hip hop artist who knows his way around the music world. When Doc and Dwayne find out about Candy’s album, they both want a piece of the pie. Before it’s over, people end up dead.

Detective Robert Winter has a knack for solving seemingly random crimes by connecting dots no one else can see, yet even he is tested in unraveling this complex web of power and treachery.

A Detective Robert Winter series standalone story.

Third Time's a Crime by Diana OrgainThird Time’s a Crime by Diana Orgain:

Ex-detective Georgia Thornton returns to reality TV in the third mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of A Second Chance at Murder—

POOL YOUR RESOURCES…

After two hit reality TV shows brought ex-detective Georgia Thornton into America’s living rooms, audiences can’t get enough of her quest for love and justice. Now producers have come up with an all-new show set in a haunted castle in Golden, California. Georgia and nine other contestants will need to solve the mystery of a young woman who disappeared at the castle in 1960.

Except there’s one rather substantial problem waiting for everyone when they arrive: a groundskeeper is found drowned at the bottom of the castle’s empty pool. Now Georgia and the other contestants will need to work together, because there’s a different sort of game afoot—and it’s not one they can afford to lose…

By Reason of Insanity by Rachel SinclairBy Reason of Insanity by Rachel Sinclair:

An unstable beautiful woman is accused of maurdering her wealthy husband.

She claims she didn’t do it.

She is not to be trusted.

Aidan Collins has his very first large case when his client, Marina Vasiliev, a drop-dead gorgeous mental patient, is accused of killing her wealthy husband. Marina insists that she didn’t do it, but Aidan can’t trust her. He knows Marina well, too well.

After all, he met Marina in the mental hospital – he originally obtained her as a client when she was involuntarily committed, and he assisted her with getting out.

Diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, Marina’s view of reality shifts from day to day. Moment to moment. Wracked with paranoia, suicidal behavior and mental instability, Marina also admits that she has losses of time – entire days where she has no idea what happened.

Marina has no memory of what happened the night that her husband died.

Aidan can never be sure if Marina is guilty or not. He makes the decision that the best way to defend her would be to try for the insanity defense. His client is not on board with this decision, and, to make things worse, she begins to imagine him as her lover, which turns his professional relationship with her upside down.

It also puts Aidan into danger, both professionally and personally.

However, once Aidan gets more into the case, he begins to doubt that his decision to try for the insanity defense was a sound one. Clues lead away from Marina’s involvement in her husband’s murder.

Before long, Aidan feels that his reality is shifting as much as his client. One day, he’s convinced that she’s guilty. The next, he’s convinced that somebody else did it.

Aidan can never be sure that he’s doing the right thing in using the insanity defense. An 11th hour witness throws his entire trial strategy into disarray.

Wicked on the Beach by Lotta SmithWicked on the Beach: June Bride and Mermaid’s Fury by Lotta Smith:

Beach wedding and a murder… Throw in an angry mermaid threatening to destroy the wedding!

There’s trouble in Paradise, and the Rowling family is on the case.

The island wedding of Mandy’s BFF Fiona and famous exorcist Brian Powers becomes the backdrop for a murder investigation when the body of a notorious loan shark is found in the dunes. But how did a man drown so far from the water?

An angry mermaid threatens to wreak havoc if the killer isn’t caught, but with no spirits to question, does Mandy stand a ghost of a chance to solve the case?

Come Find Me by Casper ValentineCome Find Me by Casper Valentine:

Come find me…

Ever since they were kids playing hide-and-seek, Narcotics Detective Nate Randolph took care of his troubled half-sister. When he discovers her missing one morning, Nate immediately knows something is wrong. As a single mother she’s had her struggles, but Ruby would never run off and leave her baby all alone. Not even before she got clean.

Come find me…

Nate is under no illusions. Each day that passes diminishes the chances of finding his sister alive. But he’s not about to give up. Not when a shred of hope remains to solve her kidnapping. Not when a beautiful colleague offers to help. And definitely not when his sister’s plea echoes day and night in his mind.

Come find me…

When the Narcotics Task Force goes up against the Armenian Mafia, both investigations unexpectedly collide. Explosive revelations that tie past to present push Nate to the edge.

And everything is on the table when a man is desperate.

The Grand Man by Florence WetzelThe Grand Man by Florence Wetzel:

Journalist Juliet Brown is a ScandiGeek, a person who is enamored of all things Scandinavian. An unexpected opportunity sends Juliet to Sweden to interview an American jazz singer, and she is quickly drawn into the vibrant Stockholm music scene.

When one of Juliet’s new friends is murdered, she finds herself embroiled in a real-life Swedish mystery. Journalist Magnus Lindblom offers to help Juliet despite his own struggles, which include hiding the truth about Stieg Larsson’s missing fourth book.

Set in the depths of the cold and dark Swedish winter, amid the weaving cobblestone streets of Stockholm’s Old Town, The Grand Man ultimately solves two contemporary Swedish mysteries: the 1986 assassination of prime minister Olof Palme, and Stieg Larsson’s missing fourth book.

The Russian Heist by Robb WhiteThe Russian Heist by Robb White:

When the plot to steal government money from an airport succeeds, the amateur thieves become expendable to the real criminal among them, a Russian superkiller

A Russian mobster stumbles onto a plot to rob a county airport where millions in small denominations sit shrink-wrapped on pallets waiting for military transport planes to deliver the money to the Middle East. The mastermind of the heist is the “inside man,” a disgruntled armored-car guard named Smith and his slattern of a wife. Even more astounding to Dimitri Byko, a hardened criminal and psychopathic killer, is that other members of this misfit gang include the pair’s son, a juvenile delinquent, and worst of all, Macbride, an obese, alcoholic professor. When this unlikely band of thieves pulls off the robbery, Byko’s regard for his partners in crime is short-lived. But what he is unprepared for is the woman assigned to hunt him down. Special Agent Annie Cheng has wide experience with the ruthless mafiya of Brighton Beach.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for May 2019

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, YA science fiction, science fantasy, dystopian fiction, steampunk, mannerpunk, witches, vampires, demons, robots, superheroes, diplomats, space pirates, space prisons, bounty hunters, fighter pilots, crime-busting witches, crime-busting ghosts, time-travelling tax collectors, the devil’s daughter 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 Eye of the Gods by Odette C. BellThe Eye of the Gods by Odette C. Bell:

Vivian Bond has a secret that could bring down the Milky Way. Special Commander Jake Trace doesn’t care – he hates her.

When Jake meets the irritating Vivian at a gallery, and she steals a painting he’s been tasked to secure for his superiors, he locks onto her like a hunter to prey.

It’s the only thing that saves her life. For Vivian Bond has enemies. Everywhere. She has a twisted destiny she’s run from her whole life. Now it will catch up.

Vivian and Jake are thrown together in a fight for the Milky Way and beyond as an ancient power rises once more.

Convict Fenix by Alan BrickettConvict Fenix by Alan Brickett:

Exiled to the most secure prison in the realms for a crime he really, certainly, undoubtedly did commit, Fenix must overcome the amnesia all convicts are magically infected with to survive long enough to enact his forgotten plan for escape.

All prisoners have their memory wiped when they arrive, no matter the being, creature or monster they may have been. Most skills are lost and only instinct remains. Fenix’s instinct is survival, and an overpowering need to escape, somehow driven by the slimmest of chances that he can…

The prison is an amalgamation of landscapes smacked together hodgepodge in its own pocket dimension, each piece of it floating around the giant creature that carries it through space and time. There is no escape because there is no way out.

The door only drops people in.

It is the cosmic penal colony where the worst beings in the universe spend their life sentences.

If you do not get executed, you get sent here, which means someone really wanted you to suffer.

Fenix has a plan, or he did before he was imprisoned, the problem is that he must regain his memories quickly enough to make his plan work for him.

Shockwave by Lindsay BurokerShockwave by Lindsay Buroker:

What if being a hero was encoded in your genes?

And nobody told you?

Casmir Dabrowski would laugh if someone asked him that. After all, he had to build a robot to protect himself from bullies when he was in school.

Fortunately, life is a little better these days. He’s an accomplished robotics engineer, a respected professor, and he almost never gets picked on in the lunchroom. But he’s positive heroics are for other people.

Until robot assassins stride onto campus and try to kill him.

Forced to flee the work he loves and the only home he’s ever known, Casmir catches the first ship into space, where he hopes to buy time to figure out who wants him dead and why. If he can’t, he’ll never be able to return home.

But he soon finds himself entangled with bounty hunters, mercenaries, and pirates, including the most feared criminal in the Star Kingdom: Captain Tenebris Rache.

Rache could snap his spine with one cybernetically enhanced finger, but he may be the only person with the answer Casmir desperately needs:

What in his genes is worth killing for?

Great Chief by Lindsay BurokerGreat Chief by Lindsay Buroker:

Yanko White Fox is used to expectations.

Since he was a small boy, his father has expected him to become a powerful mage and redeem his family’s honor. Even if his heart was elsewhere, Yanko always accepted his responsibility. He’s learned all he can about magic, practiced to become powerful, and fought great evil to free thousands of imprisoned people.

But it’s not enough.

Prince Zirabo tasks him with claiming a new land for their nation and keeping it out of the hands of all those who covet it. Even though Yanko has a few good friends to help him, he’s daunted by the enormity of the task. But securing the continent and turning it into a lush farmland may be the only way to end the civil war at home and bring peace to people who are hungry, beleaguered, and divided.

Yanko will have to use all of his power and draw upon everything he’s learned to succeed and bring peace to his war-torn nation. If he can’t, he’ll lose his home, his family, and all that he loves.

Bounty Hunted by Ian CannonBounty Hunted by Ian Cannon:

A few new problems. One big mystery. A whole new struggle.

While Ben fights to survive the gloomy bowels of Sarcon’s dungeon prison, Tawny navigates the endless bickering of the Sarconan courts to free him. After their efforts meet with failure, it seems the whole world is against them … until an old ally makes her appearance.

But even bigger problems loom.

Enjoying their newfound freedom, they soon realize a mysterious new presence has arisen amongst the Solar Twin System, and it has one purpose: Destroy Tawny and Ben Dash.

With no one to turn to and nowhere to hide, they find themselves in a race against time to discover what this new foe is and unravel its systematic plot to destroy everything they love … before it rips them apart.

Hell or High Water by G.A. ChaseHell or High Water by G.A. Chase:

A light conversation over coffee tosses the devil’s daughter out of the frying pan of life’s problems and into the fiery depths of hell.

Sere Mal-Laurette was warned against meeting Jennifer, the real woman behind her doppelgänger body. However, she didn’t mention that instruction to Jennifer during their numerous psychically bonded moments. So when Jennifer shows up in front of Sere’s apartment, the doppelgänger doesn’t see much choice other than to invite the housewife in for a cup of coffee.

Before the day is out, Myles’s sweet little dog has turned into a hellhound, Sere’s friend and sidekick Fisher has succumbed to his demonic possession, and supersized crawfish have emerged from the swamp. Sere is forced to wonder if she should have heeded the warnings about Jennifer. But is the widening of the hell mouth a result of one morning’s coffee conversation, or is something more sinister at work?

Sere has plenty of other explanations to choose from. There are the lost souls of the damned that Marjory Laroque cast into hell in her attempt to raise a new devil. There’s the fact that Sere’s sweet angel and mother figure, Sanguine, has been imprisoned. Worst of all, Sere’s very presence among the living could be the cause of the impending apocalypse. Once again she needs help curbing the chaos, but this time, she’ll call on her support system in hell.

Monster by Karen DiemMonster by Karen Diem:

Tax season. It’s all forms and games until someone loses a murderer.

Authorities have abandoned the search for a sadistic serial killer with a grudge against Zita Garcia’s family. Never one to sit still, the sometime superhero and reluctant tax preparer will do whatever it takes to find him.

With her loved ones at stake, she’ll call in her best friends and questionable new allies to help. If finding her quarry means Zita has to fight literal monsters, wrangle glitter-obsessed vampires, or go to a nightclub, she’ll do it. Even if the undead and line dances make her skin crawl. She needs to get her mask on and solve this fast—before things go from bad to hearse.

A shovel to get through the three feet of snow wouldn’t hurt either.

Monster is the fourth book in the Arca superhero urban fantasy series and includes immoderate language, lame sexual innuendo, and comic book violence.

A Dark and Stormy Day by Charon Dunn A Dark and Stormy Day by Charon Dunn:

3748 crashes to a halt as Sonny Knight visits Times Square to ring in the New Year.

He’s a little sad because his girlfriend – one of the terrorist clones holding his family prisoner (but she’s one of the nicer ones) – has dumped him. Or maybe she’s being held prisoner by a different band of terrorists, and would appreciate being rescued?

Sonny’s going to have to pull himself together if he’s going to help her. He needs to deal with his grief issues, residual anxiety from everything that happened to him in the last two books, and a blossoming substance problem. Then there’s his fresh anxiety from all the new and exciting dangers that befall him in this one.

Which include more pliosaurs, explosions, avalanches, crowds, true love, assault, battery … the usual.

This is the conclusion of the Adventures of Sonny Knight trilogy.

Blind into the Breach by Timothy EllisBlind into the Breach by Timothy Ellis:

Christopher Ecclestone has lived in the dark for a long time.

As a fighter pilot on the old Ark Royal, on the very day all his wishes came true, fate took them away again.

Seven years later, all he can do is listen, as a galactic core wide war begins.

Only the brand new Imperium had space fighters, and they were a liability, not an asset.

Now the Trixone have them, they’ve swept their frontier clean, and invaded Ralnor and Keerah space.

The Ralnor asked the fledgling Imperium for help.

But the Imperium only has a small number of fighter pilots, with nearly half being rookies without a combat launch to their names. And half of the veterans are flying a brand new untested carrier based fighter.

How do you keep an outnumbered force of veterans and rookies alive, when the enemy has a new weapon no-one knows anything about? Are the Imperium’s fighters even a match?

With the need for every available pilot, Jane walks into Chris’s life, gives him back what he lost, and recruits him to join the fighter wing on Orion’s Belt.

The legend of Dreamwalker has begun, with Orion’s Belt jumping Blind into the Breach.

Liberation by Rachel FordLiberation by Rachel Ford:

A mutineer fleet commander. An abandoned miner. A reformer’s widow. A convicted Protector.

Four destinies. One empire.

From the frozen prison planets to the glistening streets of Central, corruption and cruelty is tearing the Tribari Empire apart. Four unlikely heroes find themselves on a collision course as they work to save their worlds. If they can’t find a way to bridge their differences, there may be no empire left to protect.

Time Slips & Tax Thieves by Rachel FordTime Slips & Tax Thieves by Rachel Ford:

A simple mistake. A slip through time and space. A strange new world.

He should have been more careful. But Alfred Favero, Senior Analyst with the IRS, wasn’t. Now he’s stuck in a world of opposites, where everything he knows is called into question.

To survive in Yngil-wode, the taxman must rely on a mysterious band of outlaws and tax thieves. But he risks getting drawn into a war with a tyrant. He risks sacrificing every principle he holds sacred.

How far will a man of the law go to save his own neck? How far will he go to save the woman he loves? Alfred’s about to find out.

Red Crystal Desert by Patty JansenRed Crystal Desert by Patty Jansen:

The conflict has brewed for generations, until it has become too big to handle.

Cory and his association finally return to Asto on the invitation of his father-in-law, for his official induction ceremony into the Domiri clan. They are housed in a magnificent villa overlooking a valley, away from the hustle of cities or the military base.

But why can’t they stay with their host? Is it for security? Is it because their host fears upsetting his household?

With Thayu heavily pregnant, Cory has no appetite for adventures. But something is brewing, and listening bugs, a nightly attack and invasion are all part of the deal.

Wouldn’t it be nice if for once Asto’s elite was upfront about the nature of the problem?

Raiders: The Secret War by Simon HaynesRaiders: The Secret War by Simon Haynes:

Everyone has been scarred by the war, and Sam Willet is no exception.

Sam is convinced she has what it takes to become a fighter pilot… to hunt down and destroy the enemy in deep space.

Instead she’s assigned to Tactical Operations training. It’s vital work, but it’s still a desk job, far from the front line.

Then, terrible news: Sam’s older brother is killed in combat.

Sam is given leave to attend his memorial service, but she’s barely boarded the transport when the enemy launches a surprise attack, striking far behind friendly lines to take the entire sector.

Desperately short of pilots, the transport’s captain asks Sam to step up.

Now, at last, she has the chance to prove herself.

But will that chance end in death… or glory?

Flip the Witch Switch by Amanda M. LeeFlip the Witch Switch by Amanda M. Lee:

Bay Winchester and Landon Michaels are looking for a romantic outing, revisiting the past now that they know they met as children. That trip leads them to the camp they visited back in the day … and to a new adventure.

It’s a happy excursion down memory lane until they happen upon the old pool and discover a hand poking out of an ancient cover. That means their day off becomes an official investigation.

Once identification comes through, Bay starts digging … and hard … to find out why a young woman writing a book would go missing in Hemlock Cove. The information she finds is disturbing … and the answers to the present case may come from the past, and a long-forgotten missing person’s case.

There’s a lot going on. Mrs. Little is trying to buy the property and wants the crime kept secret, which means Aunt Tillie is on a rampage to make sure her mortal enemy doesn’t win … even if the prize is something she doesn’t really want.

The Winchester witches are in turmoil. The local police chief is officially dating Bay’s mother, one of their own is keeping a huge secret, and they have a wedding coming up so that means dress fittings and place setting decisions galore.

Bay is on deck and has to figure it all out. She’s going to need help to do it. Even then, with her team in place, she might not come out on the winning side.

There’s a killer hiding in the shadows and death is coming. It’s going to take everyone working together to uncover the truth.

Can they pull it off?

Incursion at Elea Station by Jamie McFarlaneIncursion at Elea Station by Jamie McFarlane:

An alien invasion. A home-world destroyed. Can an embattled captain survive a daring fight to save the remnant of his colony?

Privateer Liam Hoffen can’t wait to reunite with his family. But after he emerges from a 20-year stasis, he’s shocked to discover a hostile enemy has razed his home and exiled his people. With his foes dependent on a gas-mining platform to keep their ships fueled, Liam’s last-ditch hope is to cut off the vicious aliens with the help of a brother he never knew he had…

Armed only with ancient combat-damaged clunkers, he and his stubborn sibling must lead a dangerous assault on the enemy’s critical resources. Grossly outnumbered and far from reinforcements, Liam fears he’ll have to put everything on the line to defend the people he loves from annihilation.

Can Liam stop the powerful adversary from killing his family and taking over the system?

Incursion at Elea Station is the 17th standalone book in the epic Privateer Tales space opera saga. If you like intergalactic crusades, spirited sibling rivalry, and underdog heroes, then you’ll love Jamie McFarlane’s riveting sci-fi adventure.

A New Beginning by M.A. NillesA New Beginning by M.A. Nilles:

On a remote mining station, Nyalin hides a secret that would make her a hunted woman—she is a Crystal Keeper, a protector of a shard of the powerful Starfire crystal. However, when a strange shuttle falls through a portal near the mining station, she can no longer avoid her responsibilities. The human pilot, Vellin, is part of a research team that has developed gateways for instant travel anywhere in the universe without requiring a Starfire crystal, and he has been followed by an enemy through the portal.

To stop dangerous forces from possessing the gateways to spread destruction, Nya must team up with Vel and risk exposing her secret. In their race to destroy the gateways, they will find allies and enemies… and a new reason to worry.

Conspiracy by Jenn NixonConspiracy by Jenn Nixon:

Mari Yosoto has been keeping a dark and dangerous secret from everyone for the past three years. No one would believe her anyway, her ex-fiancé had seen to that. Instead of wallowing in misery, she stays busy, shuttling cargo to the Moon and back, enjoying the easy work and time alone. An old EarthCorps acquaintance asks for her help, and Mari can’t say no, even if it means working with the ex’s former best friend.

Although Trevor Nash took the missing person’s job to help his former commanding officer, deep down he needed to see Mari again. After trying and failing to find out what happened to her, Trevor makes the best of an odd situation, hoping he can remind Mari of their budding friendship and finally get some answers. When the mission goes sideways and they find the not-so-missing girl, a centuries-old conspiracy theory comes to light and the only thing more unfathomable is learning Mari’s secret.

Together with their newly formed ragtag team, Mari and Trevor team up and undertake a mission unlike anything either of them has faced before with life-altering and possibly deadly consequences.

Condor Rising by Jaxon ReedCondor Rising by Jaxon Reed:

The Republic has a new type of ship. The Condor-class is huge, deadly, and carries a secret weapon.

One spy has all the details, but he’s trapped and unable to share with his handler. She sets the wheels in motion to get him to Lute, the pirate stronghold, where they can meet and freely transfer information.

As the League gathers an overwhelming force to take Gotha Mu, the tiny golden planet in the Seychar system, Captain Christopher Raleigh and his crew race to prevent League spies from leaking the surprise in store for them.

Action, thrills, spies, gadgets, and deception await in this third installment of the Pirates of the Milky Way saga!

How to Hire a Vampire Consultant by Hollis ShilohHow to Hire a Vampire Consultant by Hollis Shiloh:

Steve isn’t used to being the responsible party. He’s not even a real agent at the Paranormal Research Agency—he’s here on parole. But right now, a lot of the PRA’s people are missing, and Steve and the librarian might be the only ones who can save them. While she researches like her life depends on it, Steve’s running around mopping up monstrous messes. He needs all the help he can get—even from a sassy vampire. Barnaby the vampire is kind of hot (for a twink), and not nearly as badass as he likes to think. Even if he did save Steve’s life. Between the three of them, they might just have what it takes to save the day.

Much Ado about Wicked Witness by Lotta SmithMuch Ado about Wicked Witness by Lotta Smith:

A tricky art theft and talking teacup… Throw in a perky ghost and a perkier toddler!

When a slightly tricky art theft takes place in an upscale Upper East Side neighborhood, Mandy and Rick are called in to crack the case.

With their daughter Sophie and Mandy’s ghost pal Jackie in tow, the USCAB duo tackle a baffling switcheroo. An art dealer’s pricey Japanese vase has been replaced with a cheap fake and an attempted murder complicates the situation. The only witness: a talking teacup. Can Mandy coax the spirit of an ancient Samurai with a fuzzy memory to spill the tea on who nabbed the Shino while wrangling a demanding toddler and wrestling with worry about taking a baby to a crime scene?

Join the Rowling clan as they attempt to literally save the Day in the latest adventure of the Manhattan Mystery series.

Running Start by J.A. SutherlandRunning Start by J.A. Sutherland:

What if you discovered you’d been sold?

For Mason Guthrie, a sudden arrest, railroad trial, and quick conviction for the “vandalism” of fixing things around his tenement building come as a shock.

For Rosa Fuentes, it’s just more confirmation that, to Earth’s rulers, they’re nothing but commodities to be bought and sold.

Together — along with Rosa’s disturbingly capable AI — they break out and make their way off Earth to start a new, free life.

Unfortunately, the folks they stole a billion credits from along the way would like those back.

A Quiet Rebellion: Posterity by M.H. ThaungA Quiet Rebellion: Posterity by M.H. Thaung:

In a land where paranormal powers are transmissible, but their recipients condemned as a threat to society, Queen Eleanor struggles to improve life for all her subjects including the afflicted. Rocked by a recent betrayal and disillusioned by her late father’s secret scheming, she fabricates threats of an external attack to push for social reform.

Her ploy meets with initial success, easing her guilt about misleading the entire realm. However, evidence comes from an unlikely source that the threat is real. The realm must prepare for war, and Eleanor stands to lose everything she has fought for.

This is the final book in the Numoeath trilogy.

Alchemy's Air by Stacey L. TuckerAlchemy’s Air by Stacey L. Tucker:

Skylar Southmartin is not the naïve girl she was a short year ago. She’s made some mistakes and learned a few secrets to life, all the while clinging to the faith her mother instilled in her as a child . . . in herself. And now that she has discovered her life’s purpose within the pages of the ancient Book of Sophia, she knows what she must do: restore a vital memory to the Akashic Library, located deep within the Underworld of Earth. This library is sought after by many who are aware of its existence, for they know the future of human potential rests at its core.

Meanwhile, Devlin Grayer has been elected as the 46th President of the United States and his wife, Milicent, is miserable in her new role as First Lady—especially because the Great Mothers have asked Milicent to use her new status to help their cause, and she has no interest in tackling that task.

With the help of friends in the unlikeliest of places, Skylar’s journey reveals the significance of the darkness within all of us, and its potential to save or destroy the most precious part of us all: our soul.

The Tide of War by Lori A. WittThe Tide of War by Lori A. Witt:

Lieutenant Commander Kyle West is one of Unified Fleet’s greatest fighter pilots. Every day, he leads his squadron into battle over Earth’s cities in a seemingly endless war against a vicious alien race, defending his home and his loved ones.

Millions of miles away, the Fleet’s Elite Squadron attacks from another angle, engaging the enemy on its home turf. Casualties are high, and the Squadron needs more of the Fleet’s very best. But joining the Elite is a death sentence—a surety Kyle isn’t willing to face. Until a devastating attack wipes out the family he refused to leave.

Commander Andrei Dezhnyov, an Elite Squadron gunner, isn’t sure what to make of the cocky new American pilot. Kyle is equally uncertain about the snarly Russian, but as they warm up to each other, their tentative alliance becomes a deep bond—one that endangers them both when a daring and disobedient rescue reveals secrets that call into question everything they’ve ever believed about their enemy. Secrets that their superiors would kill to protect.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for May 2019

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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, hard boiled mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, paranormal thrillers, romantic suspense, noir fiction, private investigators, amateur sleuths, ex-cons, precognitives, serial killers, missing persons, heists, crime-busting witches, crime-busting fashion photographers, crime-busting cats and crime-busting ghosts, a surfeit of puppies, murders in small towns and big cities, on theatre stages and aboard cruise ships,  in 18th century Venice, contemporary New York City, Glasgow, New Orleans, Las Vegas, North Carolina, New Mexico 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:

Cold Steele by Kimberly AmatoCold Steele by Kimberly Amato:

A SERIAL KILLER IS SAYING IT WITH FLOWERS…
In the fourth installment of Kimberly Amato’s chilling hard-boiled mystery series, badass detective Jasmine Steele is back — and shockingly, to herself most of all — she’s as happy as she’s ever been.

She and her brilliant psychologist partner Frankie are planning a wedding that’s been years in the making, and she’s settled into a new chapter of life with her nephew-turned-adopted son, Chase. But the good life turns out to be more fleeting than the detective’s caffeine withdrawals.

Jasmine, or Jazz, to her friends, gets a rude awakening when a 3-year-old cold case comes back hot. New York City’s “Carnation Killer,” a serial rapist and murderer, leaves his fifth calling card on a woman named Emilia Smith. The calling card? A heart-shaped carving into the woman’s chest and a single white carnation.

On the creep spectrum, Jazz puts this killer somewhere between Jack the Ripper and the Zodiac Killer. And her veteran right-hand man is on medical leave.

She’s joined instead by temporary partner Detective Sydney Locke, a welcome new character. Sydney’s pretty green but has a fiery determination and talent for the beat that Jazz recognizes within minutes. Soon enough, they’ve got a mentor/protégé thing going – which certainly comes in handy at their often patriarchal workplace.

And it turns out Jazz and Syd will need that and more when the military gets involved with the investigation — because the victim is none other than the daughter of a high-ranking official, and the brass knows more than they’re saying.

What the team does know is that Emilia’s last night alive was spent at a college bar that sparks Jasmine’ least happy memory – the very same establishment that served as a backdrop to her own early adult years, a past defiled and traumatized by a dangerous man. Just as Jazz is finally ready to be happy, her bone-chilling trauma comes rushing back. And the Carnation Killer is still out there.

Out of Options by Dianne AshcroftOut of Options by Dianne Ashcroft:

Out of Options is a prequel novella to the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series, and introduces Lois Stone and her companions, Raggs and Ribbons, a pair of perceptive calico cats.

A dry district, a shocking secret, a missing person. When Lois Stone’s friend, Beth Darrow, arranges to meet her to reveal an astonishing discovery, Lois’s curiosity is piqued. Then Beth doesn’t keep their lunch date and Lois becomes worried. What has happened to her friend?

Middle-aged widow Lois is settling into life on her own in her neighbourhood and in the library where she works, and she is just about coping with her fear of strangers after her husband was mugged and died in the park at the end of their street. But her quiet existence is rocked when her friend and fellow local historical society researcher, Beth, arranges to meet her to reveal an exciting and shocking discovery she has made about the history of prohibition in West Toronto Junction, the last dry area in Toronto, and then goes missing before she can share her secret with Lois. There isn’t any proof that Beth is missing so the police won’t actively search for her. Only Lois and Beth’s niece Amy are convinced that Beth’s disappearance is very out of character, and they are worried about her. Where has Beth gone? Is she in danger? And, if she is, who might want to harm her and why? Lois knows she must find the answers to these questions fast if she wants to help and protect her friend.

And so begins a weekend of skulking in the park, apple and cinnamon pancakes, familiar faces staring out of old newspapers, calico cats, shadows on the windowpane, and more than one person who might want Beth to disappear from the quiet, leafy streets of the historic and staunchly dry West Toronto Junction neighbourhood.

The Lion's Diamonds by Richard AuffreyThe Lion’s Diamonds by Richard Auffrey:

Recently released from prison, Leonidas “the Lion” Blackwood is already looking for his next score when a perfect opportunity drops into his lap. To appease his parole officer, Leonidas works at a local church doing general cleaning maintenance. He learns that five million dollars in diamonds will be stored into a safe at the church. Leonidas isn’t a safecracker but he knows the combination to the safe. The heist should be simple. However, complications ensue, and Leonidas is soon on the run, trying to elude Russian gangsters, including a psychotic enforcer. Can Leonidas trust the sultry woman he met in a bar? Can he trust an old friend with whom he shared time in prison? Can he trust anyone? Is there any way that Leonidas can escape with the diamonds to a tropical island?

Court Me Kill Me by David BradwellCourt Me Kill Me by David Bradwell:

What if the only person you can trust is secretly plotting to kill you?

Fashion photographer Anna Burgin faces a career in ruins after her studio is destroyed, but when armed police burst into her home, she realises it’s the least of her worries.

Murders in Seattle, Frankfurt, Venice and London all point to one common killer – and the chief suspect has just been in her house. The evidence is compelling, the body count is rising, but as news emerges of a corrupt business network that reaches into the heart of the police, nothing can be taken for granted – especially the promises of the person who offers to protect her.

Packed with twists, intrigue and dark humour, Court Me Kill Me is book 5 in the bestselling Anna Burgin series. Read it now.

Bula Bridge by J. Drew BrumbaughBula Bridge by J. Drew Brumbaugh:

The exciting sequel to “War Party.” Tommy has another vision and this one shows a plot that will endanger thousands of innocent people. The only problem is the vision doesn’t provide the exact location, only a railroad bridge that will be destroyed. What can he do?

 

 

 

Hairless Harassment by Molly FitzHairless Harassment by Molly Fitz:

I never signed up to be a private investigator with a snarky, talking cat for a partner, but there’s no backing down now. Especially considering a prominent politician was murdered pretty much right in my backyard.

The only witnesses were the senator’s two hairless cats, Jacques and Jillianne. Normally pets want to help us solve their owner’s murders, but this time it seems the two devious felines might actually be the ones who committed it…

Surprisingly enough, my own partner in crime, Octo-Cat, actually wants to help this time, but he can barely understand our two prime suspects because of their strange Sphynx accents. And I thought speaking tabby was hard!

So, there you have it, even with two successful cases behind me, I really don’t know how I’m going to solve this one. Is it too late to go back and pick another career?

Murder at Macbeth by Samantha GoodwinMurder at Macbeth by Samantha Goodwin:

Whose deadly secret has taken centre stage?

When a talented, young actress unwittingly stabs herself live onstage after a prop knife is tampered with, suspicion immediately falls on her eclectic band of castmates. But who had the motive to kill the show’s leading lady?

As the insightful, yet disillusioned, Detective Inspector Finley Robson and his shrewd partner, Detective Sergeant Nadia Zahra, interrogate the seven key suspects, secrets unfold to unveil a web of scandal, blackmail, and deceit. Bitter rivalries, secret trysts and troubled pasts are just the beginning of the story…

Set against the backdrop of a gritty London theatre production of Macbeth, this compelling novel explores a dark world of mystery and intrigue. All is not as it seems…

The Devil and Ms. Devlin by Hannah HoweThe Devil and Ms. Devlin by Hannah Howe:

In her heyday, the critics regarded Dana Devlin as the most beautiful actress in movies. They also regarded her as shallow, lacking emotion. That was strange because Dana Devlin’s life had been a rollercoaster of emotions, with divorces and nervous breakdowns to the fore. And now she was making a comeback, in a gothic romance, Demon Seed.

Everyone’s a critic, it seems, because someone didn’t like the sound of Demon Seed, and they voiced their disapproval through a series of death threats. However, the death threats were covered in hearts, flowers and angels. What was going on?

Demetrios Angelopoulos, Dana’s lover, and the producer of Demon Seed, asked me to investigate the death threats. Meanwhile, I recruited Faye, Mac and Blake to ensure that Ms Devlin came to no harm.

As the cameras rolled, I opened a can of worms, which led to the spilling of secrets and murder. And Dana Devlin? She was about to play her greatest role, a role that would reshape her life.

Flip the Witch Switch by Amanda M. LeeFlip the Witch Switch by Amanda M. Lee:

Bay Winchester and Landon Michaels are looking for a romantic outing, revisiting the past now that they know they met as children. That trip leads them to the camp they visited back in the day … and to a new adventure.

It’s a happy excursion down memory lane until they happen upon the old pool and discover a hand poking out of an ancient cover. That means their day off becomes an official investigation.

Once identification comes through, Bay starts digging … and hard … to find out why a young woman writing a book would go missing in Hemlock Cove. The information she finds is disturbing … and the answers to the present case may come from the past, and a long-forgotten missing person’s case.

There’s a lot going on. Mrs. Little is trying to buy the property and wants the crime kept secret, which means Aunt Tillie is on a rampage to make sure her mortal enemy doesn’t win … even if the prize is something she doesn’t really want.

The Winchester witches are in turmoil. The local police chief is officially dating Bay’s mother, one of their own is keeping a huge secret, and they have a wedding coming up so that means dress fittings and place setting decisions galore.

Bay is on deck and has to figure it all out. She’s going to need help to do it. Even then, with her team in place, she might not come out on the winning side.

There’s a killer hiding in the shadows and death is coming. It’s going to take everyone working together to uncover the truth.

Can they pull it off?

Jake of All Trades by A.T. MahonJake of All Trades by A.T. Mahon:

Jake is not long out of prison for violence and takes on any job he can get. He is also a private investigator, though he doesn’t have a license, despite what his fake qualifications state.

Mrs Carson, his ex-teacher, hires him. They despise each other, but they forego their animosities for the sake of the job in hand. She wants him to find a missing schoolgirl by any means possible. In doing so, he comes face to face with perverts, rapists and gangsters.

With little information to go on, he has to cut corners, which includes aggression.

Along the way, he not only discovers the who’s who of the underworld, but also who he really is. It’s a far different picture than the self portrait he had painted of himself.

Things come to a head when he confronts both the antagonists and his own demons.

Serene by David NeilsonSerene by David Neilson:

Violent moneylender Corona Mundt warned Sophie not to come back to Venice, so she shouldn’t be guarding Archduchess Isabella at the Carnival – any more than Isabella should fall for louche, penniless, would-be librettist Larry da Ponte. And once the two of them get together, it’s only a matter of time before Sophie comes face to face with her worst enemy.Serene is the third in a series of novels from the era of Mozart and Maria Theresia.

 

 

Roots of Misfortune by Seth PeveyRoots of Misfortune by Seth Pevey:

The dead girl is holding roots, one grasped tightly in each palm, when the NOPD finds her mangled body out on Interstate 10.

David Melancon has gone independent. The corruption on the force was just too much for an old detective who doesn’t play ball. But there is something eerily familiar about the details of this young girl’s demise as he reads them in the Picayune. Something deeply personal. Something he can’t drink his way past this time.

But he’s got his young and naïve partner, Felix Herbert, to think about. The boy hasn’t even let the ink dry on his newly-minted PI’s license. He just isn’t ready for this kind of case.

Yet, when another girl goes missing the same week, a knock at the door ensures the two unlikely partners won’t have a choice. They soon find themselves entangled in an ever-thickening web of cruelty, violence, and revenge.

As they search for the missing girl, they’ll confront Voodoo priestesses, Mardi Gras Indians, and a secret at the root of things so terrible that, once uncovered, will change David Melancon’s life forever.

This is Not a Double Date by Grace RisataThis is Not a Double Date by Grace Risata:

Andi Cartwright is intrigued when her best friend invites her to a concert and insists it is not a set-up. Yes, she’ll be meeting Cara’s new boyfriend and his cousin, but it was made abundantly clear that this is not a double date.

Much to everyone’s surprise, Roman hits it off with Andi. The normally antisocial man recognizes a kindred spirit, and can’t stay away from her no matter how hard he tries.

After a series of group outings including an escape room, family game night, and a food eating competition, it becomes apparent that all is not what it seems.

Once Roman’s true motive is revealed, will Andi be able to put her feelings aside and move on…or will she simply become another victim caught in a web of lies?

This is not your typical ‘boy-meets-girl’ story. With plot twists around every corner and sinister intentions behind seemingly innocent actions, who can really be trusted?

Don't Tell by Willow RoseDon’t Tell by Willow Rose:

One close-knit family. Too many secrets.

When detective Jack Ryder is going skiing with his family in the mountains of North Carolina, he hopes for a week of fun in the snow with the ones he loves.

But then the body of a teenage boy turns up in the cold waters of the creek behind the cabin they have rented.

Don’t tell or you might be next.

The find shocks the rural community of Maggie Valley and rattles local law enforcement. What happened to the boy is more than strange.

Soon more bodies are found, and Jack Ryder digs into the case that seems to be anything but ordinary. What happened on the night that Benjamin Rutherford disappeared from the porch of his childhood home? Is his father — the local pastor — telling the truth? Is his sister?

As Jack digs deeper into this seemingly perfect family, he begins to wonder if any of them are what they pretend to be and what secrets they are hiding beneath the surface.

Coal Miner's Slaughter by Elise SaxCoal Miner’s Slaughter by Elise Sax:

Death is following Matilda, and it’s not going unnoticed in the small town of Goodnight, New Mexico. When she finds Inga Mueller, a local jewelry maker, drowned in a bucket of resin, Matilda’s reputation is sealed as the harbinger of death. As she begins to investigate Inga’s murder, she discovers Inga’s darker, secret life with ties to Goodnight’s prominent residents. In order to find the killer, Matilda must unlock the town’s secrets, and the town isn’t happy about it. As she follows the twists and turns of a mystery with a long reach, she’s making enemies and dodging a killer who wants to shut her up.

Coal Miner’s Slaughter is the fourth installment of the funny small town mystery romance Goodnight Mysteries series and a spinoff of the Matchmaker Mysteries.

Much Ado about Wicked Witness by Lotta SmithMuch Ado about Wicked Witness by Lotta Smith:

A tricky art theft and talking teacup… Throw in a perky ghost and a perkier toddler!

When a slightly tricky art theft takes place in an upscale Upper East Side neighborhood, Mandy and Rick are called in to crack the case.

With their daughter Sophie and Mandy’s ghost pal Jackie in tow, the USCAB duo tackle a baffling switcheroo. An art dealer’s pricey Japanese vase has been replaced with a cheap fake and an attempted murder complicates the situation. The only witness: a talking teacup. Can Mandy coax the spirit of an ancient Samurai with a fuzzy memory to spill the tea on who nabbed the Shino while wrangling a demanding toddler and wrestling with worry about taking a baby to a crime scene?

Join the Rowling clan as they attempt to literally save the Day in the latest adventure of the Manhattan Mystery series.

Nothing Ventures, Nothing Gained by Brennen TammonsNothing Ventures, Nothing Gained by Brennen Tammons:

Five men. Five unique personalities. Five different reasons.

In “The Celluloid Closet Series”, “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained”, five men embark in an epic journey, full of several twists and turns. This action packed, suspense, thriller, will have you entertained.

A group of men who feel ostracized from society, take on a world of organized crime, each for their own personal agenda. These men who all come from several backgrounds, form a special brotherhood, to obtain the success they seek.

Throughout the adventure, many trials and tribulations will form. These events will test these men to their ultimate potential and self worth. How far will these men go to achieve what they truly want? What risks will they be willing to take along the journey? Will they learn any important lessons along the way?

Keeping in mind, “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.”

Hazy Grooms and Homicides by Anne R. TanHazy Grooms and Homicides by Anne R. Tan:

Raina Sun arrives in Las Vegas to elope and ends up with a missing groom. With an overbooked hotel-casino and a rock and roll conference, Raina thought her fiancé was helping the hotel-casino with their security—until a strange woman searches Raina’s room and a dead woman is found in a laundry bag.

And to make matters worse, the security videos show both Raina and her fiancé interacting separately with the dead woman hours before her death. With no communication from her fiancé, Raina fears the worse—he is in hiding. But from whom? And how is he connected to the victim? With the help of the grandmas, can Raina find the killer and track down her fiancé?

Come join Raina, Po Po, and the rest of the gang in Sin City. It’s Vegas, baby! Grab your copy of “Hazy Grooms and Homicides” today!

Come Find Me by Casper ValentineCome Find Me by Casper Valentine:

Come find me…

Ever since they were kids playing hide-and-seek, Narcotics Detective Nate Randolph took care of his troubled half-sister. When he discovers her missing one morning, Nate immediately knows something is wrong. As a single mother she’s had her struggles, but Ruby would never run off and leave her baby all alone. Not even before she got clean.

Come find me…

Nate is under no illusions. Each day that passes diminishes the chances of finding his sister alive. But he’s not about to give up. Not when a shred of hope remains to solve her kidnapping. Not when a beautiful colleague offers to help. And definitely not when his sister’s plea echoes day and night in his mind.

Come find me…

When the Narcotics Task Force goes up against the Armenian Mafia, both investigations unexpectedly collide. Explosive revelations that tie past to present push Nate to the edge.

And everything is on the table when a man is desperate.

Pineapple Puppies by Amy VansantPineapple Puppies by Amy Vansant:

Puppies have taken over book NINE of the hilarious Pineapple Port mystery series from Wall Street Journal and USA TODAY Best-Selling author Amy Vansant!

Someone has left puppies on the doorsteps of Pineapple Port’s residents, but the adorable balls of fur seem to be connected to the murder of a nearby millionaire with too many heirs of his own. Meanwhile, Mariska’s been framed for baking a killer cake, and Charlotte must clear her name

Fans of classic cozy mysteries will adore this whodunnit packed with puppies, baking, horses, sneaky maids and a dead rich man!

Beauty Queens and Cruises by A.R. WintersBeauty Queens and Cruises by A.R. Winters:

What’s worse than a self-centered beauty queen? A cruise chock full of them!

But what if the self-centred beauty queen is also a murderer?

When the Swan of the Seas hosts a beauty pageant, Adrienne is forced to spend her time dealing with narcissistic judges, oblivious contestants and a feminist protest.

The event seems hectic enough, when Diana Penn, the esteemed beauty queen and headlining judge, is found murdered!

Now, it’s up to Adrienne and her friends Cece, Sam, and First Officer Hot Stuff—er, First Officer Ethan Lee—to sort through the secrets and lies and uncover the truth hiding behind those pristine smiles.

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