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

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

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

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

Feeling Lucky by Kathy BrysonFeeling Lucky by Kathy Bryson:

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 And that’s not counting the thousands of unpublished artists, writers, and musicians out there…”

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky Lion by Lola KiddLucky Lion by Lola Kidd:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Shamrock Shenangigans by Kathi DaleyShamrock Shenangigans by Kathi Daley:

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

Shammed by Bernadette FranklinShammed by Bernadette Franklin:

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

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

She’s never been so wrong in her life.

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Indulge yourself in a sweet slice of murder!

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

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

Lucky Strike by Madison JohnsLucky Strike by Madison Johns:

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

Lucky You by Mark ParkerLucky You by Mark Parker:

SOME KILLERS ARE BORN, SOME ARE CREATED…

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for February 2020

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

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

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

Don’t forget that Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog run by Jessica Rydill and myself, which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrong.

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

Marked for Death…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ascendant by Richard DenoncourtAscendant by Richard Denoncourt:

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

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

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

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

Sinister Magic by Lindsay BurokerSinister Magic by Lindsay Buroker:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Without Lucidium, galactic civilization will fall…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Dying World by Chris FoxDying World by Chris Fox:

Our world is tumbling into the sun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She’s up to the challenge.

At least she hopes she is.

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

Toskaheart by Alia HessToskaheart by Alia Hess:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My name is Conner Lovell: werewolf and Hell escapee.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE STAGE IS SET…LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for February 2020

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

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

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

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A dramatic death…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chow Down by Mike FaricyChow Down by Mike Faricy:

Life gets complicated!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seeing is deceiving.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She’s up to the challenge.

At least she hopes she is.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The only thing missing is…Alice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everything points to a murder-suicide.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Murder’s a Deadly Secret!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

Southern Monsters by Cora BuhlertSouthern Monsters by Cora Buhlert

Three tales of monsters and terror in the Louisiana bayous.

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

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

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

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

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

Mardi Gras, Mayhem, and Murder…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Trapt by Rene FolsomTrapt by Rene Folsom:

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

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

Death Dealer by Graylin FoxDeath Dealer by Graylin Fox:

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

Things were so much quieter on vacation.

Damn, I’m glad to be back at work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voodoo Dreams by Alana LorensVoodoo Dreams by Alana Lorens:

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

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

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

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

He found them!

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

It’s time to find his youngest daughter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to the Crescent City

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

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

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

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

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

Razor Valentine by Roland YeomansRazor Valentine by Roland Yeomans:

MARDI GRAS … MAGIC … MURDER

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

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

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

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

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

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Masks and Murder 2020 – A Round-up of Indie Mardi Gras Mysteries

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

The holiday mysteries cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, small town mysteries, big city mysteries, paranormal mysteries, historical mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, psychological thrillers, medical thrillers, paranormal thrillers, YA thrillers, private investigators, amateur sleuths, ghost whisperers, crime-busting nuns, crime-busting beauty queens, lawyers, serial killers, missing children, murdered fathers, missing mothers, missing masks, faked suicides, cursed doubloons, poisoned king cakes and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set on or around Mardi Gras.

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

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

Mardi Gras, Mayhem, and Murder…

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

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

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

The Secret of the Other Mother by Laura CayouetteThe Secret of the Other Mother by Laura Cayouette:

It’s late 2009 and the Saints are undefeated on their way to the Super Bowl. Fresh off the Los Angeles red carpet of the movie she produced and starred in, vivacious Charlotte Reade heads to her family home in New Orleans for the funeral of Sassy, the woman who helped raise her mother.

When Sassy’s “adopted” twin daughters ask brainy and tenacious Charlotte to help them find their birth mother, she heads down a path that starts in a laundromat in the 1950’s and winds through costume experts and a burlesque tour before landing her on the infamous Bourbon Street.

Along the way, Charlotte reconnects to her own family history, uncovering clues to a family secret and the ghost who’s said to protect it. As her funeral trip extends through the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras, Charlotte struggles with her dedication to the career she worked so hard for and the intoxicating draw of the culture, romance and soul of the city she’s always wanted to call home.

Izzy Rio's Wild and Pretty by Stacey L. CooleyIzzy Rio’s Wild and Pretty by Stacey L. Cooley:

When I was five years old, my father was murdered on Lundi Gras Day in New Orleans, Louisiana. That moment in time began a journey that changed my life forever. After that devastating day, my mother could not bear to live in New Orleans anymore. Against my grandfather’s wishes, she took me away with her to live in Rio de Janeiro with my father’s family. For ten years, we traveled together around the Caribbean, Central and South America visiting the Carnival People and trying to forget what we lost. My mother was looking for clues and a reason for my father’s unexpected death.

Just when you thought you knew New Orleans, I am back!

They say Mardi Gras Day is a time to forget all of your troubles.

Here is what happened on my Mardi Gras Day:
I lost the person that was closer to me than anyone else.
I was supposed to mask for the first time as a Mardi Gras Indian Princess . . .
But, I ended up on the run and fighting for my life.
I learned more about the Backstreet Carnival Culture than I ever wanted to know.

In order to survive, I must train and learn the art of being a Mardi Gras Indian.
Welcome to Carnival Time.
You will never be young again!

I AM IZZY RIO.

Sinister by Jana DeLeonSinister by Jana DeLeon:

Street kids are disappearing, but how do you report that to the police when, from their standpoint, the missing people didn’t exist to begin with? Hustle is certain that something bad has happened to his friend Jinx, and the only person he can turn to for help is private investigator Shaye Archer. Because Hustle helped the young PI while she was investigating her first case, Shaye has already formed an opinion as to his character and believes he’s telling the truth. As she digs deeper into Jinx’s disappearance, she discovers that Hustle’s friend isn’t the only one missing. As a frightening pattern emerges, Shaye wonders if she can find the missing kids…before it’s too late.

Ms. America and the Naughtiness in New Orleans by Diane DempseyMs. America and the Naughtiness in New Orleans by Diane Dempsey:

Who better than Ms. America Happy Pennington to grace Mardi Gras festivities in never-say-die New Orleans? She packs good looks, party moves, and sleuthing smarts—which come in handy when the king for an elite old-line krewe is bumped off during a Carnival parade.

All too soon Happy learns the centuries-old French Quarter is not all jazz, Creole cuisine, and cocktails: evil lurks there, too, even amid the pageantry of the Big Easy’s most gleeful season. Yet no ghost, vampire or even voodoo spirit will keep our scrappy beauty queen from nabbing the killer—not when the stakes are sky-high for someone near and dear to her heart.

Find out why readers call the Beauty Queen Mysteries “super-fun reads” they can’t put down until the last page is turned …

Mardi Gras Murder, edited by Sarah E. GlennMardi Gras Murder, edited by Sarah E. Glenn:

Thirteen tales of crime set during the bacchanalia that is Mardi Gras. Featuring stories from Harriette Sackler, Marian Allen, Debra H. Goldstein and Nathan Pettigrew. The mayhem of Mardi Gras is served with a healthy dose of Cajun dishes and an unhealthy number of deaths. Dig into Bourbon Street Lucifer, Voodoo Honeymoon, a dish of Red Beans and Ricin, and other deadly treats.

 

 

Mardi Gras Madness by Alison Golden and Honey BroussardMardi Gras Madness by Alison Golden and Honey Broussard:

A timid traveler. A New Orleans adventure. A Mardi Gras murder…

Roxy believed that life never gives you more than you can handle. But when she’s fired from her wage-slave job, bullied by her co-workers, and her boyfriend abandons her, she decides she’s handled quite enough. Eager for a change of scene, Roxy with her white Persian cat Nefertiti head off to New Orleans.

The exotic sights, smells, and food of Mardi Gras coax the shy young woman out of her shell. Booking a room at a rundown guesthouse, Roxy is surrounded by a colorful cast of local characters. From tattooed waitresses to mystical tarot card readers, she quickly makes new friends and leaves her old life behind.

But she soon discovers that the Big Easy isn’t all beignets and jambalaya. A wealthy developer is eager to buy the guesthouse where Roxy lives and tear it down… until he turns up dead as a doornail! Before she can say ‘Mon Dieu!’, Roxy is caught up in a diabolical murder mystery… and her new friends are the prime suspects!

Roxy is determined to protect her pals, and save her new home. But is this anxious adventurer up to the challenge of solving a murder? Or will she become the killer’s next victim…

The Mardi Gras Murder by Jackie GriffeyThe Mardi Gras Murder by Jackie Griffey:

Like bananas, Sheriff Cas Larkin’s troubles are ripening in bunches.

A fully dressed woman is found drowned in the lake. He has a citizen no one can find, but hasn’t been reported as missing and all of her known acquaintances are standing in the way of Cas’s investigation. Then Judge Carpenter’s fiancée lands in jail, accused of a bloody murder way down yonder in New Orleans!

Now Cas must pick up the pace and connect the dots… before he goes bananas himself.

Murder at the Mardi Gras by V. HurstMurder at the Mardi Gras by V. Hurst:

The Bryans and the Flannerys from ‘Murder at the JC’ and ‘Murder on the Cruise Ship’ take a vacation in New Orleans during Mardi Gras Season. They are soon recruited by their old friend FBI Special Agent Don Hobbs to search for a serial killer who murders a young woman each Mardi Gras for her kidneys. Clues lead the foursome to the killer and to a huge twist at the end of the story.

 

 

Murder at the Mardi Gras by Linda P. KozarMurder at the Mardi Gras by Linda P. Kozar:

When an esteemed professor of Louisiana history is found face down in a King Cake, young detective Annie Fournier suspects foul play and begins an investigation to find the person responsible. Her partner has little patience for Annie’s inexperience or gender and seems to enjoy mocking her at every opportunity. And to top that off, the crazy melee of Mardi Gras seems to hamper their progress at every turn. Will they weigh in on the identity of the murderer before Fat Tuesday ends, and will Annie prove that she has what it takes to be a detective?

Krewe by Jayson LivingstonKrewe by Jayson Livingston:

My name is Eugene Doyle Babineaux, Krewe to my friends. I’m a private investigator in Sacramento, California. My life is unassuming, and I like it that way. Things changed when I received a call from my brother. My mom was dead–suicide, he says. I didn’t believe it for a minute. So, I returned home to New Iberia, a small town in southern Louisiana, to look into Mom’s death. Once there, I reunited with old friends and foes alike. It seemed there were nefarious forces who did not want me poking around into Mom’s death. Rich people who keep company with bad people and who would stop at nothing to keep their plans hidden. What do Mardi Gras krewes, sugarcane production, and mob enforcers have to do with my mom’s death? I was about to find out, and things would never be the same.

Voodoo Dreams by Alana LorensVoodoo Dreams by Alana Lorens:

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

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

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

A Masquerade of Saints by Nicole LoughanA Masquerade of Saints by Nicole Loughan:

In the third installment in the best-selling Saints Mystery Series small town Cajun, Fanchon, finds herself in some hot water, along with a few nasty crayfish. The heat gets turned up when she receives an invitation to join New Orleans high society. She’s ready to party until she receives a puzzling message from her favorite psychic to stay alert and wash her hands all night. When the warning seems all but forgotten the phone rings and Fanchon learns she should have been more careful. This adventure takes Fanchon from the bayou to the top of the floats at Mardi Gras with new characters and old friends to help along the way.

Chaos at Crescent City Medical CenterChaos at Crescent City Medical Center by Judith Lucci:

A New Orleans Attorney’s Mardi Gras Takes A Bloody Turn

Alex wanted a new life, but that often seemed out of reach as long as she was still tied to the same hospital as her ex-husband. Mardi Gras Season brought a welcome change in pace, and her upcoming date to the Mardi Gras Ball with art historian, Mitch Landry, was a step in the right direction. However, when she is called to a grisly scene at the hospital her plans are upended.

A Chilling Scene That Leads Deep Into New Orleans’ Underworld

The Wife of Louisiana’s Governor is discovered unconscious and covered with blood. This shocking scene leads Alex deep into unexpected circles of New Orleans, such as the local criminal underworld and the Voodoo culture.

Chaos at Crescent City Medical Center is a gripping Medical Thriller that will chill and surprise at every turn. You won’t want to put it down!

The Gay Mardi Gras Murders by Sylvia MassaraThe Gay Mardi Gras Murders by Sylvia Massara:

Mia Ferrari, smartarse, older chick, super sleuth, is back in her 2nd murder mystery and this time, she is up to her neck in drag queens, a rare diamond with a curse and murder most foul against the backdrop of Sydney’s world famous Gay Mardi Gras.

A female impersonator is found dead in her hotel suite bathtub and a rare diamond worth twenty million dollars is gone. The Gay Mardi Gras is fast approaching and Mia Ferrari, senior duty manager of the exclusive Rourke International Hotel Sydney, has to juggle a bunch of drag queens, a number of fabulously handsome gay men, a transsexual with a dark mystery, a young cop with sex on his mind, a close friend from the UK who is having marital problems and a mounting body count.

As Mia pits her investigative skills against her archenemy, Detective Sergeant Phil Smythe to solve the case, she not only becomes embroiled in the life of the people around her, but it looks like she is the next target for a serial killer with a grudge against gay men.

Mardi Gras Madness by Ken MaskMardi Gras Madness by Ken Mask:

While trying to free a lawyer friend convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, New Orleans private investigator Luke Jacobs is drawn into an international web of real estate fraud, pharmaceutical corporation misdealing and murder. Mardi Gras may have to be put on hold.

 

 

 

Mardi Gras Gris Gris by A.C. MasonMardi Gras Gris Gris by A.C. Mason:

Susan Foret is thrust into a murder scene when one of the town’s wealthiest citizens dies near her as the local Krewe’s parade is ending. A gris-gris bag containing tarot cards and several other fetish items is left dangling from the knife in his chest.

 

 

 

Rescued by a Kiss by Colleen MooneyRescued by a Kiss by Colleen Mooney:

All the fun of Mardi Gras—without the hangover!

New Orleans is a big, small town where everybody knows someone you know. They will see what you do and talk about it. It’s hard to steal a kiss at Mardi Gras and not be the topic of local gossip, especially if the man you kissed got shot at the end of the parade…

Colleen Mooney’s humorous, romantic, delightfully meandering cozy mysteries gua-ran-tee you gon’ have a authentic N’ Awlins experience, dawlin’! And a wild ride into the bargain.

Brandy Alexander’s the real deal–yes, that’s her real name and she’s not even a stripper, she’s an amateur sleuth, although her best friend Julia is.

Quirky characters are the norm in a town like New Orleans where anything can happen.

The Krewe by Seth PeveyThe Krewe by Seth Pevey:

Living up to the family name comes with a price.

When Felix is told his big brother committed suicide by throwing himself under a train, his gut screams foul play. But as the Mardi Gras season descends on the Big Easy, no one is interested in the conspiracy theories of a drug-addled rich kid.

Except, perhaps, one Carnival organization in particular…

A krewe that hasn’t been heard from in decades.

Felix will need the help of a police detective long past his prime, the family’s honor-obsessed butler, and a massive pork fortune, all in order to find justice for his big brother.

His name, his family, and his very life may hang in the balance.

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

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

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

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

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

The Mysterious Masks of Mardi Gras by Connie TrappThe Mysterious Masks of Mardi Gras by Connie Trapp:

A 2.5 million dollar Harlequin Mask has been stolen right under everyone’s noses!
It was never out of sight—how could this have happened? The auction was invitation-only, which means only one thing: the thief is among them.

The New Orleans police are on the case, the room where the auction was being held is in lockdown, and no one can leave—not even the Mayor and his wife. Everyone there is a high roller and everyone there is a suspect.

Yet before the police can even begin their investigation, they already have their sights set on a prime suspect…the insider responsible for the distraction that allowed the thief to steal the mask without anyone even noticing. One Jane Dough, of Little Rock…

How in the world did JD get herself into this mess? Follow along as JD struggles to prove her innocence and uncover the real thief…

Mardi Gras Marathon Murders by Diane M. TwilleyMardi Gras Marathon Murders by Diane L. Twilley:

Mardi Gras has come to Galveston Texas, and with it the excitement of a new event, the first ever Mardi Gras Marathon. Gina Malloy, a young journalist, is very involved in the planning of the event. When she enlists the help of her aunt, Sister Catherine Malloy, she is delighted to discover that Sister Catherine’s friend, Martin Iberson, is the agent of one of the big stars of marathon events, Billy Champion. Gina is eager to meet Martin Iberson and his family, and perhaps get a chance to meet and interview Billy Champion.

All goes well, until evil shows its face, and two of the marathon runners are killed. With the help of their friend, police lieutenant Richard Tierney, the nun and her niece embark on the task of finding out who murdered the runners, and as things progress, they find their lives in danger as well. But from whom? And why?

Things become even more somber as they realize that the culprit could be someone they know. Eventually Sister Catherine deduces that to solve the murders she must understand the character of the killer, and she finally comes up with the shocking solution to the Mardi Gras murders.

The Mardi Gras Two Step by Barry M. VassThe Mardi Gras Two Step by Barry M. Vass:

A series of young girls, strippers, are found mutilated and abandoned in the streets and byways of the French Quarter in early 1972. As more bodies turn up, at first in the Mississippi River, and then across the river in Algiers, the detectives assigned to the case are baffled: what sort of deviant could be responsible for such horrific behavior? And then, as the chaos of Mardi Gras crashes in like a wave around them, they begin to suspect that the killer they’re looking for might not even be human…

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Love Through Space and Time 2020 – A Round-up of Indie Valentine’s Day Speculative Fiction

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Our monthly round-ups of new speculative fiction and new crime fiction releases by indie authors are a perennially popular feature. Therefore, we now offer you a round-up of our favourite Valentine’s Day science fiction, fantasy and horror by indie authors.

These Valentine’s Day stories cover the broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have urban fantasy, a lot of paranormal romance, paranormal mysteries, science fiction mysteries, science fiction romance, space opera, space colonisation, horror, alternate history, time travel, dragons, werewolves, wizards, ghosts, demons, aliens, robots, magical greeting card writers, crime-fighting witches, crime-fighting ghosts, Viking ghosts, dinners with demons, grumpy cupids, love potions, Valentine’s Day in space and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set on or around Valentine’s Day.

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

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

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

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

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

Roses & Tails by Barbara BeRoses & Tails by Barbara Be:

She is an alien with silver-blue skin and a sexy tail, he is human and sometimes she doesn’t quite understand his customs. Like that strange human event of Valentine’s Day. He has something special planned for that day and it involves Zero G. But maybe he hasn’t quite thought this through. Sex in Zero G has some unique challenges.

This short story has previously been published in 2017 as part of the “Red Hots” anthology, which has been unpublished.

 

Valentine's Day by Zack BrooksValentine’s Day: A Charlie The Cupid Short Story by Zack Brooks:

Meet Charles Vefflin. A cupid stuck as a drone within a corporate company run by the Fates in Boston, he is doomed to cause people to fall in love with their soulmates for all of eternity. He hates his job and most people of the world. But a job is a job, and he isn’t going to let a little thing like people ruin the few pleasures in his life.

Join Charlie on the worst day of the year, Valentine’s Day, where he must make a young couple fall in love at a most unconventional party. See him deal with the idiocy of his co-workers, the lunacy of humans, and even run into a perverted old god. But, one thing’s for sure, he’ll see the job through. Even if it takes some liquid courage just to get through the night.

Valentine’s day is short story, about 6,500 words or 22 printed pages

Valentine's Day on Iago Prime by Cora BuhlertValentine’s Day on Iago Prime by Cora Buhlert:

Kai and Maisie are about the celebrate their first Valentine’s Day on the planet Iago Prime. However, the holiday traditions they established back on Earth such as celebrating Valentine’s Day with a picnic on the beach are impossible to maintain in the hostile environment of their new home. But in spite of the many limitations imposed by living on Iago Prime, Kai pulls out all the stops to give Maisie an unforgettable Valentine’s Day.

This is a science fictional Valentine’s Day story of 2200 words or approx. 10 print pages.

A Viking Ghost for Valentine's Day by Jo-Ann CarsonA Viking Ghost for Valentine’s Day by Jo-Ann Carson:

To feed her three children, Widow Abigail Jenkins takes the only job available in Sunset Cove: night cleaner in the notorious, haunted tea-house. She figures the wild, supernatural rumors about the place are pure fiction. After all, ghosts don’t exist.

Eric Eklund a sexy spirit from Sweden is over a thousand years old. Having missed his chance at Valhalla, the Viking spends his time roaming the world and gambling. That is until he sees Abby whose feisty earthly-spirit turns his ghostly world upside down.

When the two meet sparks fly, but their romance is interrupted by a poltergeist hunting children.

What happens when you mix a naughty, Viking ghost built like a Norse god, a strong woman who suffers no fools and a nasty poltergeist? Answer: another fun, Gambling Ghost story.

A Viking Ghost for Valentine’s is a lighthearted novella filled with love, laughter and just enough ghouliness to thrill and chill you to the bone.

Quill Me Now by Jordan Castillo PriceQuill Me Now by Jordan Castillo Price:

What if the words you wrote came true?

Spellcraft isn’t exactly a respectable business, but it does pay the bills. At least, it should. Unfortunately, Dixon Penn failed his Spellcraft initiation. Instead of working in his family’s shop, he’s stuck delivering takeout orders in his uncle’s beat-up Buick.

Winning a Valentine’s Day contest at the largest greeting card company in the tri-state area would be just the thing to get his life back on track—but something at Precious Greetings just doesn’t add up. And despite numerous warnings to quit pestering them about his contest entry, he simply can’t stop himself from coming back again and again.

It doesn’t hurt that the head of security is such a hottie. If Dixon had any common sense, he’d be scared of the big, mysterious, tattooed Russian.

To be fair, no one ever accused him of being too smart….

A Werewolf's Valentine by Zoe ChantA Werewolf’s Valentine by Zoe Chant:

Curvy cat shifter McKenzi Enkel gave up on love after one too many heartbreaks. What’s more, she declared war on Valentine’s Day. But then a handsome, whiskey-voiced stranger comes to town.

Sexy singer West, a lone wolf who lost his pack as a child, never stopped searching for his missing family. He sings when he can, fights when he must, and always moves on—until he meets the scorching hot McKenzi in the diner she reluctantly decorated for Valentine’s Day.

In a small town of shifters where anyone can find a refuge, West and McKenzi still feel alone. But as they begin to open their hearts to each other, he can’t make himself leave… and she can’t let him go. With Valentine’s Day approaching, can West and McKenzi forge a new pack… and find a love even they can’t deny?

My Maggie Valentine by Kate DanleyMy Maggie Valentine by Kate Danley:

Valentine’s Day is terrible. Especially when you’re Maggie MacKay and tasked with chaperoning the local high school Valentine’s dance. Join Maggie and Killian on a holiday, short story adventure. Sometimes you wrestle with demons. And sometimes they just want to cuddle…

A part of the Maggie MacKay: Holiday Special short story series. This stands independently from the main Magical Tracker series and can be read at any time and in any order.

WARNING: This adventure contains cussing, brawling, and unladylike behavior. Proceed with caution.

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

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

 

 

 

Vintage Valentine by Cat GardinerVintage Valentine by Cat Gardiner:

Romance and time-travel meet Pride and Prejudice in this utterly romantic modern story. Step back in time to WWII-era for a sweet Valentine’s Day.

What begins as a begrudging visit to Time & Again antique shop turns into so much more than discovering trinkets from the past. The unexpected happens! Love and lessons await Lizzy Bennet when she leaves her mobile device in the future. Travel with her through a portal to timeless romance back in 1943 where she’s looking up into the eyes of one dashing G.I. at U.S.O dance.

An 8,500 word sweet paranormal romance.

A Dragon's Valentine by C.D. GorriThe Dragon’s Valentine by C.D. Gorri:

“She’s given up on love, but he’s just begun…”

After five hundred years of servitude, Dragon Shifter, Callius Falk and his three brothers are finally freed from their bonds. Callius has one mission, to find his true mate.

Winifred Castillo spends her nights tending bar at The Thirsty Dog, a local favorite in Maccon City, New Jersey. After her boyfriend skips town with her rent money, she’s sworn off men. For good!

But what’s a Werewolf to do when a dark-haired stranger with golden eyes and rippling muscles claims her as his mate?

The Ghost of Valentine Past by Bobbi HolmesThe Ghost of Valentine Past by Bobbi Holmes:

A romantic weekend at Marlow House Bed and Breakfast turns deadly when Earthbound Spirits founder, Peter Morris, is murdered. Plenty of people had a reason to want the man dead—especially Danielle’s current guests.

But it isn’t Morris’ ghost distracting Danielle on this deadly Valentine’s Day weekend, it’s her late husband Lucas. She has her hands full with suitors coming from all directions—both living and dead—while she tries to figure out if there’s a killer in Marlow House.

 

Ghoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia JaymesGhoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia Jaymes:

It’s time for another Ravenmist Whodunnit! A tiny Midwestern town with charming covered bridges, quirky residents, delightful antique shops, and more than their share of haunted activity.

Tedi has another packed inn of people for the Ravenmist Valentine’s Day Ball. The evening was a complete success until she and Jack find a dead body on the back patio with a Cupid’s arrow through his heart. There’s no shortage of suspects for his murder either. Jack will have his hands full paring down the list.

And Tedi? She’s staying out of this. No way is she going to be pulled into it. Not after last time. She has her own investigation. She and her friend Missy are trying to find why the town has suddenly been infused with paranormal energy. Ghosts are literally getting up and dancing around. It’s all going well too. That is until the investigation starts to hit just a little bit too close to home.

Hop into your ghostmobile and take a ride with Tedi as she meets a spirit who doesn’t think he’s dead, two ghosts in love, and a hard partying specter who just might have witnessed the murder. It’s a hauntingly good time in the little town of Ravenmist and you’re invited to the party.

Bear Valley Valentine by T.S. JoyceBear Valley Valentine by T.S. Joyce:

Colin Cross is a lone bear shifter living on the outskirts of Bear Valley. He likes his reclusive lifestyle, but when he musters the nerve to talk to the woman he has feelings for, being alone just doesn’t seem like enough anymore. When he finds Hadley on an online dating site, it’s the perfect way to build a relationship with her without dragging her into his dark past. Hadley is human, and humans don’t belong in his world, but a little online flirting never hurt anyone.

Hadley Bennett has had it with dating local townies. Determined to cast her net a little wider, she enters the chaotic world of online dating. When she finally secures a face-to-face date with the elusive Bearman28, it’ll be a Valentine’s Day to remember.

And if Hadley can handle his real identity, they just might find what they’ve both been searching for.

Bear Valley Valentine is a 20,000 word story with heart pounding romance, a thoughtful alpha bear, and spicy Valentine’s Day surprises.

For the Love of Cupidity by Raven KennedyFor the Love of Cupidity by Raven Kennedy:

First comes love, then comes mating, then comes the baby and some cupid training.

Cupidville is overrun with new cupid recruits, and it’s up to me to train them in time for Valentine’s Day. Too bad I have four mates who keep insisting that it’s time for me to take a break.

Juggling my role as the cupid boss, being a mate, and handling motherhood isn’t always easy, but it’s sure as hearts worth it. Let’s just hope I can get these cupid flunkies trained in time.

Author’s Note: This is a Heart Hassle novella just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Love Potion, edited by Graceley Knox and D.D. MiersLove Potion, edited by Graceley Knox and D.D. Miers:

A valentines day charity anthology featuring 8 exclusive stories from your favorite bestselling Paranormal and Fantasy romance authors! All proceeds will be donated to Room to Read!

How to Capture a Demon’s Heart – Graceley Knox & D.D. Miers
A Demon’s Plaything (The Elite Guards) – Amelia Hutchins
Deep Blue Sea – Pippa DaCosta
The Hellhound’s Legion: A Kit Davenport Novella – Tate James
The Heart Cantrip: a Family Spells Novella – C.M. Stunich
Eternal Hearts – A Forsaken Gods Series Novella – G. Bailey & Coralee June
A Damsel and a Demigod (The Guild Codex: Spellbound) – Annette Marie
The Fox and the Wolf – Clara Hartley

Moonshine Valetnine by Tegan MaherMoonshine Valentine by Tegan Maher:

It’s Valentine’s Day, and Noelle has no idea what to get for Hunter. While she’s getting her hair cut and tossing around gift ideas, Coralee’s long-term boyfriend pops in and declares his undying love via a marriage proposal, breaking rule numero uno of their relationship clause.

He’s only the first to fall, though. When the men of Keyhole Lake start acting like lovesick lunatics, Noelle and Rae have to put their heads together to figure out what happened before the whole town goes loopy in love, or someone ends up in jail.

This story falls in between book 4, Murder and Mayhem, and Book 5, Murder and Marinade, in the Witches of Keyhole Lake Mystery Series.

Heart Attack by Terri MainHeart Attack by Terri Main:

When Smelling Roses, Watch Out for the Thorns

Strange things are happening in Armstrong City right before St. Valentine’s Day. Several women who found roses on their doorstep passed out inexplicably. Carolyn and Mike must figure out how this happened, who is doing it, and why?

A fun little mystery for the holiday of love.

 

Valentines Day Time Patrol by Bob MayerValentines Day: Time Patrol by Bob Mayer:

“The point in history at which we stand is full of promise and danger. The world will either move forward toward unity and widely shared prosperity—or it will move apart.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

What does it take to change history and destroy our reality? Change events on the same date, 14 February, in six different years. The Time Patrol must send an agent back to each day, with just 24 hours for each to defeat the Shadow’s plan to disrupt our time-line, creating a time tsunami and wiping our present out.

Ivar: 1929. Gunmen massacre seven people in the infamous St. Valentines Day Massacre. Al Capone is consolidating his grip on the Outfit in Chicago. But what if it turns out very differently?

Eagle: 1945. President Roosevelt, heading home from the Yalta Conference, stops on the Great Bitter Lake to meet King Idn Saud of Saudi Arabia to discuss a relatively new topic: Arab oil. And a Jewish homeland.

Roland: 1779. Captain Cook, famed explorer of the Pacific, meets his fate in Hawaii.

Scout: 278. Saint Valentine is beheaded near the Milvian Bridge.

Doc: 1945. The Dresden Firebombing. Kurt Vonnegut is in a slaughterhouse as the first bombers appear overheard.

Moms: 1946. The ENIAC computer, programmed by six women, is unveiled to the public. The press thinks the women are simply models.

The mission, as always for the Time Patrol, seems straight-forward: keep history intact. No matter the cost.

But this time, things go very differently than in previous missions and one of the team members must make the ultimate sacrifice.

Rainbow Bouquet, edited by Farah MendlesohnRainbow Bouquet, edited by Farah Mendlesohn:

Authors featured are Harry Robertson, Edward Ahern, Victoria Zammit, Erin Horáková, Cheryl Morgan, Sarah Ash, Kathleen Jowitt, Sean Robinson, Garrick Jones and MJ Logue, and the settings vary from a mediaeval monastery to the ‘final frontier’, give or take the odd supernatural realm along the way. Stories of love in the past, present and future – all as fascinating in their variety as love itself.

 

 

My Bloodiest Valentine, edited by K.A. MorseMy Bloodiest Valentine, edited by K.A. Morse:

Roses are red. So is your blood. It’s Valentine’s Day, and we’ve brought you something good. Abandon the chocolates, forget flowers and wine. Because these authors stories are bloody divine. Demons from Hell or a vampires kiss, this collection of stories you don’t want to miss.

 

 

 

Love Magic by Jesi Lea RyanLove Magic by Jesi Lea Ryan:

“The day I met Derrick while playing my violin in the park was magical. Unfortunately, magic and love together don’t always mix.”

Oliver met Derrick while busking in the park, and they hit it off from the start. At first, Derrick’s “mysterious magician” vibe was intriguing, but after two botched dates, Oliver was ready to call it quits.

Fearing he lost his chance with Oliver, Derrick makes a last-ditch effort to win Oliver’s heart with a romantic Valentine’s date. But when love and magic collide, things tend to go awry. Will these two guys make it through the date unscathed?

Validated by Valentine's by Joynll SchultzValidated by Valentine’s by Joynell Schultz:

Ivory has the perfect man, from his microchip processor to his flesh-like exterior.

Ivory hated that she loved her Christmas gift this year. Her sister gave her the perfect humanoid companion, but there’s just one problem: he’ll never be able to say he loves her, no matter how much Ivory falls in love with him.

Was her dream man a present or a curse?

But when Ethan (Ivory’s Dream Droid) looks at her with those sweet blue eyes and secretly earns enough money to enter her in the city-wide bake-off, she realizes she doesn’t care. He’s hers. And that’s the best gift of all.

Ivory’s perfect world falls apart the closer she gets to the bake-off. It starts with a lost entry and Ethan having a few programming malfunctions, then she discovers someone’s deliberately sabotaging her. What started out to be a dream Valentine’s day, begins to turn into a nightmare. A large supportive family, a caring artificial companion, and the best cupcake recipe in the world might not be enough to uncover who’s setting Ivory up to fail.

My Wicked Valentine by Lotta SmithMy Wicked Valentine by Lotta Smith:

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner… Love is in the air and so are the ghosts!

When Rick’s old friend, up-and-coming celeb psychic Brian Powers is accused of murdering an esthetician at a luxe gentlemen-only spa, Mandy’s cozy afternoon at home goes from cookie-baking to crime solving.

With baby Sophie and ghost-pal Jackie in tow, Mandy and Rick take to haunting the spa where the facials are fab and the intrigue is high-end.

Every suspect has a secret, but who’s willing to kill to keep theirs under wraps? [Seaweed wraps, that is.] Find out in this dangerously funny installment of the Manhattan Mystery series.

Dragon's First Valentine by Emily Martha SorensenDragon’s First Valentine by Emily Martha Sorensen:

There’s a new dragon visiting from Chicago, and she’s green, like Virgil! Unfortunately, this might cause a few small problems nobody anticipated.

As well as a few revelations and surprises.

And all while Rose is trying to figure out what to give her husband for Valentine’s Day.

 

The Draed Arrow by Grigor WeeksThe Dread Arrow by Grigor Weeks:

Dark Space is strange, and so are the hitmen who live there. Strap in sweetheart. Love never hurt so good.

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Love and Crime 2020 – A Round-up of Indie Valentine’s Day Mysteries and Crime Fiction

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

The holiday mysteries cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have plenty of cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, culinary mysteries, animal mysteries, paranormal mysteries, historical mysteries, jazz age mysteries, police procedurals, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, amateur sleuths, crime-fighting witches, crime-fighting bakers, crime-fighting socialites, crime-fighting ghosts, crime-fighting dogs, masked vigilantes, missing children, kidnappings, jewel thefts, sleazy lawyers, serial killers, assassins and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set on or around Valentine’s Day.

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valentine's Day is Murder by Carolyn ArnoldValentine’s Day is Murder by Carolyn Arnold:

Cupid’s arrow may have missed its mark…

Jimmy finally takes a vacation–and a chance on love–only to be abducted. His female companion originally thinks he had cold feet about their relationship, but Sean and Sara know there’s more to it. Jimmy isn’t the type to just up and disappear, let alone leave a lady stranded.

Setting out on their private jet, Sean and Sara reach the tropical paradise of Ocho Rios, Jamaica with sightseeing as the last thing on their minds.

With a gold coin being their initial tie to Jimmy’s kidnapper, Sean and Sara even speculate about the involvement of pirates. Yet as the hours pass, and there’s no word from Jimmy’s captors, Sean and Sara will need to figure out the real motive before it’s too late.

With help from their friend, Adam, back in Albany, the pieces come together and not a moment too soon.

A Valentine for the Silencer by Cora BuhlertA Valentine for the Silencer by Cora Buhlert:

Valentine’s Day 1938: All Richard Blakemore a.k.a. the masked crimefighter known only as the Silencer wants is to have a romantic dinner with his beautiful fiancée Constance Allen.

But on his way to his date, Richard happens upon a mugging in progress. Can he save the victim and make sure that young Thomas Walden has the chance to propose to his girlfriend? And will he make it to dinner with Constance on time?

This is a short Valentine’s Day story of 7200 words or approx. 24 print pages in the Silencer series, but may be read as a standalone.

He never brings me flowers...He never brings me flowers… by Cora Buhlert

He never brings me flowers…

Waiting for your boyfriend to finally come home from work can be hell, especially if it’s your anniversary and you suspect he forgot – again. But does the ringing of the doorbell promise roses and sex and the long overdue proposal or something far more sinister?

Lovers’ Ridge

A foundling, a newborn, abandoned and left to die. But tonight, he will have his revenge on the parents who deserted him. Tonight, they will pay, at the very place where the story once began, at Lovers’ Ridge…

This is a bumper edition containing two short crime stories of 3200 words altogether. Both stories are also available as part of the collection Murder in the Family.

Valentine's Madness, edited by Beth ByersValentine’s Madness: A 1920s Historical Mystery Anthology, edited by Beth Byers:

Welcome to a very flapper Valentine’s Day!

Are you ready for the roaring twenties? For spunky young women crafting their own lives? If so, you’ll love Violet, Julia, Abigail, Evelyn, and Rosemary.

Inside, you’ll find four short Valentine’s day adventures, 1920s style including roses, chocolates, kisses, and cocktails. With stories from The Violet Carlyle Mysteries, the Piccadilly Ladies Club Mysteries, the Abigail Dutcher Mysteries, the Jazz & Gin Cozy Mysteries, and The Lillywhite Mysteries.

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

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

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

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

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

The St. Valentine's Day Cookie Massacre by Elisabeth CrabtreeThe St. Valentine’s Day Cookie Massacre by Elisabeth Crabtree:

It’s Valentine’s Day in quiet, cozy Hatter’s Cove, Florida and food columnist, Kat Archer, has been assigned the event of the year, the grand opening of Miss Dolly’s Cookie Jar and Sweets Emporium.

What begins as a run of the mill, albeit tasty, assignment turns into something much more dangerous when one of the Cookie Jar’s employees is poisoned.

Now Kat is chasing the biggest story of her life, while trying to catch the eye of her handsome editor and avoid becoming the killer’s next victim.

A cozy novella: approximately 44,000 words

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

It’s Valentine’s Day and 20-year-old Emma Wright just wants her crush to take notice of her. But Colby Davidson, the K9 search and rescue deputy only thinks of her as a kid sister. How will she get him to take her seriously?

When her veterinarian boss calls her to pick up a cat at a potential crime scene, she finds herself at the house of the richest woman in Ridgeway. Her father—the sheriff—and Colby are there. They both dismiss the untimely death as a heart attack, but Emma finds clues that it might be something more. Did the software billionaire die of natural causes, or was it murder?

The Valentine Mystery by Kathi DaleyThe Valentine Mystery by Kathi Daley:

If you love small towns, endearing relationships, food, animals, and a touch of murder, you will love this new mystery series by Kathi Daley, author of the popular Zoe Donovan Cozy Mystery Series.

It is Valentine’s Day in White Eagle Montana and Tess and Tilly are busier than ever delivering Valentine Cards along with the daily mail. Of course it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day in White Eagle without a mystery to solve or a holiday adoption party to prepare for.

When Tess happens upon a vehicle accident where one man dies, she gets pulled into a mystery with roots into the past. With Tony’s help she not only tracks down a killer but she looks into the occurrence of a missing person as well.

Tony is still looking into the case of Tess’s father’s disappearance, meanwhile Tess and Tilly team up with Brady to make sure that every animal shelter resident finds their perfect match in time for Valentine’s Day.

A Valentine Murder by Steven DemareeA Valentine Murder by Steven Demaree

In this delightful combination of a whodunit mixed with humor, a woman, who has been celebrating her birthday and Valentine’s Day, is rushed to the hospital complaining of stomach pains and nausea. She grabs the doctor and tells him she has been poisoned, but before she can tell him any more, she dies. When Lt. Dekker and Sgt. Murdock investigate, they find out that no one liked her, with the possible exception of her husband.

 

 

Corridor Man: Valentine by Mark FaricyCorridor Man: Valentine by Mark Faricy:

BETTER CHANGE THE LOCKS. BOBBY DID.

Disbarred attorney Bobby Custer continues to use his main skill set; murder, treachery and perversion in an ongoing effort to increase his personal gains.

Ever the charmer, Bobby provides Emily with an unforgettable valentine that up until now she could only dream about . . . or maybe it was a nightmare. Together they forever mark the day with a memorable secret. Psychotic, sociopathic, always charming– and you thought he was here to help.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valentine by Celina GraceValentine by Celina Grace:

A respectable, middle-aged housewife. An ambitious young lawyer. A student burlesque dancer. Three women with nothing in common – except for the fact that someone has sent them a macabre Valentine’s Day gift; a pig’s heart pierced by an arrow.

Is this a case of serious harm intended? Or just a malicious prank? Detective Inspector Olbeck thinks there might be something more sinister behind it but his colleague Detective Sergeant Kate Redman is too busy mourning the departure of her partner Tin to New York to worry too much about the case. Until one of the women receives a death threat…

Valentine is a novella in the best-selling Kate Redman Mystery series by crime writer Celina Grace.

The Ghost of Valentine Past by Bobbi HolmesThe Ghost of Valentine Past by Bobbi Holmes:

A romantic weekend at Marlow House Bed and Breakfast turns deadly when Earthbound Spirits founder, Peter Morris, is murdered. Plenty of people had a reason to want the man dead—especially Danielle’s current guests.

But it isn’t Morris’ ghost distracting Danielle on this deadly Valentine’s Day weekend, it’s her late husband Lucas. She has her hands full with suitors coming from all directions—both living and dead—while she tries to figure out if there’s a killer in Marlow House.

 

Ghoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia JaymesGhoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia Jaymes:

It’s time for another Ravenmist Whodunnit! A tiny Midwestern town with charming covered bridges, quirky residents, delightful antique shops, and more than their share of haunted activity.

Tedi has another packed inn of people for the Ravenmist Valentine’s Day Ball. The evening was a complete success until she and Jack find a dead body on the back patio with a Cupid’s arrow through his heart. There’s no shortage of suspects for his murder either. Jack will have his hands full paring down the list.

And Tedi? She’s staying out of this. No way is she going to be pulled into it. Not after last time. She has her own investigation. She and her friend Missy are trying to find why the town has suddenly been infused with paranormal energy. Ghosts are literally getting up and dancing around. It’s all going well too. That is until the investigation starts to hit just a little bit too close to home.

Hop into your ghostmobile and take a ride with Tedi as she meets a spirit who doesn’t think he’s dead, two ghosts in love, and a hard partying specter who just might have witnessed the murder. It’s a hauntingly good time in the little town of Ravenmist and you’re invited to the party.

Lady Rample and Cupid's Kiss by Shéa MacLeodLady Rample and Cupid’s Kiss by Shéa MacLeod:

Just when Lady Rample has given up on love, a former flame reappears, bringing with him all sorts of emotions she thought buried. Unfortunately, that flame comes with one very aggressive and rather angry almost-ex-wife. The ensuing catfight is almost worth the price of admission.

When the ex-wife is found dead in Hyde Park, stabbed with a hatpin in the shape of a heart, the police naturally assume the killer is the husband. Our intrepid heroine is not about to allow her love to go down for a crime he didn’t commit. Unfortunately, proving him innocent may put her own neck on the line.

Never one to shirk from danger, Lady R—with the help of her eccentric Aunt Butty—will need all her wits about her if she’s to solve the crimes of the Cupid Killer.

Enjoy the glitz and glamor of the 1930s with the sixth book in the popular 1930s historical mystery series, Lady Rample Mysteries.

Moonshine Valetnine by Tegan MaherMoonshine Valentine by Tegan Maher:

It’s Valentine’s Day, and Noelle has no idea what to get for Hunter. While she’s getting her hair cut and tossing around gift ideas, Coralee’s long-term boyfriend pops in and declares his undying love via a marriage proposal, breaking rule numero uno of their relationship clause.

He’s only the first to fall, though. When the men of Keyhole Lake start acting like lovesick lunatics, Noelle and Rae have to put their heads together to figure out what happened before the whole town goes loopy in love, or someone ends up in jail.

This story falls in between book 4, Murder and Mayhem, and Book 5, Murder and Marinade, in the Witches of Keyhole Lake Mystery Series.

Heart Attack by Terri MainHeart Attack by Terri Main:

When Smelling Roses, Watch Out for the Thorns

Strange things are happening in Armstrong City right before St. Valentine’s Day. Several women who found roses on their doorstep passed out inexplicably. Carolyn and Mike must figure out how this happened, who is doing it, and why?

A fun little mystery for the holiday of love.

 

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

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

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

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

It’s Valentine’s Day in Juniper Junction and love is in the air. Or is that just a dark cloud?
Lilly’s shop assistant, Harry, is about to pop the question to his girlfriend, Alice Davenport. He’s got the ring, he’s planned a romantic dinner, and he’s even thought of a gracious escape if Alice says no.

The only thing missing is…Alice.

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

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

Sweet Hearts by Connie SheltonSweet Heart by Connie Shelton:

Will there be Valentine wedding bells for Samantha Sweet and Beau Cardwell? (introduced in this mystery series opener Sweet Masterpiece) Sam’s bakery, Sweet’s Sweets is busier than ever this Valentine week, as she struggles to replicate the magical chocolate-making techniques of the enigmatic chocolatier who boosted her winter holiday sales into the stratosphere. However, candy classes take second place to a new mystery, when Sam meets a woman whose missing son’s case seems to have been dropped by the authorities. Marla Fresques learns that she is dying and needs for her son to come home and raise the daughter he left behind. Sam agrees to help, hoping that Sheriff Beau’s inside connections will bring about a quick and happy resolution.

But what about Sam’s and Beau’s own wedding plans? They may be in jeopardy when an entirely new development appears in the form of Beau’s ex-girlfriend who is determined to win him back.

With the familiar mix of mystery, romance and a touch of magic that has enchanted readers of this series, Sweet Hearts draws the reader even further into the captivating world of Samantha Sweet.

My Wicked Valentine by Lotta SmithMy Wicked Valentine by Lotta Smith:

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner… Love is in the air and so are the ghosts!

When Rick’s old friend, up-and-coming celeb psychic Brian Powers is accused of murdering an esthetician at a luxe gentlemen-only spa, Mandy’s cozy afternoon at home goes from cookie-baking to crime solving.

With baby Sophie and ghost-pal Jackie in tow, Mandy and Rick take to haunting the spa where the facials are fab and the intrigue is high-end.

Every suspect has a secret, but who’s willing to kill to keep theirs under wraps? [Seaweed wraps, that is.] Find out in this dangerously funny installment of the Manhattan Mystery series.

The Draed Arrow by Grigor WeeksThe Dread Arrow by Grigor Weeks:

Dark Space is strange, and so are the hitmen who live there. Strap in sweetheart. Love never hurt so good.

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine's Blizzard Murder by Linnea WestValentine’s Bizzard Mystery by Linnea West:

When a minor celebrity staying at the Shady Lake Bed and Breakfast dies of an allergic reaction during a blizzard, it doesn’t seem like it could get much worse. But was it really an accident?

Jake Crawford is a D list celebrity who loves to come back to Shady Lake to be the big fish in a small pond. This time, he brought his new wife back to Shady Lake for his honeymoon and they are staying at the bed and breakfast that Tessa Schmidt helps her family run. Jake is kind of a jerk, but then a blizzard hits and he dies of an allergic reaction. It seems like things couldn’t get any worse for a Valentine’s Day weekend. But Tessa is starting to suspect that the allergic reaction isn’t the horrible accident she had assumed.

As the blizzard stretches on and on, secrets keep coming out. It seems like almost everyone has a motive to kill Jake. Can Tessa figure out who wanted to kill Jake Crawford before the killer strikes again?

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for January 2020

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

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some December 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, sword and sorcery, paranormal mystery, science fantasy, fantasy romance, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, dystopian fiction, Cyberpunk, Hopepunk, Steampunk, aliens, angels, dragons, shifters, superheroes, pirates, ghosts, druids, fae, crime-busting witches, supernatural serial killers, alien mating rituals, planet killers, space marines, living swords, life after death 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:

Strange Love by Ann AguirreStrange Love by Ann Aguirre:

He’s awkward. He’s adorable. He’s alien as hell.
Zylar of Kith B’alak is a four-time loser in the annual Choosing. If he fails to find a nest guardian this time, he’ll lose his chance to have a mate for all time. Desperation drives him to try a matching service but due to a freak solar flare and a severely malfunctioning ship AI, things go way off course. This ‘human being’ is not the Tiralan match he was looking for.

She’s frazzled. She’s fierce. She’s from St. Louis.
Beryl Bowman’s mother always said she’d never get married. She should have added a rider about the husband being human. Who would have ever thought that working at the Sunshine Angel daycare center would offer such interstellar prestige? She doesn’t know what the hell’s going on, but a new life awaits on Barath Colony, where she can have any alien bachelor she wants.

They agree to join the Choosing together, but love is about to get seriously strange.

Magic Lies by Fatima BaderMagic Lies by Fatima Bader:

Hunting a serial killer can be hazardous to your health.

My name’s Selena Valeron, and I’m the Supernatural Bureau of Investigation’s best undercover witch. After three years, the bureau has just handed me my biggest case: hunting the magical community’s most prolific serial killer, Xavier.

Lately the dead women on the morgue table bear an eerie resemblance to me. A shocking revelation indicates the killer is someone from my past—if I can remember it. Years ago, an accident wiped out my memory and threatened to end my career. Now my magical powers seem to be manifesting into something stronger.

Was my memory loss really an accident, or a failed murder attempt?

Time’s ticking as I dig through my past to find the killer. I need answers. If I can’t get them in time, I’ll lose friends, family—even my own life.

MAGIC LIES is a fast-paced urban fantasy mystery with plenty of thrilling twists and turns that will keep you guessing. Agent Valeron may have lost her memory, but she hasn’t lost her snarky attitude and she’s still a badass witch. Jump into this magical world and start reading the Selena Valeron series today!

King of the Republic by P.J. BermanKing of the Republic by P.J. Berman:

Queen Silrith has fallen. Now she must rise again. However, when her army lands in Etrovansia in search of reinforcements and political support, their welcome is far from warm. Their retreat from one war could start another.

Ezrina, a vengeful Hentani priestess, feels the weight of expectation placed on her by her tribe. Without Jezna by her side, her headship is a lonely one. Will the arrival of strange new allies prove a welcome help or complicate matters further?

Zethun, an ambitious young politician, rides a wave of public support amid the passion of revolution. Now he must restore order before the mob descends into anarchy.

All three rebels stand on the precipice of their defining moments. There is no going back now.

Meanwhile, the tyrannical usurper, King Jostan, brings new violence to the Verusantian reign of terror over Bennvika.

Planet Killer by Lindsay BurokerPlanet Killer by Lindsay Buroker:

Casmir has survived against impossible odds, and now he longs to return home. But an invasion force is blockading the Kingdom’s wormhole gate, and it would be suicidal to fly through it now. Worse, his family and friends are stuck on the other side, with hostile forces attacking their home world.The only way Casmir can help is to find out who’s behind the invasion… and convince him to stop. But Casmir isn’t known for his ability to strong-arm people, and this is one enemy who won’t be won over by his friendly demeanor. As he soon finds out, he must face the very rich and very powerful person who’s been trying to have him killed for months.

Firebird's Lair by Rachel FordFirebird’s Lair by Rachel Ford:

A mysterious warlock. A ruthless band of wyvern poachers. A marriage neither of them wants.

Tsar Kirill’s only daughter is ailing. Poachers and robbers plague his kingdom. He doesn’t want a wife. Especially not that one.

Tsarevna Yuliana has a home already. She doesn’t want to leave everything she’s known, the seaside that she grew up by, to start a new life in a strange land. Especially not with him.

But Tsar Fyodor, his ally and her father, has other plans. He wants to forge an empire. And empire building by marriage is so much less taxing than empire building by war.

Or so he thinks.

First at odds, Yuliana and Kirill unite to outwit Fyodor and save themselves from his machinations. But as a mysterious sorcerer and a dangerous band of wyvern poachers threaten the future of both kingdoms, the two must risk everything – including their hearts – to save the hard-won peace.

A humorous fantasy novel, full of lovable characters, dangerous villains, and laugh-out-loud moments.

Osmium War by Thomas GreenOsmium War by Thomas Green:

He betrayed her. Her revenge will shake their worlds.

Captain John Lang has devoted his life to his duty. Raised as a child soldier, he has never known another life.

And since the cold war between Earth and Mars has been going on for over two centuries, he never will.

To save his lover, Raina, from the same fate, he sent her to Earth.

But things didn’t go for Raina the way John expected them to. Wearing an artificial face, she works as a corporate assassin for the Earth’s largest weapons manufacturing syndicate.

On Earth, she’s an escaped prisoner while on Mars, she’s officially dead. And has neither forgiven nor forgotten.

So, when Earth bans deep core mining, creating a system-wide osmium shortage, she seizes the opportunity and escalates the crisis.

For if she manages to make Earth and Mars go to war, they are sure to destroy each other. And her syndicate would then rule over the wasteland.

After all, she could have no better revenge than for John and all his soldier brothers to die in a nuclear apocalypse.

Ever the Hero by Darby HarnEver the Hero by Darby Harn:

Superheroes are big business. Imagine not being able to afford them.

Kit Baldwin just wants to make rent. The only work she can find in the ruins of her devastated city is scavenging for alien technology. When she finds a powerful alien weapon, her discovery pays off more than she could have hoped: it draws the attention of the most powerful of the superhuman Empowered, Valene.

Valene hears everything, everywhere. She suffers for it, and as they begin a precipitous romance, Kit believes she can use the weapon she’s scavenged to mitigate Valene’s pain. If she can’t, Valene will retreat to the soundlessness of space. Without Valene’s compassion, the stricken city is left to the mercy of Valene’s ruthless father, who denies the assistance the city needs unless it can pay for it.

As Valene’s condition worsens, Kit becomes more desperate and unleashes the full power of the alien weapon. In an instant, she is transformed into a being of cosmic power. She can acquire the knowledge and energy of anything – or anyone – she touches.

Ghostly Charms by Lilly Harper HartGhostly Charms by Lilly Harper Hart:

Harper Harlow thought the only thing she was going to have to worry about in the shadow of spring was planning her wedding. She was wrong.A string of break-ins in Whisper Cove have caught the attention of the cops, including her fiancé Jared Monroe. Things take a turn for the worse when one of those break-ins results in the death of a local barber. It seems what was once written off as teenage hijinks is something else entirely. In addition to the break-ins, Harper finds herself distracted by a new resident. He’s bringing an art gallery to town … as well as his troubled sister. Rain Porter doesn’t want to be in Southeastern Michigan and she’s hiding a big secret. Harper is determined to help the girl until the young woman pushes the exact wrong buttons. Things aren’t what they seem and the deeper Harper digs the more she worries that she doesn’t really want to find an answer. When a ghost from the other side of the state shows up and starts invading her dreams, things go from bad to worse. Jared wants nothing more than to protect Harper, but there are some things he can’t fight … and a ghost is one of them. It’s going to take everyone working together to find a way out of this one and even then survival is not a given. Jump on the ghost train with Harper, Jared, and Zander … because this one is going to be a wild ride.

Mother Savant by A.L. HawkeMother Savant by A.L. Hawke:

It is now 2244 and the all-female society of Arkite is on the brink of revolution. Only the return of the Mother Savant can hope to maintain order.

Savant Elise Jackson, Arkite’s supreme leader, is stricken with terrible grief over the recent loss of her lover. She has spent the last two years with her assistant, Sara, trying to repair and genetically engineer her lover’s damaged body and mind.

But the Viceroy of Pyramid City and her followers in the Savant Council have no interest in squandering the city’s resources for Elise’s personal gain. With the help of the mainframe AI, they will vie for power, even attempting collusion with Sara and sabotage.

And even if her enemies fail and Elise somehow manages to revive her lover, Elise knows she’ll have to vie for something she covets even more—her lover’s love. For Sara once loved her just as much, if not more.

Mother Savant is the sequel to Candy Savant—Book 2 in the Candy Savant Series.

The Living Sword 2: The Road Ahead by Pemry JanesThe Living Sword 2: The Road Ahead by Pemry Janes:

Eurik & Leraine have escaped the land of the necromancers, but still face a long journey. Eurik is looking for answers about who his parents were and how they ended up adrift at sea. Leraine must carry the news of her teacher’s death back home, yet also has a debt to Eurik for helping her to avenge Irelith.

Together, they’ll have to traverse the Neisham Hills, where lone travelers are snatched in the night and even numbers don’t guarantee safety. And beyond the hills, all along the long Inza Road, the drums of war beat louder and louder.

But the greatest threat may not be goblins, elves, or bandits. It may be the people they’ve chosen to travel with.

Trinary by Gaja J. KosTrinary by Gaja J. Kos:

Cairo MacKennon doesn’t give a shit about rules, save for one. Avoid SCAR Force at all costs.

When a high-end heist goes south and not even the best stealth ship in the Vedrina trinary system can keep her off SCAR Force’s radar, Cairo’s thieving ways become the least of her problems.

The Space Combat and Retrieval Force doesn’t forget past sins.

And what they have in mind for Cairo’s transgression beats even her worst nightmare.

Scroll up and start reading the first episode in the action-packed sci-fi serial with a slow-burn romance, daring pilots, and space ships galore!

Halfax by Joseph R. LalloHalfax by Joseph R. Lallo:

If you can’t have good luck, you should at least have a good dragon.

The princess has inherited the family curse. Plagued by terrible luck, it is all the palace staff can do to keep her safe from herself. When her father pricks himself with an assassin’s needle meant for her, her mother Queen Jade knows there is only one thing they can do. They must seek a cure. To reach it, they will need the help of their greatest protector. But even the great dragon Halfax may not be ready for the challenges ahead.

Halfax is a direct sequel to Jade. It takes place many years after the events of the Book of Deacon series.

Hex Type Thing by Amanda M. LeeHex Type Thing by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter is feeling on top of the world.

She’s embracing her new home on Moonstone Bay and coming into her own as a witch. Her boyfriend Galen Blackwood, who happens to be sheriff, is even involving her in his investigations.

Unfortunately, the peace on Moonstone Bay is about to be threatened.

A local millionaire and a one-hit-wonder songstress are hosting the Skyclad Festival, a paranormal beach extravaganza that features a bevy of famous faces in paranormal circles … and those who want to hobnob with them. There’s only one little problem ….

One of the local influencers, a woman whose only job is to rave about things on the internet, ends up dead. Then, in short order, the organizer himself goes missing. That means Galen is on the case … and Hadley insists on serving as his sidekick.

There are a lot of witches on the island. The question is: Is magic to blame for murder or is something more insidious happening?

It’s going to take everyone working together to find the correct answers – and keep each other safe – as the problem on the beach deteriorates.

Someone has murder on the mind and Hadley is determined to find the culprit. All she has to do is survive long enough to uncover a mystery that has roots in a past long since forgotten … well, and not step on the wrong witchy toes.

The odds of doing both seem long but where there’s a witch, there’s a way.

Druid Vices and a Vodka by Annette MarieDruid Vices and a Vodka by Annette Marie:

I’ve said it before, but sometimes I’m a bad person. I cheated on my twelfth grade math final, I’ve run countless yellow lights, and I gossip about how hot my kickass best friends are. (Good thing my job as a guild bartender doesn’t require moral perfection.)

But there’s bad, and then there’s bad. And I’m not sure which applies to a certain dark druid/wanted criminal/reluctant friend of mine. His transgressions include black-magic dealings, kidnapping, and murder, and he’s about to add “revenge-fueled killing spree” to his resume—if I don’t stop him.

Should I stop him?

He and his nemesis are gearing up to tear each other apart, rogues and vultures are converging with their sights on the spoils, and the guilds that would normally stomp them into the ground are under attack. We’re on the verge of an all-out criminal turf war, and my time to decide is almost up.

Who’s the real bad guy … and do I dare stand in his way?

Sky Scorcher by Harlan J. MeadeSky Scorcher by Harlan J. Meade:

James Blackwin and his body guard, Misty, are appointed to provide security for the King’s Ball, but their plans are soon disrupted after Misty has a dangerous encounter with a mysterious man with ill intentions. Join James and his crew on board his flying airship as he attempts to defeat pirates, recover stolen plans, and save his friend. Will he prevail or will the obstacles he must face be more than he can handle?

 

 

Fallen Reign by Nazri NoorFallen Reign by Nazri Noor:

Half human, half angel, 100% pissed off.

Mason Albrecht’s life changed the day the angels tried to kill him. As the son of a fallen angel king, Mason is an abomination, one who can command the Vestments, divine arms and armor summoned from heaven’s own arsenals. And everybody wants a piece: death witches, demon princes, even deities of ancient myth.

Then an enterprising enchantress offers to cloak Mason from those who would corrupt him into a living weapon. But will Mason run from supernatural entities forever, or embrace his unholy birthright and defy the very forces of heaven and hell?

Sins of the Father is a new adventure series from Nazri Noor, bestselling urban fantasy author of the Darkling Mage series. Follow Mason’s first steps in Fallen Reign, a humorous, high-impact supernatural suspense story filled with magic, mythology, and plenty of mayhem.

The Last Mystic by Susan Kaye QuinnThe Last Mystic by Susan Kaye Quinn:

What if you knew there was life after death?

Eli is back from the dead… and determined to stop the powerful ascenders who blasted him out to the void. But in the three days he was gone, the world moved on. The girl he loves is determined to build an army of augmented humans to fight the ascenders—with herself as the next Offering. The ascenders are lining up in a death cult based on the charismatic ascender Eli accidentally released from storage—and all the restraints that have kept the ascender world in balance are now off. Everyone is rushing to be the first to bring a Second Singularity—to reach the numinous world from which Eli just returned—regardless of the cost. And the chaos and bloodshed of the first Singularity show just how high that cost can be. How can he stop the world from hurtling off the cliff when he’s the one who proved there’s something to reach, if only you could learn how to fly?

The Last Mystic is the thrilling conclusion to the Singularity series. This philosophical, HopePunk sci-fi series explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul in a post-Singularity

Price of Imperium by Dave RobinsonPrice of Imerpium by Dave Robinson:

The Imperium is on the brink of annihilation, and only one person can save it.

After centuries of peace, the Enemy has returned, and the only one who can unlock the Imperium’s last line of defense is the rightful emperor. Unfortunately, the throne has been empty for a decade.

The sole remaining heir is rumored to be on a backwater planet where no one has heard of the Imperium. Can he be found before the Imperial system is dissolved and the ships of the Imperial Guard are sent to the Wreckers?

Tam’s a destroyer skipper who’s been passed over for promotion one too many times. He’s on a routine mission in his last command.

Meanwhile, on Earth, a homeless man dreams of the stars. John doesn’t know who he is, or where he’s from. He just knows someone will come looking for him and he needs to be found.

Jayne is a woman who works at a homeless shelter in Seattle and finds herself a long way from home.

Who among them will be willing to pay the Price of Imperium?

Alarik by Aurora SpringerAlarik by Aurora Springer:

Two people fleeing their planets discover a shared destiny.

When an alien spacecraft crashes on Mars, the repercussions sweep throughout the solar system and endanger the fragile new alliance with the Warrish mermen.

Alarik Kenton Tallis, Eldest of three brothers, was forced to infiltrate human society on Earth as a spy to insure his injured brother receives proper medical care. But, when his transmissions are detected, he must flee the planet.

On Mars, Phoebe Wong, a veterinary scientist with dubious family connections, is desperate to escape the underworld gangs terrorizing the domed city. She jumps at the chance to join the colonists bound for a distant exoplanet.

Their paths converge on a space ferry bound for the outer planets. Troubles created by the mysterious spacecraft pursue them to Jupiter. Will their flight end on Europa, the hyperspace gateway to the stars protected by three diverse species?

Shifters and Sabotage by Lily WebbShifters and Sabotage by Lily Webb:

All’s fair in love and roar…

Zoe Clarke’s life is changing shape. After solving a litter of paranormal mysteries, Zoe’s ready to slow down and focus on domestics with her new live-in shifter boyfriend, Beau.

But someone in Moon Grove is eaten up with jealousy about their relationship — as Zoe learns from the series of disturbing anonymous letters addressed to Beau in their mailbox. So when Zoe finds Beau trapped in his golden retriever form, it’s up to her to sniff out what happened.

From his obsessive co-workers to the secretive community of shifters surrounding him, Zoe’s convinced the attacker is someone in Beau’s pack — until another prominent shifter is found locked in their animal form.

Can Zoe track down the culprit and reverse the shifter curse? Or will the attacker take a bite out of her too?

Shifters and Sabotage is the seventh book in the Magic and Mystery series of witch cozy mysteries. If you like shady shifters, raving reporters, and magical murder mysteries, then you’ll love this lighthearted seventh entry in Lily Webb’s spellbinding series.

Steel City, Veiled Kingdom by Danielle WilliamsSteel City, Veiled Kingdom: The Complete Edition by Danielle Williams:

Jerimin Icarii’s life is in shambles. Once an ambitious young scientist, years of hardship on the streets of his homeworld have transformed him into a desperate man, willing to do anything to get his life back.

In his darkest hour, he strikes a deal with the bizarre Queen of the faerie world. Now her supernatural powers help him keep up appearances while he claws his way back into society. The longer he keeps up the charade, the closer he gets to respect, wealth, and glory. But one slipup will get him killed.

And that’s not even the dangerous part. Because the cost of the Queen’s aid is obedience to her every whim. And Jerimin never knows what she’ll make him do next…

Steel City, Veiled Kingdom is a science fantasy overflowing with intrigue, adventure, and colorful characters you’ll love (and a few you’ll love to hate). It’s the perfect story for any sci-fi/fantasy lover looking for an immersive, inventive read.

Steel City, Veiled Kingdom: The Complete Edition presents the entire story as it was originally envisioned–as a single, complete, epic-length novel. The Complete Edition is only available in digital format at this time. However, all 5 parts of the story are offered as individual volumes in both digital and paperback and are listed here:

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for January 2020

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

So what is “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some December 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, hardboiled mysteries, historical mysteries, medieval mysteries, Victorian mysteries, Jazz Age mystries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, spy thriller, historical thrillers, pulp thrillers, police procedurals, romantic suspense, private investigators, amateur sleuths, judges, FBI agents, police officers, Pinkerton agents, spies, ex-cons, serial killers, kidnappers, missing children, heists, con artists, organised crime, crime-busting witches, crime-busting writers, crime-busting cats, crime-busting ghosts, pinched Pisarros, crime and murder in New York City, Denver, East Berlin, Scotland, Snowdonia, 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:

Where Missing Boys Go by Parker AvrileWhere Missing Boys Go by Parker Avrile:

A missing ex. Two missing children. And the man caught in the middle of a cartel’s proposed hostage exchange.

When his boyfriend vanished with stolen millions, Darke went to prison for his part in the heist. Another man might want revenge. All he wants is the chance to rebuild his life with a new and better man, former FBI Special Agent Flare Greene.

But everybody else– including the FBI– still wants the millions.

When a faceless organization grabs two small hostages to force Darke to lead them to the missing money, he no longer has a choice. He must find his elusive ex or die trying.

And death is not an option as long as the two boys are in the hands of kidnappers.

Meanwhile, the FBI is dangling a mysterious new assignment in front of Flare? an assignment very far away from the rescue of two small hostages. What are the higher-ups in the bureau up to?

If they think they’re going to stop Darke Davis from finding the money first and saving those boys, they’ve got the wrong guy.

Nobody and nothing is stopping Darke from saving those boys.

Not his devious ex.

Not the FBI.

Not even Flare.

Magic Lies by Fatima BaderMagic Lies by Fatima Bader:

Hunting a serial killer can be hazardous to your health.

My name’s Selena Valeron, and I’m the Supernatural Bureau of Investigation’s best undercover witch. After three years, the bureau has just handed me my biggest case: hunting the magical community’s most prolific serial killer, Xavier.

Lately the dead women on the morgue table bear an eerie resemblance to me. A shocking revelation indicates the killer is someone from my past—if I can remember it. Years ago, an accident wiped out my memory and threatened to end my career. Now my magical powers seem to be manifesting into something stronger.

Was my memory loss really an accident, or a failed murder attempt?

Time’s ticking as I dig through my past to find the killer. I need answers. If I can’t get them in time, I’ll lose friends, family—even my own life.

MAGIC LIES is a fast-paced urban fantasy mystery with plenty of thrilling twists and turns that will keep you guessing. Agent Valeron may have lost her memory, but she hasn’t lost her snarky attitude and she’s still a badass witch. Jump into this magical world and start reading the Selena Valeron series today!

Murder by Midnight by Blythe BakerMurder by Midnight by Blythe Baker:

Murder and mystery in a Scottish castle…

When Alice Beckingham boards a train for Edinburgh in 1929, she begins a journey that will test everything she thinks she knows about her past and her family. From the moment of her arrival at the rugged and remote Druiminn Castle, something sinister haunts her steps.

With the murder of her host and the revelation that one of her fellow guests at the castle is an unscrupulous jewel thief, Alice resolves to uncover secrets that someone will stop at nothing to keep hidden.

Coercing the coolly unpredictable Sherborne Sharp into assisting her, Alice follows in the footsteps of her detective cousin Rose and pursues a heartless killer through glittering dining rooms, shadowed passages, and moonlit groves. A mysterious local legend may hold the key to unraveling everything, but will Alice survive long enough to decipher it?

The Pinched Pisarro by Will BriggsThe Pinched Pisarro by Will Briggs:

Sam Powell is a down on his luck con-man on the run from a vindictive ex-con whom he has double crossed.

His luck turns when he’s given one last shot at working for a criminal organization led by an enterprising Park Avenue butler. His mission: steal an invaluable Pissarro from one of Manhattan’s richest socialites.

However, Sam’s ex-partner (who happens to be his ex-girlfriend) doesn’t want anything to do with him so he’s forced to recruit his unwitting neighbor, a struggling piano tutor named Wendell Hoyt, to help.

Sam and Wendell find themselves pitted against a psychopathic hit-man, a criminal organization, and Wendell’s authoritative aunt.

Together they could end up millionaires…if they survive.

The Heavy Hand of the Editor by Cora BuhlertThe Heavy Hand of the Editor by Cora Buhlert:

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

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

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

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

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

Hijinks and Murder by Beth ByersHijinks and Murder by Beth Byers:

January 1926

Violet has received an obscure note, a strange request, and the claim of a murder. She’d like to ignore it, but the writer knows too much about her.

Has someone died? Who is the author of the note and why are they dragging Violet into this crime? Just what is going on and will Violet be able to reach the bottom of this madness?

 

The Vault by Mark DawsonThe Vault by Mark Dawson:

A desperate agent. A petty criminal. An audacious plot.

When Harry Mackintosh is called upon to exfiltrate a valuable asset from East to West Berlin, what could have been an intelligence coup becomes an international embarrassment. Mackintosh’s men and his lover are killed by the East German secret police in a brutal crossfire and he barely escapes with his life. He flees to the West and promises himself that he will have vengeance.

Mackintosh is the head of Berlin Station but he doesn’t have the staff to compete with the Stasi. He returns to London to plead for the resources to fight back. But instead of the seasoned operatives that he needs, Mackintosh is given a single man: Jimmy Walker, a petty criminal with a record for robbing banks.

Mackintosh takes Walker to Berlin and sets in train an audacious plan that will see them both on the other side of the Wall. Mackintosh and Walker face off against Karl-Heinz Sommer, the Stasi general known as die Spinne – the Spider – a man known for his brutality and ruthlessness.

The plan is already a longshot, and then Walker learns of the riches that Sommer stole from displaced Berliners in the days after the Wall was constructed. Will Walker follow orders or will he find the prospect of the Stasi gold in Sommer’s secret vault too tempting to ignore? Will Mackintosh have his revenge or will he become another fly caught in the Spider’s web?

With ambiguous loyalties, clashing agendas and danger beyond measure, these two men will struggle to form a team. But in a battle as unequal as this, the unexpected might be the best strategy that they have.

Ghostly Charms by Lilly Harper HartGhostly Charms by Lilly Harper Hart:

Harper Harlow thought the only thing she was going to have to worry about in the shadow of spring was planning her wedding. She was wrong.A string of break-ins in Whisper Cove have caught the attention of the cops, including her fiancé Jared Monroe. Things take a turn for the worse when one of those break-ins results in the death of a local barber. It seems what was once written off as teenage hijinks is something else entirely. In addition to the break-ins, Harper finds herself distracted by a new resident. He’s bringing an art gallery to town … as well as his troubled sister. Rain Porter doesn’t want to be in Southeastern Michigan and she’s hiding a big secret. Harper is determined to help the girl until the young woman pushes the exact wrong buttons. Things aren’t what they seem and the deeper Harper digs the more she worries that she doesn’t really want to find an answer. When a ghost from the other side of the state shows up and starts invading her dreams, things go from bad to worse. Jared wants nothing more than to protect Harper, but there are some things he can’t fight … and a ghost is one of them. It’s going to take everyone working together to find a way out of this one and even then survival is not a given. Jump on the ghost train with Harper, Jared, and Zander … because this one is going to be a wild ride.

Die in the Wool by Katherine HaytonDie in the Wool by Katherine Hayton:

A sudden death has Tash Mallory all stitched up!

Tash Mallory’s future is in the balance when her employer “Auntie Fran” (no relation) fires her from the knitting shop job she’s held for twenty years. Even worse, when Tash returns to confront her, she finds Fran’s dead body in the back room.

Luckily, the doctor soon concludes the death is from natural causes. A decision cast into doubt when Tash finds out she’s inherited Fran’s store and home.

With an aggrieved nephew determined to fight the will in court and Fran’s despondent fiancé pointing the finger of blame, Tash battles to clear her name. The police mightn’t believe the death was murder, but the good folks of Patiti are quicker to rush to judgement.

If Tash can’t manoeuvre through the undercurrent of small town politics, winning the inheritance will be a Pyrrhic victory. Worse, the doctor’s assessment might be wrong, leaving a killer on the loose.

Murder Comes Home by K.R. HillMurder Comes Home by K.R. Hill:

The body was still warm. He’d never forget that touch.

Private investigator Connor Marin butts heads with the Russian mob as he investigates the murder of his best friend.

While working the case, he discovers that his own father, a police detective, had a bloody secret. To get to the bottom of his father’s story, Connor makes enemies of the police department.

With mob thugs threatening from one direction, and angry cops coming at him from the other, Connor is trapped.

How can he protect his beautiful fiancé, learn the truth about his father, and bring down a killer?

Mooved to Murder by CeeCee JamesMooved to Murder by CeeCee James:

Chelsea Lawson is a ride-or-die friend. When her best friend Tilly asked her to stay at her place to watch her six-year-old daughter and pets for a while, Chelsea didn’t hesitate to say yes. What she didn’t realize was that “Tilly’s place” was a micro-farm and “a few pets” included a cow and two goats as well as a child who was too smart for her own good.

Chelsea was already in over her head before the dead body turned up.

When the local community, instead of offering support, tries to run her out of town, Chelsea suspects something is going on. Something big and rotten. The mayor makes it clear she’s not wanted and the townspeople give her the cold shoulder, but that only makes Chelsea more determined to uncover their secrets.

But no one expected the repercussions those secrets would have, especially Chelsea. Now life on the farm is hanging in the balance. Will Chelsea ever be able to wake up from this nightmare?

Seven Shadows by V.S. KemanisSeven Shadows by V.S. Kemanis:

A criminal prosecutor is bound to make a few enemies over a decades-long career, and Dana Hargrove is no exception. Who has it in for her?

In 2015, the former prosecutor is in her second year as a trial judge in Manhattan. It’s a new world. Dana cut her baby teeth in the DA’s office during the crack epidemic, the ’80s and early ’90s. Now, the murder rate is a fraction of what it was, and public opinion about incarceration is softening. So is Dana. As a judge, she agonizes over every sentencing decision before her.

Midlife has also hit Dana hard on a personal level. She misses her children and adjusts to the empty nest by immersing herself in work. Instead of growing closer to her husband Evan, their relationship becomes strained. What is happening to them?

Tension builds as Judge Hargrove presides over two high-stakes media cases. The defendants: a glamorous dot-com millionaire who killed her business partner, and an orthopedist who runs a deadly pill mill. In the public mail bag, the judge receives a message from an anonymous crank. Then her family starts getting letters that sound all too personal. Someone with an agenda is harassing and shadowing Dana and her loved ones.

In Seven Shadows, the judge and her pursuer are on a collision course meant to teach Dana the meaning of empathy and the value of the people she cherishes most.

Hex Type Thing by Amanda M. LeeHex Type Thing by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter is feeling on top of the world.

She’s embracing her new home on Moonstone Bay and coming into her own as a witch. Her boyfriend Galen Blackwood, who happens to be sheriff, is even involving her in his investigations.

Unfortunately, the peace on Moonstone Bay is about to be threatened.

A local millionaire and a one-hit-wonder songstress are hosting the Skyclad Festival, a paranormal beach extravaganza that features a bevy of famous faces in paranormal circles … and those who want to hobnob with them. There’s only one little problem ….

One of the local influencers, a woman whose only job is to rave about things on the internet, ends up dead. Then, in short order, the organizer himself goes missing. That means Galen is on the case … and Hadley insists on serving as his sidekick.

There are a lot of witches on the island. The question is: Is magic to blame for murder or is something more insidious happening?

It’s going to take everyone working together to find the correct answers – and keep each other safe – as the problem on the beach deteriorates.

Someone has murder on the mind and Hadley is determined to find the culprit. All she has to do is survive long enough to uncover a mystery that has roots in a past long since forgotten … well, and not step on the wrong witchy toes.

The odds of doing both seem long but where there’s a witch, there’s a way.

The Snowdoina Killings by Simon McCleaveThe Snowdonia Killings by Simon McCleave:

A small town murder. A big city detective.

DI Ruth Hunter’s dream of escaping the murderous streets of South London and settling in the rural peace of Snowdonia has come true – until a brutal killing turns it into her worst nightmare.

Detective Inspector Ruth Hunter lives with the pain of her partner’s mysterious and unsolved disappearance. About to hit fifty, the veteran police officer trades in the crime-ridden streets of London for a more peaceful life in rural North Wales. But Ruth has barely settled into her new position in North Wales Police, when the body of a brutally murdered woman is discovered…with strange symbols carved into her skin. Teaming up with an obstinate deputy, Ruth struggles to eliminate anyone from a long line of suspects. When another slain victim is discovered with the same cryptic markings, she’s forced to re-think the investigation.

Has Ruth got what it takes to solve the case before the murderer attacks again?

The Girl That Vanished by A.J. RiversThe Girl That Vanished by A.J. Rivers:

Ring…Ring…

One call from her past was all it took to change everything.

A ten-year-old girl has vanished on her way home from camp.

And things took a turn for the worse when another child, a child that Emma knows, goes missing.

Disappearances, death, and tragedies have followed Emma Griffin throughout her childhood.

Her obsession with finding out the truth behind her past was what led her to join the FBI.

It’s been months since the horror of Feather Nest.

After the shocking revelation of the last case, FBI agent Emma Griffin decides to take a much-needed vacation.

But a phone call from Sheriff Sam Johnson, a man from her past, completely derails her plans.

A young girl has disappeared, and another child has gone missing.

With the number count slowly climbing.

Emma must now put her plans on hold, go back to her hometown and face some ghosts from her past.

When a mysterious package appears on her birthday.

Emma can’t shake the feeling that someone is monitoring her every movement.

Someone is getting too close for comfort.

The question is who?

In the close-knit town of Sherwood, the truth is never as it seems.

All the Good Girls by Willow RoseAll the Good Girls by Willow Rose:

Detective Harry Hunter of Miami PD’s homicide squad throws himself into a case no one asked him to solve.

Four teenagers from one of Miami’s affluent neighborhoods are murdered on a boat. Another is found in a dumpster. All five of them go to the same school and are on a list of witnesses to another crime.

Because he’s in bad standing with his boss, Harry is given the task of protecting a possible future victim, but Harry isn’t always known to follow his boss’s orders.

Soon, he’ll risk everything while racing to stop a killer who has left everyone else in the homicide squad shaking in terror.

An Agent for Pearl by Christine SterlingAn Agent for Pearl by Christine Sterling:

A quiet woman with no desire to become an agent; an agent with no intention of ever having a partner, and the case that cooks up surprises.

Pearl Bolton has enough on her plate, she doesn’t want to add anything else. She loves her job as a cook for the Pinkerton’s Denver office. At night she rushes home to help take care of her invalid father. The last thing she needs is a husband, no matter how temporary. What she didn’t count on was a case that involved her two passions: baking and Pinkerton Agent Zeke Preston.

Zeke Preston has a crush on the shy cook, and he has the extra ten pounds to prove it! He wishes he could get her to open to him, but Pearl doesn’t appear to need anyone or anything. Every time Zeke comes around, it’s as though Pearl avoids him. He knows exactly what to do to get her attention. Someone has sabotaged a national baking competition and he needs her to help solve the case. The fact he must marry her is just a bonus!

Does Pearl assist Zeke in finding the saboteur? When Pearl is the victim of a crime, will Zeke be able to protect her and solve the case? Will their marriage end at the case’s conclusion, or will they bake up something new together?

The Burned Man by Jason VailThe Burned Man by Jason Vail:

One of medieval Ludlow’s mills burns to the ground during a cold November night. Former coroner Stephen Attebrook walks down to the site out of curiosity the following morning like many of the town’s residents, where he discovers the charred corpse of the miller in the smoldering ruins. It could have been an accident, but the evidence points to murder. Mysterious deaths are no longer Attebrook’s business — or so he mistakenly supposes. The constable of Ludlow Castle, anxious to ingratiate himself with the local lord who owns the mill, pushes Attebrook into pursuing the culprit, a move that pitches him into a tapestry of murder and robbery that reaches even into his own home — for a rampaging criminal gang steals all the money he has in the world, threatening him with poverty and ruin. Pulled two ways, Attebrook must decide whether to save his fortune or seek justice for the miller’s death.

Shifters and Sabotage by Lily WebbShifters and Sabotage by Lily Webb:

All’s fair in love and roar…

Zoe Clarke’s life is changing shape. After solving a litter of paranormal mysteries, Zoe’s ready to slow down and focus on domestics with her new live-in shifter boyfriend, Beau.

But someone in Moon Grove is eaten up with jealousy about their relationship — as Zoe learns from the series of disturbing anonymous letters addressed to Beau in their mailbox. So when Zoe finds Beau trapped in his golden retriever form, it’s up to her to sniff out what happened.

From his obsessive co-workers to the secretive community of shifters surrounding him, Zoe’s convinced the attacker is someone in Beau’s pack — until another prominent shifter is found locked in their animal form.

Can Zoe track down the culprit and reverse the shifter curse? Or will the attacker take a bite out of her too?

Shifters and Sabotage is the seventh book in the Magic and Mystery series of witch cozy mysteries. If you like shady shifters, raving reporters, and magical murder mysteries, then you’ll love this lighthearted seventh entry in Lily Webb’s spellbinding series.

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