Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for December 2017

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 November 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, culinary mysteries, paranormal mysteries, historical mysteries, a whole lot of holiday mysteries, police procedurals, legal thrillers, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, private eyes, missing children and missing adults, lawyers, meddling witches, crime solving housemaids, deadly doughnuts 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:

Fatal Festive Donuts by Cindy BellFatal Festive Donuts by Cindy Bell:

Christmastime at the holiday market means mistletoe, colorful lights and…a dead body.

It is almost Christmas and Joyce and Brenda are excited to get a coveted spot at the local holiday market. Business is thriving and they are looking forward to celebrating the holidays.

But Christmas becomes the last thing on their minds when a dead body is found on ‘Donuts on the Move’. Not only is their truck shut down, but they become the prime suspects. With the evidence stacking up against them and a detective who thinks they’re guilty, they decide to take things into their own hands and find the murderer.

Joyce and Brenda’s investigations lead them straight towards danger. Will they find the killer before they land up in handcuffs or even become victims themselves?

Recipe Included: Baked Gingerbread Donuts with Ginger Glaze

Merry Masquerade in Savannah by Hope CallaghanMerry Masquerade in Savannah by Hope Callaghan

Carlita, Mercedes, and Tony are gearing up to celebrate their first Thanksgiving at their new home in historic Savannah, Georgia. Along with the excitement of the upcoming holiday season, there’s a lingering sadness because part of their family won’t be there to celebrate.

When Carlita’s friend, Victoria “Tori” Montgomery, invites the Garlucci family to her “Merry Masquerade” party at Montgomery Hall, Carlita is thrilled to have something to take her mind off the approaching holiday.

Despite a recent theft and an assault on her butler, Tori moves forward with her party plans, a grand affair and a gathering of Savannah’s elite. The Merry Masquerade turns out to be everything it was billed to be and more, when one of Tori’s employees is found murdered inside the pool house.

Is the murder linked to the recent break-in and the butler’s attack at Montgomery Hall? Could the killer be living under Tori’s roof? Or was it a masked party guest trying to make it look like an inside job?

Join the Garlucci women as they help one of Savannah’s most prominent residents track down a killer!

Tampa Two by David ChillTampa Two by David Chill:

David Chill’s colorful and brilliant mystery captures both Raymond Chandler’s gritty vision and Robert B. Parker’s biting humor.

Tampa Two marks the return of Judy Atkin, the teenage runaway who P.I. Burnside arrested a decade earlier for prostitution. He made an enormous mistake by trying to help her, and wound up losing his job as an LAPD officer, along with his honor and reputation. Judy was the catalyst that led him down the path of becoming a Private Investigator, and all the good and bad that came with it.

But Judy is back in L.A. again, and is desperate for Burnside’s help. Her life is in danger, and she tries to persuade Burnside to accompany her into a dangerous situation. While Burnside isn’t fooled this time, she still manages to rope him in, and he quickly finds himself to be a person of interest in a grizzly Santa Monica homicide.

Tampa Two continues to showcase Burnside at his wise-cracking best, exchanging quips with an assortment of fascinating characters, no matter what side of the law they are on. This well-crafted novel is the embodiment of the classic Southern California noir mystery, set against a Los Angeles backdrop, a city that many think they know, but few really do. The story leads readers down a trail of theft, murder and deceit, with sharply honed banter and strikingly original characters. It is a tightly written story that is loaded with both suspense and humor, as well as some jaw-dropping surprises!

Little Lies by Stacy ClaflinLittle Lies by Stacy Claflin:

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

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

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

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

Little Lies is the third captivating standalone novel in the Alex Mercer series of thrillers. If you like edge-of-your-seat suspense, complex characters, and unflinching explorations of real-world problems, then you’ll love USA Today bestselling author Stacy Claflin’s pulse-pounding novel

Merry Buried Christmas by Lyndsey ColeMerry Buried Christmas by Lyndsey Cole:

Murder always ruins the best baked plans . . .

Annie Hunter has a lot on her plate just before Christmas, but it’s not all sugar and spice and everything nice! With an open house at her aunt’s new Blackbird Bed and Breakfast, all Annie hopes for is a drama-free day.

Of course, events never go as planned.

On top of preparing a whirlwind of food, holiday decorating, and keeping to a tight schedule, a surprise visitor is also on the menu. When that visitor turns up dead, Annie must search for the killer to keep everything from crumbling like a stale Christmas cookie.

Annie’s plan to flush out the murderer includes one tasty bribe, a pinch of needling, and a heaping tablespoon of accusation. When she is threatened, it’s time to put it all on the back burner.

But the killer has other ideas.

While the snowflakes fly, Annie finds herself caught between a cookie and a crazy person. This time, it looks like she bit off more than she can chew.

***Merry Buried Christmas is volume 12 in the Black Cat Cafe Cozy Mystery Series. Lyndsey’s books can be read and enjoyed in any order.

Where We Went Wrong by Andi HollowayWhere We Went Wrong by Andi Holloway:

Two families’ pasts unravel when the last person to see a missing girl alive is murdered and the victim’s crime-writing father becomes the prime suspect.

Second wife Harper Stone’s life is nothing like she imagined. A talented writer bound for the kind of greatness she inspires in her husband, Harper exchanges her lifelong dreams of becoming a bestselling author for the ready-made family of her nightmares.

With her eight-year-old stepson at the center of a missing person’s investigation, Harper struggles to balance the obligations of motherhood with her calling as an author, ultimately sacrificing her success in support of her husband, whose crime-writing career is fueled by their ordeal.

It’s only when he becomes the prime suspect in his son’s murder, years later, that she begins asking the difficult questions about his past, about their marriage, and about the disappearance of the little girl whose remains have never been found.

As Harper looks into the cold case where their problems began, she discovers people aren’t who they seem. Not the missing girl’s mother. Not Matthew, the last person to see the girl alive. Not her husband, whose obsession with the disappearance has caused an irreparable rift between them. Not even Harper herself, a woman trapped by obligation and circumstance.

In the throes of an investigation based in the past, solving Matthew’s murder means getting to the bottom of what happened all those years ago. Two families are destroyed by a single bad decision. The question is which decision, and whose was it?

How Aunt Tillie Stole Christmas by Amanda M. LeeHow Aunt Tillie Stole Christmas by Amanda M. Lee:

Fourteen years ago, Christmas hit Walkerville with a bang. Or, rather, a big ball of fire.
When a local group home for orphaned children goes up in smoke right before the holidays, Tillie Winchester volunteers her family to take in some kids – even though her arch nemesis Margaret Little is dead-set against it. Of course, that’s part of the appeal for Tillie so she’s considering it a win.

Three boys – all of them with a little attitude – have no idea what to expect from the Winchester household. No matter what, Tillie is sure they’re about to get more than they bargained for. In short order, they’re welcomed into the family at the same time the town is on edge due to a second fire.

Tillie is determined to prove the boys are innocent while also finding them a forever home … even if she has to take on a local judge and declare all out war to do it.

So, hang your stockings by the fire and sit back for another Christmas with the Winchesters. You’ll never be the same again.

Note: This is a 28,000-word novella set in the Wicked Witches of the Midwest world. It’s set back in the past so it can be read in any order.

Kathleen Catches a Killer by M. Louisa LockeKathleen Catches a Killer by M. Louisa Locke:

It’s the very end of December, 1880, and the servant Kathleen Hennessey expects to spend a quiet week taking care of the O’Farrell Street boarding house while her employers, Annie and Nate Dawson, are off spending the Christmas holidays with Nate’s family. However, when she agrees to help out one of her friends, Kathleen discovers that a simple case of a servant being dismissed without notice has turned into a complicated puzzle that she is determined to solve.

While featuring minor characters from Locke’s Victorian San Francisco mystery series, Kathleen Catches a Killer contains all the light romance, humor, and suspense of the longer works. Chronologically, this novella comes right after the events in Pilfered Promises, but it can be read as a stand-alone and an excellent introduction to this mystery series about the gas-lit world of the late 19th century.

Frostycake Murder by Summer PrescottFrostycake Murder by Summer Prescott:

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM MISSY AND CHAS!!!

Life is full of surprises in the sleepy beachside town of Calgon, Florida, and the holiday season proves to be no exception. Echo faces a new reality that could change her life forever, Missy and Chas wrestle with the pain of facing their own limitations and uncertainties, while Spencer finds himself in a sticky situation relationally.

In the midst of all of the personal turmoil, a gruesome murder is discovered, and Chas once again has to take charge and hope that he finds the ruthless killer, before tragedy strikes a bit closer to home.

Murder Over The Bones by Stephen RandorfMurder Over The Bones by Stephen Randorf:

Detective Gilbert Bass searches for the identity of a homeless man found dead in an archeological dig site. Dinosaur fossils unearthed in the city? Mrs. Wicker and her adult children want the bones, two partners in real estate want the land, and a local activist wants to keep his girlfriend.

 

 

 

Beset by E.H. ReinhardBeset by E.H. Reinhard:

Beset: The Lieutenant Harrington Series, Book 2.

When a spring breaker is found with his head all but removed along the side of a posh Miami Beach hotel, Lieutenant Nash Harrington is tasked with tracking down the person responsible.

But the dead college kid in the bushes is only the beginning. The victim came to town with friends—friends who start dropping like flies.

Just as the lieutenant closes in on his killer, the case takes an immediate left turn into the unknown, a place where Harrington could find himself directly in harm’s way.

North Pole Unlimited by Elle RushNorth Pole Unlimited: Decker and Joy by Elle Rush:
Jaded P.I. Decker Harkness must track down a missing prototype if he wants a shot at a corporate security contract. Sexy cat-lady Joy McCall has her own investigation running after someone breaks into her animal shelter. When they cross paths during a triple kitten-napping, they’ll have to work together to close their cases. Will everyone make it home to celebrate a merry Christmas together?

Only Santa knows.

 

Reasonable Doubt by Rachel SinclairReasonable Doubt by Rachel Sinclair:

A prominent artist from New York City, in town for a show, is found brutally murdered in the back of an art gallery. A prominent gay art dealer stands accused of the murder. He fears he might have done it. He doesn’t remember if he did or not. Damien must get at the truth, which is made more difficult by the fact that even his client doesn’t know the truth about what happened.

In the meantime, Damien throws himself into getting his three best friends out of prison. These men mean everything to him. But getting the three guys out means that they must leave Connor O’Brien behind. Damien can’t stand for this to happen, so he risks everything to make sure that Connor can be freed with the others.

With the hairpin turns and lightning fast pace that you’ve come to expect from a Rachel Sinclair legal thriller, “Reasonable Doubt” is not to be missed!

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Two new releases just in time for the holidays: Christmas on Iago Prime and Weihnachtsshopping mit gebrochenem Herzen

Well, I promised you more new release announcement in the run-up to the holidays and today, I am pleased to announce not one but two new releases. Both of them are holiday stories, one in English and one in German.

Let’s start with the English language story. Back during the first July short story challenge in 2015, I wrote a little story called Valentine’s Day on Iago Prime, in which a couple attempts to celebrate Valentine’s Day at a new settled space colony.

I’d assumed that this was the first and last time I’d ever visit the colony of Iago Prime. However, I try to write a holiday story every year. And when I searched for ideas for a holiday story for this year, I suddenly thought “Why not write a science fictional holiday story about Christmas in a space station or interplanetary colony?” And then I thought, “Why not reuse the Iago Prime setting?”

The result is Christmas on Iago Prime. The protagonist this time around is Libby, a little girl whose scientist parents are due to spend a whole year on Iago Prime, including Christmas. Libby is not at all thrilled about this, at least at first. Kai and Maisie from Valentine’s Day on Iago Prime also appear and they have big news to share.

Currently, the A Year on Iago Prime series has only two installments. However, I may well write other holiday stories set on Iago Prime. After all, we haven’t yet seen Easter on Iago Prime and we only get a tiny glimpse at Halloween on Iago Prime.

But for now, let’s blast off into space and celebrate…

Christmas on Iago Prime
Christmas on Iago PrimeEight-year-old Libby has come with her parents to spend a year at the newly established colony on the planet Iago Prime. Libby’s parents believe that this is a great opportunity for all of them, but Libby is unhappy on Iago Prime. There are no other children on Iago Prime and Libby can’t go anywhere, because she doesn’t even have a space suit. Worst of all, they will spend Christmas on Iago Prime, where there aren’t even any Christmas trees.

However, Libby’s parents, with a little help from Santa Claus himself, conspire to give Libby an unforgettable Christmas on Iago Prime.

This is a science fictional Christmas story of 6600 words or approx. 22 print pages.

More information.
Length: 6600 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

***

The second new release for today is not actually a brand-new story. Instead, it is an existing story, Christmas Shopping with a Broken Heart, translated into German.

So enjoy…

Weihnachtsshopping mit gebrochenem Herzen
Weihnachtsshopping mit gebrochenem HerzenZwei einsame Herzen finden im vorweihnachtlichen Shoppingchaos zueinander.

Als ihr Freund sie vier Wochen vor Weihnachten sitzenlässt, stürzt Hannah sich in die Weihnachtsvorbereitungen, um die Schmerzen zu betäuben. Aber nichts scheint zu helfen, bis Hannah beim Weihnachtseinkauf im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes mit Owen zusammenstößt.
Zwischen Hannah und Owen funkt es sofort. Dabei kämpft Owen mit seinen eigenen alten Schmerzen…

Dies ist eine kurze weihnachtliche Liebesgeschichte von ca. 6300 Worten oder ca. 25 Buchseiten.

Mehr Informationen.
Länge: 6300 Worte
Preis: 0,99 EUR, USD oder GBP
Erhältlich bei Amazon Deutschland, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Niederlande, Amazon Frankreich, Amazon Italien, Amazon Spanien, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australien, Amazon Brasilien, Amazon Mexico, Amazon Japan, Amazon Indien, Kobo, Apple iTunes, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, BOL, Osiander, Mayersche, buecher.de, buch.de, eBook.de, Barnes & Noble, Scribd, 24symbols, Playster, txtr, Inktera, Smashwords, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, Flipkart, e-Sentral und XinXii.

Dieses Buch gibt es auch auf English.

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Magic under the Mistletoe – A Round-up of the Best Indie Holiday Speculative Fiction

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 holiday science fiction, fantasy and horror by indie authors.

These holiday stories cover the broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, paranormal mysteries, science fiction, space opera, time travel, post-apocalyptic fiction, plenty of dragons, werewolves, were-reindeer, elves, telepathic detectives, crime-fighting witches, orphans in danger, troubled marriages, musketeers in space, alien invasions, Christmas in space and after the apocalypse, robots, sentient starships playing Santa and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set around the holidays.

As always with my round-up posts, this round-up of the best indie holiday mysteries 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:

A Dark Root Christmas by April AasheimA Dark Root Christmas: Merry’s Gift by April Aasheim

When ten-year-old Merry Maddock makes a holiday wish on a shooting star, she has no idea how her life will change.
Suddenly, she’s become the parent to a strange baby owl, and the caretaker of what appears to be an enchanted tree.
But will her wish for a family Christmas be granted? Or will her mother’s desire for a year without a holiday win out?
Magick, mystery, and family take center stage in this charming witchy novella featuring the Maddock girls when they are young.
This 20k word novella is a prequel story to the popular Daughters of Dark Root series and can be read as a stand alone novel.

A Very Mercy Christmas by M.Z. AndrewsA Very Mercy Christmas: A Witch Squad Holiday Special by M.Z. Andrews:

It’s Christmas time at the Paranormal Institute for Witches. Excited to go home for the holidays and be reunited with their families, Mercy, Jax, Holly, Sweets, and Alba say their goodbyes. However, when an unpredicted snowstorm ravages Aspen Falls, the girls must scramble to figure out their next move. Tempers flare as blame is placed and feelings are hurt. By the looks of it, Christmas will surely be ruined.

But when a surprise visitor arrives, the girls are forced to find out what friendship really means and decide whether or not it’s worth saving. Visited by some blasts from the past, the girls are given glimpses into each other’s pasts and find out what life would have been like if they’d never met and formed the Witch Squad on the first day of classes.

A Very Mercy Christmas is the 5th book in the Witch Squad Cozy Mystery series – there is no mystery to solve, instead sit back and enjoy a Christmas story about what went down over the Witch Squad’s first winter break and get a glimpse into the lives of each of the girls before they met.

The Journey of Joseph Winter by John AnthonyThe Journey of Joseph Winter: A Christmas Fairy Tale by John Anthony:

A heartwarming Christmas story in the tradition of the holiday classics It’s a Wonderful Life and A Miracle on 34th Street.

Take a personal journey to discover the true magic of Christmas.

Joseph Winter is a good and gentle man, but he carries with him the pain and regret of a childhood mistake.

When a package mysteriously arrives on his doorstep, he is invited on a path to redemption.

Traveling far from his cozy little home in St. Paul, Minnesota, into the snowy landscapes of the Arctic, his touching Christmas journey takes him in search of the one man who may be able to help him find peace—Santa Claus.

An inspirational family Christmas tale in the style of the classic Christmas stories shared by families every holiday season, The Journey of Joseph Winter: A Christmas Fairy Tale is the inspiring story of a man in search of Santa Claus, his childhood, and ultimately—himself.

A Tale of Christmas Past by Katelyn A. BrownA Tale of Christmas Past by Katelyn A. Brown

A woman from the future, trapped in the past…

Avery Lawson expects to spend another holiday alone, with only memories of her parents and her abandoned faith for company. One chilly day, she reads an old journal that once belonged to a pioneer named Kathleen. Avery is captivated by the story, but she never imagined how much her own life would be turned upside down after reading it. In a strange twist of fate, she finds herself transported to a Kansas homestead in the year 1880, with no conceivable way to get home to the future.

Widower Jacob Cole is in desperate need of a housekeeper and nanny for his three young children. When the mysterious Miss Lawson shows up at his farm, his instincts tell him to trust her, despite the bizarre circumstances surrounding her arrival. She quickly becomes an important part of his world. Could she be just what his hurting family needs?

But being from the future, Avery has a dreadful secret. With Christmas fast approaching, can she stop another terrible tragedy from befalling the family? Will she ever make it home to the future? Or–with the Cole children and Jacob steadily breaking down the walls around her heart–does she even want to anymore?

Christmas on Iago Prime by Cora BuhlertChristmas on Iago Prime by Cora Buhlert

Eight-year-old Libby has come with her parents to spend a year at the newly established colony on the planet Iago Prime. Libby’s parents believe that this is a great opportunity for all of them, but Libby is unhappy on Iago Prime. There are no other children on Iago Prime and Libby can’t go anywhere, because she doesn’t even have a space suit. Worst of all, they will spend Christmas on Iago Prime, where there aren’t even any Christmas trees.

However, Libby’s parents, with a little help from Santa Claus himself, conspire to give Libby an unforgettable Christmas on Iago Prime.

This is a science fictional Christmas story of 6600 words or approx. 22 print pages.

The Tinsel-Free Christmas Tree by Cora BuhlertThe Tinsel-Free Christmas Tree: A Not Really SF Short Story by Cora Buhlert

Bertha and Alfred, married for twenty years, enjoy a truly science fictional life in the twenty-first century. But in spite of all the technological marvels surrounding them, an argument about how to decorate the Christmas tree escalates and threatens their marriage.

This parodistic piece is a mundane short story of 2900 words or approximately 12 print pages, written in the style of science fiction’s “golden age” of the 1940s and 1950s.

 

I Wtich You a Merry Christmas by Snow EdenI Witch You a Merry Christmas by Snow Eden:

A heart-warming story about Christmas, elves, Santa Claus…and a really mad witch.

There are many things Cinnamon Mercy Claus is struggling with this holiday season: the memories of long forgotten holidays when the Christmas season was about family; that she’s just found out her grandfather is Santa Claus; and that her grandmother is a witch—who is bent on destroying Christmas for them all.

This is a 30,000-word novella with a dose of Hallmark warmth and crazy witch mayhem!

It is a ‘clean’ read with no cursing. Situations should be appropriate for all ages.

Carrie Hatchett's Christmas by J.J. GreenCarrie Hatchett’s Christmas by J.J. Green:

It’s Christmas! The alien invasion has begun.

Carrie Hatchett’s hoping for a quiet Christmas. She’s got five times as much food as she needs, and she’s made a catnip surprise and a dogfood cake for her pets.

But there’s no rest for Carrie.

An ancient race seems intent on invading Earth. As a Transgalactic Intercultural Community Crisis Liaison Officer, Carrie’s duty-bound to respond to the threat.

The aliens have been spotted at Santa’s Grotto and in a pantomime. Will Carrie find them in time and send them packing before they ruin everyone’s Christmas?

Carrie Hatchett’s Christmas is a standalone novelette in the comedy sci-fi romp Carrie Hatchett, Space Adventurer.

Follow Carrie on her adventures today.

Bringing Christmas to the Dragons by Rinelle GreyBringing Christmas to the Dragons by Rinelle Grey:

She may not be a dragon, but it was her humanity they needed right now.

With time running out before his clan’s prince is discovered by mining or killed by enemy dragons, dragon shifter Jayrian needs to convince the elders to accept help from the humans. He hopes that the clever librarian, Gretchen, might be able to help him with that. He didn’t count on falling for her—that wasn’t part of his plan at all.

Gretchen longs for adventure outside of the books she reads in her job as a small town librarian. But not the kind that involves her moving to the big city to take the promotion her Aunt Mary offers. The cute guy who’s been hanging around the library seems far more exciting—there’s just something about him that draws her—so on impulse, she invites him to her family’s Christmas celebration. When a dragon lands on the front of her car on the way there, she wonders if she’s gotten more than she bargained for.

Together they must find a way to save his prince and clan, without sacrificing who they are, or their budding relationship.

Meet Douglas Fir by Kyndra HatchMeet Douglas Fir by Kyndra Hatch:

People put objects on trees? As a holiday tradition? The singing tree creature is a threat that needs to be eradicated.

Being human isn’t easy with robotic alien residents misunderstanding the simple stuff. Alex can’t imagine his family life without Bazin and Miaxa, though. Time to show them Christmas holiday traditions, preferably without space aliens blowing things up.

 

 

How Aunt Tillie Stole Christmas by Amanda M. LeeHow Aunt Tillie Stole Christmas by Amanda M. Lee:

Fourteen years ago, Christmas hit Walkerville with a bang. Or, rather, a big ball of fire.
When a local group home for orphaned children goes up in smoke right before the holidays, Tillie Winchester volunteers her family to take in some kids – even though her arch nemesis Margaret Little is dead-set against it. Of course, that’s part of the appeal for Tillie so she’s considering it a win.

Three boys – all of them with a little attitude – have no idea what to expect from the Winchester household. No matter what, Tillie is sure they’re about to get more than they bargained for. In short order, they’re welcomed into the family at the same time the town is on edge due to a second fire.

Tillie is determined to prove the boys are innocent while also finding them a forever home … even if she has to take on a local judge and declare all out war to do it.

So, hang your stockings by the fire and sit back for another Christmas with the Winchesters. You’ll never be the same again.

Note: This is a 28,000-word novella set in the Wicked Witches of the Midwest world. It’s set back in the past so it can be read in any order.

A Mind Reader's Christmas by Al MacyA Mind Reader’s Christmas by Al Macy:

Eric Beckman, a mind-reading private investigator, is spending Christmas in snowy Vermont with his wife and daughter. He needs a break from solving cases, but the townspeople convince him to look into the village mystery: Every holiday season, someone switches the baby Jesus with one of the other figures in the town’s Nativity scene.

With the help of his ten-year-old daughter, also a mind reader, he soon learns that some of the residents of the small town are not who–or even what–they seem to be. There’s something supernatural going on in Newburn, Vermont.

His investigation causes an escalation of strange happenings, and soon, swapped manger figures are the least of the town’s worries. If Beckman can’t adjust his view of the world–force himself to believe in things he never thought possible–the Christmas vacation could turn out to be his family’s last.

A Mind Reader’s Christmas may be read as a standalone book or as Book Four in the Eric Beckman series.

In Time for Christmas by Monique MartinIn Time for Christmas by Monique Martin:

At a time when interest in the Christmas holiday was waning, Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol and inspired the world.

But now, history is changing, and the book is never written. When the Council for Temporal Studies asks time travelers Simon and Elizabeth Cross to “save Christmas,” they think he’s joking.

But it’s anything but a laughing matter. Simon and Elizabeth must go back to 1843 London and convince Dickens to write his endearing story, or the Christmas holiday we all know and love will cease to be–forever.

Christmas in New York by Monique MartinChristmas in New York by Monique Martin:

Time-Traveling adventurers Simon and Elizabeth Cross return in an all-new Christmas novella!

Along with their young daughter, Charlotte, the Crosses travel back to 1937 New York City to visit an old friend, Charlie Blue. But Charlie’s in trouble — holiday-sized trouble — and their plans for a pleasant little Christmas vacation soon fly out the window.

Christmas in New York is the fast-paced and heartwarming tale of the true meaning of Christmas — and the importance of the people we share it with.

Not His Christmas by Annie NicholasNot His Christmas by Annie Nicholas:

It’s Eoin and Angie’s first Christmas together and he wants to make it special. But his dragoness is lacking holiday spirit and doesn’t want anything to do with celebrating. Does Angie think Eoin is the type of dragon who could ignore her unhappiness? Clipping on his jingle bells and grabbing the mistletoe, Eoin is on a mission.

 

 

 

Snowed in with the Alien Dragon by Sonia NovaSnowed in with the Alien Dragon by Sonia Nova

A Christmas without warmth…
Rachel hates her life in Alaska. She hates the weather, but even more, she hates her job which requires her to stay in the sodden state even for the holidays! Instead of going to visit her family in sunny California, she will be spending the holidays alone in the cold north. But when she encounters an unconscious, golden alien on the way home from work – amidst a massive snowstorm to top it all off – it looks like the holidays might not end up as boring as she’d thought after all!

A dragon paralyzed by cold…
Captain Erro of Traag never thought to go down in a battle. Even less did he think to find his mate on the surface of the planet he crashes on! Trapped in the planet’s frozen wasteland, Erro can hardly function in the cold climate. He’s a dragon, for heaven’s sake! He needs some heat! And yet, despite the icy weather seeping into his bones, every time the strangely beautiful alien female smiles at him, his inner flame burns stronger than ever. She is his mate, there is no question about that.

Now, if only he could understand what the hell she was saying…

Snowed in with the Alien Dragon is a standalone sci-fi romance novella with a scorching hot dragon, a HEA and no cliffhangers. Intended for mature audiences only.

When Birdie Babysat Spider by Kristen PainterWhen Birdie Babysat Spider: A Jayne Frost Short Story by Kristen Painter:

Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year.

Jayne Frost is a lot of things. Winter elf, Jack Frost’s daughter, Santa Claus’s niece, heir to the Winter Throne and now…private investigator. Sort of.

But none of that matters at the moment, because Jayne is headed back to the North Pole to visit her family, and leaving everyone’s favorite werewolf, Birdie Caruthers, to watch her cat, Spider.

With the heartfelt promise that all will be well, Birdie follows Jayne’s instructions to the letter. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop Spider from getting into trouble.

It takes the help of a gentlemen friend (and a few others), for Birdie to make things right again. But not before her love life takes a very interesting turn…

The Krampus Hunters by J.P. ReedmanThe Krampus Hunters by J.P. Reedman:

Krampus, haunter of the dark winter’s nights before Yule, comes bearing a switch to beat ‘bad children’…

Young Snoefrith, daughter of the Erl-King, leaves her homeland on a quest to find her lost mother…and a life. As she travels in wild, unfamiliar lands, she is accosted by Old Nickor, a red-robed goblin who flies the wintry skies in a sleigh pulled by coal-black deer, and his bestial companion, Krampus. Nickor sets Krampus upon Snowfrith, seeking to capture her to sell to the Kobold King who dwells under the mountains.
Rescued by Red Roo, a feisty girl who is the best archer in the Wandron tribe, Snoefrith believes she is now safe.
But Krampus is determined to capture his prey and please his master, Nickor. Under cover of darkness, he destroys the Wandron’s caravans and sends Snoefrith and Red Roo fleeing into the forest and beyond.
Soon they learn that they cannot flee forever.
The hunted must become the hunters….

KRAMPUS HUNTERS

A short fantasy novelette for all ages, 15,000 words.

Joyeux by Tansy Rayner RobertsJoyeux: A Musketeer Space Novella by Tansy Rayner Roberts

There’s mistletoe growing out of the walls, it’s snowing inside the space station, and a sex scandal is brewing that could bring down the monarchy. Must be Joyeux!

Joyeux on Paris Satellite is a seven day festival of drunken bets, poor decision-making, religious contemplation and tinsel. But mostly, poor decision-making. Athos and Porthos aren’t going to sleep together. Aramis is breaking up with her girlfriend because it’s that or marry her. Athos is not ready to deal with the ghost of his ex-husband. Oh, and no one wants Prince Alek to break his marriage contract by hooking up with a sexy Ambassador…

It’s down to the Musketeers and the Red Guard to save the space station and the solar system from disaster. So… that’s not going to end well.

This novella is a festive prequel to Musketeer Space, a genderflipped space opera retelling of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

Jingle Stars by Jenny SchwartzJingle Starr by Jenny Schwartz:

When a starship decides to play Santa Claus…

Ahab is a mLa’an artificial intelligence embedded in the starship, Orion.

The campaign for AIs to be recognized as full citizens of Galaxy Proper is within reach of its extraordinary goal. The only thing that could stop it now is if an AI did something foolish…like take a space station hostage to save eight orphaned children.

***
And this is the letter to Santa that starts it all:

Dear Santa

I don’t know if yourreindeers work in space. But if you have room in your sleigh after you finishdelivering presents to the lucky kids with parents and homes, can you come and getme and my friends? Please?

We’ve been good. Well,we haven’t been really bad. We’re on Station Elphame, in the junkyard, and Zoeis sick. She’s bad sick. I think she’d be better on a planet. We don’t needpresents. We just need a way out of here. Ollie tried to sneak onto atrampship…he died.

Please, Santa, I don’twant any more of my friends to die.

Aiden.

Elves and Deer by Hollis ShilohElves and Deer by Hollis Shiloh:

Greer is a reindeer shifter working at a magical shipping hub up North. He has little use for or understanding of elves—such delicate, short-lived creatures—but he tries to do his best by the ones in his life. And it seems like more and more are coming into his life, confusing and frustrating him, needing help, needing rescued.

Since Greer is always busy, it’s easy to overlook the things he doesn’t want to acknowledge—until a terrible danger gives him unwanted time to think…and to realize there’s just one elf who means more to him than he’s ever wanted to admit.

A Christmas tale
38,000 words
Heat level: very low

Blood and Mistletoe by E.J. StevensBlood and Mistletoe by E.J. Stevens:

Holidays are worse than a full moon for making people crazy. In Harborsmouth, where many of the residents are undead vampires or monstrous fae, the combination may prove deadly.

Ivy Granger, psychic private investigator, returns to the streets of Harborsmouth in this addition to the bestselling urban fantasy series.

Holidays are Hell, a point driven home when a certain demon attorney returns with information regarding a series of bloody murders. Five Harborsmouth residents have been killed and every victim has one thing in common–they are fae. Whoever is killing faeries must be stopped, but they only leave one clue behind–a piece of mistletoe floating in a pool of the victim’s blood.

The holidays just got interesting. Too bad this case may drive Ivy mad before the New Year. Heck, she’ll be lucky to survive Christmas.

Cloaked in Christmas by T.F. WalshCloaked in Christmas by T.F. Walsh:

After fleeing her abusive ex, wulfkin Cacey Varg and her daughter settle happily with a new pack in Finland. As Christmas approaches, Cacey learns her ex has found them and is on his way to take their daughter back. But a massive snowstorm prevents her from packing up and leaving town – and instead delivers a sexy stranger to her doorstep. Can she trust that he isn’t one of her ex’s henchmen?

Second-in-command to Europe’s most powerful wulfkin, hunter Vincent Lyall’s spur-of-the-moment decision to check on his ailing mother soon finds him marooned at a cabin in the woods by the blizzard of the century. Trapped with this spirited vixen, resisting temptation is easier said than done . . . But she refuses to believe he is who he says he is.

Is love powerful enough to win when two sexy wolf shifters, an unwelcome past, and animalistic urges wreak havoc on the holiday season?
Sensuality Level: Sensual

A Most Apocalyptic Christmas by Phil WilliamsA Most Apocalyptic Christmas by Phil Williams:

On the night before Christmas, mercenary Scullion’s ride home is ambushed halfway between the last surviving cities in America. Concerned only with getting drunk for the holiday, his attempts to abandon his fellow passengers to bandits lead him on a collision course with a barbaric community who have utterly distorted the seasonal spirit. This is one madcap night he cannot survive alone, challenging his perceptions of the meaning of Christmas.

A Most Apocalyptic Christmas is a near-future dystopian novella, set in a war-ravaged land where chaotic city states are all that are left of once powerful countries. Born fighters like the thug Scullion are the predominant survivors in this desolate world devoid of resources, comforts and hope.

This is a Faergrowe Free State novella, set in the same world of the screenplay The Faergrowe Principle.

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Murder under the Mistletoe – A Round-up of the Best Indie Holiday Mysteries and Crime Fiction

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 holiday mysteries by indie authors.

The holiday mysteries cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have plenty of cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, culinary mysteries, paranormal mysteries, historical mysteries, romantic suspense, police procedurals, pulp thrillers, men’s adventure, private eyes, masked crime fighters, telepathic detectives, crime-fighting witches, orphans in danger and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set around the holidays.

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 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:

A Very Mercy Christmas by M.Z. AndrewsA Very Mercy Christmas: A Witch Squad Holiday Special by M.Z. Andrews:

It’s Christmas time at the Paranormal Institute for Witches. Excited to go home for the holidays and be reunited with their families, Mercy, Jax, Holly, Sweets, and Alba say their goodbyes. However, when an unpredicted snowstorm ravages Aspen Falls, the girls must scramble to figure out their next move. Tempers flare as blame is placed and feelings are hurt. By the looks of it, Christmas will surely be ruined.

But when a surprise visitor arrives, the girls are forced to find out what friendship really means and decide whether or not it’s worth saving. Visited by some blasts from the past, the girls are given glimpses into each other’s pasts and find out what life would have been like if they’d never met and formed the Witch Squad on the first day of classes.

A Very Mercy Christmas is the 5th book in the Witch Squad Cozy Mystery series – there is no mystery to solve, instead sit back and enjoy a Christmas story about what went down over the Witch Squad’s first winter break and get a glimpse into the lives of each of the girls before they met.

Fatal Festive Donuts by Cindy BellFatal Festive Donuts by Cindy Bell:

Christmastime at the holiday market means mistletoe, colorful lights and…a dead body.

It is almost Christmas and Joyce and Brenda are excited to get a coveted spot at the local holiday market. Business is thriving and they are looking forward to celebrating the holidays.

But Christmas becomes the last thing on their minds when a dead body is found on ‘Donuts on the Move’. Not only is their truck shut down, but they become the prime suspects. With the evidence stacking up against them and a detective who thinks they’re guilty, they decide to take things into their own hands and find the murderer.

Joyce and Brenda’s investigations lead them straight towards danger. Will they find the killer before they land up in handcuffs or even become victims themselves?

Recipe Included: Baked Gingerbread Donuts with Ginger Glaze

A Bullet for Father Christmas by Cora BuhlertA Bullet for Father Christmas by Cora Buhlert:

When two men dressed up as Father Christmas rob a London jewellery store and one of them ends up dead on the floor, shot by his own accomplice, it’s certainly one of the more unusual cases for Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd and her team. But as Helen begins to investigate, it turns out that the case is even more bizarre than she suspected.

This is a mystery novelette of 9300 words or approx. 30 print pages.

 

St. Nicholas of Hell's KitchenSt. Nicholas of Hell’s Kitchen by Cora Buhlert:

Christmas time in 1930s New York. After escaping through the chimney of an orphanage in Hell’s Kitchen, Richard Blakemore a.k.a. the masked crimefighter known only as the Silencer is mistaken for Santa Claus by one of the children and learns that the orphanage is under siege by both a gang of brutal racketeers and an unscrupulous landlord.

Richard vows to help the children and their guardians. However, it turns out that the attacks on the orphanage are only part of a much larger plot, when Richard’s quest for justice leads him into the upper echelons of Manhattan’s high society.

Soon, the Silencer finds himself face to face with one of the most powerful men in the city, while Richard and Constance struggle to save the orphanage and give the children of Hell’s Kitchen an unforgettable Christmas.

This is a novella of 30000 words or approximately 100 pages in the Silencer series, but may be read as a standalone.

Merry Masquerade in Savannah by Hope CallaghanMerry Masquerade in Savannah by Hope Callaghan

Carlita, Mercedes, and Tony are gearing up to celebrate their first Thanksgiving at their new home in historic Savannah, Georgia. Along with the excitement of the upcoming holiday season, there’s a lingering sadness because part of their family won’t be there to celebrate.

When Carlita’s friend, Victoria “Tori” Montgomery, invites the Garlucci family to her “Merry Masquerade” party at Montgomery Hall, Carlita is thrilled to have something to take her mind off the approaching holiday.

Despite a recent theft and an assault on her butler, Tori moves forward with her party plans, a grand affair and a gathering of Savannah’s elite. The Merry Masquerade turns out to be everything it was billed to be and more, when one of Tori’s employees is found murdered inside the pool house.

Is the murder linked to the recent break-in and the butler’s attack at Montgomery Hall? Could the killer be living under Tori’s roof? Or was it a masked party guest trying to make it look like an inside job?

Join the Garlucci women as they help one of Savannah’s most prominent residents track down a killer!

Merry Buried Christmas by Lyndsey ColeMerry Buried Christmas by Lyndsey Cole:

Murder always ruins the best baked plans . . .

Annie Hunter has a lot on her plate just before Christmas, but it’s not all sugar and spice and everything nice! With an open house at her aunt’s new Blackbird Bed and Breakfast, all Annie hopes for is a drama-free day.

Of course, events never go as planned.

On top of preparing a whirlwind of food, holiday decorating, and keeping to a tight schedule, a surprise visitor is also on the menu. When that visitor turns up dead, Annie must search for the killer to keep everything from crumbling like a stale Christmas cookie.

Annie’s plan to flush out the murderer includes one tasty bribe, a pinch of needling, and a heaping tablespoon of accusation. When she is threatened, it’s time to put it all on the back burner.

But the killer has other ideas.

While the snowflakes fly, Annie finds herself caught between a cookie and a crazy person. This time, it looks like she bit off more than she can chew.

***Merry Buried Christmas is volume 12 in the Black Cat Cafe Cozy Mystery Series. Lyndsey’s books can be read and enjoyed in any order.

The Cop Who Stole Christmas by Christie CraigThe Cop Who Stole Christmas by Christie Craig:

It’ll take a tall, hot Texan and a little holiday spirit to mend a broken heart and catch a Christmas killer . . .

Savanna Edwards is feeling downright Scrooge-like. Who can blame her? A truly unjolly Santa—suit, beard and all—just repossessed her car because of her ex’s shady business dealings. She’d like to murder the no-good lying cheat, but somebody already did that for her—and left him right in the middle of her kitchen, wrapped up with a bow.

Detective Mark Donaldson has a rule against getting involved with his neighbors. He can look—and he’s studied every sweet curve of Savanna from across the street—but he can’t touch. So when she lands on his doorstep in need of help, he finds himself torn between being naughty or nice, and fights every urge to unwrap her like a shiny new Christmas present.

Trouble is, even Mark can’t resist a little holiday magic . . . and there’s definitely something magical happening between him and the girl next door.

Winter Downs by Jan EdwardsWinter Downs by Jan Edwards:

Bunch Courtney stumbles upon the body of Jonathan Frampton in a woodland clearing. Is this a case of suicide, or is it murder? Bunch is determined to discover the truth but can she persuade the dour Chief Inspector Wright to take her seriously?

In January of 1940 a small rural community on the Sussex Downs, already preparing for invasion from across the Channel, finds itself deep in the grip of a snowy landscape, with an ice-cold killer on the loose.

 

Potluck by Cynthia E. HurstPotluck by Cynthia E. Hurst:

The R&P Labs staff members are planning their Christmas potluck lunch when a stranger arrives on the doorstep with an announcement that threatens to turn several lives upside down. ’Tis the season to be wary, and in this short story, the five scientific sleuths have to do some rapid research to discover whether one of them will be getting a very unusual Christmas present.

 

 

Zukie's Gift by Cynthia E. HurstZukie’s Gift by Cynthia E. Hurst:

All sorts of things were donated for St Augustine’s Christmas bazaar — books, second-hand clothes, cookies, murder weapons …

Zukie’s Gift is a short story and part of the Zukie Merlino Mysteries series.

 

 

 

How Aunt Tillie Stole Christmas by Amanda M. LeeHow Aunt Tillie Stole Christmas by Amanda M. Lee:

Fourteen years ago, Christmas hit Walkerville with a bang. Or, rather, a big ball of fire.
When a local group home for orphaned children goes up in smoke right before the holidays, Tillie Winchester volunteers her family to take in some kids – even though her arch nemesis Margaret Little is dead-set against it. Of course, that’s part of the appeal for Tillie so she’s considering it a win.

Three boys – all of them with a little attitude – have no idea what to expect from the Winchester household. No matter what, Tillie is sure they’re about to get more than they bargained for. In short order, they’re welcomed into the family at the same time the town is on edge due to a second fire.

Tillie is determined to prove the boys are innocent while also finding them a forever home … even if she has to take on a local judge and declare all out war to do it.

So, hang your stockings by the fire and sit back for another Christmas with the Winchesters. You’ll never be the same again.

Note: This is a 28,000-word novella set in the Wicked Witches of the Midwest world. It’s set back in the past so it can be read in any order.

Cremas, Christmas Cookies and Crroks by Harper LinCremas, Christmas Cookies and Crooks by Harper Lin:

It’s almost Christmastime in Cape Bay, and another murder has everyone in town talking. A despised new drama teacher at the local high school is killed in the school’s parking lot. The police arrest a beloved teacher, Mrs. Crowsdale, but everyone else thinks she is too nice to murder anyone. Mike, however, says they have solid evidence that proves she did it.

Sammy is particularly devastated. Mrs. Crowsdale was her favorite teacher and still her hero. Sammy begs Fran to find the real culprit. Fran isn’t so sure. Mike would be angry with her for butting in on another case. And what if more danger befalls her? After all, there are some pretty dangerous people in town…

Includes 3 special recipes!

Pilfered Promises by M. Louisa LockePilfered Promises by M. Louisa Locke:

Holiday cover edition: It is November, 1880, and the future looks promising for Annie and Nate Dawson. Nate’s law practice is taking off. Annie has made the transition from pretend clairvoyant to a successful financial consultant. And they are looking forward to spending their first Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays together.

For Robert Livingston, the owner San Francisco’s newest grand emporium, the holidays don’t look so promising. Not if he can’t figure out how to stop whoever is stealing from his department store, the Silver Strike Bazaar. However, when he hires the Dawsons to investigate, they discover that behind the doors of his “Palace of Plenty,” nothing is quite what it seems.

Pilfered Promises, a sweet cozy historical mystery, is the fifth novel in the Victorian San Francisco Mystery series featuring Annie and Nate Dawson and their friends and family in the O’Farrell Street boarding house and it comes right before the newest novella, Kathleen Catches a Killer

Kathleen Catches a Killer by M. Louisa LockeKathleen Catches a Killer by M. Louisa Locke:

It’s the very end of December, 1880, and the servant Kathleen Hennessey expects to spend a quiet week taking care of the O’Farrell Street boarding house while her employers, Annie and Nate Dawson, are off spending the Christmas holidays with Nate’s family. However, when she agrees to help out one of her friends, Kathleen discovers that a simple case of a servant being dismissed without notice has turned into a complicated puzzle that she is determined to solve.

While featuring minor characters from Locke’s Victorian San Francisco mystery series, Kathleen Catches a Killer contains all the light romance, humor, and suspense of the longer works. Chronologically, this novella comes right after the events in Pilfered Promises, but it can be read as a stand-alone and an excellent introduction to this mystery series about the gas-lit world of the late 19th century.

'Tis the Season by Jean Louise and Michael Yaworsky‘Tis the Season: Two short holiday stories by Jean Louise and Michael Yaworsky:

Heartwarming stories of comfort and joy….

In Stealing Christmas, two modern-day Robin Hoods use a little fa-la-la-la-larceny to bring cheer to those who could use it most.

Tipping Point is the story of a single act of generosity that sets a series of acts into motion, touching a surprising number of people with the holiday spirit.

 

A Mind Reader's Christmas by Al MacyA Mind Reader’s Christmas by Al Macy:

Eric Beckman, a mind-reading private investigator, is spending Christmas in snowy Vermont with his wife and daughter. He needs a break from solving cases, but the townspeople convince him to look into the village mystery: Every holiday season, someone switches the baby Jesus with one of the other figures in the town’s Nativity scene.

With the help of his ten-year-old daughter, also a mind reader, he soon learns that some of the residents of the small town are not who–or even what–they seem to be. There’s something supernatural going on in Newburn, Vermont.

His investigation causes an escalation of strange happenings, and soon, swapped manger figures are the least of the town’s worries. If Beckman can’t adjust his view of the world–force himself to believe in things he never thought possible–the Christmas vacation could turn out to be his family’s last.

A Mind Reader’s Christmas may be read as a standalone book or as Book Four in the Eric Beckman series.

Frostycake Murder by Summer PrescottFrostycake Murder by Summer Prescott:

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM MISSY AND CHAS!!!

Life is full of surprises in the sleepy beachside town of Calgon, Florida, and the holiday season proves to be no exception. Echo faces a new reality that could change her life forever, Missy and Chas wrestle with the pain of facing their own limitations and uncertainties, while Spencer finds himself in a sticky situation relationally.

In the midst of all of the personal turmoil, a gruesome murder is discovered, and Chas once again has to take charge and hope that he finds the ruthless killer, before tragedy strikes a bit closer to home.

North Pole Unlimited by Elle RushNorth Pole Unlimited: Decker and Joy by Elle Rush:
Jaded P.I. Decker Harkness must track down a missing prototype if he wants a shot at a corporate security contract. Sexy cat-lady Joy McCall has her own investigation running after someone breaks into her animal shelter. When they cross paths during a triple kitten-napping, they’ll have to work together to close their cases. Will everyone make it home to celebrate a merry Christmas together?

Only Santa knows.

 

Blood and Mistletoe by E.J. StevensBlood and Mistletoe by E.J. Stevens:

Holidays are worse than a full moon for making people crazy. In Harborsmouth, where many of the residents are undead vampires or monstrous fae, the combination may prove deadly.

Ivy Granger, psychic private investigator, returns to the streets of Harborsmouth in this addition to the bestselling urban fantasy series.

Holidays are Hell, a point driven home when a certain demon attorney returns with information regarding a series of bloody murders. Five Harborsmouth residents have been killed and every victim has one thing in common–they are fae. Whoever is killing faeries must be stopped, but they only leave one clue behind–a piece of mistletoe floating in a pool of the victim’s blood.

The holidays just got interesting. Too bad this case may drive Ivy mad before the New Year. Heck, she’ll be lucky to survive Christmas.

Gusty Lovers and Cadavers by Anne R. TanGusty Lovers and Cadavers by Anne R. Tan:

Gusty winds…and a trail of destruction.

Graduate student Raina Sun is in for a season of mayhem and murder. When she volunteered to take the new foreign exchange student shopping on the last weekend before Christmas, she ended up in a riot for the last hot toy of the season and an abandoned baby. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be a Good Samaritan.

But calling the mysterious phone number in the diaper bag leads to more questions than answers. A strange man claims to be the child’s father, and his alleged mother turns up dead. The local police are more interested in keeping the town’s good name out of international news than considering if there’s foul play. And to make matters worse, she has less than a week to find his birth parents before the FBI takes over the case.

Raina summons her sleuthing skills to protect this baby and soon discovers everyone has a few skeletons in their closets. With her pimp-cane-toting grandma, she must track down a hidden killer before she becomes the next victim. There’s no place for an amateur when it comes to murder…

Don’t miss out on Raina’s new adventure–get your copy of “Gusty Lovers and Cadavers” today!

Run-A-Way for Christmas by Victoria L.K. WilliamsRun-A-Way for Christmas by Victoria L.K. Williams:

Christmas is all about children, but usually not all the children at once.

Megan and her faithful beagle Barney meet a gang of runaway children at the beach. Soon the investigative duo learn of exploitation, injury, and murder and with the help of FBI consultant Aiden and his dog, Gypsy, begin to investigate.

Megan’s family and friends rally round and share the joy of Christmas with the children who need it most, while Megan finds that Christmas is truly a time of love.

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And Another Announcement: New Poem Published

Yes, as the title indicates, this is another announcement post. Well, I warned you there might be a few of those in the run-up to the holidays.

This time, the announcement concerns an aspect of my writing that I don’t indulge as much anymore as I once did, namely poetry. As the Haiku Box at the Cora Buhlert site indicates, I actually do have a history of writing poetry and also had a couple of poems published. However, ever since newleaf magazine, which automatically got the first look at any new poem I wrote, went on indefinite hiatus, any new poem I wrote usually ended up in the “poetry” folder on my harddrive with a note “Find a place to submit this later”. Alas, “later” often turned into “never”.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when I saw a call for submissions for a poetry webzine called Umbel & Panicle that focusses on photography and poems about all things botanical, largely because I follow their editor-in-chief Joyce Chng and their social media manager Jen Zink on Twitter. I checked out the magazine, liked what I saw and thought, “Botanical poems on the theme of ‘graft’? Let’s check the poetry folder.” So I submitted a poem, had it accepted and now you can all read it in Issue 6 of Umbel & Panicle.

My poem is called “Experiment” and you can read it here, illustrated by a beautiful photo of a hybrid fruit tree in bloom. However, you should really read the whole issue, which also contains some wonderful poems by Eva Papasoulioti and Jessica Seaborn as well as stunning photos by Darin Wahl. And while you’re at it, why don’t you check out the back issues, too, because Umbel & Panicle does some very good work.

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And another new release announcement: Steaks, Walls and Dossiers: The Best Trump Anthology Ever

Yes, I have another new release to announce, this time another anthology in which I have a story. This release rather snuck up on me, since I only heard today that the anthology was out. Otherwise, the announcement would have gone into yesterday’s big announcement post.

This is anthology has been almost a year in the making. For last year, shortly after the US presidential elections, editor George Donnelly sent out a call for submissions for a Donald Trump themed flash fiction anthology. I initially intended to sit this one out – not my president, not my problem. But then I had an idea, so I wrote a little flash fiction story, sent it out and had it accepted. And then the waiting began. However, as we say in Germany, what takes a long time, will eventually be good.

So here it is: Steaks, Walls and Dossiers, an anthology of not quite serious flash fiction stories about Donald Trump. And it’s not just any old Trump anthology either – no, this is the very best Trump anthology ever. Okay, so I only know of one other Trump anthology, but based on the sample for that one, I’d say that ours is definitely better.

Steaks, Walls and Dossiers: The Best Trump Anthology Ever
Steaks, Walls and Dossiers: The Best Trump Anthology EverTime assassins. The entire nation of Scotland. Satan himself.
You thought President Donald J. Trump was outrageous? See 13 fictional Trumps combat absurd enemies in these amazing 16 short stories — the BEST ever.
Some classy but most downright ludicrous, these tremendously winning stories are going to take care of your need for entertainment, Little Reader Man. Believe me!
We’re making fiction great again for billions and trillions of incredible readers just like you. You know it, I know it, everybody knows it. Grab your copy now!
These stories are imploding, and soon will explode. To miss out would cause an absolute and total catastrophe. Buy the book now before the price goes up!
WARNING: Not suitable for low-energy types, weak men, losers, lightweights, zeros, Crazy Megyn, Crooked Hillary or Lyin’ Ted!
What are you waiting for? Do your thing, Little Reader Man!

List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India and Amazon Mexico.

***

My story in this anthology is called “The Trump That Ate the Solar System”. In this story, Trump goes Galactus/Dark Phoenix on the solar system. Other shocking developments include Mike Pence accidentally getting electrocuted into gayness and Melania breaking a fingernail. So really, what are you waiting for? Grab your copy today!

The story was inspired by this cover of the German political magazine Der Spiegel, which is only one of several marvellous Trump covers Der Spiegel ran over the past year. Honestly, you could fill a whole anthology just with stories inspired by those covers.

Coincidentally, “The Trump That Ate the Solar System” is not the first time that the current president of the US has made an appearance in my fiction (and it probably won’t be the last time either). For almost a year ago, I published the Silencer holiday novella St. Nicholas of Hell’s Kitchen, in which the Silencer tangles with a crooked real estate magnate named Reginald Rumpus atop Rumpus’ dark tower on 5th Avenue. At the time, I described Reginald Rumpus and his wife Melody as “Donald and Melania Trump as portrayed by Wallace Beery and Jean Harlow”. So if you’re not satisfied with reading 16 flash fiction stories about Donald Trump in various guises or if you’re looking for a thrilling and heart-warming holiday novella, St. Nicholas of Hell’s Kitchen is the story for you.

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A Milestone, Two Sales and a New Science Fiction Story: A Mess of Arms and Legs and Limbs

Well, I told you there would be more new release announcements in the run-up to the holidays, so here is another.

But before we get to the story, I also have a couple of other announcements to make. For starters, I just crossed the 3000 lifetime sales threshold a few days ago and blogged about it, including a detailed breakdown of vendors and books, at this very blog.

What is more, there are also a couple of seasonal book sales going on at the moment. For starters, there is the Magic Winter Book sale, which offers plenty of holiday and winter-themed science fiction and fantasy books for 99 cents all December long.

If romance is more your thing, author C.B. Maurice has organised a holiday romance cross promo, which will also run all December long. The promo is divided into sweet holiday romances and spicy holiday romances, so there’s something for every heat level. Oh yes, and you can also find some books by me in both promos.

If your reading needs still aren’t satisfied by all the low cost holiday book on offer, I also have a new release of my own to announce. It’s an action-packed science fiction story called A Mess of Arms and Legs and Limbs and it’s another story to come out of the 2017 July short story challenge.

The inspiration for this story was a thread at KBoards about the genre expectations of space opera and military SF audiences. Now if you’ve taken a look at the space opera and military science fiction bestseller lists at Amazon recently, you’ll have noticed that about 95 percent of them consist of stories about humanity locked in a mortal struggle with evil aliens (who are of course either insectoid or reptilian or – if we’re going to be really original – a Cthulhu knock-off) and only Captain Manly McMannerson and his ragtag crew of misfits and outcasts can save humanity. A lot of the time, the blurbs read like something that might have appeared in Astounding Stories or Amazing Stories in the 1930s to 1950s. My reaction to such stories is usually “Meh. Been there, read that and besides, Heinlein did it better”.

However, these stories undoubtedly popular. And then during that discussion on KBoards, someone posted, “Well, who doesn’t love the description of alien blood splattering across a bulkhead?” and I thought, “Uhm, me. Cause the evil aliens and the splattering alien blood are just a big, huge cliché.”

Since I was just doing the July short story challenge at the time, I thought, “Hey, why don’t I just try to ‘write to market’ for once and write a story about heroic humans fighting evil aliens, complete with alien blood splattering onto bulkheads. So I started writing a scene told from the POV of someone crouching behind a barricade waiting to blast away some invading aliens. I followed my at that point still nameless protagonist through the aliens’ initial attack and the immediate aftermath. Then I wondered, along with Matt (who’d gained a name by now) and Cally just what to do next and how to defeat the aliens. And this is how A Mess of Arms and Legs and Limbs was born. And yes, alien blood does splatter onto a bulkhead in the course of the story.

In the end, A Mess of Arms and Legs and Limbs doesn’t quite perfectly hit what the market for military science fiction and space opera apparently wants after all. For starters, Matt and Cally aren’t manly space marines, just two underpaid and underequipped security guards at a mining outpost. There is a genuine manly space marine in the story (well, ex-space marine), Security Chief Burnett, but he has three lines before the aliens kill him.

As for the aliens, I heroically resisted making them insectoid and reptiloid and instead opted for Cthulhu types, but they’re still very much aliens who are evil for the sake of being evil and an enemy that it’s okay to shoot without reservations. Though we do find out about their (rather prosaic) motivation for attacking human outposts at the end. What is more, I also managed to sneak in some references to the 1981 science fiction movie Outland, which is also set in a mining colony. Though ironically, Outland is not a movie about aliens, evil or otherwise. Indeed, the conflict is purely human.

Now that I had a nice little science fiction action tale, I of course also needed a cover. And that’s when I came across the perfect image, courtesy of the talented Luca Oleastri. Okay, so the Barbie type silvery space suit doesn’t quite match what I envision, but the multi-tentacles aliens are perfect.

So what are you waiting for? Kick some alien butt with…

A Mess of Arms and Legs and Limbs
A Mess of Arms and Legs and Limbs by Cora Buhlert

Humanity thought they were alone in the universe. They were wrong.

When aliens attack Hyams II, a small mining colony on the galactic rim, all that stands between the attackers and the terrified civilian population are a handful of underpaid and underequipped security guards.

However, two of those guards, Cally and Matt, use all their skills and their knowledge of the colony’s layout to fight back and hold the invaders at bay. And in the process, they also manage to uncover the biggest secret of all: Why are the aliens attacking human outposts at all?

More information.
Length: 6500 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

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The Big 3000

Today, Pegasus Pulp crossed the 3000 lifetime sales threshold. I know that’s not much compared to some indies who sell ten thousands, hundred thousands or even millions of books, but it’s still a reason to celebrate for me.

It also shows that Pegasus Pulp‘s sales are growing slowly but steadily, as our line expands. We celebrated our 1000th sale in January 2015 and our 2000th in June 2016, i.e. it took one and a half years for the second and third thousand sales. Meanwhile, the first thousand took three and a half years.

Warning! Lots of statistics and analysis under the cut. Continue reading

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for November 2017

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal mystery, paranormal romance, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, dystopian fiction, Steampunk, alternate history, time travel, horror, witches, warlocks, a whole lot of werewolves, psychics, mindreaders, mermaids, catastrophic chupacabras, magic schools, genderneutral fairytales, void wyrms, alien invasions, clockwork boys, clockwork samurai, possessive tigerlords, zombies, space pirates, guardians, empowered outlaws 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:

Aspiria Rising by Douglas BartonAspiria Rising by Douglas Barton:

Persecuted and Forced to Rebel against the Meritocracy

Like most people on his world, Dominy worships the ground scientists walk on. He can’t wait to work with the brightest minds in the galaxy at Aspiria, the intellectual capital of civilization. Unfortunately, many of them are disappearing.

Desperate to solve the mystery, Dominy recruits a band of fellow academic trainees. Together they set out on a manic journey through deserted basements, forgotten particle accelerators, and jam-packed futuristic stadiums.

When they uncover a shocking conspiracy, Dominy realizes he may hold the key to keeping civilization alive. With time ticking away, he confronts the capital’s leadership only to discover a madman is involved in an unimaginable galactic plot.

Aspiria Rising is a utopian sci-fi thriller for the ages. If you like mystery, heart-pounding suspense, and a touch of quirky romance, then you’ll love Douglas Barton’s debut novel.

Forgotten Relics by Cianien BloodstoneForgotten Relics by Cianien Bloodstone:

Rei had lost it all: her family, a safe home, and, most important, her freedom.

Despite all odds, she managed to escape and make her life among the stars. It’s not easy to be a fugitive of the largest galactic power ever known. Making a living requires being flexible, and not particularly caring for things like laws or rights of property.

Even in her new life the ghosts of Rei’s past refuse to leave her in peace. She’s been changed by her captivity in more ways than one and the mysteries abound. There are untold questions that demand answers, but the only way she can find out the truth is to start back at the beginning

To complicate matters, she is approached to stop her old enemies from retrieving priceless artifacts of untold knowledge. The idea is as murky as they come but they have to take the chance. Even if it might cost her crew dearly.

A Mess of Arms and Legs and Limbs by Cora BuhlertA Mess of Arms and Legs and Limbs by Cora Buhlert:

Humanity thought they were alone in the universe. They were wrong.

When aliens attack Hyams II, a small mining colony on the galactic rim, all that stands between the attackers and the terrified civilian population are a handful of underpaid and underequipped security guards.

However, two of those guards, Cally and Matt, use all their skills and their knowledge of the colony’s layout to fight back and hold the invaders at bay. And in the process, they also manage to uncover the biggest secret of all: Why are the aliens attacking human outposts at all?

This is a short science fiction story of 6500 words or approximately 25 print pages.

Walking on Knives by Maya ChhabraWalking on Knives by Maya Chhabra:

The little mermaid has no idea that as she makes her way on land, she’s being watched over by the sister of the very witch with whom she made her bargain. She has no idea that the witch’s sister is falling in love with her.

When the prince decides to marry another woman, the little mermaid’s secret helper offers her a chance to live. But the price may be too high…

Content warning: Walking on Knives contains some explicit content and opens with a disturbing scene of dubious sexual consent.

The Flying Glass by E.M. CooperThe Flying Glass by E.M. Cooper:

Marnie Speck arrives at her new foster home in Downfell, Northern England with her crusty social worker, Miss Baxter. Marnie guards a rose-covered case with hidden secrets and the only link to her past and future. A telescope, old glass and a strange librarian unleash the potential of a new and extraordinary life far away at the Fanglewick School of Magic in the Old World. But first Marnie must find a way to cross the demonic halo like aspiring young wizards, witches and elves have for centuries.

In a strange but beautiful landscape inhabited by haughty wizards, ratbag witches and ambitious elves, Marnie fights for a place in Fanglewick, where magic begins and ends. The school sits on the repository of magic and flows through Shining Lake and beyond to the multiverse. Over time, Fanglewick has lured heroes, kings, queens and dark beasts. Wizards, goblins and their dragon-riding armies have waged terrible wars to possess and control its treasure. For now there is peace, yet there are rumblings in the Imporium where scheming wizards and elves work in the magical government and a new presence is lurking in the forests and grounds of Fanglewick.

Out of Fire by Jonathan CrockerOut of Fire – Hummingbird, Book 1 by Jonathan Crocker:

At sixteen years old, Deacon Barnes had spent his entire life on the dusty moon of Ophelia, on the outskirts of Republic territory. The son of a farmer, Deacon’s lazy days are spent dreaming of adventure, of escaping his dreary life and visiting distant stars. That dream becomes reality, but hardly in the way he expected. It comes in the dark of night, in the form of fire. Flames bathe his home, his moon attacked by a powerful and mysterious alien race known only as the Ethereals. He’s left for dead, the lone survivor of a brutal massacre.

A chance encounter with the entrancing Diera Hawk, notorious smuggler and captain of the Hummingbird, gives Deacon a second chance at life – and the adventure he’s always dreamed of. But is Deacon cut out for the life of a rogue? And when Diera turns her focus to chasing rumours of the Ethereals across the galaxy – and beyond – can the crew of the Hummingbird stand against the might of the powerful aliens?

The Neptune Contingency by Benjamin DouglasThe Neptune Contingency by Benjamin Douglas:

You can take the man out of the war, but not the war out of the man.
Gavin Dolridge has a problem. And no matter how long he lays low farming potatoes on his family farm hab on Pluto, his knowledge of the Council’s secrets isn’t going away. He’s got a target on his back, and his only choice may be to run or die.

The enemy of my enemy…
Ada Xander is in over her head. After leaving the Colonies to track down her father, she’s fallen in with pirates, a massive organized crime syndicate, and a rogue Colonial battleship whose captain and crew have their own ideas when it comes to diplomatic solutions. But when a massive force of AI-controlled drones begins leaving a trail of death in its wake, all bets are off, and all the chips are on the table.

Can Dolridge stay alive long enough to make amends for his silence? Will Ada survive the battle-torn inner system and come any closer to finding what she seeks?

The Neptune Contingency is the third book in the Starship Fairfax series, and picks up where The Hidden Prophet left off.

Void Wyrm by Chris FoxVoid Wyrm by Chris Fox:

A Suicidal Quest Into the Umbral Depths

Major Voria stands ready to accept the cost for her actions at Marid. Stripped of command and resources, Voria must find a ship and rally a crew. Somewhere within the Umbral Depths lays a hidden world, a world that the dead god Marid intended her to find.

Aran faces a choice. Halt his war mage training, and in the process give up clues to his past, or abandon Voria. Aran sacrifices everything to follow Voria on a suicidal quest into the one place where even gods fear to tread.

On a bleak world in the deepest darkness lays an object of enormous power, one that could turn the tide of the war against Krox. But Voria isn’t the only one seeking the weapon. The great Void Wyrm Khalahk has vowed to hunt Voria, and will see her dead even if it means following her into the Umbral Depths themselves.

All while the dreadlord Nebiat makes herself at home on Shaya, binding the souls of its leaders.

Blade and Rose by Miranda HonfleurBlade and Rose by Miranda Honfleur

A kingdom in turmoil or the love of her life. Which one will she save?

Elemental mage Rielle hasn’t heard from her best friend in far too long. Yet no one at the Tower of Magic seems to care about Olivia’s silence, or the curtain of secrecy surrounding the distant capital. Before Rielle can investigate, she’s assigned a strange new mission: escort a knight named Jon across the kingdom.

When whispers reveal mercenaries have killed the king, taken the capital, and that no one is coming to help, Rielle can’t leave Olivia in peril. But as infamous mages and deadly assassins hunt Jon, she can’t leave him unprotected either–especially as she finds herself falling for his strength, his passion, and his uncompromising goodness. Her past returns to haunt her, a werewolf stalks their steps, and an ancient evil is gathering, yet the restraints forbidding their love strain and snap one by one.

Saving Olivia and the kingdom means defying orders and sacrificing her every ambition, and could mean losing the man who’s become so much more to her than a mission. Which will she choose: her best friend and the kingdom, or the love of her life?

Clockwork Boys by T. KingfisherClockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher:

A paladin, an assassin, a forger, and a scholar ride out of town. It’s not the start of a joke, but rather an espionage mission with deadly serious stakes. T. Kingfisher’s new novel begins the tale of a murderous band of criminals (and a scholar), thrown together in an attempt to unravel the secret of the Clockwork Boys, mechanical soldiers from a neighboring kingdom that promise ruin to the Dowager’s city.

If they succeed, rewards and pardons await, but that requires a long journey through enemy territory, directly into the capital. It also requires them to refrain from killing each other along the way! At turns darkly comic and touching, Clockwork Boys puts together a broken group of people trying to make the most of the rest of their lives as they drive forward on their suicide mission.

A Fire in the Heavens by Mary Robinette KowalA Fire in the Heavens by Mary Robinette Kowal:

On a tidally locked world, Katin is aboard a ship fleeing from religious persecution in her homeland. Her people worship the seven-sisters, a group of dieties that resides in the night sky and are visible as a tight cluster of stars. This exploration ship has sailed farther West than anyone has sailed before. Some think that they will sail off the edge of the world, but she is confident that the ancient stories of a land far to the West are true. She dismisses the tales that accompany the stories of light in the night sky called “the moon” as exaggerated superstition.

Until they sail over the over the curve of the world and sees the moon for the first time.

The Chupacabra Catastrophe by Amanda M. LeeThe Chupacabra Catastrophe by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes has a new life and it’s not exactly what she thought it would be.
She’s psychic, telekinetic and eager to learn from her knowledgeable co-workers at The Legacy Foundation. She’s also nervous, frightened and on edge … mostly because she’s exactly the sort of oddity the group is looking to study and she’s desperate to keep her secret from the very people who are searching for her.
When word comes down that a chupacabra may have been sighted in Texas – perhaps even killing a man in an old abandoned mining town – Charlie is eager to show her worth. She’s part of the first team that descends on Hooper’s Mill, and there’s definitely an air of danger lingering over the town.
Charlie can feel it. She can sense … something. It’s lurking in the town and watching. Unfortunately for Charlie, she can’t get a handle on whether she’s looking for a human or animal. She just knows that it’s dangerous … and it wants to kill anyone who crosses its path.
When one member of the team goes missing, Charlie realizes she’s running out of time to solve a mystery in the present that has ties to the past. All the while she’s trying to ensure her own future as the jaws of death – in the form of a mythical creature – snap at her heels.
It’s all hands on deck for another adventure, and this time the stakes might be so high not everyone survives.

Clockwork Samurai by Jeannie LinClockwork Samurai by Jeannie Lin:

The Gunpowder Chronicles continue as a woman left adrift by a dynasty in decline attempts to reclaim her family’s honor…
Appointed to the Court of Physicians, Jin Soling can see that the newly-crowned Emperor is cracking, relying on opium to drown his troubles. The Qing Empire is failing, and war with the British is imminent, but the man to whom Soling was once engaged has a bold idea to save it.

A leader within the Ministry of Engineering, Chen Chang-wei suggests an alliance with the isolated island empire of Japan, whose scientists claim to have technical advancements that could turn the tide of the war.

Seeking to escape the politics of the imperial court, Soling arranges her own passage on the airship to Japan. But once they land, Chang-wei and Soling become targets of the shogunate’s armored samurai assassins. Caught in an age-old battle between feudal tradition and innovation, and stranded in a land distrustful of foreigners, Soling and Chang-wei must find a way to fight back against the Western invaders—with the survival of both Qing Empire and the island nation of Japan at stake.

Taken by the Tigerlord by Kara LockharteTaken by the Tigerlord by Kara Lockharte:

He loved, lied, then left her.
Now she’s supposed to marry him?!

Newly disowned princess Seria is tired of shifters trying to control her destiny. All Seria wants is to return to the orderly librarian life she had before scheming royals got involved in her future. But when she inadvertently becomes a political pawn trapped in marriage to the handsome oversexed tigershifter who betrayed her, it will take all of her resourcefulness to fight her true desires…

Destiny says she’s his.
And that he will cause her death.

Tigerlord Kai of the House of Stargazer has always known he was destined to die a hero. But when a power play for his position drops his luscious fated mate into his inner sanctum, Kai realizes Seria’s crucial role in his doomed destiny. Saving the universe will require sacrificing not only his life, but also hers. It’s a fate he’ll do anything to change, even if it costs him her love…

You can’t fight fate…unless you’re a Tigerlord…..

A Mind Reader's Christmas by Al MacyA Mind Reader’s Christmas by Al Macy:

Eric Beckman, a mind-reading private investigator, is spending Christmas in snowy Vermont with his wife and daughter. He needs a break from solving cases, but the townspeople convince him to look into the village mystery: Every holiday season, someone switches the baby Jesus with one of the other figures in the town’s Nativity scene.

With the help of his ten-year-old daughter, also a mind reader, he soon learns that some of the residents of the small town are not who–or even what–they seem to be. There’s something supernatural going on in Newburn, Vermont.

His investigation causes an escalation of strange happenings, and soon, swapped manger figures are the least of the town’s worries. If Beckman can’t adjust his view of the world–force himself to believe in things he never thought possible–the Christmas vacation could turn out to be his family’s last.

A Mind Reader’s Christmas may be read as a standalone book or as Book Four in the Eric Beckman series.

Forget the Alamo by Drew McGunnForget the Alamo! by Drew McGunn:

After the explosion, Will didn’t expect to wake up again, especially in the past. Alive is good. Except he finds himself at the Alamo in 1836 in the body of another man doomed to die. If history repeats itself, Santa Anna is coming soon and the Alamo will fall, along with himself and 189 others.

In a race against time itself, Will uses his knowledge of the future to change the past. He will use every means necessary, even if it means abandoning the fort.

He is determined to forget the Alamo!

Magically Bound by Rachel MedhurstMagically Bound by Rachel Medhurst:

Witch, Warlock, Whatever…

My name’s Devon Jinx, and, yes, I’m half warlock, half witch. But I couldn’t care less about which kind of magic is better. All I want to do is keep my head down and get on with my new job as an investigator at the Hunted Witch Agency.

A recent, shall we say, mistake, has put me in place to inherit the leadership of the warlocks. Which means only one thing. I have a choice to make: Leave behind my life of witchery to become a warlock, or lose my warlock magic forever.

Complicating my choice is the fact that someone is trying to destroy the warlock coven. If I don’t stop them, the warlocks will be annihilated. The task seems impossible until Gerard Freshwater, a distractingly handsome witch, explodes into my life. He’s determined to make me see that being a witch isn’t just the best option, but the only option.

Robin and Jamie by Lorri MoultonRobin and Jamie by Lorri Moulton:

Action, adventure, magic and romance. An ancient curse has returned to the lands and Robin and Jamie must help a fractured group of heroes reunite. Only by working together to solve an age-old prophecy, can they stop an evil sorceress and Lord of the North.

I started writing Robin and Jamie as an experiment. What can we do in a book that would not be possible in a TV show or movie? Never tell the reader if the main characters are men or women. I wanted to make the two main characters (and one of the water fairies) known for what they believed in, what class they came from, why they were fighting, how they fought, what their alliances might be…everything except whether they were the guy or the gal. I’ve always loved fairytales (alright, and the dresses) but it seems very impractical to be running around in the forest wearing one. I hope you enjoy the story!

Where Nightmares Come From, edited by Joe Mynhardt and Eugene JohnsonWhere Nightmares Come From: The Art of Storytelling in the Horror Genre, edited by Joe Mynhardt and Eugene Johnson:

WHERE NIGHTMARES COME FROM

THE ART OF STORYTELLING IN THE HORROR GENRE

Book one in Crystal Lake Publishing’s The Dream Weaver series, Where Nightmares Come From focuses on the art of storytelling in the Horror genre, taking an idea from conception to reality—whether you prefer short stories, novels, films, or comics.

Featuring in-depth articles and interviews by Joe R. Lansdale (Hap & Leonard series), Clive Barker (Books of Blood), John Connolly (Charlie Parker series), Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King (IT), Christopher Golden (Ararat), Charlaine Harris (Midnight, Texas), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger series), Kevin J. Anderson (Tales of Dune), Craig Engler (Z Nation), and many more.

The full non-fiction anthology lineup includes:

Introduction by William F. Nolan
IT’S THE STORY TELLER by Joe R. Lansdale
A-Z OF HORROR of Clive Barker
WHY HORROR? by Mark Alan Miller
PIXELATED SHADOWS by Michael Paul Gonzalez
LIKE CURSES by Ray Garton
HOW TO GET YOUR SCARE ON by S.G. Browne
STORYTELLING TECHNIQUES by Richard Thomas
HORROR IS A STATE OF MIND by Tim Waggoner
BRINGING AN IDEA TO LIFE by Mercedes M. Yardley
THE PROCESS OF A TALE by Ramsey Campbell
GREAT HORROR IS SOMETHING ALIEN by Michael Bailey
A HORRIFICALLY HAPPY MEDIUM by Taylor Grant
INTERVIEW WITH JOHN CONNOLLY by Marie O’Regan
THE STORY OF A STORY by Mort Castle
WRITING ROUNDTABLE INTERVIEW with Christopher Golden, Kevin J. Anderson, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia
HOW I SPENT MY CHILDHOOD LOOKING FOR MONSTERS AND FOUND POETRY INSTEAD by Stephanie M. Wytovich
BITS AND PIECES INTERVIEW WITH JONATHAN MABERRY by Eugene Johnson
THE REEL CREEPS by Lisa Morton
THE MONSTER SQUAD by Jess Landry
WHAT SCARES YOU by Marv Wolfman
PLAYING IN SOMEONE ELSE’S HAUNTED HOUSE by Elizabeth Massie
CREATING MAGIC FROM A BLANK PIECE OF PAPER: Del Howison interviews Tom Holland, Amber Benson, Fred Dekker, and Kevin Tenney
Z NATION: HOW SYFY’S HIT SHOW CAME TO LIFE by Craig Engler
LIFE IMITATING ART IMITATING LIFE: FILM AND ITS INFLUENCE ON REALITY by Jason V Brock
WHERE NIGHTMARES COME FROM by Paul Moore
STEPHEN KING AND RICHARD CHIZMAR DISCUSS COLLABORATING by Bev Vincent
CHARLAINE HARRIS DISCUSSES STORYTELLING by Eugene Johnson
WHAT NOW? by John Palisano

Enslaved by D. Robert PeaseEnslaved by D. Robert Pease:

A mother’s secret. A son’s destiny.
Can humanity be delivered from certain extinction?

Cosette Sinclair, pregnant with an illegal second child, makes a discovery that will change the course of humanity. While on assignment to find a habitable planet for mankind’s first colony, she witnesses a tear in space—a gateway for a devastating alien invasion. Now she’s faced with the heart-wrenching choice between saving her unborn child and saving the world.

Moshie lives in a culture that prizes competition above all else. His mother raises him to dominate every creature he encounters. As Moshie trains for the day when he will rule an ancient alien civilization, a whisper in the young man’s mind calls him to something greater. Can he put aside a lifetime of striving for power and heed the cry to save those he despises the most?

She has one chance to save the human race. He has one chance to save himself. Both learn that trusting their long-hated enemies might be their only chance of survival.

Enslaved is the first book in the “Exodus Chronicles,” a captivating saga of humanity’s final struggle. If you like action-packed adventure, complex characters, and alien worlds, then you’ll love D. Robert Pease’s imaginative interstellar homage to the Book of Exodus.

The Year of the Knife by G.D. PenmanThe Year of the Knife by G.D. Penman:

Agent “Sully” Sullivan is one of the top cops in the Imperial Bureau of Investigation. A veteran witch of the British Empire who isn’t afraid to use her magical skills to crack a case. But Sully might need more than a good education and raw power to stop the string of grisly murders that have been springing up across the American Colonies. Every one of them marked by the same chilling calling card, a warning in the form of a legion of voices screaming out through the killers’ mouths: “It IS tHe YEAr oF the KNife.”

Sully’s investigation will drag her away from the comforts of home in New Amsterdam, the beautiful but useless hyacinth macaw that used to be her boss, and the loving arms of her undead girlfriend, in a thrilling race against time, demonic forces and a shadowy conspiracy that will do anything to keep its hold on power and ensure that Sully takes their secrets to her grave, as soon as possible.

G.D. Penman’s imaginative The Year of the Knife is a fun, fast-paced urban fantasy mystery with an engaging set of characters, most notably Agent Sully of the Imperial Bureau of Investigation.

Evolution's Child by Dean RencraftEvolution’s Child by Dean Rencraft:

The government is playing a dangerous game. Using human and animal genomes to force evolutionary changes, they expand their project into the real world, unleashing a pathogen containing an entirely new set of complications for the world.

Seventeen year old Wren Shaffer is disenchanted with the world’s decreasing values and the utterly fake nature of high society. Having reaped the consequences of speaking out once before, now she hides behind a pretty mask of lies, counting the days until her eighteenth birthday.

Coming back from vacation with her disinterested and self-involved mother, Wren is one of the 1% severely affected by the pathogen. Now, alone and increasingly afraid of the odd new feelings and abilities she can’t ignore, she bonds with two of the lab’s original subjects, who are determined to save her not only from her first evolution, but from her life of fake smiles and pretty pictures as well.

But the scientists are still watching and not all of the subjects are fit for society. It’s a race against time and a fight for survival and if Wren or one of her new soul-mates die, the other two won’t be far behind.

Content Warning: Some explicit language and graphic violence.

Shattered Earth by Jenny SchwartzShattered Earth by Jenny Schwartz:

The scum of the galaxy are using Earth as a nuclear winter death camp. It outrages pirate captain Kohia Jekyll’s sense of justice. No one deserves to die agonizingly of radiation poisoning, especially not on the planet humanity had to evacuate seven generations ago. So Kohia intends to close the prison camp down.

She didn’t count on an infuriating shaman healer hitching a ride aboard her starship.

Nairo Bloodstone isn’t going to Earth to be a hero. He learned the hard way that when you’re a healer, doing your best for people is never enough. One miracle leads them to demand another and another. Heroes die exhausted and alone, and the galaxy continues with billions of people still clamoring for a miracle-worker to save them.

No, Nairo isn’t going to Earth to be a hero. He intends to change what it means to be human.

***
“Shattered Earth” is a stand-alone novella in the Shamans & Shifters Space Opera series.

The Guardian, edited by Alasdair ShawThe Guardian: Eleven Science Fiction Stories, edited by Alasdair Shaw:

Guardians are defenders, carers and guides. Some look after individual people, others whole planets or universes, but all share a strong belief in their responsibility to protect their charges. The Guardian is an anthology of eleven science fiction short stories by writers from across the globe. It is part of the Newcomer series of scifi anthologies.

The stories are:
Awakening – Alasdair Shaw
The Lattice – Jeff Tanyard
Biting Shadow – C Gold
Gate of Dreams – Rick Partlow
The Following Star – Elizabeth Baxter
The Renewal – Zen DiPietro
Stowaway – Benjamin Douglas
Baptism of Fire – Cora Buhlert
Sleeping Giant – Andrew Vaillencourt
We Have the Stars – JJ Green
Warning Signs – Edward M Grant

Empowered Outlaw by Dale Ivan SmithEmpowered: Outlaw by Dale Ivan Smith:

The world believes only a handful of people can possess superpowers, but what if that is a lie?

Mathilda Brandt is one of the rare few Empowered. She’s just learned her missing sister is also one. Even more shocking, Mat’s sister belongs to a hidden cult that believes anyone can possess a superpower, in defiance of everything known about the Empowered. If the authorities discover the cult’s whereabouts, they will end the cult and imprison anyone who has joined it.

But finding her sister and learning her secrets could destroy their family, and shatter the world forever.

Empowered: Outlaw is the third novel in The Empowered series.

Changeling's Fealty by Glynn StewartChangeling’s Fealty by Glynn Stewart:

A ragged newcomer…
With a secret even he doesn’t know
A backwater city…
With a countdown to an explosion no one is expecting
A secret Covenant…
And a conspiracy to break it to pieces

Jason Kilkenny is a new arrival in the Canadian city of Calgary. Unlike most newcomers, Jason isn’t looking for a job in oil and gas: he’s a half-fae changeling that wants to get away from the politics of the inhuman races.

He soon learns that despite being a supernatural backwater, the city is run by a near-godlike Wizard–and the shadows are full of unseen dangers. Jason’s here to hide, but he finds himself called to service by Calgary’s understaffed Fae Court.

As supernatural politics collide in his new home, Jason’s plan to keep his head down is shattered and he finds himself testing the limits of his meager gifts. He cannot run, he cannot hide…and if he loses, he loses everything.

An Immortal Calling by Ryland ThornAn Immortal Calling by Ryland Thorn

Demon by blood. Hero by choice.

Jackson Kade is an immortal with demon blood in his veins and hate in his heart. Lennox Valdis is wild and fiery, and her demon heritage gives her a talent for magic. Together, they battle to keep the streets of New Sanctum safe from the loathsome Hell creatures that terrorize the city.

Now there is a Hell-beast on the loose that is a greater threat than anything seen in decades. Whether its presence is random or something more sinister, it will take every ounce of strength and courage they have for Jack and Lennox to defeat it. If they fail, it will cost much more than just their lives.

Can they survive its onslaught?

Tides by E.J. WenstromTides by E.J. Wenstrom

Rona didn’t ask to be brought back from the Underworld, and now that she is alive again, she’s angry enough to raise hell.

It’s a good thing too, because hell is coming for her. As the realm braces for another round of wars between the Gods and the demigods, Rona’s fate is entangled with the unlikely heroes responsible for bringing her back to life: a golem marked by the Gods and a man with the touch of destiny upon him.

As this questionable duo heads out to face the unknown and stop the realm from destruction, Rona will be damned if they’re going to stop her from coming with them. Together, they embark on a quest to stop the war before it begins. For if they can’t stop the demigods, the entire middle realm of Terath will be torn apart, and everyone in their way destroyed.

But the fate of the realm isn’t the only thing Rona has to worry about, because the past she killed herself to escape is about to catch up to her again.

The Omarian Gambit by Trevor WyattThe Omarian Gambit by Trevor Wyatt:

The Earth-Sonali War has ended. Billions perished in the flames. But with peace established new enemies come to light ready to plunge the galaxy back into war…

The Terran Union cannot survive another war. Neither can the Sonali. The only path we have left is to lick our wounds. Rebuild. Recharge. We need to find a way forward. A way to avoid armed conflict A way to make sure nothing like that happens again.

Not every race agrees.

Some want war. They goad us into conflict. They seek to pit us against one another. To divide us, so that they may conquer.

It’s been three years since the war. We’ve learned our lessons. A new Galactic Council is forming. An era of cooperation and progress is at hand.

But only if we survive the coming tests. If we do, we’ll be stronger. And if we don’t?

Then this road to galactic peace will lead to interstellar war.

Of Wonder and Fear by Nicole ZoltackOf Wonder and Fear by Nicole Zoltack:

All of the entire land of Wonderland stands before me in a wild display of tradition and loyalty. Everyone is on his or her feet, stomping, cheering, and even jeering.?

The cobblestone pathway separates my people. Down the way sits Avice in an iron-wrought cage covered in flowers.

?The wretched girl in her simple dress and her terrible smile. The wicked girl and her thieving ways. The worthless girl and her betrayal, her devastation, her destruction.?

She will pay for her crimes against Wonderland.?

She will pay for being a horrific foreigner.?

She will pay dearly.?

Welcome to the wondrous land of Wonderland where an evil Alice threatens to destroy the entire realm.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for November 2017

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 October 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, paranormal mysteries, historical mysteries, holiday mysteries, police procedurals, legal thrillers, crime thrillers, private eyes, vigilante angels, cops in free fall, evolving serial killers, dangerous women, missing children, troubled foster kids, telepathic detectives, lawyers, security guards, search and rescue teams, chupacabra catastrophes, murder on Times Square 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:

Hell to Pay by Rachel AmphlettHell to Pay by Rachel Amphlett:

When a road traffic accident on a dark autumn night uncovers a disturbing conspiracy, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter’s investigation exposes a ruthless serial killer exploiting vulnerable young women.

With her enemies unmasked and her career spiralling out of control, Kay’s determination to seek vengeance for the victims brings her dangerously close to those who want to silence her.

Undeterred, she uncovers the real reason behind a plot to destroy her career and sets in motion a terrifying chain of events.

Could Kay’s need for revenge be her undoing, or will she survive to see justice served?

Hell to Pay is a gripping fast paced crime thriller, and the fourth in the Detective Kay Hunter series:

Rose City Free Fall by D.L. BarburRose City Free Fall by D.L. Barbur:

Detective Dent Miller hunts killers on the rain soaked streets of Portland. Sometimes he puts them in prison. Sometimes he puts them in the ground.

Dent doesn’t have faith in much, but he believes in justice. One night he is called to investigate another tragic, but routine homicide. Soon, he realizes everything he believed was a lie.

Framed for trying to kill his partner, he isn’t sure who to trust as he confronts a shadowy human trafficking ring that is willing to kill to hide the truth.

Dent Miller is a man in free fall. He must identify and close with his enemy before they destroy him

This thriller from debut novelist DL Barbur is chock full of gritty, realistic action. The tension builds non-stop until the final, explosive ending.

The Evolution of a Serial Killer by Daniel and Sean CampbellThe Evolution of a Serial Killer by Daniel and Sean Campbell:

Sidelined and alone, DCI David Morton is relegated to the role of teacher. His task is to train the bright young things that will one day put him out of a job.
But hiding among the eager faces of the next generation is a talented student with murder in mind.
When Morton sets his class the challenge of showing how they would commit the perfect murder, the exercise results in his hardest case yet as he has to hunt the killer he helped to create.

The Evolution of a Serial Killer is the sixth stand-alone DCI Morton crime novel.

Finding Justice by Kathi DaleyFinding Justice by Kathi Daley:

Rescue Alaska is the eighth series by USA Today Bestselling Author Kathi Daley. It is a warm yet fast moving mystery series with a light paranormal twist.

Rescue Alaska is a small town in northern Alaska where visitors come to hike and ski. Harmony Carson is a lifelong resident who volunteers as a member of the local search and rescue team. Harmony has a unique gift which she often considers a curse. She is able to ‘see’ the individuals she is meant to help rescue, and more often than not she can feel their fear and their pain as well. When she isn’t aiding in a rescue, Harmony works at Neverland – the bar owned by her brother in law Jake, and volunteers at the local animal shelter. Harmony lives in a rustic cabin with six dogs, four cats, six kittens, eight rabbits, and a blind mule named Homer.

In this first book in the series, a longtime local, Tim Maverick, sends his old friend, Harley Medford, a letter with a photo stating that if he should turn up dead at some point in the near future, the man in the photo is the one who killed him. When Tim is found dead only two weeks later, Harley comes to Rescue to find the man he is convinced killed Tim. He hears that Harmony has a reputation for finding people so he enlists her help. The journey to find the truth behind Tim’s untimely death, will take Harmony on a journey of discovery she never saw coming.

Vigilante Angels Trilogy by Billy DeCarloVigilante Angels Trilogy: The Complete Boxed Set by Billy DeCarlo:

A hateful, divisive presidential candidate, a pedophile priest, and a corrupt cop cross paths with a vigilante former Marine who has nothing to lose.

It’s said the wheels of justice turn slowly. Screw that. He enlists the help of an unlikely cast of fellow cancer patients to target his hit list.

It’s said that in the end, everyone gets what they deserve. Who will die and who will live?

This is a boxed set of the complete Vigilante Angels trilogy. A dark, gritty, noir crime novel series, available in paperback, Kindle ebook, and audiobook. Read for free on Kindle Unlimited!

Tommy, a retired cop and former Marine, has cancer. He realizes he can kill without consequences, and he’s got a list.

Pedophile priest, corrupt cop, fascist political candidate–where to start? He enlists the help of an unlikely cast of unusual fellow patients to target his hit list.

The hardest battles, the ones he hadn’t counted on, are right in his own home: an alcoholic, unfaithful wife and bringing himself to accept his son’s sexuality.

In book one of this trilogy, Tommy befriends a black ex-con who is a fellow patient. As both seek redemption for their past misdeeds, and with nothing to lose, they set their sights on a priest who is accused of molesting children.

Will his fight for good come closer to home than he imagined?

In book two of this trilogy, Tommy finds himself under investigation by a racist, corrupt cop who torments Tommy and his family until the unthinkable happens. Tommy partners with a one-eyed Korean martial-arts expert and a black motorcycle gang to seek revenge.

Will justice be served?

In the exciting conclusion of the Vigilante Angels trilogy, Tommy finds himself on the run and hiding in the Florida Keys. He’s prepared to let his disease claim him and die in peace.

That is until he finds love and a mysterious rejuvenation. He begins to follow the meteoric rise of a politician that stands for everything he despises and sees one last chance to make the world a better place before dies.

He battles alcoholism, love, cancer, FBI investigators, neo-Nazis, and many unexpected obstacles to complete one last mission.

In the race against time, which will prevail?

The Girl Before by Cassandra JamisonThe Girl Before by Cassandra Jamison

Miley has only one year left in the foster system and is sent to finish it in the home of an older couple, Anne and Clive Winchester, who are still coping with the death of their sixteen-year-old daughter. Miley is soon drawn into deadly mind games and deception that make it clear that they have their sights set on more than just replacing their deceased daughter. Hidden secrets within the home and chilling revelations about their past bring Miley’s worst nightmare to life.

 

Morbid Curiosity by Nick KellerMorbid Curiosity by Nick Keller:

BOOK 3 IN THE ERTER & DOBBS SERIES

William Erter’s true nature has reared its nasty head and the world has turned against him. His partnership with Bernie Dobbs is over. He’s lost his standing in society. And Dr. Oaks has him committed to the Napa State Institute for the criminally insane. Getting out will require help from a mysterious friend.

Bernie Dobbs has hit rock bottom. Dismissed from the L.A.P.D. and caught in a web of depression and hopelessness, he needs a change… bad.

And then William Erter disappears.

Having been on the trail of a missing cop, William finds himself abducted by his most demented adversary yet. Now, trapped in “the monster’s lair,” he is forced to undergo a sadistic style of torture, forcing him to confront the secrets of his past that have molded him into the man he is today.

Meanwhile, a familiar face coerces Bernie Dobbs into picking up William’s trail. Reunited with the spastic Jacky Lee Hobar, Bernie’s investigation culminates into a desperate manhunt for his old partner that could bring them back together… or spell the end of William Erter forever. Thus, the race for William’s life begins.

The Chupacabra Catastrophe by Amanda M. LeeThe Chupacabra Catastrophe by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes has a new life and it’s not exactly what she thought it would be.
She’s psychic, telekinetic and eager to learn from her knowledgeable co-workers at The Legacy Foundation. She’s also nervous, frightened and on edge … mostly because she’s exactly the sort of oddity the group is looking to study and she’s desperate to keep her secret from the very people who are searching for her.
When word comes down that a chupacabra may have been sighted in Texas – perhaps even killing a man in an old abandoned mining town – Charlie is eager to show her worth. She’s part of the first team that descends on Hooper’s Mill, and there’s definitely an air of danger lingering over the town.
Charlie can feel it. She can sense … something. It’s lurking in the town and watching. Unfortunately for Charlie, she can’t get a handle on whether she’s looking for a human or animal. She just knows that it’s dangerous … and it wants to kill anyone who crosses its path.
When one member of the team goes missing, Charlie realizes she’s running out of time to solve a mystery in the present that has ties to the past. All the while she’s trying to ensure her own future as the jaws of death – in the form of a mythical creature – snap at her heels.
It’s all hands on deck for another adventure, and this time the stakes might be so high not everyone survives.

The Seasons of the EmmaLee by Michael LindleyThe Seasons of the EmmaLee by Michael Lindley:

A classic story of historical fiction and suspense, The Seasons of the EmmaLee takes the reader back to the idyllic resort town of Charlevoix, Michigan in the years before and after World War II. It was the summer of 1941, and when Jonathan McKendry first saw the beautiful new “summer girl”, Emily Compton on the deck of her father’s magnificent yacht, the EmmaLee, he could never imagine the betrayal, heartbreak, death and destruction that was about to come into his life and those he loves.

Jonathan is the son of a local boatyard owner. His small-town life seems in fine order with good friends, a local girl who loves him and college on the horizon to fulfill his dream of becoming an engineer and designing boats. When he finds himself suddenly caught up in the elite summer enclave of the wealthy families who come to this northern resort town every year, and he’s accused of a brutal murder that he’s not even sure he didn’t commit, his dreams and relationships will be shattered.

In a parallel story in present day, Sally Thomason is a descendant of the Compton family who first owned the great ship, EmmaLee. When a new owner returns with the ship decades later, Sally is caught up again in the overwhelming emotions of a past family tragedy, and torn between her love for her current partner and her attraction to the boat’s new owner, Alex Clark.

The Seasons of the EmmaLee plays out against a beautiful scenic backdrop and enduring historical context. It explores the deep and complex emotions of class differences, family betrayal, unexpected love and shattered dreams.

A Mind Reader's Christmas by Al MacyA Mind Reader’s Christmas by Al Macy:

Eric Beckman, a mind-reading private investigator, is spending Christmas in snowy Vermont with his wife and daughter. He needs a break from solving cases, but the townspeople convince him to look into the village mystery: Every holiday season, someone switches the baby Jesus with one of the other figures in the town’s Nativity scene.

With the help of his ten-year-old daughter, also a mind reader, he soon learns that some of the residents of the small town are not who–or even what–they seem to be. There’s something supernatural going on in Newburn, Vermont.

His investigation causes an escalation of strange happenings, and soon, swapped manger figures are the least of the town’s worries. If Beckman can’t adjust his view of the world–force himself to believe in things he never thought possible–the Christmas vacation could turn out to be his family’s last.

A Mind Reader’s Christmas may be read as a standalone book or as Book Four in the Eric Beckman series.

Footfall at Follies by C.D. NoirFootfall at Follies by C.D. Noir:

On a sizzling July night on a side street in Times Square, private investigator Mac Moynahan is tracking his usual quarry of cheating spouses when a chance encounter in a doorway plunges him into a grotesque and baffling murder case.
As dead end trails spiral off in every direction, Mac pushes his way deep inside the treacherous world of Broadway dancers. He reconnects with the colorful characters from his former life as a homicide detective, takes on a flamboyant genius hacker with the worst set of pipes in Gotham, and experiments with doing a little cheating of his own.
Tainted drugs, prime real estate, double-dealing, fabulous bodies, fragile egos, fancy bar drinks, vicious thugs and shattered dreams confound Mac’s legendary sleuthing skills. The tragedy he uncovers exposes the cracks in his own careful facade and puts his love and his life at risk.

Knock Knock by Debra Purdy KongKnock Knock by Debra Purdy Kong:

The latest attack in a string of violent Vancouver home invasions kills senior Elsie Englehart. Security officer Casey Holland is devastated. She is supposed to be watching over elderly bus riders in an affluent, high-risk area, but she’s let Elsie down.

Determined to keep others safe, Casey escorts an elderly man home, but an armed intruder attacks them both. Hospitalized and angry, Casey struggles to regain control of her life, despite interference from family and colleagues—and the postponement of her long-awaited wedding.

Yet another home invasion compels Casey to take action, but at what cost to her health and her relationships? In Knock Knock, Debra Purdy Kong’s fifth installment of the Casey Holland series, the risks have never been higher and the consequences more deadly.

The Alibi by Rachel SinclairThe Alibi by Rachel Sinclair:

Damien Harrington is fresh off his come from behind victory when he’s thrust into yet another harrowing scenario. Gina Degrazio, wife to Vittorio Degrazio, notorious gangster, stands accused of Vittorio’s murder. Gina’s a tough-talking native New Yorker who was transplanted to Kansas City. She swears she didn’t do it. She was with her boyfriend, Enzo Degrazio, Vittorio’s twin brother, at the time of the murder. Or so she says. However, bit by bit, her story falls apart. Damien doubts that Gina was anywhere near Enzo at the time of the murder, yet he must use that alibi excuse if he is to win Gina’s case.

In the meantime, Damien and Harper together work several wrongful death suits that were the result of toxic mold in various homes on the East Side. The plaintiffs are all poor and minority, the landlords are all slumlords and scummy, and Damien works these cases with a passion that he has not felt for the law in many years.

With all the hairpin curves and twists you’ve come to expect from a Rachel Sinclair legal thriller, this first installment featuring Damien Harrington in the lead is not to be missed!

Deadly Tide by Brian SpanglerDeadly Tide by Brian Spangler:

A Murder. A Kidnapping. The tragic loss of his wife. Jericho Quinn is in the fight of his life to save a missing child and prove his son’s innocence.

Sheriff Jericho Quinn’s life in the Outer Banks of North Carolina is shattered following the mysterious death of his wife. A broken man, Jericho is forced to emerge from the depths of his despair when his only son is suddenly accused of an unspeakable crime. Murder.

With his son shrouded beneath a cloud of suspicion, Jericho finds himself deeply immersed in the investigation and connects the murder with the recent disappearance of a child. A crab pot and a sunken duffle bag lead Jericho to the gruesome discovery of a second missing child. He soon untangles a string of kidnappings and murder, revealing a chilling timeline–a deadly tide, a cycle that is set to repeat.

Peeling back the layers of deception and cruel betrayal, his wife’s mysterious secrets begin to surface and have a disturbing connection to the case. Time is running out, and Jericho is in the fight of his life to prove his son’s innocence and to unmask the killer before another child dies.

Dangerous Women by Robb T. WhiteDangerous Women – Stories of Crime, Mystery and Mayhem by Robb T. White:

Violence, they often say, is a male prerogative. But someone forgot to tell women like “Baby” Frontanetta in the first story of the collection, or Francie, for whom robbing an armored car isn’t that big a deal, if only her lover will “man up” to assist her. Even parricide isn’t beyond the pale for her. There are the twins Bella and Donna, aptly named, as the narrator of “the Birthmark” will discover. There’s semi-literate Bobbie from West Virginia, a gorgeous lap dancer in a sleazy club in Cleveland, who knows what price men will put on owning beauty like hers. Come meet them all—the hustlers, con artists, thieves, and all-around trouble-makers; you’ll see what the women in these pages are capable of—but beware: they are not your mother’s “ladies.”

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