New Kurval Sword and Sorcery Story Available: The Wolf of Rajala

I’m interrupting my schedule of Fanzine/Fancast Spotlights for a new release announcement. This one is for another Kurval sword and sorcery story, since the character has been occupying my mind of late.

To recap, during the 2020 July short story challenge, I had an idea for a sword and sorcery story that would not fit into my established Thurvok sword and sorcery series, so I created a new character named Kurval, barbarian usurper turned King of Azakoria. Kurval was initially intended to be a one-off character. However, I like him and he allows me to tell stories that just don’t fit Thurvok and his friends, so it was clear that he would show up again. Which he promptly did.

The Wolf of Rajala is the second Kurval story set before his time as King of Azakoria, though after he left his homeland of Temirzhan in The Plains of Shadow. At this time in his life, Kurval is plying his trade as a wandering mercenary and monster slayer for hire.

The initial inspiration for this story really was that I came across a great piece of artwork by Dominick Critelli featuring a swordsman facing off against a giant wolf in a wintery forest and thought, “That would make a great cover for a sword and sorcery story.” So I wrote a story to go with it.

However, after I had written the initial confrontation between Kurval and the wolf, I hit a wall. Because “Kurval fights a giant wolf and wins” is rather boring. And a dead wolf suddenly changing back into a human wouldn’t have shocked anybody in the 1930s, let alone today. After all, Weird Tales was full of werewolf stories in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.

As I looked through a rundown of werewolf stories published in Weird Tales with accompanying illustrations and covers, I noticed that a remarkable number of them seemed to feature werewolves and naked women. In particular, Margaret Brundage’s cover for the March 1933 issue of Weird Tales, which features a naked woman running through the snow with a pack of wolves and illustrates “The Thing in the Fog” by Seabury Quinn, caught my eye.

“What if my werewolf were a woman?” I wondered, “And what if she actually had a very good reason for harassing the people of Rajala? How will Kurval, someone we know cares about justice, react?” The rest of the story grew from there.

In the end, The Wolf of Rajala not only features a matriarchal werewolf pack – no, all characters with speaking parts in this story except for Kurval himself are women.

So accompany Kurval as a faces…

The Wolf of Rajala
The Wolf of Rajala by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertBefore Kurval became King of Azakoria, he was a wandering mercenary and monster slayer for hire.

One day, Kurval is hired to take out the monstrous wolves that have been besetting the village of Rajala. However, he quickly finds that the wolves are not what they seem. He also realises that the wolves have a very good reason for attacking the villagers…

This is a novelette of 8700 words or approx. 30 print pages in the Kurval sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

 

More information.
Length: 8700 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 iBooks, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, Vivlio and XinXii.

Send to Kindle
Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for February 2021

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

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie and small press authors (as well as the occasional Big 5 book) newly published this month, though some January books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal mystery, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, science fiction romance, science fiction thrillers, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, Cyberpunk, Steampunk, historical horror, LitRPG, magical realism, fairy tales retellings, dragons, elves, mermaids, superheroes, aliens, UFOs, interstellar wars, intergalactic smugglers, headless horsemen, matriarchical werewolves, crime-busting witches, crime-busting ghosts, lovelorn cupids 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:

Conviction by Jennifer BlackstreamConviction by Jennifer Blackstream:

Shade’s FBI partner has shot a kelpie.
Again.
And this time, the law may not be on his side…

Agent Andrew Bradford once used deadly force to stop a kelpie from kidnapping a human teenager. And now Shade has gotten a call saying he’s done it again. Flesh-eating kelpie dead, human victim saved.

At least, he thinks that’s what happened.

He doesn’t remember.

His inability to clearly recall the night’s events forces Shade to seek answers among the monsters of the Otherworld. She’ll have to question scheming leannan sidhe, malicious waterhorses, and take a dangerous step into the world of vampire politics.

Otherworlders are nothing if not opportunistic. And there are plenty of powerful players ready to take advantage of Shade’s desperation to do whatever it takes to save her partner…

The Wolf of Rajala by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Wolf of Rajala by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

Before Kurval became King of Azakoria, he was a wandering mercenary and monster slayer for hire.

One day, Kurval is hired to take out the monstrous wolves that have been besetting the village of Rajala. However, he quickly finds that the wolves are not what they seem. He also realises that the wolves have a very good reason for attacking the villagers…

This is a novelette of 8700 words or approx. 30 print pages in the Kurval sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

Mercadia Stalling by Shaka BryMercadia Stalling by Shaka Bry:

Immortality takes time. Armageddon is inevitable. Love is somewhere in-between.

In a faraway fairy tale world, the first mermaids and merliens are evolving. Maya, the newly crowned queen of Mercadia, is learning how to rule. Hermann, freshly immortal, is brimming with strange feelings. When they meet, sparks will fly.

Mercadia’s magic is vanishing. An apocalypse is brewing. To save their species, explorers are going to have to step up. Someone will have to risk everything and travel through a portal to an ocean realm called Earth.

Before they had tails, mermaids and merliens basked in the glow of eternal life. Existence is about to accelerate.

Secrets of the Sword III by Lindsay BurokerSecrets of the Sword III by Lindsay Buroker:

I’m Val Thorvald, tough butt-kicking assassin and soon-to-be wife of Lord Zavryd’nokquetal. He’s a dragon from another world, and he’s haughty, arrogant, and has horrible taste in footwear, but I love him. Our wedding is going to be amazing.

At least… I’d like to think so. But when the coffee shop I’m a co-owner of gets bombed, our youngest employee goes missing, and the entire elven family I didn’t know I had shows up for a visit, my wedding preparations take an alarming turn.

Oh, and did I mention that Zav’s clan is coming to the wedding? Dozens of dragons flying into the Seattle area. What could possibly go wrong?

Cupid by Demelza CarltonCupid by Delmeza Carlton:

As a Cupid, Orel has plenty of experience helping other people find love, even if he’s unlucky in that department. But when he ends up covering for another Cupid at a speed dating event for singles in the leadup to Valentine’s Day, he dares to hope.

Can a lonely Cupid find love?

Or will he fall victim to the Cupid curse, too?

 

Heather's Marauders by M.D. CooperHeather’s Marauders by M.D. Cooper:

When the Alliance calls in the ISF Mech Corps, they never know what the situation might hold, but one thing is always for certain: the shit has hit the fan.

Heather had never even heard of the Tchyros System until orders came in from the Hegemon herself; an urgent message to deploy an entire division of mechs into the system with orders to put down an insurrection before it topples the democratically elected government.

A simple enough task for her mechs, but Heather knows that if she’s going in, then the situation on the ground will be far from clear cut—and her suspicions hold true upon arrival.

‘Murky’ doesn’t even begin to describe the situation and as Heather attempts to determine who is in the right, the Marauders find themselves in the middle of a three-way battle for control of the system with no clear path to peace.

If the Marauders are to keep the system from falling into utter chaos, Heather will need to…to… come up with a hell of a plan.

If only she knew what that was.

Pagan's Veil by Matt EatonPagan’s Veil by Matt Eaton:

Washington Times-Herald reporter Edna Drake receives an anonymous tip about a classified government program in possession of a fully functional flying saucer.

But before she can publish she’ll need to prove it, which won’t be easy.

It’s 1952… the flying saucer frenzy is at its peak. Sightings are through the roof across America.

Nobody knows what’s going on, least of all the government.

Yet Drake is sure President Harry Truman and the US Air Force know a lot more than they’re willing to admit.

Standing between her and the truth is retired soldier and wartime spymaster ‘Wild’ Bill Donovan.

Donovan is worried America will end up at war with the Soviet Union if Drake gets too close.

Pagan’s Veil brings you face-to-face with the men who’ll do anything to keep their secrets under wraps.

Dagger of Doom by Rachel FordDagger of Doom by Rachel Ford:

A fully immersive virtual reality system. A beta testing opportunity that’s the stuff of dreams – or a nightmare that may never end.

Jack Owens has been stuck in Marshfield Studio’s newest virtual reality RPG for so long that his mind is starting to break down the barriers between his real body and his avatar.

In-game, things aren’t looking any better. The greatest evil the world has ever known is coming back, and it’s turned heroes everywhere to stone. Men, elves, and dwarves cower in their holds as the coming darkness looms. The only thing holding the wolves at bay? Jack and his merry band of ne’er-do-wells: a pair of purse-cutting goblins, a morally ambiguous ranger, and a throat-cutting giant.

While Jack works with Marshfield Studio to save his mind in real life, he has to work with his in-game team to rescue the world’s heroes, and save the day. If they can keep from plying their dark trades on each other long enough to survive, anyway…

Weapons Free by Daniel GibbsWeapons Free by Daniel Gibbs:

Thirty-five years of peace. One vicious attack destroys it all.

Reservist Lieutenant Justin Spencer loves every minute of flying fighters through space during his annual two-week tour with the Coalition Defense Force. The job back home isn’t nearly as thrilling as blowing up asteroids with the squadron under his command, but it keeps him close to his wife and daughter. After all, joining the CDF was only for the free education. Justin never expected a battle, much less a war.

With one shot across his cockpit, peacetime fades into memory.

An unexpected enemy emerges with overwhelming force designed to obliterate the Terran Coalition. The League of Sol has a different name, but it’s the same communist regime that chased away much of Earth’s population hundreds of years ago.

Illusions of returning home are shattered in a single instant. Simulated battles become all too real, and it’s full-on engagement or permanent elimination. Death and destruction erupt across the Terran Coalition and leave Justin in a protracted war with only one truth remaining.

The battlefield will leave no one unscathed.

Reign of the Colossus by Nicole GrotepasReign of the Colossus by Nicole Grotepas:

How many enemies can one hero have?

The faces of Holly Drake’s foes have never been so clear, yet so out of reach.

As kinks stop the flow of cash towards Holly’s goals to build her own empire, she must choose between solidifying her standing against the growing forces of evil…

…or saving her crew.

Never got enough of Firefly? Already longing for a new season of The Mandalorian? Then dip into this entertaining cast of characters and space adventure and grab your copy of Reign of the Colossus today!

All the Pretty Witches by Lily Harper HartAll the Pretty Witches by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok was looking for adventure when she inherited Casper Creek from her grandmother.

She got more than she was bargaining for.

Now she’s grappling with two ancient sister witches, both of whom are inhabiting the bodies of others, and a war is brewing.

Hannah knows she has to fight on the side of good but she’s not certain their ally has anybody’s best interests at heart, and it has her faltering. On top of everything, there’s a new demon on the loose and he appears to have joined sides with the dark witch who wants to end them all.

Life has never been easy for Hannah but it’s harder than ever for her now. The magic she’s only recently discovered is taking hold … and growing. That makes her an appealing target for the sister witches should they want a stronger body to leap into.

Cooper Wyatt loves Hannah with his whole heart but fear has gripped him by the throat. He wants to help Hannah with her battle but he’s not sure what he has to offer … other than loyalty. He will protect her with his dying breath, although she’s determined to make sure that’s not necessary.

Ancient evil is about to take on a powerful new witch. Who will be left standing? It’s anybody’s guess.

Project Charon by Patty JansenProject Charon 1. Re-Entry by Patty Jansen:

On the backwater world of Cayelle, Tina Freeman runs a shop with her son Rex: fifteen years old, half-human, half-android with a massive chip on his shoulder about having been born without arms or legs.

The shop makes a modest profit, but when a creditor turns up wanting his money back, everything goes pear-shaped.

She needs money, and needs it fast. Another creditor is impossible to find. That leaves her one option: to return to the world she fled fifteen years ago and Kelso Space Station, where her spaceship has languished for over fifteen years, and finally sell the thing.

Tina worked as scientific officer in the Federacy Force’s top secret Project Charon, and was forced out when she rang alarm bells about particles that escaped out of a rift to another universe.

As it turns out, the alien dust has been infecting people in her absence, causing profound changes in human behaviour.

When Tina re-surfaces at Kelso, her presence is a threat to those who still defend the project, including her ex-husband, and they want to shut her up, but her continued silence may well mean the end of civilisation.

The Last Exit by Michael KaufmanThe Last Exit by Michael Kaufman:

Set in Washington D.C. in the near future, climate change has hit hard, fires are burning, unemployment is high, and controversial longevity treatments are only available to the very rich. Enter resourceful young police detective, Jen B. Lu, and her ‘partner’, Chandler, a SIM implant in her brain and her instant link to the Internet and police records, and constant voice inside her head. He’s an inquisitive tough guy, with a helluva sense of humor and his own ideas about solving crimes.

As a detective in the Elder Abuse unit, Jen is supposed to be investigating kids pushing their aging parents to “exit” so they are eligible to get the longevity drug. But what really has her attention are the persistent rumors about Eden, an illegal version of the longevity drug, and the bizarre outbreak of people aging almost overnight, then suddenly dying–is this all connected? Is Big Pharma involved?

When Jen’s investigations of Eden take her too close to the truth, she is suspended, Chandler is deactivated, and her boyfriend is freaked out by “the thing inside her brain.” This leaves Jen to pursue a very dangerous investigation all by herself.

Fire Fight by B.V. LarsonFire Fight by B.V. Larson:

The colonies of the Faustian Chain have gone dark. No star freighters have come from the star cluster for decades.

Captain Bill Gorman, a smuggler on the Fringe, is one of the few who know the truth. He’s personally battled the alien invaders who’ve overrun the human colonies of the Chain. He and his crew are faced with a choice: will they fight the invaders, or will they run?

Find out in FIRE FIGHT, the thrilling sequel to STAR RUNNER.

Extinction Protocol: Rogue by Marc LandauExtinction Protocol: Rogue by Marc Landau:

They rule with a cold-steel heart and an iron fist. But these technological terrors haven’t reckoned with the revenge brewing in one man’s soul.

Harkly Colson has only a tenuous grasp on his humanity. Living off the grid after the war with the machines cost him his family, the grizzled veteran clings to his few pleasant memories of the time before mechanized oppression. But when a rare trip into town goes sideways and a female cyborg shows up near his home, he fears the ruthless rulers have sent an assassin in judgment.

Discovering the girl is an escapee from an experimental facility, Hark takes her in and tries to nurture her human side. But with computerized killers seeking them both, rescuing the young hybrid may prove to be a fatal mistake.

Will Hark’s last chance for redemption come with a lethal price?

Rogue is the first book in the gripping Extinction Protocol post-apocalyptic science fiction series. If you like futuristic combat, determined fugitives, and rising up against the state, then you’ll love Marc Landau’s dark vision.

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

The members Mystic Caravan have Georgia on their minds as they land in Savannah … and immediately find trouble.

In a city full of ghosts, Poet Parker expects a few magical things to happen, but when an evil cult sacrifices a young woman on the beach next to their camp, things take a turn nobody was expecting. Thankfully, she’s not alone for this fight.

Zoe Lake-Winters is considered the most powerful mage in existence. She’s brash, full of herself, and ready for a brawl. When she and her husband bring their daughter to the circus, Poet is immediately intrigued. She can feel the power rippling off Zoe, and it’s the sort of power that can force a reckoning.

The cult has magic, but it’s not enough to frighten Poet. It’s what they’re protecting that has everybody in a tizzy. It seems there’s a door to another plane, and the enemy trying to cross over to a world they were driven from is significant.

With Zoe and her mouthy daughter Sami on the prowl, Mystic Caravan is in a tumultuous state. On top of her normal worries, Poet also has to contend with her boyfriend Kade Denton, who is delighted to have another mage to learn from even as he struggles to trust his new abilities.

Magic is might, and there’s magic bubbling at every corner of Mystic Caravan. That’s a good thing because for the final fight they’re going to need every ounce of it they can muster.

Worlds are about to collide, and nobody will ever be the same again.

Vengeance and Dinner by Sophie LoveVengeance and Dinner by Sophie Love:

Marie Fortune, 39, a successful dog groomer in Boston, leaves the stressful life behind and heads to a small town in coastal Maine to create a new life. She remains intent on renovating the old, historic house her great-aunt left her and giving it a new life as a B&B. Yet there was one thing she couldn’t plan for: the house is haunted. Two things, actually: her great-aunt also left her a dog—and he is far from a typical dog.

When Marie is invited to exorcise a supposedly haunted house, she encounters a twist she never could have anticipated. But before she can wrap her mind around the situation, a man turns up dead—forcing her to solve the case and to clear her own name.

New Moon Rising by Brandy NacoleNew Moon Rising by Brandy Nacole:

Meet Tamsin Grey, witch extraordinaire…

At least, she would be if the High Council would heed her family’s warnings.

For decades her grandmother had tried warning the council that the supernatural races were not safe, especially the witches. She could feel the darkness that haunted the bloodlines, as could Tamsin as she got older.

A hopelessness often troubled Tamsin’s dreams, dreams filled with secrets hidden in the dark wood. Secrets the council had tried to hide. She feared for the witch’s future, as well as the other supernatural races, if she didn’t unravel the dreams meaning. But how?

It wasn’t until three years after her grandmother’s death and a life outside of Pyreshore, New Hampshire that she gets her chance. A letter inviting her to become a Keeper. It was the ticket she needed to bring her home and give her the opportunity to right a wrong so many chose to ignore.

But upon returning she finds that not only will she have to worry about the Witch’s Keeper watching her every move, but also Talon Strohm, son of the witches High Council. Talon tells Tamsin she can trust him but revealing the truth to him could put everything in jeopardy.

Tamsin will have to make a choice, trust Talon or let her only chance to save the witches slip away.

After all, every secret needs a Keeper

Kelianna by Leah NegronKelianna by Leah Negron:

What my fellow countrymen do not realize is that the tales are true. From the leprechauns to the fairies, the banshees to the pooka, the merrow to the kelpie, the changelings to the far darrig, they all exist.

There are many more creatures; some of them are good and stand by us in the fight to keep the evil ones at bay. The others, the dark ones, try to destroy everything that is good in the world.

Now there is a new threat, one that I have never seen before. Thankfully, Tiamat sent word through the portals to warn me of what is coming.

It’s time to bring my forces together for the battle of a lifetime. It looks like it’s going to be one hell of a Bloody Valentine’s Day.

Choosing Cleo by Ava ParisChoosing Cleo by Ava Paris:

This isn’t Sci-Fi. This is my lab.

He is a gorgeous Swede who has a couple of secrets, the biggest being that he isn’t a Swede at all, he’s an alien from another planet. She is a curious scientist who lives in her head, and who would never have imagined what she is about to discover.

Will he be able to help her break out of her head and into the world around her? Her world, which is slowly falling apart and needs her to come to the rescue? Together, will they be able to make a difference before it’s too late?

Tiamat by Serenity RayneTiamat by Serenity Rayne:

You would think I was living a fairy tale life. I live in my ancestral home high up in the mountains, and I am heir to the Ice Dragon throne. With the standard court drama and Prince’s trying to court me that don’t measure up to the man in my dreams, life can be quite stressful at times. But in the darkness, an old evil lurks, one we thought my mother Aurora had extinguished long ago. Villagers start going missing by my father Klaus’s pack lands, and all signs point to the Strigoi. Time to help mom and get my talons dirty; this will be one bloody Valentines Day.

 

Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons by Keith RossonFolk Songs for Trauma Surgeons by Keith Rosson:

With Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, award-winning author Keith Rosson once again delves into notions of family, identity, indebtedness, loss, and hope, with the surefooted merging of literary fiction and magical realism he’s explored in previous novels. In “Dunsmuir,” a newly sober husband buys a hearse to help his wife spread her sister’s ashes, while “The Lesser Horsemen” illustrates what happens when God instructs the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to go on a team-building cruise as a way of boosting their frayed morale. In “Brad Benske and the Hand of Light,” an estranged husband seeks his wife’s whereabouts through a fortuneteller after she absconds with a cult, and the returning soldier in “Homecoming” navigates the strange and ghostly confines of his hometown, as well as the boundaries of his own grief. With grace, imagination, and a brazen gallows humor, Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons merges the fantastic and the everyday, and includes new work as well as award-winning favorites.

Mermaid Song by Anthea SharpMermaid Song by Anthea Sharp:

Five delightful fairytale retellings from USA Today bestselling author Anthea Sharp. Featuring magical cats, romance, and a touch of wistful faerie enchantment, escape the everyday with these entertaining new twists on old tales.

Mistress Bootsi
A girl sets out to seek her fortune – and luckily, she has a clever cat for a companion, in this Puss in Boots retelling.

The Sea King’s Daughter
The Little Mermaid, reimagined in an ancient Celtic setting full of wild and bittersweet magic.

Faerie Song
A magical retelling of the Pied Piper, with a dark faerie twist.

Escape: A Liza Roth Adventure
A princess on the run and her feline companion find adventure and danger on Starhub Station in this story based on the Icelandic fairy tale Kisa the Cat.

Waltzed
A Victorian Cinderella retelling complete with an absent-minded Godmother, an orange carriage, and a slipper mishap. Prepare to be swept away into this (nonmagical) fairytale romance written under the pen name Anthea Lawson.

Headless 1776 by Tom SchneiderHeadless 1776 by Tom Schneider:

THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN ORIGIN STORY

America wasn’t the only thing birthed in 1776. The year also gave rise to the brutal terror of the Headless Hessian.

Elijah sets off from Philadelphia to the village of North Tarrytown. There, his path leads to a showdown with the murderous horseman on All Hallows Eve, and his deeds give birth to a legend.

 

Bridget Bramble and the Wandering Elf by Aurora SpringerBridget Bramble and the Wandering Elf by Aurora Springer:

Fantasy romance. A young witch escapes the destruction of her home and embarks on a perilous quest for the fabled land where elves and humans live in peace.

In a land threatened by cruel invaders from the east, Bridget Bramble lives in a small village where she barters herbs and carved buttons. When marauders target her village and murder her family, she flees into the woods. Armed with her Granny’s advice and a bag of magic buttons, she sets out on the perilous journey to Oakenwald, the fabled land where elves and men live in harmony. As she travels farther from home, she encounters malicious creatures from the worst kind of folktale.

Lost in the foothills of the mountains, Bridget meets the elf, Windswift the Wanderer. He offers to guide her across the mountain range. But what is the elf doing in human lands? Can an ordinary, or almost ordinary, human girl trust a cold hearted elf to lead her to safety?

Epic fantasy adventure and romance with darker overtones. This story weaves elements of folklore and a quest for a safe haven in a land where magic is real.

The Fall of Rho-Torkis by Tim C. TaylorThe Fall of Rho-Torkis by Tim C. Taylor:

When your worst enemy has your back…

…you know the mission is doomed from the start.

Sergeant Osu Sybutu of the Legion had a simple mission. Take five men and travel unobserved to a location in the capital where he would deliver a coded phrase to a contact. Simple, that is, except for the fact that there was a war going on, and all the different factions he had to pass by on the way would cheerfully shoot him on sight. And that was only if the planet didn’t kill him first.

Militia Sergeant Vetch Arunsen’s task, however, was far more complex. Shepherd a group of hated rivals across the frozen wastes, keeping them safe from everyone who wanted to kill them, which was pretty much everyone. Including the oddball troopers under Arunsen’s own command, who would happily shoot the Legion soldiers if given the slightest opportunity.

Legion versus Militia. Joint defenders of the Federation. In theory. Their mutual loathing, however, could burn the armor plate off a battleship. For rival sergeants Sybutu and Arunsen, there’s only one way their squads could survive trekking across the iceworld of Rho-Torkis.

Legion and Militia.

Teeth of the Rakshasa by B.J. WestTeeth of the Rakshasa by B.J. West:

Revolutionaries, thieves, or terrorists?

Depending on who you talk to, Spider King and his cohorts in the infamous Gordian Net are either criminals or revolutionaries in the ongoing struggle against the corporations that have replaced the federal government of the formerly united States.

Nobody pushes their notoriety as Robin Hoods harder than Spider himself. Arrogant and egotistical, Spider is a veritable rock star of the hacking world. It would be annoying if he wasn’t actually every bit as good as his talk.

Attracted by their reputation, a peculiar client approaches the Gordian Net with an opportunity that could be the score of a lifetime. But what first appears to be a simple hack-and-grab run quickly snowballs into an all-out war with the most powerful tech company in the world.

Spider will have to outthink, outrun, and outmaneuver the most ruthless street operatives in San Francisco without becoming the next victim of a new weapon of unspeakable horror.

Super Gone by Mel WoodburnSuper Gone by Mel Woodburn:

High school sophomore, Emma Edgin takes a break from being Dragon Girl to learn how to be a better superhero.

Plus, supers have been disappearing, regardless of whether they’re a villain, hero, or just scraping by. Emma’s sure the Super Commission is to blame.

So, when she accidentally reveals a friend’s superpowers—powers she didn’t even know he had—they try to flee.

But the Super Commission arrests two of her friends, forcing Emma to team up with a Dragon Girl fan who sees the future and her rich cousin.

Can a handful of teenagers defeat the shadowy government agency or is Emma’s freedom super gone?

Send to Kindle
Posted in Books, Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for February 2021


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

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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have traditional mysteries, cozy mysteries, historical mysteries, Victorian mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, 1950s mysteries, paranormal mysteries, science fiction mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, humorous crimee fiction, police procedurals, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, environmental thrillers, conspiracy thrillers, science fiction thrillers, dystopian thrillers, romantic suspense, police officers, amateur sleuths, private investigators, FBI agents, lawyers, journalists, serial killers, missing persons, elder abuse, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting maids, crime-busting dressmakers, crime-busting ghosts, detective AIs, murder and mayhem in Chicago, Washington DC, New Orleans, Pennsylvania, Maine, California, Suffolk 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:

A Design for Deceit by Blythe BakerA Design of Deceit by Blythe Baker:

Upon hearing rumors of “dark” goings on at a nearby country estate, Iris Dickinson cannot resist the pull to become involved. When a sudden storm traps her on the property, she must navigate the dangerous waters of a family mystery she does not fully understand, without the help of her sister Lily.

But there is more than one mystery haunting Iris, as shadowy childhood memories resurface. Can she survive one “storm” before being overtaken by another?

 

An Unexpected Misfortune by Blythe BakerAn Unexpected Misfortune by Blythe Baker:

Anna Fairweather’s resolution to delve further into the death of her father is interrupted by a fresh murder investigation. When a dinner party at the home of the attractive Jerome Townson ends in violence, it is up to Anna to get to the truth.

But with even her own employer a suspect, will Anna uncover a darker secret than she bargained for, one that could change her life forever?

 

Conviction by Jennifer BlackstreamConviction by Jennifer Blackstream:

Shade’s FBI partner has shot a kelpie.
Again.
And this time, the law may not be on his side…

Agent Andrew Bradford once used deadly force to stop a kelpie from kidnapping a human teenager. And now Shade has gotten a call saying he’s done it again. Flesh-eating kelpie dead, human victim saved.

At least, he thinks that’s what happened.

He doesn’t remember.

His inability to clearly recall the night’s events forces Shade to seek answers among the monsters of the Otherworld. She’ll have to question scheming leannan sidhe, malicious waterhorses, and take a dangerous step into the world of vampire politics.

Otherworlders are nothing if not opportunistic. And there are plenty of powerful players ready to take advantage of Shade’s desperation to do whatever it takes to save her partner…

Amid Rage by Joel BurcatAmid Rage by Joel Burcat:

A psychotic coal mine operator and cynical neighbors with an anti-mining agenda fight out a strip mine permit battle. Mike Jacobs, a 29-year old environmental prosecutor with Pennsylvania’s environmental agency, DEP, is caught between the warring factions, but is ordered to “babysit” the case. All Mike wants to do is to protect the environment and neighbors from certain harm as a result of the proposed mining. Sid Feldman, the Philadelphia lawyer for the mine operator, who oozes power and privilege, offers Mike a job midway through the proceedings. Miranda Clymer, the lawyer for the neighbors, pulls out all the stops to win Mike’s affection and assistance. Mike’s nearest and dearest friend, Nicky Kane is by his side as his paralegal. Mike must use all of his talents as a lawyer and rely on his discretion and courage to do what is right and not anger the political bosses for whom he works. In the cataclysmic ending, someone will die, but who?

The Uncountable Cost of Mystery by Beth ByersThe Uncountable Cost of Mystery by Beth Byers:

January 1926

Severine DuNoir and friends have left New Orleans and started on the trail to just what happened to Jane Oliver.

Things are confused and emotions are intense as they find Jane. The relief of finding their missing loved one fades as they have to face what they’ve found? Will their friendship survive? Where do they go from here?

 

Snakes and Ladders by Adam CroftSnakes and Ladders by Adam Croft:

A body lies amongst the undergrowth in Mildenheath Woods. His hands are bound behind his back, and he’s been killed execution-style.

But the victim isn’t a gangland kingpin: he’s a well-liked young man, never in any trouble, who had his whole life ahead of him.

But as Jack Culverhouse and Wendy Knight begin to dig deeper into what happened, a shocking new truth comes to light. Was the victim quite as innocent as he seemed?

Pagan's Veil by Matt EatonPagan’s Veil by Matt Eaton:

Washington Times-Herald reporter Edna Drake receives an anonymous tip about a classified government program in possession of a fully functional flying saucer.

But before she can publish she’ll need to prove it, which won’t be easy.

It’s 1952… the flying saucer frenzy is at its peak. Sightings are through the roof across America.

Nobody knows what’s going on, least of all the government.

Yet Drake is sure President Harry Truman and the US Air Force know a lot more than they’re willing to admit.

Standing between her and the truth is retired soldier and wartime spymaster ‘Wild’ Bill Donovan.

Donovan is worried America will end up at war with the Soviet Union if Drake gets too close.

Pagan’s Veil brings you face-to-face with the men who’ll do anything to keep their secrets under wraps.

Moonlight Dance Academy by Mike FaricyMoonlight Dance Academy by Mike Faricy:

Desperate times call for desperate measures!

Hub Schneider and Val Harwood flee the upper midwest for sunny Florida. They’re unemployed, broke, and basicly, haven’t a clue.

Hub’s girlfriend had piled his belongings in the driveway and set her sights on someone else.

Fortunately, Val has come up with a get rich quick brainstorm. UniqueDancing!

Open a ‘Dance Academy’ and while Val gives lessons to wealthy seniors, Hub can break into their homes and steal precious items they’ll never miss.

What could possibly go wrong?JUST WAIT!

Start with J.W. Brooks, head of a criminal enterprise in Atlanta.

Add to that there’s the “little” problem of ‘Crazy Bobby Falconi’ mobster hitman. Lord only knows how things will workout. Better grab your copy to find out…

All the Pretty Witches by Lily Harper HartAll the Pretty Witches by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok was looking for adventure when she inherited Casper Creek from her grandmother.

She got more than she was bargaining for.

Now she’s grappling with two ancient sister witches, both of whom are inhabiting the bodies of others, and a war is brewing.

Hannah knows she has to fight on the side of good but she’s not certain their ally has anybody’s best interests at heart, and it has her faltering. On top of everything, there’s a new demon on the loose and he appears to have joined sides with the dark witch who wants to end them all.

Life has never been easy for Hannah but it’s harder than ever for her now. The magic she’s only recently discovered is taking hold … and growing. That makes her an appealing target for the sister witches should they want a stronger body to leap into.

Cooper Wyatt loves Hannah with his whole heart but fear has gripped him by the throat. He wants to help Hannah with her battle but he’s not sure what he has to offer … other than loyalty. He will protect her with his dying breath, although she’s determined to make sure that’s not necessary.

Ancient evil is about to take on a powerful new witch. Who will be left standing? It’s anybody’s guess.

The Last Exit by Michael KaufmanThe Last Exit by Michael Kaufman:

Set in Washington D.C. in the near future, climate change has hit hard, fires are burning, unemployment is high, and controversial longevity treatments are only available to the very rich. Enter resourceful young police detective, Jen B. Lu, and her ‘partner’, Chandler, a SIM implant in her brain and her instant link to the Internet and police records, and constant voice inside her head. He’s an inquisitive tough guy, with a helluva sense of humor and his own ideas about solving crimes.

As a detective in the Elder Abuse unit, Jen is supposed to be investigating kids pushing their aging parents to “exit” so they are eligible to get the longevity drug. But what really has her attention are the persistent rumors about Eden, an illegal version of the longevity drug, and the bizarre outbreak of people aging almost overnight, then suddenly dying–is this all connected? Is Big Pharma involved?

When Jen’s investigations of Eden take her too close to the truth, she is suspended, Chandler is deactivated, and her boyfriend is freaked out by “the thing inside her brain.” This leaves Jen to pursue a very dangerous investigation all by herself.

Valentine's Day: Kiss of Death by Charlot KingValentine’s Day: Kiss of Death by Charlot King:

The quintessentially English Professor Elizabeth Green is not herself, shut in her bedroom she doesn’t even have time for her grandson, Godric, whom she adores. As the director of the student play, Godric, meanwhile, attends a College Valentine’s Banquet with some of his troupe. Soon after, he is one actor down, a body is found.

Meanwhile, Inspector Abley’s messy divorce has brought him alone up to Grantchester, as Sergeant Lemon steps in to lend support. With mystery after mystery building up, will Professor Green open her door to help?

Hugely popular author makes this beautiful historic city of Cambridge, England, leap off the page, with the eccentric Professor of poisons. Join the fast-growing number of readers of these page-turning whodunnits in the tradition of Agatha Christie, Colin Dexter, and grab a murder mystery fuelled by poison in the dark alleys of Cambridge!

Missing Amanda by Duane LindsayMissing Amanda by Duane Lindsay:

P.I. Lou Fleener’s got a great disguise—he’s kind of short, slightly pudgy, and a little nondescript. But whatever you do, don’t get in a fight with him, even if you’ve brought a couple of buddies. Because you’re gonna lose every time. Some people just have a gift.

One of Lou’s is that nobody ever sees him coming, and he’s pretty much the Bruce Lee of street fighting. Who they see—especially if they’re female—is his tall, handsome friend Monk, and that brings us to Lou’s second superpower. He’s got a little something for the ladies too—he can dance like an Arthur Murray instructor.

Not your average 1950s Chicago P.I.

Duane Lindsay’s fresh take on the tough-guy detective is nicely buttressed by humor, graceful writing, and big, fun plots that sometimes evolve into intricate capers. Like this one.

It starts out nice and easy. Lou—an expert in Chicago gangster lore—is hired against his better judgment to find the adorable missing daughter of a wise guy. Only Amanda’s not really missing. In fact, there is no Amanda. The gangster’s got a devious agenda of his own.

But by the time Lou’s found that out, he’s got four crime bosses gunning for him, and he’s plenty pissed off. Not only should you never fight with Lou Fleener, you should also never piss him off. He quickly enlists Monk to outplot the plotters— because Monk’s super power is working out intricate and diabolical revenge plans. Next thing you know, Lou, Monk, a ragtag bunch of other P.I.s and blonde, intrepid Cassidy, Lou’s new squeeze, are conducting a dizzying array of heists that whisk the reader around glorious 1950’s Chicago.

If it all works, they get to live. And they might get rich. And for sure, somebody gets the girl.

Vengeance and Dinner by Sophie LoveVengeance and Dinner by Sophie Love:

Marie Fortune, 39, a successful dog groomer in Boston, leaves the stressful life behind and heads to a small town in coastal Maine to create a new life. She remains intent on renovating the old, historic house her great-aunt left her and giving it a new life as a B&B. Yet there was one thing she couldn’t plan for: the house is haunted. Two things, actually: her great-aunt also left her a dog—and he is far from a typical dog.

When Marie is invited to exorcise a supposedly haunted house, she encounters a twist she never could have anticipated. But before she can wrap her mind around the situation, a man turns up dead—forcing her to solve the case and to clear her own name.

To Die For by Willow RoseTo Die For by Willow Rose:

Former FBI-profiler, Eva Rae Thomas is caught off guard by a murderous plan that sends her on a pulse-pounding race against time in this romantic thriller by Willow Rose.

It is a typical Tuesday morning. Scott Benton gets up, kisses his girlfriend Sarah goodbye, and goes to work.

But when he returns home from work later in the afternoon, his girlfriend of two years is gone.

And just like that, Scott’s life is turned upside down.

The police are after him, thinking he hurt her. His friends and family have turned their backs on him, thinking the same. Meanwhile, there is one thing Scott can’t stop thinking about.

Two months ago, Sarah told him that he should go looking for her if she ever turned up missing.

Former FBI-profiler Eva Rae Thomas has enough on her plate as it is: a newborn baby, an upcoming marriage, and a house not big enough to fit them all.

On top of it, she takes in a young girl who is in serious trouble, only adding to the strain on her family life.

When Scott Benton shows up and tells her she’s his only hope in finding his girlfriend, Eva Rae is inclined to say no, but she can’t get herself to do it.

Scott and Eva Rae used to date for a brief period in high school, and Eva Rae isn’t the type of person who just can stop caring about someone.

Especially when they have nowhere else to turn.

As the investigation deepens, Eva Rae Thomas finds out what it is from her past that Sarah was so afraid of, and she’ll need all of her profiling skills in the race against time to find the girl before it is too late.

The Valentine's Day Murders by Kendall ScottThe Valentine’s Day Murders by Kendall Scott:

It has been nine months since Constance Aberfield “retired” from her crime solving ways and she is loving every minute of it. That’s what she is telling herself anyway. Besides, with Valentine’s Day week descending upon the small town of Modest Peak, Constance is flat out too busy to even think of doing anything non-hotel related. Even if she wanted to work a case, she would not have the time.

Constance is so dedicated to her retirement in fact, that when she is alerted to a serial killer known as the St. Valentine Killer, operating in Denver, she refuses to take the case. Even Sheriff Nevil, begging for her help for a change, isn’t enough to get her back in the game. She really is done with that life.

But when the St. Valentine Killer makes his way to Modest Peak, and begins to target people close to Constance, she will have to ask herself if her self-imposed retirement is worth it. This is especially true when it becomes increasingly clear that only she possesses the skills required to put the killer behind bars once and for all.

Murder at the Races by Lee StraussMurder at the Races by Lee Strauss:

Murder is a wreck!

Rosa Reed attends a charity stock car race in Santa Bonita and expects to have an exhilarating time shared with family and friends. That ends when a driver inexplicably crashes into a guard rail and dies. When local assistant medical examiner, Dr. Larry Rayburn determines the death is suspicious, Rosa once again finds herself working with the handsome Detective Miguel Belmonte in an awkward and uncomfortable alliance to solve the murder.

Send to Kindle
Posted in Books, Indie Crime Fiction of the Month | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Masks and Magic 2021 – A Round-up of Indie Mardi Gras Speculative Fiction

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

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

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

Southern Monsters by Cora BuhlertSouthern Monsters by Cora Buhlert

Three tales of monsters and terror in the Louisiana bayous.

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

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

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

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

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

Mardi Gras, Mayhem, and Murder…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Trapt by Rene FolsomTrapt by Rene Folsom:

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

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

Death Dealer by Graylin FoxDeath Dealer by Graylin Fox:

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

Things were so much quieter on vacation.

Damn, I’m glad to be back at work.

Dead Velvet Cheesecake by A. GardnerDead Velvet Cheesecake by A. Gardner:

A hotel billionaire is dead, and Ember Greene is the prime suspect.

Misty Key’s annual Mardi Gras celebrations are approaching, and the Lunar Bakery is busier than ever cranking out beignets and King cakes. Ember is tasked with juggling her responsibilities at the family bakery with her newfound psychic duties which includes pet sitting a witch’s familiar named Whiskers.

But beads and baked goods fly when a body is found at the Crystal Grande Hotel, and a slice of the bakery’s red velvet cheesecake is to blame.

With an influx of tourists and religious protestors crowding the streets, Ember struggles to find the killer and clear her family name. After a parade float explodes, she discovers that the murderer has some unfinished business. Enlisting the help of her bloodhound Yogi, a pessimistic medium, and a troubled pet psychic leads her to one conclusion.

She’s been framed for murder.

Can Ember figure out who framed her before her family’s legacy is destroyed?

Mardi Gras Zombies by Bart GnarlyMardi Gras Zombies by Bart Gnarly:

Seven college friends who attend the University of Connecticut (UCONN) together take a road trip down to New Orleans, Louisiana in order to have a good time during the Mardi Gras celebration. Mark, Nikki, Laura, Destiny, JT, Abe, and Steve are staying in a luxury hotel right on Bourbon St to party their brains out and to get away from the cold weather for a few days of fun and debauchery. Their only goals for this escapade are sex and drinking lots of alcohol, while listening to Rock and Roll, Blues, and Jazz at various bars. Partying in the French Quarter as a group will just be a bonus. The guys and especially Mark want to see as many boobs as possible. Unfortunately for them a zombie apocalypse happens during the midst of the Fat Tuesday celebrations. An amazing and relaxing adventure turns into a desperate fight for their survival. Which of them will live to go home again?

The Hexorcist by Lily Harper HartThe Hexorcist by Lily Harper Hart

Ofelia Archer has a full life … which only gets fuller when a dead body lands in her backyard.

As owner of New Orleans’ premier supernatural speakeasy, Ofelia is always in the thick of things when the witch hits the fan. That’s no exception now … even when the local police start breathing down her neck.

Zach Sully has a colorful background. As a panther shifter, he keeps his true origins secret while walking the colorful streets of the French Quarter keeping law and order. A tourist murder draws him into new and uncharted territory, and a feisty witch is at the center of it.

Sully and Ofelia circle one another … warily … as they both try to solve a mystery that revolves around an outsider who somehow had ties to their little corner of the world. Eventually, they’re going to have to join forces … and it’s not exactly a comfortable meeting of the minds.

Chemistry is one thing. Trust is another. Ofelia and Sully will be forced to get over their inner misgivings and unite if they want to solve the crime … and stay alive in the process.

Welcome to a magical world, where the characters are colorful, the magic is fantastical, and the drinks are poured strong.

It’s Bourbon Street, baby, and you’ll never be the same again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voodoo Dreams by Alana LorensVoodoo Dreams by Alana Lorens:

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

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

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

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

He found them!

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

It’s time to find his youngest daughter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to the Crescent City

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

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

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

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

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

Razor Valentine by Roland YeomansRazor Valentine by Roland Yeomans:

MARDI GRAS … MAGIC … MURDER

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

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

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

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

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

Send to Kindle
Posted in Books, Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Masks and Murder 2021 – A Round-up of Indie Mardi Gras Mysteries

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

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

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

Mardi Gras, 1975 by Frank ButterfieldMardi Gras, 1975 by Frank W. Butterfield:

Tuesday, February 11, 1975

Nick and Carter are in New Orleans, the Big Easy, for their first trip to Mardi Gras!

When Nick first opens his eyes that morning, he realizes he has a big hangover and no memory of what happened the night before.

Over a breakfast of coffee and grease, Miss Wanna Man, a local drag queen in the French Quarter, swings by to give Nick the Tea and let him know to watch his back. Apparently, he’s insulted Mr. Reginald Beauregard Jackson, III, who lives in the Garden District and that could mean bad news for Nick.

It’s an adventurous Fat Tuesday for Nick and Carter as they are confronted by the past and help a new friend embrace his future as only someone under Nick’s matchmaking spell really can.

As they say down in New Orleans, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

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

Mardi Gras, Mayhem, and Murder…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I AM IZZY RIO.

Bullets and Beads by Jana DeLeonBullets and Beads by Jana DeLeon:

Let the good times roll?

It’s Mardi Gras time and Fortune is looking forward to seeing the spectacle firsthand, but when a visitor to Sinful is murdered during the celebration there, Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie can’t help but wonder what happened. As they start looking into the woman and the family in Sinful she came to visit, their investigation sends them to New Orleans, right at the height of the Mardi Gras celebration. But instead of relaxing a little and enjoying the festivities, Fortune can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched.

When she catches sight of her father in the Mardi Gras crowd, she knows why.

Unfortunately, her father’s presence in Louisiana has brought with it a host of terrorists, all with only one thing in mind—locate and terminate Dwight Redding. Can Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie manage to evade the killers long enough to figure out why Dwight has returned from the dead? And will knowing the answer make things worse or better?

Sinister by Jana DeLeonSinister by Jana DeLeon:

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

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

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

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

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

Shelter from the Storm by Tony DunbarShelter from the Storm by Tony Dunbar:

WATER WATER EVERYWHERE…ALSO CRIME

To out-of-town kingpin Willie LaRue, Mardi Gras seems the perfect time for a New Orleans heist – nobody, but nobody will be thinking about a single other thing. Parties, parades, chaos, alcohol – who could be concerned about a little thing like a bank job? Indeed, all might have gone well except for an out-of-season frog-flogger that threatens to flood the French Quarter – something even Hurricane Katrina couldn’t do.

Next thing you know the survivors – thieves and revelers alike – find themselves marooned together. As the LaRue gang plans its watery escape, raffish lawyer Tubby Dubonnet is obliged to take time out from his customary eating and loafing to thwart their murderous intentions. The body count rises as the tempest subsides, and Tubby finds himself fighting not only for his life, but (it seems to him) the very city itself.

A wry, compelling tale of The City That Care Forgot.

Dead Velvet Cheesecake by A. GardnerDead Velvet Cheesecake by A. Gardner:

A hotel billionaire is dead, and Ember Greene is the prime suspect.

Misty Key’s annual Mardi Gras celebrations are approaching, and the Lunar Bakery is busier than ever cranking out beignets and King cakes. Ember is tasked with juggling her responsibilities at the family bakery with her newfound psychic duties which includes pet sitting a witch’s familiar named Whiskers.

But beads and baked goods fly when a body is found at the Crystal Grande Hotel, and a slice of the bakery’s red velvet cheesecake is to blame.

With an influx of tourists and religious protestors crowding the streets, Ember struggles to find the killer and clear her family name. After a parade float explodes, she discovers that the murderer has some unfinished business. Enlisting the help of her bloodhound Yogi, a pessimistic medium, and a troubled pet psychic leads her to one conclusion.

She’s been framed for murder.

Can Ember figure out who framed her before her family’s legacy is destroyed?

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hexorcist by Lily Harper HartThe Hexorcist by Lily Harper Hart

Ofelia Archer has a full life … which only gets fuller when a dead body lands in her backyard.

As owner of New Orleans’ premier supernatural speakeasy, Ofelia is always in the thick of things when the witch hits the fan. That’s no exception now … even when the local police start breathing down her neck.

Zach Sully has a colorful background. As a panther shifter, he keeps his true origins secret while walking the colorful streets of the French Quarter keeping law and order. A tourist murder draws him into new and uncharted territory, and a feisty witch is at the center of it.

Sully and Ofelia circle one another … warily … as they both try to solve a mystery that revolves around an outsider who somehow had ties to their little corner of the world. Eventually, they’re going to have to join forces … and it’s not exactly a comfortable meeting of the minds.

Chemistry is one thing. Trust is another. Ofelia and Sully will be forced to get over their inner misgivings and unite if they want to solve the crime … and stay alive in the process.

Welcome to a magical world, where the characters are colorful, the magic is fantastical, and the drinks are poured strong.

It’s Bourbon Street, baby, and you’ll never be the same again.

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

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

 

 

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

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

Krewe by Jayson LivingstonKrewe by Jayson Livingston:

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

Voodoo Dreams by Alana LorensVoodoo Dreams by Alana Lorens:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Chilling Scene That Leads Deep Into New Orleans’ Underworld

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

All the fun of Mardi Gras—without the hangover!

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

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

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

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

The Krewe by Seth PeveyThe Krewe by Seth Pevey:

Living up to the family name comes with a price.

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

Except, perhaps, one Carnival organization in particular…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Send to Kindle
Posted in Books, Indie Crime Fiction of the Month | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love Through Space and Time 2021 – A Round-up of Indie Valentine’s Day Speculative Fiction

Love through Space and Time banner

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

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

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Ballroom Blitz by Cora BuhlertBallroom Blitz by Cora Buhlert:

Anjali and Mikhail go on a Valentine’s Day date. Trouble ensues.

Once, Anjali Patel and Mikhail Grikov were soldiers on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. They met, fell in love and decided to go on the run together.

Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eke out a living on the independent worlds of the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.

It’s Valentine’s Day and so Mikhail and Anjali enjoy a well-deserved romantic dinner. But their date is rudely interrupted, when they find themselves caught in the crossfire of a turf war between two rival gangsters.

This is a Valentine’s Day novella of 23200 words or approximately 78 print pages in the “In Love and War” series by Hugo finalist Cora Buhlert, but may be read as a standalone.

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

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

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

Cupid by Demelza CarltonCupid by Delmeza Carlton:

As a Cupid, Orel has plenty of experience helping other people find love, even if he’s unlucky in that department. But when he ends up covering for another Cupid at a speed dating event for singles in the leadup to Valentine’s Day, he dares to hope.

Can a lonely Cupid find love?

Or will he fall victim to the Cupid curse, too?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What if the words you wrote came true?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Vintage Valentine by Cat GardinerVintage Valentine by Cat Gardiner:

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

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

An 8,500 word sweet paranormal romance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Immortal Valentine's Day by Monica La PortaAn Immortal Valentine’s Day by Monica La Porta:

Once a playboy, Alexander Drako is now the happy father of three and eager to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special party held on Friday night to accommodate his nocturnal vampire friends. Everything is ready except for a small detail. Alexander has forgotten to buy the roses and orchids for his beloved Ravenna. Unable to disappoint her, and accompanied by his loyal friends, Marcus and Samuel, he sets out for Wolf’s Haven, a rehab center for paranormals, hoping to find some flowers left for sale in their greenhouse.

After a honeymoon around the world that lasted half a year, Peter and Ophelia have just landed back in Rome. While he would like to relax in their apartment, Ophelia is eager to see her friends. Most of all, she can’t wait to hug Quintilius, her adoptive father.

Ophelia’s call reaches Quintilius at Wolf’s Haven, where he’s volunteering, and he rejoices at finally seeing her again. However, he isn’t thrilled to see Peter, the man who stole the heart of his little princess. A sudden crisis at the rehab center forces Quintilius to focus his thoughts and energies on looking for Luisa, a girl who’s run away with a dangerous gang member.

By fate’s design, all the friends have reunited at Wolf’s Haven and agreed to help Quintilius in his quest. Will they be able to save the girl and return to their loved ones in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Moonshine Valetnine by Tegan MaherMoonshine Valentine by Tegan Maher:

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

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

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

Heart Attack by Terri MainHeart Attack by Terri Main:

When Smelling Roses, Watch Out for the Thorns

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

A fun little mystery for the holiday of love.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

Kelianna by Leah NegronKelianna by Leah Negron:

What my fellow countrymen do not realize is that the tales are true. From the leprechauns to the fairies, the banshees to the pooka, the merrow to the kelpie, the changelings to the far darrig, they all exist.

There are many more creatures; some of them are good and stand by us in the fight to keep the evil ones at bay. The others, the dark ones, try to destroy everything that is good in the world.

Now there is a new threat, one that I have never seen before. Thankfully, Tiamat sent word through the portals to warn me of what is coming.

It’s time to bring my forces together for the battle of a lifetime. It looks like it’s going to be one hell of a Bloody Valentine’s Day.

Tiamat by Serenity RayneTiamat by Serenity Rayne:

You would think I was living a fairy tale life. I live in my ancestral home high up in the mountains, and I am heir to the Ice Dragon throne. With the standard court drama and Prince’s trying to court me that don’t measure up to the man in my dreams, life can be quite stressful at times. But in the darkness, an old evil lurks, one we thought my mother Aurora had extinguished long ago. Villagers start going missing by my father Klaus’s pack lands, and all signs point to the Strigoi. Time to help mom and get my talons dirty; this will be one bloody Valentines Day.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Was her dream man a present or a curse?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As well as a few revelations and surprises.

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

 

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

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

Send to Kindle
Posted in Books, Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love and Crime 2021 – A Round-up of Indie Valentine’s Day Mysteries and Crime Fiction

Love and Crime banner

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

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

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cupid’s arrow may have missed its mark…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He never brings me flowers…

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

Lovers’ Ridge

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

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

Ballroom Blitz by Cora BuhlertBallroom Blitz by Cora Buhlert:

Anjali and Mikhail go on a Valentine’s Day date. Trouble ensues.

Once, Anjali Patel and Mikhail Grikov were soldiers on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. They met, fell in love and decided to go on the run together.

Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eke out a living on the independent worlds of the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.

It’s Valentine’s Day and so Mikhail and Anjali enjoy a well-deserved romantic dinner. But their date is rudely interrupted, when they find themselves caught in the crossfire of a turf war between two rival gangsters.

This is a Valentine’s Day novella of 23200 words or approximately 78 print pages in the “In Love and War” series by Hugo finalist Cora Buhlert, but may be read as a standalone.

Valentine's Day, 1951 by Frank W. ButterfieldValentine’s Day, 1951 by Frank W. Butterfield:

Tuesday, February 13, 1951

What does the man who can buy anything get the man who doesn’t want anything?

That’s the mystery Nick Williams is trying to solve.

He’s a small-time private dick in San Francisco with a big-time trust he inherited from a rich uncle during the war.

With the help of his new secretary, Marnie Wilson, Nick is hoping he can come up with something that will let Carter Jones, the fireman he shares a house and a bed with, know how much he really loves him.

With a little luck, and some help from both friends and family, Valentine’s Day of 1951 might just be one they’ll both remember for a long, long time.

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

Welcome to a very flapper Valentine’s Day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A cozy novella: approximately 44,000 words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Valentine Murder by Steven DemareeA Valentine Murder by Steven Demaree

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

 

 

Valentine's Day by Liz DodwellValentine’s Day by Liz Dodwell:

Valentine’s Day, a pet pig and smugglers just don’t go together

It’s happened again, pet-sitter Polly Parrett is embroiled in another mystery. The romantic Valentine’s Day weekend she’s been looking forward to with her number one guy turns into a fiasco. There’s a body of course, characters who may or may not be trusted, danger and snow – lots of snow.

Then something happens that causes the usually mild-mannered Polly to find her inner tigress, and woe betide the person she turns her claws on.

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

BETTER CHANGE THE LOCKS. BOBBY DID.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valentine by Celina GraceValentine by Celina Grace:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Valentine's Day: Kiss of Death by Charlot KingValentine’s Day: Kiss of Death by Charlot King:

The quintessentially English Professor Elizabeth Green is not herself, shut in her bedroom she doesn’t even have time for her grandson, Godric, whom she adores. As the director of the student play, Godric, meanwhile, attends a College Valentine’s Banquet with some of his troupe. Soon after, he is one actor down, a body is found.

Meanwhile, Inspector Abley’s messy divorce has brought him alone up to Grantchester, as Sergeant Lemon steps in to lend support. With mystery after mystery building up, will Professor Green open her door to help?

Hugely popular author makes this beautiful historic city of Cambridge, England, leap off the page, with the eccentric Professor of poisons. Join the fast-growing number of readers of these page-turning whodunnits in the tradition of Agatha Christie, Colin Dexter, and grab a murder mystery fuelled by poison in the dark alleys of Cambridge!

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

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

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

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

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

Moonshine Valetnine by Tegan MaherMoonshine Valentine by Tegan Maher:

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

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

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

Heart Attack by Terri MainHeart Attack by Terri Main:

When Smelling Roses, Watch Out for the Thorns

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

A fun little mystery for the holiday of love.

 

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

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

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

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

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

The only thing missing is…Alice.

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

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

The Valentine's Day Murders by Kendall ScottThe Valentine’s Day Murders by Kendall Scott:

It has been nine months since Constance Aberfield “retired” from her crime solving ways and she is loving every minute of it. That’s what she is telling herself anyway. Besides, with Valentine’s Day week descending upon the small town of Modest Peak, Constance is flat out too busy to even think of doing anything non-hotel related. Even if she wanted to work a case, she would not have the time.

Constance is so dedicated to her retirement in fact, that when she is alerted to a serial killer known as the St. Valentine Killer, operating in Denver, she refuses to take the case. Even Sheriff Nevil, begging for her help for a change, isn’t enough to get her back in the game. She really is done with that life.

But when the St. Valentine Killer makes his way to Modest Peak, and begins to target people close to Constance, she will have to ask herself if her self-imposed retirement is worth it. This is especially true when it becomes increasingly clear that only she possesses the skills required to put the killer behind bars once and for all.

Sweet Hearts by Connie SheltonSweet Heart by Connie Shelton:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Murderous Valentine by Beverley WattsA Murderous Valentine by Beverley Watts:

Admiral Charles Shackleford’s retirement isn’t going quite according to plan. Having been instrumental in improving the lives of so many (his words – others might be inclined to call it something slightly different), he’s struggling to reignite the spark in his own love life with the feisty Mabel.

Short on ideas, he decides to gatecrash his much put upon best friend Jimmy Noon’s Valentine idea and ends up in the middle of a murder mystery weekend where real murder is on someone else’s script.

As the weather closes in, the guests are stranded in a hotel harbouring an unknown killer. With no possibility of the police arriving any time soon, the Admiral and Jimmy have no option but to join forces in an attempt to uncover the Murderous Valentine.

The unstoppable duo may be not quite be Holmes and Watson, but can they catch a murderer…?

This humorous cozy mystery is the first in The Admiral Shackleford Mysteries.

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

Send to Kindle
Posted in Books, Indie Crime Fiction of the Month | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for January 2021

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

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie and small press authors (as well as the occasional Big 5 book) newly published this month, though some December books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, gaslamp fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal mysteries, supernatural thrillers, technothrillers, science fiction thrillers, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, Cyberpunk, Steampunk, horror, LitRPG, speculative poetry, vampires, demons, goblins, muses, goddesses, haunted houses, mechas, first contact, interstellar wars, superheroes, dread worms, dark gods, barbarian kings, crime-busting witches, crime-busting ghosts, murderous artificial intelligences, death retired 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:

Speculate by Eugen Bacon and Dominque HecqSpeculate: A Collection by Microlit by Eugen Bacon and Dominique Hecq:

From what began as a dialog between two adventurous writers curious about the shape-shifter called a prose poem comes a stunning collection that is a disruption of language-a provocation. Speculate is a hybrid of speculative poetry and flash fiction, thrumming in a pulse of jouissance and intensity that chases the impossible.

One might describe some pieces as complex, relentless, but above all, speculating or crossing borders in the fantastic playground of language. We invite you to leap onto the stage of your own imaginings, plunge into what Henry James called the house of fiction.

This is how we envision ours:

A single detached house tossed out of Speculate settles across your dreams. Skin, paper-thin, desiccated and scripted like a collage, covers the absence of doors, thresholds, verandas, stairways and footpaths. But there are windows and louvers that look out to rain-licked grasslands. This is a house unsealed, with the sky art and earth art washed or rolled into each other on adjacent floors and walls. The roof, unlettered, is made of two sliding suns of creamed panels, foundation-like. Round the back is a rope ladder that will win you over. Up, up you go. Enter with care as you would any fiction that blurs the boundaries of genre, mode or form, that goes beyond the written and borrows from the unwritten. Together we can interweave art with language and watch it shape itself anew in an endless process of spontaneity and play because we can be here and there and away, all at once.

-Dominique Hecq and Eugen Bacon

The Plains of Shadow by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Plains of Shadow by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

Long before Kurval became King of Azakoria, he was a guard captain in service to the tyrannical King Talgat of the land Temirzhan beyond the sea.

One day, Talgat orders Kurval to escort the condemned witch Aelisia to the Plains of Shadow and behead her, so her blood may feed the dark gods who dwell there.

However, Kurval does not want to execute the sentence, once he learns that Aelisia is innocent of the crimes of which she has been accused.

But if he lets Aelisia go free, Kurval will not only have to face the wrath of Talgat but also the fury of the dark gods who dwell upon the Plains of Shadow.

This is a novelette of 9800 words or approx. 33 print pages in the Kurval sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

Worm Fodder by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertWorm Fodder by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

After a hunt, King Kurval of Azakoria and his entourage make camp at the village of Ogwall. However, something is not right in the village. All men of fighting age are away at a mysterious ritual and the remaining villagers are clearly afraid of something.

Kurval investigates and learns that the mysterious ritual in the woods involves sacrificing the young Celisa to the dread worm Thibunoth.

Kurval is furious, for he outlawed human sacrifice in the kingdom of Azakoria. And so he sets out to save Celisa, deal with the monster and punish those who would violate the ban on human sacrifice.

This is a novelette of 9600 words or approx. 32 print pages in the Kurval sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

Blind Date with a Supervillain by H.L. BurkeBlind Date with a Supervillain by H.L. Burke:

Juggling life as a superhero with college and a social life is hard, but Shawn Park, AKA Surge, feels he’s killing it. Things look even brighter when he makes a connection with the sweet but shy new barista at his favorite coffee shop. Maybe a guy really can have it all … but appearances can be deceiving.

Apparition just wants her supervillain father to be proud of her, and she’ll do anything to accomplish that: even disguise herself as mild-mannered coffee shop employee Nikki to get close to the superhero he’s stalking. However, between his charming smile and kind words, she finds herself hopelessly drawn tp the good natured Shawn.

As the chemistry between Shawn and Nikki sizzles, the tension between Surge and Apparition grows. If he finds out the truth, they could be headed for something far more explosive than the average breakup.

Wherever Seeds May Fall by Peter CawdronWherever Seeds May Fall by Peter Cawdron:

The Prince of Darkness is coming. Comet Anduru skimmed the clouds of Saturn. Rather than being drawn into the gas giant, it skipped back out into space. With the comet heading for Jupiter, speculation is mounting it’s an alien spacecraft making its way to Earth. Lieutenant Colonel Nolan Landis and Dr. Kath McKenzie are caught between an angry public and an anxious President as they grapple with the scientific, social, and political implications of First Contact.

FIRST CONTACT is a series of stand-alone novels that explore the concept of humanity’s first interaction with extraterrestrial life. Like BLACK MIRROR or THE TWILIGHT ZONE, the series is based on a common theme rather than common characters, allowing these books to be read in any order. Technically, they’re all first as they all deal with how we might initially respond to contact with aliens, exploring the social, political, religious, and scientific aspects of First Contact.

The Brass Queen by Elizabeth ChatsworthThe Brass Queen by Elizabeth Chatsworth:

She knows a liar when she sees one.
He knows a fraud when he meets one.

In a steam-powered world, Miss Constance Haltwhistle is the last in a line of blue-blooded rogues. Selling firearms under her alias, the “Brass Queen,” she has kept her baronial estate’s coffers full. But when US spy J. F. Trusdale saves her from assassins, she’s pulled into a search for a scientist with an invisibility serum. As royal foes create an invisible army to start a global war, Constance and Trusdale must learn to trust each other. If they don’t, the world as they know it will disappear before their eyes.

If you like the Parasol Protectorate or the Invisible Library series, you’ll love this gaslamp fantasy—a rambunctious romantic romp that will have you both laughing out loud and wishing you owned all of Miss Haltwhistle’s armaments.

The Fury of Angels by Julian M. ColemanThe Fury of Angels by Julian M. Coleman:

It’s the late 1800s, and Sara’s mother is a witch. It’s the 21st century, and Sammy is trapped in prep school hell. The identical besties are doomed to immortality. It’s their lethal rage that makes them efficient killers.

 

 

 

 

Scions of Humanity by M.D. CooperScions of Humanity by M.D. Cooper:

The Orion War is over and new peace is spreading…

It will take centuries for the legacy of the prior conflict to fade away, conflicts spurred on by diasporas and resource restrictions that will ripple through the Perseus, Orion, and Sagittarius arms of the galaxy.

Yet in the wake of those final battles comes a reprieve, a new peace maintained by the knowledge that total war is too devastating to even contemplate, that the weapons employed–should they come into common use–would lay waste to the galaxy.

Admiral Tanis Richards, the former Field Marshal, wishes nothing more than to retire to her lakehouse and stare out over the rippling waters for a year or two, but knows she cannot. For the greatest enemy that humanity and free AIs have ever faced waits for her at the galactic core. Epsilon, a powerful AI, his nodes filling an entire world, is has his mind bent on remaking the universe, and organic life is not in the blueprint.

Though they yearn to enjoy the fruits of their labors, Tanis and her allies must prepare for one final battle against the scions of the human race. They must prepare to fight The Ascension War.

The Cemetery Ghost by Amy CrossThe Cemetery Ghost by Amy Cross:

As she explores a snowy cemetery, Elizabeth Shaw is shocked to come across a strange little boy. Although he remembers his name, Patrick has no idea where he comes from, and a moment later he vanishes into thin air.

Meanwhile, a mysterious man moves into the nearby rectory. Determined to recover a dangerous book, Jerome Shand starts by torturing the spirits of a family who died many years ago. When that approach fails, however, Shand realizes that he only has one option left. He needs to find the last remaining ghost of the Munce family, a young boy named Patrick who disappeared after he and his family were murdered seventy years earlier…

Soon, Elizabeth and Patrick discover that leaving the past behind isn’t as easy as they’d hoped. Dark forces are waiting in the shadows of the rectory, and an evil force is desperate to break free. Can Patrick stop Shand, or will the ancient Lochdale Book finally spill its evil secrets into the world?

Dawn Breaker by Pippa DaCostaDawn Breaker by Pippa DaCosta:

With Rafe missing, demons claiming half the night station, and the vampire queen closing in, Lynher and Kensey are left with nowhere to hide. Backed into a corner, they must fight.

But can two human orphans harness the magic of the night station to stand against the vampire queen?

 

 

California Demon by Debra DunbarCalifornia Demon by Debra Dunbar:

In New Hell, only the monsters survive.

Eden Alvaro is a licensed Vulture, picking through the aftermath of violence in demon-plagued LA, and fencing her finds to help support her family. But when a crooked cop reports her for a salvage she didn’t take, all hell breaks loose.

Stripped of her license, Eden finds herself with a price on her head. When the mercenaries hunting her raid her home, brutalize her family and abduct one of her sisters, Eden turns to the enigmatic Bishop—a man with a reputation for violence who, for the right price, can find just about anything or anyone.

With time running out to find her sister before she’s sold into slavery, Eden is determined to get her back—even if she has to slaughter her way through a gang affiliated with the traffickers and face down one of the powerful demons in control of the city.

She’ll need every bit of her burgeoning magical powers to bring her sister back alive—and she’ll need to put herself in debt to Bishop. But when it comes to her family, no price is too high for Eden to pay.

Muse Delusion by T.K. FlorMuse Delusion by T.K. Flor:

A lost manuscript. A woman determined to find it. A man who finds her irresistible.

In NYC, freelance consultant Jack Ellis – still grieving after the death of his beloved grandmother – finally starts to put his life back together. But his attempts to leave the past behind unravel when he meets Lisa, a storybook-beautiful woman who claims she came for a manuscript that Jack’s grandmother promised her. A manuscript Jack has never heard of.

Allured by her beauty and drawn to her impetuous personality, Jack joins Lisa in a search that takes them on an unexpected journey, casting the people he thought he knew in a whole new light.

There’s no doubt Lisa is a disruptive force, yet Jack cannot disentangle himself from her quirky and potentially dangerous intrusion. Lisa is all charm when it suits her, but can Jack accept her mysterious mental powers and embrace a woman who believes she is actually a muse from Mount Olympus?

Jotnar Snare by Rachel FordJotnar Snare by Rachel Ford:

A reclusive mountain race. A paradise under siege. A problem magic cannot solve.

When the Jotnar’s mountain paradise is attacked by a seemingly all-powerful enemy, the race of giants must break their age-old rule and seek help from outsiders. They turn to the mage’s university to understand the threat.

Apprentice Wizard Idun Wintermoon and blade-for-hire Liss Forlatt travel to the wintery mountain stronghold to aid the giantfolk. But to defeat a foe who turns the magic of his victims against them, they’ll need to tap into strengths they didn’t know they had.

To defeat a magic siphoning wizard, sometimes you need a magic-challenged sellsword.

The Dark lord Bert 2 by Chris FoxThe Dark Lord Bert 2 by Chris Fox:

How Does a 1 Hit Point Dark Lord Save the Real World?

Kit and her friends are gamers, but not the ordinary kind. It seems that Track Jick was right, and that people who play roleplaying games really are wizards and witches. Kit’s game master uses a magical die to transport them to an alternate world where they can really become their characters, and forget all about the real world.

Unfortunately, during a power scuffle the d20 gets knocked into the game world. If they can’t get it out then the game world will explode, and everything in it will die. Worse, to Kit’s mind, their parents will be disbarred, and they’ll never be able to play again.

Enter one tiny goblin with just a single hit point, but a heart large enough to save a fake world…if he can reach the d20 before the Dark Lord White 2.0. Along the way Bert will meet his fellow dark lords, and finally learn magic. Plus Boberton gets very large indeed.

The Valiant by J.J. GreenThe Valiant by J.J. Green:

King Arthur in outer space?

Endless warfare has ravaged Earth, and billions are desperate to escape. One of them is Taylan Ellis.

Driven from her home in the West Britannic Isles by an invasion and severed from her children, Taylan enlists with the Britannic Alliance, hoping she can help regain her homeland and find her kids.

But decades of internal conflict and terrestrial and space warfare have left the BA on the edge of collapse.

Then its battleship, the Valiant, picks up a distress signal. The rescuers break into a sealed chamber and find the apparently mummified remains of an Iron Age chieftain. Disappointed, they’re about to leave when they discover the ‘mummy’ has a pulse.

Taylan suspects she knows who the mystery man is and what he’s capable of. If she’s right, can she convince her superiors and save the BA, her country, and her children?

The Valiant is book one in J.J. Green’s new space fantasy series, Star Legend.

Ghostly Wedding by Lily Harper HartGhostly Wedding by Lily Harper Hart:

Harper Harlow and Jared Monroe fell in love fast and hard. Finally, their big day is here.

They just need to solve a murder before they exchange their vows and take the next step to happily ever after.

Peter Humphrey, an insurance salesman from a neighboring town, appeared to be minding his own business when a woman came out of nowhere and struck him down while he was crossing the street. Harper witnessed the accident and vows to solve the murder before it’s time to leave on her honeymoon.

It might take more work than she realizes, though.

Peter was a normal guy, a father who doted on his daughter and was friendly with his ex-wife, and yet somehow he had a secret. His ghost points Harper toward Montgomery Manor, toward a woman who suffered her own tragedy almost two decades before.

On paper, Peter’s murder and the Montgomery tragedy shouldn’t be connected … and yet they are. It’s up to Jared and Harper to figure out how if they want to enjoy their wedding and what comes after … and they’re both determined to do it.

Some things are meant to be. Harper and Jared believe their union is one of those things.

Prepare yourselves, because this is one wedding you’ll never forget.

Alyx: An AI's Guide to Love and Murder by Brent A. HarrisAlyx: An AI’s Guide to Love and Murder by Brent A. Harris:

Home is where the heart is. It’s where you go to feel safe with your loved ones.

But what if your home wanted you dead?

Tech-loving teen Christine makes fast friends with her home’s AI, Alyx. But when a real-world romance threatens their bond, Alyx turns from friend to foe.

 

So Beckons the Abyss by Joel JenkinsSo Beckons the Abyss by Joel Jenkins:

The Cataclysm changed the face of the world, swallowing up modern cities and gleaming skyscrapers while vomiting up the ruins of ancient civilizations.Many governments and institutions collapsed, while others survived by reinventing themselves or reforming from the ashes of the old societies.During this time, a new sport of cutthroat cross-country vehicular racing developed and became an international sensation. The racers are worldwide celebrities, but dark and mystical forces are at work to control and use them.

 

On the Street Where Death Lives by Cate LawleyOn the Street Where Death Lives by Cate Lawley:

Skeletons in the closet

The living have them, but what about ghosts? Geoff’s about to find out! He’s convinced his ghostly neighbor Ginny was murdered. When he starts digging for answers, he unearths more than facts.

Join Geoff, his favorite bobcat Clarence, Sylvie and a gang of supernatural misfits as they investigate murders, both past and present!

 

Cooking for Cannibal by Rich LederCooking for Cannibals by Rich Leder:

Fountain of youth? More like murderous medication!

Carrie Kromer pushes the boundaries of science, not her social life. The brilliant behavioral gerontologist’s idea of a good time is hanging out with her beloved lab rats and taking care of her elderly mother and the other eccentric old folks at the nursing home. So no one is more surprised than Carrie when she steals the lab’s top-secret, experimental medicine for aging in reverse.

Two-time ex-con Johnny Fairfax dreams of culinary greatness. But when his corrupt parole officer tries to drag him from the nursing home kitchen, the suddenly young-again residents spring to his defense and murder the guy—and then request Johnny cook them an evidence-devouring dinner to satisfy their insatiable side-effect appetite.

As their unexpected mutual attraction gets hot, Carrie and Johnny find themselves caught up with the authorities who arrive to investigate the killing. But even more dangerous than the man-eating not-so-senior citizens could be the arrival of death-dealing pharmaceutical hitmen.

Can Carrie and Johnny find true love in all this bloody madness?

Cooking for Cannibals is a dark comic thriller with a heaping helping of romance. If you like fast-paced plots, unconventional characters, and humor that crosses the line, then you’ll have a feast with Rich Leder’s wild ride.

Buy Cooking for Cannibals and dig in to a side-splitting serving today!

Long, Hot, Witchy Summer by Amanda M. leeLong, Hot, Witchy Summer by Amanda M. Lee:

Life couldn’t be going much better for Hadley Hunter. She’s living the dream on Moonstone Bay with her boyfriend Galen Blackwood, plotting her next move as a witch for hire, and basically basking in happiness.

That all changes when a summer afternoon on the beach turns into a nightmare, an odd creature from the depths of the ocean surfacing and attacking Hadley on the beach. Her friend Lilac, a demon with a few issues, fights it off but it escapes … and becomes a problem for an island that bases its entire economy on tourism.

The all-powerful DDA isn’t happy. Lilac’s hair refuses to stop glowing red. Booker is struggling to help all his friends. Essentially, things turn messy quickly.

On top of that, Hadley’s father drops in out of nowhere and demands she return home. He’s not happy with what he hears about the island and decides it’s too dangerous for her to say. Hadley, of course, has other ideas and is determined to bring her father around to her way of thinking.

Between monsters popping up out of nowhere and her father’s inability to stop freaking out, Hadley has her hands full. The monsters keep popping up in the oddest places, and always their attention is on Hadley.

Monsters are nothing new for Hadley but the ones attacking now seem to be different. It’s up to Moonstone Bay’s newest witch and her motley crew of paranormal colleagues to solve a mystery and save the day. Again.

They just have to survive to do it.

Family Solstice by Kate MaruyamaFamily Solstice by Kate Maruyama:

The Massey family loves their house. It’s been in the family for generations, and the land on which it sits has been with them even longer. In the summer everyone comes through to visit and the house is alive with family friends, barbecues and lobster boils. But come fall, the mood shifts as all of the kids start training for their turn in the basement.

Shea, the youngest Massey is training extra hard. She’s thirteen and that means this is her year to battle on Solstice. Her older siblings won’t tell her exactly what’s in the basement, you don’t know until you’re fighting it. She’s excited finally to be in the know.

She does know that whatever happens in the basement every December 21 makes it possible for the Masseys to spend the rest of the year enjoying their home and all that it brings. It is her family duty.

But something about this year is different. Mama’s extra quiet this fall, and the house is breathing early.

Maruyama explores the dangers of tradition, inheritance, and the sins of the father in this horror novella.

Disposable Heroes by Gregory Mattix Disposable Heroes by Gregory Mattix:

Boomer is a pretty simple guy for an alien hybrid. He runs on booze, caffeine, and junk food. He works as a bullet-resistant tank for a crew of street-running mercenaries. If someone needs hurting or something needs blowing up, he’s the guy to do it. It might not be the most glam life in Arutairu Megacity, but it’s his, and he’s rather attached to it.

When Boomer’s team takes on a shady job with the promise of a stellar payday, the proverbial excrement quickly meets the fan, and hit squads come after him and his crew. Normally, a few amateur goons with guns would just make for good target practice, but he suddenly finds himself unable to protect his friends. His rapidly expanding list of problems soon includes double-crosses, femme fatales, a hybrid assassin wielding alien weaponry, and an army of mercs gunning for him and his rapidly dwindling crew. As if that mess wasn’t enough to deal with, he fears he might be losing his sanity as he blunders into the middle of a conspiracy so vast it will shake the foundations of the entire city.

What’s a dumb grunt like him to do? Get some bigger guns and fight back, of course. And make some bastards rue the days they were born.

Steel Rogue by Alex OakchestSteel Rogue by Alex Oakchest:

Rick is destined to become a legend.

But he doesn’t realize that yet. Right now, Rick is a young guy with a secret that will get him into trouble. He inherited forbidden magic from his mother, who disappeared before she could teach him how to use it.

When his father is murdered and Rick is stalked by a deadly bounty hunter, he gets his ass out of town. Searching for a way to use his secret powers, he finds himself in a tough new city where a bunch of thieves become his mentors.

Soon, he’s at the bottom of the ranks of a sect of magic users. Fueled by his wish to grow stronger, he finds ways to exploit his new powers. Tested to his breaking point by his new teachers, he gains abilities that he never knew existed.

With a desire for greatness and magic of infinite potential, so begins Rick’s rise to legend.

Null Identity by Sean Platt and Johnny B. TruantNull Identity by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant:

From the bestselling authors of Invasion and Yesterday’s Gone comes Null Identity, a new stand-alone novel written in the world of The Tomorrow Gene. This is a disturbing philosophical exploration of what can happen when our scientific advancement outpaces our ethics.

Cassandra Knight is trying hard to believe that she is safe and sane. Living with an adoring billionaire in his luxurious secluded mansion, she should have everything she needs to recover from the mental breakdown that drove her to attempt suicide.

And yet, she is haunted by vividly recurring nightmares of the moment she tried to take her life and the persistent feeling that something just isn’t right.

What happened on that hazy night when she hit rock bottom, and why does it seem like everything and everyone around her are conspiring to keep her from remembering?

Null Identity is a compelling mix of Ex Machina meets The Invisible Man in the story of one woman’s struggle to unearth the truth and understand her own past.

Grave Mistake by Christine PopeGrave Mistake by Christine Pope:

When you pull up stakes, make sure you don’t get stabbed in the back.

Self-taught in the arcane arts, hedgewitch Selena Marx is comfortable doing divination for West Los Angeles’ anxiety-ridden housewives, lawyers, and aspiring actresses. Her biggest challenge? Avoiding Lucien Dumond, leader of the Greater Los Angeles Necromancers’ Guild, who views her as fresh meat to add to his harem of slavishly devoted groupies.

Selena’s not interested in the slimy, celebrity-schmoozing sorcerer, but nobody turns Lucien down without consequences. When he threatens to fit her with magical cement shoes and drop her off the Santa Monica Pier, Selena’s Tarot cards point her to Globe, Arizona, for a new home, a new shop, and a cursed pet cat.

Just as she’s settling in and meeting the locals — including Calvin Standingbear, hunky chief of the San Ramon Apache tribal police — Lucien tracks her down…and promptly disappears. When his body turns up on tribal lands, it’s up to Calvin to investigate. Starting with Selena.

And when one of Lucien’s acolytes is killed, traces of dark magic and cryptic warnings from the spirits send Selena and Calvin in a race against time — before a too-close-for-comfort evil cuts her own life short.

At the Gates and Other Stories by Patrick SamphireAt the Gates and Other Stories by Patrick Samphire:

A ghost searches for revenge in ancient Egypt. A boy unearths the bones of a dragon. A girl risks awakening a dark god to save her dog…

He reached out a hand and touched Grace’s cheek. The touch made her shiver. “You can’t save everyone, Grace.”

“I don’t want to,” Grace whispered. “Just her.”

At the Gates and Other Stories is a collection of sixteen fantasy short stories.

Luck Be a Lady by Chris H. StevensonLuck Be a Lady by Chris H. Stevenson:

Mason Hart has just lost his job, fiancé, and car in less than 48-hours. A short time later he accosts a cop and ends up in jail. He finally lands in a hospital as the result of a jailhouse brawl. He’s helpless to quell this downhill slide into calamity. Since he believes all is lost at this point, suicide seems the only alternative left…

Until the figure of Felicity Fortune, the Roman Goddess of Luck, interrupts Mason’s suicidal plans in the nick of time. It seems Felicity Fortune was hampered by the bird flu and few other appointments, so she must apologize for her tardy appearance. She tells Mason that he’s ripe for a cosmic alignment, and that his 15-minutes of fame and wealth are finally at hand. He is allotted six chances via the roll of the golden dice for his deserved share of the “Great Cornucopia.”

Beshaba, the Maid of Misfortune, has ear-marked Mason at the exact same time, to heap upon him the bad luck part of the equation. She is the evil incarnate daughter of Felicity, and now covets Mason for her own devious alignment. Everything that Beshaba represents is in stark contrast to her mother. It is a deliberate ploy to spite the good works of her mother, thus laying down a challenge of cosmic power.

Their simultaneous claim to Mason forces the two Goddesses into a mythological cat fight in hell. When this push and shove reaches a fevered pitch, even the destiny of mankind in called into question. Mason must find the solution and tear away the veil of darkness that could upset the divine balance between good and evil. What he doesn’t know is that the final key to the solution is himself.

Equilibrium by Glynn StewartEquilibrium by Glynn Stewart:

Peace forged on the edge of civilization
Lies forged in the heart of mankind
A legend rises to the final challenge

Exile to the Syntactic Cluster has been good for Kira Demirci and her friends. Once elite pilots of the Apollo System Defense Force, they now own the most powerful mercenary warship in the entire star cluster. Working with the carrier-for-hire Conviction and her Captain John Estanza, they have helped the King of Redward usher in a new era of hope for the entire Cluster.

That hope is nearly shattered when Estanza’s old enemies in the Equilibrium Institute strike directly at Redward’s king. Revenge and money bring the mercenaries into an allied fleet—one intended to neutralize the last threats to the peace.

But the Institute’s plans for the Syntactic Cluster are intricate and deep. Even as the mercenaries and their employers move against the enemies they see, shadows gather in the Cluster, bearing whispers of a forgotten name: Cobra Squadron.

Necrogarden by Bryon VaughnNecrogarden by Bryon Vaughn:

Death has seeped into The Garden, black and oily.

A sickness is spreading through The Garden threatening to destroy everything that neuro-cognitive genius Brenna Patrick has built at NeuralTech. World domination will have to wait, at least for now.

Adversaries will become allies. New enemies will upset the balance of power. People will die.

In an epic struggle for control of a system that can topple governments, turn peasants into rulers, and make even the darkest, most sadistic miscreant into a god, only the resilient will survive.

NECROGARDEN is a roller-coaster ride of a thriller, one that will have readers pondering the nature of memory, and of reality, long after they’ve read the last page.

Metal Warrior: Hard As Steel by James David VictorMetal Warrior: Hard As Steel by James David Victor:

The only way to save Earth may be to take the fight outside of the solar system.

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

Dane and the mech fighters of the Mechanized Infantry Division have taken the fight to all enemies, alien and human alike. When they discover a portal to other solar systems, they have the means to end the invasion or take the fight across the galaxy. If they can defeat the overwhelming forces defending it. In the end, nothing less than humanity’s place in the galaxy is on the line.

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

Download Metal Warrior: Hard as Steel and continue this epic space adventure today!

The Wind in My Heart by Douglas WynneThe Wind in My Heart by Douglas Wynne:

Miles Landry is trying to put violence behind him when he takes up work as a private detective focused on humdrum adultery cases. But when a Tibetan monk hires him to find a missing person, things get weird fast.

Charged with tracking down the reincarnation of a man possessed by a demonic guardian from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Miles is plunged into a world of fortune-tellers, gangsters, and tantric rituals. The year is 1991 and a series of grisly murders has rocked New York City in the run up to a visit from the Dalai Lama.

The police attribute the killings to Chinatown gang warfare. Miles–skeptical of the supernatural–is inclined to agree. But what if the monster he’s hunting is more than a myth?

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

Send to Kindle
Posted in Books, Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for January 2021


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

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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, police procedurals, crime thrillers, medical thrillers, science fiction thrillers, technothrillers, police officers, amateur sleuths, private investigators, doctors, missing persons, cold cases, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting maids, crime-busting teachers, crime-busting ghosts, murderous AIs, murder and mayhem in Palm Beach, Florida, Galveston, Texas, New York City, Brighton, London, Sicily 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:

An Unfortunate Demise by Blythe BakerAn Unfortunate Demise by Blythe Baker:

Death stalks the guests at a seaside resort…

While staying at Brighton with the formidable old Mrs. Montford, Anna Fairweather witnesses a drowning. Suspecting the “accident” is something more sinister, Anna begins a search for the truth – and the killer.

Does a belligerent brother-in-law carry an old grudge? Is the victim’s grieving husband a little too quick to move on? With an entire hotel full of suspects, Anna must uncover the secrets, and the motives, the hotel guests and employees are desperate to hide. But with the clock ticking, will Anna get to the bottom of the mystery – or find herself at the bottom of the ocean?

Murder in the Evening by Blythe BakerMurder in the Evening by Blythe Baker:

Death comes to dine…

When an elegant dinner party with friends ends in the sudden death of a beautiful young socialite, Alice Beckingham finds herself a witness to murder. Intrigued by a cryptic note in which the victim predicts her own demise, Alice enlists the aid of the cunning but slippery Sherborne Sharp to investigate.

Alice has more than one killer to contend with, however, as her family continues to be plagued by unanswered questions surrounding an older unsolved mystery.

Working together, the lady detective and her jewel thief partner set out to trap a killer. But will the looming shadows of the past leave Alice blind to the dangers of the present?

Dark Waters Inn Box Set by Bekah Bancroft and Jaxon ReedDark Waters Inn Mysteries Box Set by Bekah Bancroft and Jaxon Reed:

In 1900 a massive hurricane wiped out Galveston, killing thousands and leveling the island.

One building survived, the Dark Waters Inn. The proprietress made a deal with the angel who watches over Texas . . .

Over the years the island rebuilt. But Dark Waters remains untouched, haunted by a ghost whose successive granddaughters continue running the inn. Macey Davenport shows up late for her grandmother’s funeral and suddenly finds herself the new owner of a very special place.

Cord Dupree is a lonely highway patrol officer in West Texas. One night, he pulls over a werewolf . . .

Suddenly Cord finds himself promoted, handed a silver badge tied to the ghost of an old Texas Ranger. His job now is to serve as the living half of a paranormal law enforcement team stretching back to the 1800s.

When Cord and his partner become guests at the Dark Waters Inn, old ghosts are reunited and romantic sparks fly in the land of the living. But a secret organization keeps tabs on the paranormal in Texas. When guests start showing up dead in Galveston, it will take Cord, Macey, their ghosts and Bogey the dog to figure out whodunit and do something about it.

Grab all five books in the complete Dark Waters Inn series with this box set:
A Bite for Dinner
Paws for Lunch
A Breakfast Tail
A Nosey Brunch
Snacks for Packs

Murder at Midnight by Beth ByersMurder at Midnight by Beth Byers:

January 1927

New Year’s has arrived and Vi has resolutions. Her friends have faced something they never expected, and they’re all a little fragile. Determined to help her family, Vi brings them all together.

No one is even startled when they come across a body. But maybe, for once, something good can come from such an event. Maybe, they’ll find their peace along with a killer.

 

The Reticence by Levi FullerThe Reticence by Levi Fuller:

Sisters Margo and Marcia Fleming have always enjoyed investigating cold cases.

Tracking down elusive suspects while giving victims some peace of mind. They get the job done, no matter what’s at stake. Whether local police departments want their help or not.

They will stop at nothing to get to the truth.

For their latest case, a distraught mother requests their help to investigate the unsolved murder of her fourteen-year-old daughter, found naked and tortured on the bank of a river. With the whole town claiming that she was loved by everyone and never caused any trouble, Margo and Marcia will have to work hard to solve a murder that, by all appearances, looks like any other small-town murder. But appearances can be deceiving, as they have learned, and the killer may be far closer than anyone has expected before.

Can Margo and Marcia solve the case before they run out of time?

Figs and a Cadaver by Fiona GraceFigs and a Cadaver by Fiona Grace:

A VILLA IN SICILY: FIGS AND A CADAVER is book #2 in a charming new cozy mystery series by bestselling author Fiona Grace, author of Murder in the Manor, a #1 Bestseller with over 100 five-star reviews (and a free download)!

Audrey Smart, 34, has made a major life change, walking away from her life as a vet (and from a string of failed romance) and moving to Sicily to buy a $1 home—and embark on a mandatory renovation she knows nothing about.

Audrey is busy working to open the town’s new shelter, while also renovating her own problematic home—and dating again. With the help of friends, she begins taking in sick strays. But not everyone in town is grateful for her services, and she soon makes unexpected enemies.

When Audrey gets a tip about an injured dog near the coast and goes to find him—she finds the dead body of a powerful local instead.

Can Audrey, now a suspect, solve the crime and clear her name?

Or will her Sicilian dream fall apart?

Ghostly Wedding by Lily Harper HartGhostly Wedding by Lily Harper Hart:

Harper Harlow and Jared Monroe fell in love fast and hard. Finally, their big day is here.

They just need to solve a murder before they exchange their vows and take the next step to happily ever after.

Peter Humphrey, an insurance salesman from a neighboring town, appeared to be minding his own business when a woman came out of nowhere and struck him down while he was crossing the street. Harper witnessed the accident and vows to solve the murder before it’s time to leave on her honeymoon.

It might take more work than she realizes, though.

Peter was a normal guy, a father who doted on his daughter and was friendly with his ex-wife, and yet somehow he had a secret. His ghost points Harper toward Montgomery Manor, toward a woman who suffered her own tragedy almost two decades before.

On paper, Peter’s murder and the Montgomery tragedy shouldn’t be connected … and yet they are. It’s up to Jared and Harper to figure out how if they want to enjoy their wedding and what comes after … and they’re both determined to do it.

Some things are meant to be. Harper and Jared believe their union is one of those things.

Prepare yourselves, because this is one wedding you’ll never forget.

Alyx: An AI's Guide to Love and Murder by Brent A. HarrisAlyx: An AI’s Guide to Love and Murder by Brent A. Harris:

Home is where the heart is. It’s where you go to feel safe with your loved ones.

But what if your home wanted you dead?

Tech-loving teen Christine makes fast friends with her home’s AI, Alyx. But when a real-world romance threatens their bond, Alyx turns from friend to foe.

 

On the Street Where Death Lives by Cate LawleyOn the Street Where Death Lives by Cate Lawley:

Skeletons in the closet

The living have them, but what about ghosts? Geoff’s about to find out! He’s convinced his ghostly neighbor Ginny was murdered. When he starts digging for answers, he unearths more than facts.

Join Geoff, his favorite bobcat Clarence, Sylvie and a gang of supernatural misfits as they investigate murders, both past and present!

 

Cooking for Cannibal by Rich LederCooking for Cannibals by Rich Leder:

Fountain of youth? More like murderous medication!

Carrie Kromer pushes the boundaries of science, not her social life. The brilliant behavioral gerontologist’s idea of a good time is hanging out with her beloved lab rats and taking care of her elderly mother and the other eccentric old folks at the nursing home. So no one is more surprised than Carrie when she steals the lab’s top-secret, experimental medicine for aging in reverse.

Two-time ex-con Johnny Fairfax dreams of culinary greatness. But when his corrupt parole officer tries to drag him from the nursing home kitchen, the suddenly young-again residents spring to his defense and murder the guy—and then request Johnny cook them an evidence-devouring dinner to satisfy their insatiable side-effect appetite.

As their unexpected mutual attraction gets hot, Carrie and Johnny find themselves caught up with the authorities who arrive to investigate the killing. But even more dangerous than the man-eating not-so-senior citizens could be the arrival of death-dealing pharmaceutical hitmen.

Can Carrie and Johnny find true love in all this bloody madness?

Cooking for Cannibals is a dark comic thriller with a heaping helping of romance. If you like fast-paced plots, unconventional characters, and humor that crosses the line, then you’ll have a feast with Rich Leder’s wild ride.

Buy Cooking for Cannibals and dig in to a side-splitting serving today!

Long, Hot, Witchy Summer by Amanda M. leeLong, Hot, Witchy Summer by Amanda M. Lee:

Life couldn’t be going much better for Hadley Hunter. She’s living the dream on Moonstone Bay with her boyfriend Galen Blackwood, plotting her next move as a witch for hire, and basically basking in happiness.

That all changes when a summer afternoon on the beach turns into a nightmare, an odd creature from the depths of the ocean surfacing and attacking Hadley on the beach. Her friend Lilac, a demon with a few issues, fights it off but it escapes … and becomes a problem for an island that bases its entire economy on tourism.

The all-powerful DDA isn’t happy. Lilac’s hair refuses to stop glowing red. Booker is struggling to help all his friends. Essentially, things turn messy quickly.

On top of that, Hadley’s father drops in out of nowhere and demands she return home. He’s not happy with what he hears about the island and decides it’s too dangerous for her to say. Hadley, of course, has other ideas and is determined to bring her father around to her way of thinking.

Between monsters popping up out of nowhere and her father’s inability to stop freaking out, Hadley has her hands full. The monsters keep popping up in the oddest places, and always their attention is on Hadley.

Monsters are nothing new for Hadley but the ones attacking now seem to be different. It’s up to Moonstone Bay’s newest witch and her motley crew of paranormal colleagues to solve a mystery and save the day. Again.

They just have to survive to do it.

Factor-7 by J.D. MayFactor-7 by J.D. May:

Factor-7 presents a terrifying scenario that’s ripped from the headlines. You think it could never happen. Factor-7 will make you think twice!

The life of Dr. Sam Hawkins, the head trauma surgeon at Galveston’s St. Peter’s Memorial Hospital, is changed forever by the cryptic words of his dying friend, Dr. Bill Roberts, and a string of murders and blatant cover-ups that follow his demise. Sam reluctantly teams up with Dr. Rainee Arienzo, an Italian infectious disease specialist, and together they uncover the terrifying truth about Factor-7, a bio-weapon with a 98% mortality rate.

Dr. Roberts’s journal tips them off that a clandestine plot for using the virus is about to be unleashed by a secret society, the Keepers Collegium. The Collegium, an international group of rogue intelligence agents, ex-military, and government officials, has a demonic plan to use the pathogen to destroy anyone who threatens their twisted ideology.

Sam and Rainee can’t trust anyone. Danger and deceit are around every corner as they travel the world. They soon realize that public exposure of the evil plot would be as dangerous to the world’s security as the bio-weapon itself. The fallout could lead to World War III. Therefore, they must not only shut down the plans of the Collegium, but also keep the top-secret information from ever being revealed. But as they work to stop the plot, Sam and Rainee are kidnapped by the largest Mexican drug cartel. The kingpin, who financed much of the Collegium’s plot, wants Dr. Roberts’s journal because it lists the names of the major players in the Collegium who had double-crossed him. He plans to carry out his special revenge. And he also has his own plans for Sam and Rainee. In order to survive, Sam and Rainee have no choice…they must play with one of two devils or be burned by both.

Factor-7 is a bucking bronco ride of bio-weaponry, secrets, terror, betrayal, infidelity, raw human emotions and redeeming love. It’s a gripping suspense thriller that will keep the reader up all night turning the pages.

Null Identity by Sean Platt and Johnny B. TruantNull Identity by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant:

From the bestselling authors of Invasion and Yesterday’s Gone comes Null Identity, a new stand-alone novel written in the world of The Tomorrow Gene. This is a disturbing philosophical exploration of what can happen when our scientific advancement outpaces our ethics.

Cassandra Knight is trying hard to believe that she is safe and sane. Living with an adoring billionaire in his luxurious secluded mansion, she should have everything she needs to recover from the mental breakdown that drove her to attempt suicide.

And yet, she is haunted by vividly recurring nightmares of the moment she tried to take her life and the persistent feeling that something just isn’t right.

What happened on that hazy night when she hit rock bottom, and why does it seem like everything and everyone around her are conspiring to keep her from remembering?

Null Identity is a compelling mix of Ex Machina meets The Invisible Man in the story of one woman’s struggle to unearth the truth and understand her own past.

Grave Mistake by Christine PopeGrave Mistake by Christine Pope:

When you pull up stakes, make sure you don’t get stabbed in the back.

Self-taught in the arcane arts, hedgewitch Selena Marx is comfortable doing divination for West Los Angeles’ anxiety-ridden housewives, lawyers, and aspiring actresses. Her biggest challenge? Avoiding Lucien Dumond, leader of the Greater Los Angeles Necromancers’ Guild, who views her as fresh meat to add to his harem of slavishly devoted groupies.

Selena’s not interested in the slimy, celebrity-schmoozing sorcerer, but nobody turns Lucien down without consequences. When he threatens to fit her with magical cement shoes and drop her off the Santa Monica Pier, Selena’s Tarot cards point her to Globe, Arizona, for a new home, a new shop, and a cursed pet cat.

Just as she’s settling in and meeting the locals — including Calvin Standingbear, hunky chief of the San Ramon Apache tribal police — Lucien tracks her down…and promptly disappears. When his body turns up on tribal lands, it’s up to Calvin to investigate. Starting with Selena.

And when one of Lucien’s acolytes is killed, traces of dark magic and cryptic warnings from the spirits send Selena and Calvin in a race against time — before a too-close-for-comfort evil cuts her own life short.

A Murder of Principal by Saralyn RichardA Murder of Principal by Saralyn Richard:

When a maverick principal comes in with a student-centered agenda, there’s no more business as usual at Lincoln High School. And killing the principal is just the beginning…

When someone sets fire to Lincoln High and kills the new principal, chaos threatens to overtake the urban school. Assistant Principal Sally Pearce, originally hired to help the deceased principal revamp the culture, vows to carry on the mission. In so doing, she locks horns with fellow assistant principal, Wally Welburton, and gets caught up in gang threats, racial tensions, grievances, sexual harassment complaints, and murder.

Sally never dreamed she’d be faced with solving a mystery and returning the school to order. The odds are against her—a woman in a man’s job, a minority in a tough position. Her strong moral compass and commitment to students bolster her as she meets challenge after challenge. When a second murder happens on campus, Sally realizes she’s trapped in a cycle of violence that must be stopped—now.

Palm Beach Taboo by Tom TurnerPalm Beach Taboo by Tom Turner

There’s a dangerous cult in Palm Beach.

All about philanthropy and altruism, they say. All about sex and money, Crawford and Ott say.
Then there’s a brutal stabbing…make that sex and money and MURDER!

Suspects? Well, there’s a billionaire heiress, an ex-movie star, a former member of Skull and Bones, a Blackwater psychopath…and the bizarre thing, they’re members of the Mensa society!

She Told a Lie by P.D. WorkmanShe Told a Lie by P.D. Workman:

A missing girl.

Her confused family and friends don’t know what to think about her disappearance.

The police will only put so many resources into the search for a missing teen. They don’t have time and money to spend on runaways and voluntaries. But that doesn’t mean no one cares.

Zachary Goldman is on the case, and he is determined to find out what happened to Madison Miller and to bring her home safely.

If she’s still alive, he’s going to find her.

No matter what danger he might face personally.

The Wind in My Heart by Douglas WynneThe Wind in My Heart by Douglas Wynne:

Miles Landry is trying to put violence behind him when he takes up work as a private detective focused on humdrum adultery cases. But when a Tibetan monk hires him to find a missing person, things get weird fast.

Charged with tracking down the reincarnation of a man possessed by a demonic guardian from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Miles is plunged into a world of fortune-tellers, gangsters, and tantric rituals. The year is 1991 and a series of grisly murders has rocked New York City in the run up to a visit from the Dalai Lama.

The police attribute the killings to Chinatown gang warfare. Miles–skeptical of the supernatural–is inclined to agree. But what if the monster he’s hunting is more than a myth?

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

Send to Kindle
Posted in Books, Indie Crime Fiction of the Month | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two New Kurval Sword and Sorcery Stories Available: The Plains of Shadow and Worm Fodder

It’s the first new release announcement of 2021. This one is for two new novelettes in my Kurval sword and sorcery series.

To recap, during the 2020 July short story challenge, I had an idea for a sword and sorcery story that would not fit into my established Thurvok sword and sorcery series, so I created a new character named Kurval, barbarian usurper turned King of Azakoria. Kurval was initially intended to be a one-off character. However, I like him and he allows me to tell stories that just don’t fit Thurvok and his friends, so it was obvious that he would show up again.

Indeed, the first of the two new Kurval stories was initially supposed to be Thurvok’s origin stories (for while Thurvok’s companions Meldom, Sharenna and Lysha have origin stories, Thurvok himself doesn’t have one yet). However, there was just one problem. The tale of the young captain of the royal guard of a lecherous king who is ordered to execute a young woman, victim of said king’s lechery, and doesn’t want to do it was simply too grim for Thurvok who is a more lighthearted character. And so I thought, “Why don’t I make it Kurval’s origin story instead? After all, we know that he wasn’t born a king.”

The other spark of inspiration for what would eventually become The Plains of Shadow was a piece of fantasy art, namely this image of a warrior confronting a smoke monster by Nele Diehl. At that moment, something clicked and the story largely wrote itself after that.

So prepare to accompany Kurval, as he confronts the dark gods and meets his destiny upon the…

The Plains of Shadow
The Plains of Shadow by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertLong before Kurval became King of Azakoria, he was a guard captain in service to the tyrannical King Talgat of the land Temirzhan beyond the sea.

One day, Talgat orders Kurval to escort the condemned witch Aelisia to the Plains of Shadow and behead her, so her blood may feed the dark gods who dwell there.

However, Kurval does not want to execute the sentence, once he learns that Aelisia is innocent of the crimes of which she has been accused.

But if he lets Aelisia go free, Kurval will not only have to face the wrath of Talgat, but also the fury of the dark gods who dwell upon the Plains of Shadow.

This is a novelette of 9800 words or approx. 33 print pages in the Kurval sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

More information.
Length: 9800 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 iBooks, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, Vivlio, 24symbols and XinXii.

Whereas The Plains of Shadow is a prequel, Worm Fodder, the second new Kurval story, is set after King’s Justice. Several characters from King’s Justice reappear such as Kurval’s vizier and chief councillor Izgomir and the young Count Ragur Falgune. Ragur’s bride, now wife Nelaira does not appear in person, though she is mentioned. And Ragur and Nelaira have good news.

In Worm Fodder, Kurval finds himself in a situation – slay a monster and rescue the damsel-in-distress about to be sacrificed to said monster – that Thurvok and his friends repeatedly dealt with as well, most notably in most notably in The Cave of the Dragon and The Temple of the Snake God.

However, with Kurval the basic plot plays out quite differently, because Kurval can do more than just slay the monster and rescue the girl. For as King of Azakoria, Kurval also uses his authority to outlaw human sacrifice and quite literally lay down the law to those who’d sacrifice a young woman to a worm monster.

So accompany Kurval as he is about to become…

Worm Fodder
Worm Fodder by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertAfter a hunt, King Kurval of Azakoria and his entourage make camp at the village of Ogwall. However, something is not right in the village. All men of fighting age are away at a mysterious ritual and the remaining villagers are clearly afraid of something.

Kurval investigates and learns that the mysterious ritual in the woods involves sacrificing the young Celisa to the dread worm Thibunoth.

Kurval is furious, for he outlawed human sacrifice in the kingdom of Azakoria. And so he sets out to save Celisa, deal with the monster and punish those who would violate the ban on human sacrifice.

This is a novelette of 9600 words or approx. 32 print pages in the Kurval sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

More information.
Length: 9600 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 iBooks, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, Vivlio, 24symbols and XinXii.

I have ideas for more Kurval stories, so you’ll see him again. As for the dark gods from the Plains of Shadow – well, they’ve tasted Kurval’s blood and they’re nothing, if not persistent, so they’ll eventually turn up again as well.

Send to Kindle
Posted in Announcements, Books | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment