Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for November 2023

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal mystery, paranormal thrillers, science fiction mystery, space opera, military science fiction, werewolves, vampires, shifters, half-dragons, starships, space marines, crime-busting witches, chases across the universe and much more.

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

The Butler Did It by Jerry BoydThe Butler Did It by Jerry Boyd:

The fleet manages to catch the Squirrel responsible for the horrible things they’ve seen recently. That should be a good thing, shouldn’t it? Turns out it’s only the beginning of their troubles, as their journey to collect a bounty on him turns into an adventure. Follow along, as Bob and the fleet get the best of the situation.

 

 

 

Federation Marine Sergeant by Jonathan P. BrazeeFederation Marine: Sergeant by Jonathan P. Brazee:

At last, Sergeant Ryck Lysander has found a home in the United Federation Marine Corps and has proven the temper of his steel in combat.

Stepping up as an NCO, however, is something different. It isn’t enough to be an effective warrior. He has to be able to lead his fellow Marines, all without doubting his own abilities.

Failing will not only lead to his own death, but to those under his command. The responsibility is heavy, and the cost of losing is high.

At the same time, an old ally becomes a new enemy, thrusting Ryck into a life and death situation where success or failure rides on his shoulders.

The question he must answer for himself is whether he has what it takes to lead. . . or if he should have stayed a recruit after all.

Marked by Magic by Lindsay BurokerMarked by Magic by Lindsay Buroker:

Arwen Forester may be a socially awkward introvert, but she’s an expert tracker, archer, and forager who has a pickling recipe for every vegetable in the garden. Unfortunately, none of these skills earn her a lot of money. And when the taxes go up on her father’s farm, she’s not sure how to help him keep the property.

Then someone offers her a lucrative new gig:

Hunt down a haughty half-dragon criminal with the power to incinerate those who irritate him.

Normally, Arwen would reject such a suicidal mission, but with the farm at stake, she’s desperate. Besides, all she has to do is tag the half-dragon with a tracking device. How hard could it be?

Find out in Marked by Magic, Book 1 in the new Tracking Trouble urban fantasy series.

Bound by Blood by Lindsay BurokerBound by Blood by Lindsay Buroker:

Magically compelled by bad guys, Arwen Forester shot her half-dragon ally in the thigh. She longs to make amends to him, but she’s busy with a new quest:

Get rid of the tattoo that lets dark elves control her.

Unfortunately, such magical marks aren’t easily removed. When the troll tattoo artist she visits is killed, she’s framed for murder.

Soon, hired guns are after her, and the troll’s clan is trying to get Val Thorvald, the Ruin Bringer, to hunt her down.

Arwen could use the help of a powerful half-dragon, but will Azerdash Starblade forgive her after her previous betrayal?

Galaxy Under Siege by M.R. ForbesGalaxy Under Siege by M.R. Forbes:

Caleb Card always knew that fighting back against overwhelming odds would be a thankless slog. And with Legion forces expanding across the galaxy, his opportunities to hit them where it hurts are fast running out. When a well-played hand and an unexpected betrayal nearly put a stop to both the rebellion and his life, all signs point to a quick and ugly end.

Only Caleb’s never quit anything before, and he isn’t about to start now. Not when he still has a few more aces up his sleeve…

…and with any luck, a Queen.

Whispers of the Dead by Elle GrayWhispers of the Dead by Elle Gray:

Storyville is a small town with world altering mysteries. Here the impossible is this town’s reality.

In the wake of her partner’s disappearance, FBI agent Cora Pratt calls for backup and accepts the aid of Sheriff Highsmith.

As the search for Nolan continues, Cora ventures deeper into the many mysteries in the supernatural small town.
When the hunt for answers leads her to a secret library within a library.
She is finally able to learn what lies behind some of the towns’ many secrets.

As Cora unravels her own tangled past connections to Storyville and the town’s secrets. Her dreams become far more jarring.

With dreams and reality converging and more truths finally found.

Cora must now follow the whispers from the past to save the future of Storyville and maybe even humanity itself…

Against the Witchy Tide by Lily Harper HartAgainst the Witchy Tide by Lily Harper Hart:

Hali Waverly is gearing up for a big change. The hip surgery she’s been dreading is only two weeks out, and that means it’s time to get things in order before she’s down for the count to recuperate. She has a plan….and then the unthinkable happens.

When leaving the doctor after scheduling surgery, a bank robbery suspect crosses Hali’s path. When his mask is removed, her boyfriend Gray Hunter recognizes him as a fellow shifter, and the questions only grow from there.

It seems there are a lot of strange shifters hanging around St. Pete Beach, and they don’t belong to the same faction. The one spot they agree to meet is Hali’s tiki bar…and sparks—and fur—are about to fly.

Hali doesn’t want to get involved in pack politics, but she might not have a choice. For Gray, who turned his back on the pack years ago, the appearance of warring factions on his turf means bad things are about to happen. He has no choice but to stand up and fight, however.

Hali knows what she wants for her future. Unfortunately for her, she’s going to have to go to war to get it. This fight—so many claws and teeth to contend with—might be out of her reach.

That won’t stop her from fighting…even to the death.

Clashing Blades by Matt HiltonClashing Blades by Matt Hilton:

Monsters, magic, savage action and clashing blades.

Sword and sorcery and heroic fantasy tales in the tradition of Robert E. Howard’s Conan and Kull, Lin Carter’s Thongor, and Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane, featuring Matt Hilton’s Korvix the axe warrior and other mighty heroes.

 

 

White Witchmas by Amanda M. LeeWhite Witchmas by Amanda M. Lee:

Chestnuts are roasting. Jingle bells are rocking. The halls are about to be decked.

In other words, Christmas is about to hit Hemlock Cove. Hard.

There’s just one little problem…or maybe two. Okay, there are three big problems plaguing Bay Winchester before she can enjoy the holidays.

The first is that the warden who lost his job thanks to a prison break weeks before is determined to stalk Bay until she magically fixes his life. He keeps showing up in the oddest of places and making the sort of demands she can’t fulfill.

The second involves Aunt Tillie, who has decided to gift her nemesis Margaret Little a special spell rather than a lump of coal this holiday season. It involves her Christmas decorations taking on a life—and voice—of their own. The spell, however, isn’t nearly as contained as it was supposed to be.

When a body shows up at the local private school, that means it’s one problem too many for Bay. And she doesn’t know which problem to solve first.

The headmistress of the school was involved in a convoluted affair with father of one of her students. The list of suspects who wanted her dead was long and sundry, however.

All Bay wants is to surprise her husband with a dog for Christmas and to eat her weight in cookies. She has to save the day first, though.

Murder, mayhem, and mistletoe are on the menu.

Death might not be far behind.

Buckle up, because the Santa decorations are coming to town.

Magic By Any Other Name by Alison LevyMagic by Any Other Name by Alison Levy:

Ivy Nichols O’Reilly has grown up in a wealthy family full of magic, fantasy creatures, and emotional abuse—but when her narcissistic mother arranges an unwanted marriage for her, the young witch reaches her breaking point. She drops out of college, changes her name to Georgette, and flees across the country with her best friend, a Wood Nymph named Mei-Xing.

Georgette is determined to build a new identity and a new life. But her journey leads her to cross paths with a number of magical characters—a Werehyena searching for his kidnapped wife; a Vampire who runs a unique magical business; a curandero, a shamanistic practitioner of traditional medicine; and a Valkyrie who, along with her raven partner, wants to make a risky deal—who make it clear to her that the past is not so easily left behind. In order to grow into her new identity, help her new friends, and develop a healthy relationship with a man she’s beginning to care for, Georgette will have to confront the privileges that have shielded her from the pain and ugliness of the magic community in which she was raised—and find the strength to overcome the trauma of her childhood.

Scarper by Jenny SchwartzScarper by Jenny Schwartz:

A fate-defying chase across the universe.

Fate is a tricky witch.

On the run across federation space, Cherry has stuffed far too many dangerous secrets into her scout ship. Now the Delphic Dame is the most hunted spaceship in the universe.

It may also be the only force in the universe capable of saving humanity.

Cherry just has to stay one step ahead of her enemies – and, maybe, of her allies.

Honor and Renown by Glynn StewartHonor and Renown by Glynn Stewart:

A peacetime Navy has many roles.
Presence. Protection. Preparation.
Commerce. Sales.
Realpolitik.

A century before the Kenmiri ever touched humanity’s stars, Admiral Christopher Macleod commands the Extrasolar Squadron of the Commonwealth Space Force. His job, above all else, is to sell British military technology to the rest of humanity.

The Admiral has long ago accepted his role as the pony in the Commonwealth’s dog and pony sales show—but as war between the United States Colonial Administration and the Russian Novaya Imperiya twists ever closer to neutral stars, every nation must choose what neutral means for them.

And Admiral Macleod must choose what matters most to him: the Commonwealth’s neutrality—or the thousand-year-old traditions of Her Majesty’s Navy!

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for November 2023


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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, holiday mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, legal thrillers, medical thrillers, adventure thrillers, revenge thrillers, romantic suspense, police officers, FBI agents, amateur sleuths, lawyers, vigilantes, stalkers, missing persons, serial killers, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, murderous Santas, murder and mayhem in New York, London, Florida, Michigan, the Everglades, Outer Space and much more.

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

Murder with Mirth by Blythe BakerMurder With Mirth by Blythe Baker:

Now that the murder of Miles’ late wife has been solved, Sylvia and Miles return to New York, intent on announcing their engagement. But disaster – and death – strike again, when least expected.

With a dead dinner guest and a long list of suspects, Sylvia and Miles will have to act quickly to outwit a vicious killer.

 

 

The Butler Did It by Jerry BoydThe Butler Did It by Jerry Boyd:

The fleet manages to catch the Squirrel responsible for the horrible things they’ve seen recently. That should be a good thing, shouldn’t it? Turns out it’s only the beginning of their troubles, as their journey to collect a bounty on him turns into an adventure. Follow along, as Bob and the fleet get the best of the situation.

 

 

 

A Murderous Little Christmas by Beth ByersA Murderous Little Christmas by Beth Byers:

It has been five years since Violet and her twin gathered up their friends and traveled to the aid of their aunt. Who they failed. Agatha Davies was murdered, their family faced many of its demons, and Violet met the love of her life.

A lot has happened since then, mostly of a murderous nature. This year, they’re determined to take back Christmas. Fate, it seems, has other things in store. Feeling like death is stalking them, Vi and friends set up for the holiday. When the bodies start appearing, it’s clear that death is stalking them and this time–they might not be as lucky as before.

Villain, Smiling Villain by Beth ByersVillain, Smiling Villain by Beth Byers:

Smith is back in London with a bustling family life and a busy work schedule. All is right with the world. Or, at least as right as it gets with Smith.

So no one is surprised when along comes a foe. This foe, however, is entirely unexpected. He’s not an old enemy. He’s not a current case. All things indicate that he is, in fact, entirely new.

For some reason, his focus is on Smith, Beatrice, and their daughters. Who is he? Why is he chasing Smith’s family? And just which of them will prove to be the greatest villain?

Behind the Lies by Maren CooperBehind the Lies by Maren Cooper:

Will Franklin—former academic geek, now recognized as a rare talent in the “fake it ’til you make it” biotech industry—is in the wings for his dream job as next CEO of a global powerhouse. Or so he thinks, until his boss, Chet, calls him into his office and angrily tells him he is going to be fired. Chet hints at impropriety, but won’t say more—and before Will can press him he falls so ill that he’s put on ventilator care.

Now, instead of losing his job, Will finds himself in the position of supporting Chet’s family through the hell of a dire illness. Just as suddenly, he finds his leadership ability tested by a crippling cyberattack that threatens the entire industry and leaves him with little time to untangle the mystery of whatever it is that Chet uncovered before he got sick.

Can Will clear his name before the ax falls—or his marriage collapses—due to his lapse in judgment? And does Bella, a young and beautiful rising star making waves with her own start-up company, have anything to do with this mess?

Undertow by Jana DeLeonUndertow by Jana DeLeon:

When Jill Morgan left Tempest Island after high school, she didn’t know what she wanted to do the rest of her life. The only thing she’d ever loved was writing fiction, but that was a pursuit with no financial guarantees. So she did the responsible thing and got her college degree, then a job that provided a good living, and she wrote in her free time. She never expected to become a bestseller, but her books—written under a pseudonym—brought her millions of happy readers.

And a stalker.

When her identity is compromised, Jill decides to disappear until the cops can identify the man threatening her. Her first thought is returning to Tempest Island, one of the many places her father was stationed with the Navy, and the only one that had ever felt like home. Plus, she had connections there who could help her remain off radar. It was just a matter of time until the cops had her stalker in custody and Jill could get back to normal. But being on Tempest Island again brings back old memories and creates some new ones, forcing her to take a hard look at her carefully crafted life.

Can she build a new life for herself on Tempest Island? Or will the stalker end that journey before it even gets started?

Whispers of the Dead by Elle GrayWhispers of the Dead by Elle Gray:

Storyville is a small town with world altering mysteries. Here the impossible is this town’s reality.

In the wake of her partner’s disappearance, FBI agent Cora Pratt calls for backup and accepts the aid of Sheriff Highsmith.

As the search for Nolan continues, Cora ventures deeper into the many mysteries in the supernatural small town.
When the hunt for answers leads her to a secret library within a library.
She is finally able to learn what lies behind some of the towns’ many secrets.

As Cora unravels her own tangled past connections to Storyville and the town’s secrets. Her dreams become far more jarring.

With dreams and reality converging and more truths finally found.
Cora must now follow the whispers from the past to save the future of Storyville and maybe even humanity itself…

Watching Her by Elle GrayWatching Her by Elle Gray:

“Welcome home. We’re alone now, no one can hear you.”

Blake Wilder has captured many dangerous criminals over the years.
When a familiar case lands on her lap, she could have never imagined the horrors that would follow.

A serial killer with a chillingly familiar pattern resurfaces, and it will take all her wit and power to ensure that the culprit never sees the light of day again.
As the case and the body count mount, it becomes apparent that he’s not just a step ahead of Blake: he’s a shadow in the darkness, a relentless tormentor who’s watching her every move.

While the killer continues to elude and taunt Blake at every turn. It seems only a matter of time before she either captures the predator or becomes prey herself.

Think you’re alone? Think again…

Against the Witchy Tide by Lily Harper HartAgainst the Witchy Tide by Lily Harper Hart:

Hali Waverly is gearing up for a big change. The hip surgery she’s been dreading is only two weeks out, and that means it’s time to get things in order before she’s down for the count to recuperate. She has a plan….and then the unthinkable happens.

When leaving the doctor after scheduling surgery, a bank robbery suspect crosses Hali’s path. When his mask is removed, her boyfriend Gray Hunter recognizes him as a fellow shifter, and the questions only grow from there.

It seems there are a lot of strange shifters hanging around St. Pete Beach, and they don’t belong to the same faction. The one spot they agree to meet is Hali’s tiki bar…and sparks—and fur—are about to fly.

Hali doesn’t want to get involved in pack politics, but she might not have a choice. For Gray, who turned his back on the pack years ago, the appearance of warring factions on his turf means bad things are about to happen. He has no choice but to stand up and fight, however.

Hali knows what she wants for her future. Unfortunately for her, she’s going to have to go to war to get it. This fight—so many claws and teeth to contend with—might be out of her reach.

That won’t stop her from fighting…even to the death.

Seasonable Doubt by Robin JamesSeasonable Doubt by Robin James:

It’s the week before Christmas and Santa is on trial for attempted murder…

Known to locals as the “Christmas Guy,” Nick Whittaker has delighted his neighbors with an elaborate holiday light show and his uncanny resemblance to Santa Claus. A bit of a loner, Nick has found his place and his calling as a mall Santa in the quaint Northern Michigan town of Helene. He’s the last person anyone would have suspected in the brutal beating of a local politician. But when the bloodied murder weapon turns up in his trash and surveillance video puts him at the crime scene, Nick finds himself on trial for his freedom.

Defense attorney Cass Leary has a soft spot for lost causes. When she crosses paths with Nick Whittaker on a trip up north, she realizes she’s his one shot at a fair trial. As a blizzard barrels down on Helene, Cass quickly learns the evidence against Nick may not be what it seems. Both he and the victim had enemies and secrets that could bury them and a courtroom bombshell throws everything into chaos. As Cass races against time to unravel the twisted threads of this mystery, whispers of intrigue and betrayal echo through the courthouse.

In the dead of winter, Cass Leary fights for justice in a town where even Christmas can’t thaw the icy grip of suspicion.

White Witchmas by Amanda M. LeeWhite Witchmas by Amanda M. Lee:

Chestnuts are roasting. Jingle bells are rocking. The halls are about to be decked.

In other words, Christmas is about to hit Hemlock Cove. Hard.

There’s just one little problem…or maybe two. Okay, there are three big problems plaguing Bay Winchester before she can enjoy the holidays.

The first is that the warden who lost his job thanks to a prison break weeks before is determined to stalk Bay until she magically fixes his life. He keeps showing up in the oddest of places and making the sort of demands she can’t fulfill.

The second involves Aunt Tillie, who has decided to gift her nemesis Margaret Little a special spell rather than a lump of coal this holiday season. It involves her Christmas decorations taking on a life—and voice—of their own. The spell, however, isn’t nearly as contained as it was supposed to be.

When a body shows up at the local private school, that means it’s one problem too many for Bay. And she doesn’t know which problem to solve first.

The headmistress of the school was involved in a convoluted affair with father of one of her students. The list of suspects who wanted her dead was long and sundry, however.

All Bay wants is to surprise her husband with a dog for Christmas and to eat her weight in cookies. She has to save the day first, though.

Murder, mayhem, and mistletoe are on the menu.

Death might not be far behind.

Buckle up, because the Santa decorations are coming to town.

Till Death Do Us Part by Willow RoseTill Death Do Us Part by Willow Rose:

Death was the only way she could leave.

Rachel Baker, a devoted mother of three, disappeared one Monday morning after dropping off her children at daycare. Her car was found on the side of the road, but there’s no trace of her anywhere. Soon, the questions start piling up:

What happened to her?

Would she leave her children just like that?

Was the husband involved?

When they find out she was planning to leave her husband, the question arises whether he killed her because she wanted to leave or if her sister helped her disappear. Who tells the truth, and who hides an ugly secret?

FBI Agent Eva Rae Thomas is in the middle of renovating her house with her boyfriend, Detective Matt Miller, when she is called in to assist with this strange case.

She knows Rachel, as their children are best friends, and has no problem taking over, trying to find her friend and fellow mom.

But when Rachel’s body turns up in a storage unit, and Eva Rae digs deeper; she realizes this killer is especially vicious and determined not to be found.

Meanwhile, the husband and mother-in-law fight over the right to the children, and things soon turn ugly as secrets are gushing out of the closet on both sides, one darker than the next.

By Any Means by J.C. RyanBy Any Means by J.C. Ryan:

Jessie Bell’s last parole hearing was a disgrace.

One board member called her a witch and a harpy and said that, given the chance, he would have her put down like a rabid dog.

Ten years in prison for killing her sadistically abusive husband had turned Jessie Bell into a poisoned, embittered, and dangerous person. The parole hearing was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was payback time.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth? No, not for Jessie Bell. Her version of justice wasn’t just about getting even. It was about taking back twice as much as had been taken from you. Two eyes for one. Justice meant redressing all the imbalances – and putting out only one eye didn’t compare to the loss of all the advantages of losing two eyes.

Fortunately, Jessie is offered the position of the late Pavo, Regan’s Uncle Paul, in the Organization.

And she accepted it.

“Justice,” she murmured. “Poetic justice. Justice that I can create myself.”

She balled up her fists on the table. “Yeah, there’s more than a few people I know who need some poetic justice right about now.”

A former Delta Force operative is serving a life sentence for killing an eight-year-old girl. He was found guilty just because he could have done it and people feared him? Who was the real killer?

It was like the whole world was turning crazy. A judge’s son murdered innocent kids, then had his kids, in turn, murdered. Dangerous chemicals killed hundreds, then spread into the water supply. The City turned into a permanent rush hour – a panicked slow crawl. Drug dealers and pimps were getting killed on the streets.

Karma? Jessie had always been a fan of ordinary human beings carrying out the work of karma.

There is only one person who could possibly stop the inevitable bloodbath that Jessie is about to unleash on the city – Judge Regan St. Clair – but to do so, she must cross the line she has sworn never to cross – join the Organization.

But maybe it is as Uncle Paul always said: “The end justifies the means.”

Weigh Anchor by Wayne StinnettWeigh Anchor by Wayne Stinnett:

A lifelong friend finds something deep in the Everglades that is so very odd, that when he calls Jesse McDermitt, at first the semi-retired former special operator is in total disbelief. But he is also very intrigued, and the duo set out on another adventure reminiscent of their childhood days.

But their youthful quest had been all about fun and make-believe. This one was real, waiting nearly a century to be discovered.

There is another party interested in what Billy Rainwater stumbled upon. They have been searching for decades and will stop at nothing to recover what they believe to be not only their personal property, but their legacy. The Glades never gives up secrets readily.

Deep in the River of Grass, untold dangers lurk, waiting to snatch the unwary. It raises its ugly head in the backcountry of the Middle Keys, as well. But when it finds its way into the parking lot of Jesse’s favorite watering hole, a line in the sand has to be drawn once again.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for October 2023

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

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie and small press authors newly published this month, though some September 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, portal fantasy, historical fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, space opera, military science fiction, science fiction poetry, Steampunk, cosmic horror, wizards, gnomes, zombies, sea serpents, ancient evils, starships, space marines, mercenaries, gladiators, warrior princesses, crime-busting witches, jaunts through the Multiverse 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:

Josh and Sen Save the Multiverse by D.P. BehlingJosh & Sen Save the Multiverse by D.P. Behling:

Josh Tanner, was trying to fix his life and get back to his four-year-old daughter Sophie. Then he was pulled into the multidimensional world of the Immortals simply by being the last person on the elevator after lunch . . . and carrying a briefcase!

Senyak Marztanak needs to reacquire his immortality and his place on his family’s ruling seat. Both having been stripped away when he failed his grandfather’s trial.

Now, after being bonded through karma, Josh and Sen are forced to rise together through the levels of mortal cultivation to reach transcendence.

In a new and fully developed sci/fi-fantasy universe. Chock full of multiethnic mythology, ageless powers, saviors and treacherous villains. Josh & Sen Save the Multiverse tells the tale of two unlikely heroes pushed together by the fates, karma, and the most powerful immortals in existence. Through hilarious and life-threatening adventures, they form bonds of friendship and brotherhood. All while having to rely on each other’s unique qualities to survive eight iterations away from their universe of origin.

Follow Josh and Sen as they grow, fight, live, laugh, love and cry. They don’t know it yet . . . But for each to get home they will not only have to save their own lives . . . but the entire Multiverse!

Federation Marine Recruit by Jonathan P. BrazeeFederation Marine: Recruit by Jonathan P. Brazee:

What would you do to change your life? How far would you go? How hard would you fight?

Rather than work his bones into dust toiling away on a barren world, Ryck Lysander chooses to enlist in the Federation Marine Corps.

But as he quickly finds out, this path isn’t just a job. . . it’s a calling. . . and not everyone is suited to wear the uniform.

Like millions before him, Ryck will need to develop discipline, endurance, and strength as he’s pushed to the very limit of what he can do, all to earn his ticket off a baren world and into the stars.

But the price of failure won’t just mean going home to work the dirt fields. . . it could cost him his very life.

The time to stand is now, and Ryck will need every ounce of willpower to become what the galaxy needs. . .

He must become a Federation Marine.

Omega Force: Dead Reckoning by Joshua DalzelleOmega Force: Dead Reckoning by Joshua Dalzelle:

Mercenary life is hard.

No home. No family. Always looking over your shoulder, likely for the rest of your life.

When you find a crew that you can trust, you do anything for them. Jason Burke has a crew like that. He would kill for them… and he would die for them. Right now, they need his help and it will take all of his cunning and skill to bring them home safely. He is alone, without his powerful ship, the Phoenix, and the criminal cartels he’s going up against are some of the most ruthless in the galaxy.

For Captain Burke it’s all or nothing: bring his friends home safe… or die trying.

A Vengeful Realm by Tim FacciolaA Vengeful Realm by Tim Facciola:

Peace bought by blood seldom lasts, for vengeance knows no end. The same is true for mortals and Gods alike. Decades, centuries, eras may pass, but the cycle remains. As war and revolution rise again, Zephyrus finds himself at the center of it all. Chosen by the Gods, hailed as a prophet of liberation, and forged as a weapon to break the kingdom and restore balance to the realm, hope rests squarely on his shoulders.

If only he could remember…

Enslaved as a gladiator and thrust into a prince’s game of espionage, Zephyrus has only two clues to help unlock his shattered past: a prophecy foretelling destruction, and a letter to the enemy king, promising peace. Now Zephyrus must survive the dangers of the gladiatorial arena, the cunning fury of the Prince’s enemies, and the Gods’ torment if he is to find the truth of his identity and fulfill his fate. But to have any hope of breaking the cycle, first he must secure his freedom—and not just from his slavers.

Within this vengeful realm, a queen protecting her kingdom, a prince defending his father, and a gladiator slave haunted by a prophecy each contend for their own brand of freedom. But the Gods have an agenda of their own, and they’ll use any vessel—patrician, plebeian, or slave—to see it done.

The scales must be balanced. By peace. Or by blood.

Achy Breaky Hax by Lily Harper HartAchy Breaky Hex by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok has a lot on her mind.

She’s engaged, with a wedding around the corner.

She and her husband-to-be Cooper Wyatt are building a house near the cosplay western town she inherited from her late grandmother.

And she’s gearing up for a fight with the witch who wants to steal her magic and kill her.

All of that falls by the wayside when Hannah realizes that people are starting to develop magical crushes…and the outcome is ugly when the fighting begins.

First up is local Sheriff James Boone’s teenage daughter. She’s overwhelmed by a spell when her latest crush’s attention is on the line.

Then the women at the bakery, all sisters, start fighting over the same man.

Then Cooper decides to come to blows for Hannah’s honor and it almost results in someone’s death.

Hannah is understandably confused. The only thing she knows without question is that there’s witchy magic afoot. Where is it coming from, though?

Hannah’s life is leading toward a specific fight. This fight, however, needs to be won before she can look to the future. Unfortunately for Hannah, the odds of winning are long.

There’s no evading the fight. So, here it comes.

Perilous Potions by Amanda M. LeePerilous Potions by Amanda M. Lee:

Luna Thorn sprang into being in the middle of the night in a downtown Detroit park years ago. She had no memory of her past and no idea what the future would hold for her. The only thing she possessed was magic…and the determination to win at all costs.

She’s finally about to get the answers she’s been looking for .

There are zombies popping up on Detroit’s mean inner city streets. They’re not normal zombies, however. They move fast and don’t go down under the usual methods. They have a mission, though, and the only thing that stops them is death.

Luna knows someone is controlling them, but who? She’s determined to find answers on her own, but the people who know her best and love her most refuse to let her fight this battle without backup.

Luna has been a loner for as long as she can remember, but her blood is running hot these days after joining with a phoenix, and news that she’s a traveler—a being that can jump through time—has her second-guessing every decision she’s ever made.

Detroit is about to be rocked by death and destruction. The question is, will Luna be the saint protecting it or the sinner bringing it down?

Things are about to change for everybody, and it’s impossible to know who will rise from the ashes.

The fight between good and evil, the past and the present, is on, and Luna will be right in the middle of it for better or worse.

The world is about to burn.

As the Cookie Crumbles by Amanda M. LeeAs the Cookie Crumbles by Amanda M. Lee:

Christmas is right around the corner, and Stormy Morgan is ready to celebrate for the first time in years. She’s been dreaming of one thing…Shadow Hills’ infamous Christmas festival.

There’s just one little problem.

When helping her new friend Easton pick out clothes in the thrift store, Stormy discovers the owner is missing. What’s worse, it looks as if there was a struggle in the back room. What happened to the married mother of one?

Stormy gets her boyfriend Hunter Ryan involved and they start searching. The only thing they can ascertain with any certainty is that there’s a hint of magic pulsing around the town, and maybe it has something to do with the disappearance.

Stormy has her hands full with gnome shifters and her old high school nemesis, so a missing person’s case isn’t something she’s looking forward to. She has no choice but to dig, though. Her conscious won’t allow the alternative.

Stormy might be new at the magic contest, but she understands winning. When another person disappears, she realizes she’s playing the wrong game.

In a world where fire rules, cold is about to claim them all. Can Stormy win? She’s about to find out. Come along for the ride.

The Horror at Pleasant Brook by Kevin LuciaThe Horror at Pleasant Brook by Kevin Lucia:

At the edge of the Adirondacks, an ancient malevolence descends upon the quiet town of Pleasant Brook, setting the stage for a chilling battle between the forgotten and an unstoppable evil.

Standing resolutely in its shadow is an unlikely alliance—the remnants, the forgotten, the outcasts, and the underestimated. As the malevolence swells, they emerge as the town’s last bastion of defense, its only hope against an ancient, remorseless force that brooks no resistance.

Yet, how can they hope to prevail against a power so ancient, so pitiless, so inexorable? The town of Pleasant Brook becomes the battleground for a confrontation between humanity’s resilience and an evil beyond imagination.

“Kevin Lucia paints in blood and dances in the viscera in a terrorized small town. Chilling and non-stop, horrifying in the best kind of way. Forget Halloween movies and pick up The Horror at Pleasant Brook instead.” —NYT bestselling author Tosca Lee

Prepare for a chilling journey into the heart of darkness with this horror novel that will grip fans of Stephen King, and Robert R. McCammon. Delve into a world of creeping dread, small-town enigmas, and suspense-laden horror that will keep you riveted from the very first page.

Discover the sinister secrets of The Horror at Pleasant Brook, a gripping addition to the pantheon of horror books and novels. Dive into the depths of horror fiction that will haunt your nightmares and captivate fans of horror and suspense books.

Bringer of the Scourge by M. Daniel McDowellBringer of the Scourge by M. Daniel McDowell:

When the end of ages comes for the empire, the princess must rescue herself.

An army of three brittle allegiances aims for the throne of Derebor, laying siege to the castle Talorr, where Vierrelyne, the last living daughter of the tyrant king, waits locked in a tower cell for the prophesied apocalypse that only she can prevent.

To escape the castle with the aid of her closest counsel, she takes a formidable ancient weapon from her family crypt: a holy suit of armor and a diadem infused with the soul of a demon prince. With this power, Vierrelyne is unstoppable, but its presence is corrosive.

Vierrelyne is haunted by what it means for her to tame the power she has been given, and by what means she might conquer the Bringer of the Scourge. For, if the prophecy she dreads is true, the weapons she wields might destroy everything she holds dear.

A (Non) Comprehensive Guide to Sea Serpents by A.J. SherwoodA (Non) Comprehensive Guide to Sea Serpents by A.J. Sherwood:

Two new apprentices. One charming engineer. A potential battle with both sea serpents and evil sorcerers.

When Sorcerer Adrien Danvers takes on a job that leads him into the slums of England, he never imagined he’d end up with not one, but two apprentices. Despite his doubts in himself, he’s the only chance the two pre-teens have to escape their hellish life.

When Sir Hugh Quartermain contracts him to deal with the mysterious circumstances surrounding his home on the Isle of Man, Adrien finds the more time they spend together, the more his walls come down around the beguiling engineer–an unusual occurrence and a terrifying prospect.

But as it turns out, this case is about to take a turn–a battle with both beast and man, the ultimate test of Adrien’s willingness to accept help. When he does, Hugh proves to be a fierce protector and friend, more so than Adrien could’ve ever bargained for, and he finds himself longing for something he shouldn’t.

Falling for his new friend is not a complication Adrien needs. (His matchmaking apprentices disagree.)

How To Navigate Our Universe by Mary Soon LeeHow To Navigate Our Universe by Mary Soon Lee:

How to Be a Star

Gravitationally collapse a nebula.
Fuse hydrogen into helium.
If desired, explode.

How-to astronomy poetry to answer vexing questions such as How to Surprise Saturn, How to Blush Like Betelgeuse, and How to Survive a Black Hole.

“Unraveling meaning from partial glimpses of the universe has preoccupied astronomers for thousands of years. Mary Soon Lee’s remarkable collection of poetry traces this journey, capturing the wonder of the celestial bodies that comprise our universe, the elegance of the rules that guide its evolution and the humanity of those who search to better our understanding.”
—Andy Connolly, Professor of Astronomy, University of Washington

Mary Soon Lee is a Grand Master of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, and has won the Rhysling Award, the Elgin Award, and the AnLab Readers’ Award. Her work has appeared in Science, American Scholar, Spillway, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and Strange Horizons. This is her second collection of science poetry, following on from Elemental Haiku: Poems to honor the periodic table three lines at a time. Born and raised in London, she now lives in Pittsburgh.

Raven's Flag by Glynn StewartRaven’s Flag by Glynn Stewart:

In times of peace, alliances wither and are forgotten.
In times of war, honor must reforge them in fire and steel!

The United Planets Alliance fought the Kenmiri Empire with a hundred allies at their side. Bound in common cause until genocide broke the Kenmiri—and Kenmiri schemes broke the alliance in turn—those one-time allies still left deep debts of blood and friendship behind.

Still, the UPA has forged ahead in the post-Kenmiri times, weaving new economic and military alliances despite their more limited reach. The last thing they are expecting is for a soldier of the Londu, one of those half-forgotten allies, to arrive in Sol itself and ask for help.

An unknown alien force, armed with weapons thought unique to humanity, has assaulted the Londu people. To honor debts and promises alike, Rear Admiral Henry Wong and Ambassador Sylvia Todorovich find themselves called to take a fleet farther than any human ship has gone in half a decade—and challenge an enemy they know nothing about.

If the Londu are even still there when they arrive…

The Beacon by James David VictorThe Beacon by James David Victor:

The fourth book in the epic Sentinels sci-fi adventure from Amazon All-Star author James David Victor.

The Beacon is the fourth book in the Sentinels series. If you like sci-fi adventures, space battles with complex alien invaders, and unexpected twists in humanities exploration of the stars, this could be your new favorite series.

Download The Beacon and see what happens next in this epic space adventure!

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for October 2023


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 September 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, culinary mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, action thrillers, adventure thrillers, police procedurals, police officers, FBI agents, amateur sleuths, spies, assassins, stalkers, missing persons, rockstars, vigilante justice, hidden treasures, heists, murdered viscounts, stolen Fabergé eggs, the Russian mob, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, murder and mayhem in London, Bordeaux, the Florida Keys, Detroit,  Mexico and much more.

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

Murder With Madness by Blythe BakerMurder With Madness by Blythe Baker:

Sylvia and Miles travel to London to investigate the murder of Miles’ late wife. At last, Miles is about to solve the crime that has haunted him for so long. There’s just one problem. The killer is dangerous and cunning.

With Miles tracking down leads in the city, can Sylvia uncover the truth during a deadly weekend in the English countryside? Or will the killer strike again one final, terrible time?

 

Wood's Reward by Steven BeckerWood’s Reward by Steven Becker:

In “Wood’s Reward,” Mac and Wood find themselves confronted with the troublesome job of repairing a bridge piling supporting one of the iconic bridges spanning the Florida Keys. In the process they discover something unexpected—a cache of silver coins and bars embedded in coral. The pair, along with their archeologist friend Ned, soon realizes the immense historical significance of their discovery—the coins date back to the Civil War.

But their joy quickly turns to apprehension as they realize they are not the only ones interested in the treasure. The project engineer, a fellow treasure hunter with questionable motives, becomes a formidable obstacle in their path. And if that wasn’t enough, they find themselves at odds with the sheriff, who appears to be running a protection scam, further complicating their pursuit of the truth.

Just when Mac and Wood think they have reached an impasse, fate intervenes in the most unexpected way. A chance discovery of an old chest resting on the seafloor leads them to a remarkable journal written by the renowned Key West wrecker, John Geiger. Within its pages lies the captivating history of the silver, tracing it back to a legendary pirate chase and another shipwreck resting on the treacherous reef.

As they delve deeper into Geiger’s journal, Mac and Wood find themselves caught in a web of perilous diving expeditions, heart-pounding boat chases, and a race against time to unravel the truth before they become the next victims. With each page, the tension builds, and the lines between friend and foe become increasingly blurred.

Betrayed by the Truth by Daniella BernettBetrayed by the Truth by Daniella Bernett:

An inconvenient alibi…a priceless treasure…an MI6 mole It’s a lethal cocktail Journalist Emmeline Kirby and her jewel thief/ insurance investigator husband Gregory Longdon become targets after a desperate stranger asks them to deliver a fortune in rare red diamonds to hotelier Alexander Colefax. Before they can ask any questions, the man is killed. Driven by dark secrets, Colefax is willing to flirt with treason if it means getting what he wants. His coterie included the son of a Kremlin elite and a Russian mafia boss. When a man’s only loyalty is to money, his enemies become twice as ruthless. After Colefax is bludgeoned to death, Emmeline and Gregory discover that his dangerous games involved not only diamonds, but a stolen Fabergé egg that has vanished and a spy named Snowdrop. The trail of lies and revenge leads to Switzerland, where a treacherous double-cross could cost Emmeline and Gregory their lives.

A Burger to Die For by Beth Byers and Ann WarrenA Burger To Die For by Beth Byers and Ann Warren:

When Sam and Mia pick up their troublesome grandpa, and road-trip for an award-winning burger, they expect to find too much food, loud music, wind in their hair, and the likelihood of adding a pound or two. They don’t expect to find a dead body.

They’re quickly forced to dive into solving the crime to dig themselves out of trouble. Turns out, they’re rather good at cyber-stalking everyone who crosses their path, googling Miranda rights, and infuriating both police officers and private detectives.

Soon they’re having the time of their lives. The only question remaining is: will they survive the trouble they’ve found themselves in? Or have they had their last laugh?

Don't Trust Her by Stacy ClaflinDon’t Trust Her by Stacy Claflin:

Am I losing my mind, or does someone want me to think I am?

After a traumatic childhood shadowed by an institutionalized brother, I’ve finally created a picture-perfect life with my doting husband and four beautiful children. But behind the white picket fence, darkness looms.

Strangers claim to see me in places I wasn’t, doing things I would never do. Can I even trust my own mind with a family history of mental instability? As I race for answers, my life spirals out of control.

I suspect someone is plotting to steal my very identity. Then a shocking family secret points to a cruel deception that could shatter everything I know.

Who is behind this relentless game of deceit? The truth could destroy all I’ve built.

I must confront the sinister forces threatening my family, whatever the cost might be… even if it means my sanity.

Or my life itself.

Lie in Wait by Stacy ClaflinLie in Wait by Stacy Claflin:

The party was supposed to be all in good fun…until a killer showed up uninvited.

Halloween has been Ariana’s favorite holiday since she was little, and this year is no different. As she plans a huge neighborhood bash, things take a drastic turn when her friend Bella shows up, scared for her life.

Ariana and Damon never turn away someone in trouble, but this time it might put them in harm’s way. They do their best to keep Bella hidden, but the unhinged murderer won’t give up his search. And he’s getting closer.

Bella promised she would stay away from the Halloween party, but the festivities prove too much of a temptation. Surely nobody would recognize her if she wore a mask… Except the killer would know her anywhere, in any disguise.

Will Ariana and Damon be able to protect their friend and save their own lives?

Achy Breaky Hax by Lily Harper HartAchy Breaky Hex by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok has a lot on her mind.

She’s engaged, with a wedding around the corner.

She and her husband-to-be Cooper Wyatt are building a house near the cosplay western town she inherited from her late grandmother.

And she’s gearing up for a fight with the witch who wants to steal her magic and kill her.

All of that falls by the wayside when Hannah realizes that people are starting to develop magical crushes…and the outcome is ugly when the fighting begins.

First up is local Sheriff James Boone’s teenage daughter. She’s overwhelmed by a spell when her latest crush’s attention is on the line.

Then the women at the bakery, all sisters, start fighting over the same man.

Then Cooper decides to come to blows for Hannah’s honor and it almost results in someone’s death.

Hannah is understandably confused. The only thing she knows without question is that there’s witchy magic afoot. Where is it coming from, though?

Hannah’s life is leading toward a specific fight. This fight, however, needs to be won before she can look to the future. Unfortunately for Hannah, the odds of winning are long.

There’s no evading the fight. So, here it comes.

What I Know About July by Kat HauslerWhat I Know About July by Kat Hausler:

Simon Kemper is on the up and up– he’ s out of rehab, and his band is gaining moderate success around Berlin. But out of the corner of his eye and over his shoulder, he’ s always aware of her. The stalker. She’ s at every show, no matter what city. She sends hundreds of postcards to his label. Worst of all, she acts like she knows him. Like she owns him. When the stalker disappears at one of his shows, Simon is the prime suspect. Initially an effort to clear his name, his search for July quickly becomes a deeper psychological quest: to prove that his fears were warranted? That she couldn’ t have given up her obsession that easily? The threads of July’ s disappearance turn out to be tangled into every corner of Simon’ s life: a trusted band member, a tenuous new love interest, a resentful ex, and the self he’ s supposedly left behind. Narcissistic, insecure, and consummately relatable, Simon is the anti-hero of his own life— trying to want to be better; hoping that’ s enough.

A Calculated Whisk by CeeCee JamesA Calculated Whisk by CeeCee James:

A Flamingo Cozy and Baker Street Mystery partnership. Stella O’Neil and Georgie Tanner are on the case.

When the siren goes off in the museum, everyone expected the prized exhibit to be stolen. No one imagined Oscar would disappear with it.

Take a quick trip through history with Stella, Georgie, Frank, Peanut and Oscar. Guess who is going to be surprised the most!

 

Assassin's Call by Ethan JonesAssassin’s Call by Ethan Jones:

He’s no Saint…

Assassin Xavier Saint has only one rule: kill no innocents. But on a supposed clean hit, he discovers his target has two kids and a woman with him. Why didn’t his client tell Saint? What’s worse, the woman is Saint’s former girlfriend…

While Saint processes this strange turn of events shots are fired. He watches the target and his ex fall. Rushing in to assess the damage, Saint’s ex reveals he’s a father. Not only that, he discovers he’s been set up.

In a race across Europe, Saint can barely stay a step ahead of those hunting him. He has uncovered a network of assassins eliminating innocents for profit, and he is being framed as the fall guy. With more to lose than just his life, Saint must bring down the entire network. But how?

He never claimed to be a saint, but he’s no demon either. In a world full of sworn enemies, how will Saint strike back, destroy the network, and be able to see the daughter he never knew he had?

Meet Saint.

Assassin's Vow by Ethan JonesAssassin’s Vow by Ethan Jones:

An impossible vow…

Assassin Xavier Saint is doing all he can to discover more about a network of assassins who are killing innocents while trying to stay one step ahead. But that is proving to be very costly. At the same time, to find and protect his daughter, Saint must pay back favors, which were steep and many. Now his “friends” have come for their pound of flesh…

Forced into a deadly assignment to save his new-found family, Saint vows to end the network and be the father he never knew he was. But how can he?

During all of this, he obtains suspicious intelligence that his ex-girlfriend might still be alive. With the network hellbent on eliminating him, no true friends, and the trap closing all around him, will Saint be able to get some answers and keep his promise before it’s too late?

It’s time to take off the gloves…

Perilous Potions by Amanda M. LeePerilous Potions by Amanda M. Lee:

Luna Thorn sprang into being in the middle of the night in a downtown Detroit park years ago. She had no memory of her past and no idea what the future would hold for her. The only thing she possessed was magic…and the determination to win at all costs.

She’s finally about to get the answers she’s been looking for .

There are zombies popping up on Detroit’s mean inner city streets. They’re not normal zombies, however. They move fast and don’t go down under the usual methods. They have a mission, though, and the only thing that stops them is death.

Luna knows someone is controlling them, but who? She’s determined to find answers on her own, but the people who know her best and love her most refuse to let her fight this battle without backup.

Luna has been a loner for as long as she can remember, but her blood is running hot these days after joining with a phoenix, and news that she’s a traveler—a being that can jump through time—has her second-guessing every decision she’s ever made.

Detroit is about to be rocked by death and destruction. The question is, will Luna be the saint protecting it or the sinner bringing it down?

Things are about to change for everybody, and it’s impossible to know who will rise from the ashes.

The fight between good and evil, the past and the present, is on, and Luna will be right in the middle of it for better or worse.

The world is about to burn.

As the Cookie Crumbles by Amanda M. LeeAs the Cookie Crumbles by Amanda M. Lee:

Christmas is right around the corner, and Stormy Morgan is ready to celebrate for the first time in years. She’s been dreaming of one thing…Shadow Hills’ infamous Christmas festival.

There’s just one little problem.

When helping her new friend Easton pick out clothes in the thrift store, Stormy discovers the owner is missing. What’s worse, it looks as if there was a struggle in the back room. What happened to the married mother of one?

Stormy gets her boyfriend Hunter Ryan involved and they start searching. The only thing they can ascertain with any certainty is that there’s a hint of magic pulsing around the town, and maybe it has something to do with the disappearance.

Stormy has her hands full with gnome shifters and her old high school nemesis, so a missing person’s case isn’t something she’s looking forward to. She has no choice but to dig, though. Her conscious won’t allow the alternative.

Stormy might be new at the magic contest, but she understands winning. When another person disappears, she realizes she’s playing the wrong game.

In a world where fire rules, cold is about to claim them all. Can Stormy win? She’s about to find out. Come along for the ride.

Stalked by Darkness by Mary StoneStalked by Darkness by Mary Stone:

I SEE U

Nobody was supposed to know that Deputy Justice Hall secretly went to the Amado Cartel’s stronghold in Mexico to mete out justice the judicial system denied to the creator of a deadly street drug and the leader of the motorcycle gang that distributed it.

But someone followed him. And they want him to know it, as evidenced by the handwritten note with the words “I SEE U”—accompanied by photo evidence and a heart-shaped stone—left at Justice’s ranch.

Is this somehow the work of Justin Black, the man who murdered Justice’s family and then kidnapped him? Is it blackmail? Or does Justice have some kind of twisted admirer?

Rattled, Justice is more than happy for the diversion of a new case. An unusual arson, complete with the body of a pimp, his head cleaved with a hatchet, and a note identifying the victim as woman abuser written on the wall behind the victim in eerily familiar handwriting.

When another fire occurs with clues left specifically for Justice, it’s clear the two are intertwined. And the writing is on the wall—literally. This vigilante killer and note leaver is after something personal. Now Justice is knee-deep in a game of cat and mouse. But is he the cat…or the mouse?

Murder at St. Paul's Cathedral by Lee StraussMurder at St. Paul’s Cathedral by Lee Strauss:

Family secrets are murder!

When Ginger’s former sister-in-law Felicia, now Lady Davenport-Witt, first received a mysterious note in the post, she dismissed it as coming from a nuisance writer. These things were known to happen to those who enjoyed social popularity. But with a third one, she began to feel ill at ease.

Ginger, however, had been worried since the first short missive had arrived. Someone knew of a family secret that would upset Felicia’s apple cart in a very big way.

Felicia’s new hobby of photography turned into freelance work for a London magazine, and her first assignment was to attend the wedding of the new Duke of Worthington and his very young bride-to-be taking place at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Murder follows matrimony, and Felicia finds herself in the middle of the muddle.

Can Ginger help Felicia navigate the twists and turns of fate and stop a second death?

Death at Chateau Peveril by Russell WateDeath at Chateau Peveril by Russell Wate:

When Viscount Peveril is found dead at his chateau in France, his children instantly suspect foul play. But with his demise being registered as ‘death by natural causes’, they must seek the assistance of DCI Sandy McFarlane to uncover the truth.

Against his superior’s wishes, Sandy travels to Bordeaux and Saint-Émilion, and swiftly concludes that something is not quite right with the circumstances of the Viscount’s death. Enlisting the help of an old friend, DCI Rich Singh, Sandy embarks on a complex and intriguing murder investigation.

With medical intrigue at its heart, this is no classic ‘whodunit’, and is the third book in the popular DCI McFarlane crime series.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for September 2023

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have urban fantasy, epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, space opera, military science fiction, post-apoalyptic fiction, science fantasy, horror, dragons, werecats, fox shifters, bigfoot, starships, space pirates, mage queens, deadly dreams, reality bending dance clubs, crime-busting witches 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:

Never Wake: An Anthology of Dream HorrorNever Wake: An Anthology of Dream Horror, edited by Kenneth W. Cain and Tim Meyer:

Have you ever wondered where we go when we dream? Why not let this breath-taking dream horror anthology guide you to worlds beyond the norm.

Since the beginning of time, people have argued the meaning of dreams. Are they symbolic visions that hold great meaning and personal significance? Are they portals into other worlds? Or are they just a series of random events our mind shows us when we fall asleep? Whatever the case, this much is true—the mind can be a scary place to venture, even for a few hours.

NEVER WAKE is an anthology of dream horror, bringing you several mind-bending tales of nightmares, hallucinations, and phantasmagoria from some of the hottest talent in horror fiction. But don’t worry—when you (wake up screaming) flip the last page, just remember to tell yourself, “It was only just a story…”

Unless it wasn’t.

Featuring an introduction from Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann and stories from: Cynthia Pelayo, Philip Fracassi, Gwendolyn Kiste, Eric LaRocca, Lee Murray, Todd Keisling, Laurel Hightower, and many more!

Where do we go when we dream?

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

The Denverines: Ashes to Ashes by Declan ConnerThe Denverines: Ashes to Ashes by Declan Conner:

When everything climate survivalist Joe Cole holds dear in life is ripped from him, he will have to reclaim what he loves or die trying.

In a period of severe drought and near extinction of humanity, survivalist Jack Cole returns from scavenging to find his parents slaughtered, and Denverines soldiers have abducted his pregnant wife and child as birther stock for the citadel of Denver.

He vows to enter the citadel fortress of Denver to rescue them. But first he will have to overcome his own psychological demons, his lack of trust, and the bleak environment, in a journey filled with danger at every turn and to defeat the Denverines who have new orders. New communities are to be formed outside the citadels. To protect them, the president commands the Denverines to slaughter those on the outside with knowledge of the old ways of society.

When Jack teams up with and leads a group of exiles in his quest to rescue his family, if they fail, Jack’s failure will be a death sentence, not just for himself, but for all survivors in the wastelands.

Werecats Convergent by Mark J. EngelsWerecats Convergent by Mark J. Engels:

Defeated, conflicted, and on the run…

Born in an ethnic Chicago neighborhood following her family’s escape from Cold War-era Poland, were-lynx Pawly flees underground to protect her loved ones after genetically enhanced soldiers led by rogue scientist and rival werecat Mawro overrun her Navy unit in the Gulf of Oman. Pawly’s family seeks her out in a desperate gambit to return to their ancestral homeland and reconcile with their estranged kinsmen. But when her human lover arrives to thwart Mawro’s plan to weaponize their feral bloodlust, Pawly must face a daunting choice: preserve her family secrets and risk her lover’s life or chance her true nature driving him away forever.

Werecats Convergent is the second installment of the Forest Exiles Saga featuring the modern-day remnant of an ancient clan of werecats, torn apart as militaries on three continents vie to exploit their deadly talents. Stories which fans of Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson franchise and Brad Magnarella’s Blue Wolf series can sink their teeth into!

Galaxy Unstable by M.R. ForbesGalaxy Unstable by M.R. Forbes:

Left stranded, his starship’s life support failing, Caleb initiates a distress signal, hoping that help will arrive before his time is up. Only the response to his plea isn’t what he had in mind…

Assuming command of an infamous pirate vessel, Caleb sets his sights on shaping the unruly and unpredictable crew into a skilled fighting force. It won’t be easy, but if Caleb wants to prevent the Legion from cementing their tyrannical grip on the galaxy, he’ll need to knuckle up, double down, and risk everything to make it happen.

Poet's Bane by Rachel FordPoet’s Bane by Rachel Ford:

An ancient legend. A mysterious evil. And – the mead of poetry?

Liss Forlatt and Idun Wintermoon are on vacation at a beautiful villa retreat, a place as famous for its legendary beginnings as its year-round sunshine.

Technically, they’re the protection detail for the newly married jarl of Little Eerie and his wife. But in a place where rainclouds are the biggest threat on any given day, it might as well be a vacation.

Until a man winds up dead in connection with an ancient fable – the mead of poetry, the supposed font of divine inspiration that guides all poets and writers.

The pair must unravel fact from fiction, myth from history – and avoid the blade of a particularly nasty killer in the process.

The Earthfather by Chris FoxThe Earthfather by Chris Fox:

Our Sector is Gone

We’ve discovered Terra, but the cost is bitter. All that remains is the Vagrant Fleet, carrying the refugees from every world.

Earth is our only hope, but their leaders don’t even believe in magic. We also have to convince the earth flight protecting them that we’re not hostiles. Did I mention the dread fleet is right behind us led by a dark god who seems to have a real hate-boner for Xal’Aran?

If we’re going to win, then we must harness the most powerful Catalyst in existence, the Eye of Om. We must fulfill a prophecy millions of years in the making, and find a way to elevate Aran and Nara to the Aranara, guardian of the Eye.

Anything less means complete annihilation, and if we fail here then we lost not just our own universe, but every reality as the dark titan breaks free and shatters the Great Cycle.

I cannot let that happen. I will not. Prophecy can be solved like a riddle, and somehow, I am going to find a way to outsmart them all.

Simultaneous Times Volume 3, edited by Jean Paul GarnierSimultaneous Times Volume 3, edited by Jean-Paul Garnier:

Space Cowboy Books Presents: Simultaneous Times Vol.3 Science Fiction Anthology. 16 wonderous stories of science fiction by authors from all over the world! From alien invasions to sentient planets to intergalactic species, this book has it all. Featuring stories from the two-time Hugo Award longlisted podcast Simultaneous Times, as well as stories appearing for the first time, this collection spans multiple generations of science fiction authors and covers a wide variety of SF styles and themes.

With stories by Jonathan Nevair, F. J. Bergmann, Brent A. Harris, Gideon Marcus, A. C. Wise, Tara Campbell, David Brin, Robin Rose Graves, Renan Bernardo, Christopher Ruocchio, Toshiya Kamei, Todd Sullivan, Susan Rukeyser, Ai Jiang, Cora Buhlert, Michael Butterworth. Cover art by Austin Hart. Edited by Jean-Paul L. Garnier

Of Moms and Monsters by Lily Harper HartOf Moms and Monsters by Lily Harper Hart:

Maddie Graves-Winters is looking forward to a week of relaxation with her best friends. She had no idea a camping trip would be so stressful, however. She might have been picturing s’mores and ghost stories around the campfire, but the world has other plans.

Having her best friends Ivy Morgan-Harker, Harper Harlow-Monroe, and Rowan Gray-Davenport—as well as their husbands and children—around for a full week is her idea of bliss. There’s just one little problem.

Maddie doesn’t consider herself a suspicious person by nature, but when one of the college-aged girls at a nearby campsite goes missing—and nobody seems to care—she’s intrigued. Then, when a mother at a different campsite also appears to have disappeared in the middle of the night, she’s officially on the case.

Maddie and her friends can’t seem to help themselves from investigating. Their husbands are another story. They’re convinced the women are making things up in their heads.

Who will turn out to be right? And if it’s the women, what happens when they draw a potential killer’s attention to their campsite?
The group is strongest when they’re together. But this trip might be the death of one of them.

Dragon Soup by Patty JansenDragon Soup by Patty Jansen:

Plain version; for the illustrated version, see the author’s website.

When Perrin was so desperate that he applied for a job with the Bureau of Magic Abuse, there were two things he didn’t realise. One, that he might actually get the job and two, that it would involve working with magic sniffers.

And what an annoyance the creatures are. They keep him up at night, need to feed on expensive fresh fruit and cause him embarrassment.

A new inn opens in town and patrons flock to it. Perrin checks it out for forbidden magic, finds none but something doesn’t add up. Is it the stranger, clearly a wizard, who makes little effort to cover up his illegal activities? Is it the owner of the new inn, who can’t possibly have accumulated enough money to buy the place? Or is it the unfailingly raving reviews?

Something fishy is going on, and his boss at the Bureau doesn’t even want him to investigate. But Perrin has never let that stop him.

Dark Park by Kathe KojaDark Park by Kathe Koja:

DARK FACTORY opened the doors to a reality-bending dance club, an online immersive portal, and the feeling that the whole world is on the brink of something new. DARK PARK takes you there.

DARK PARK follows visionary filmmaker Sergey Kendricks as he tracks Ari Regon and Felix the DJ through the fever and chaos of stardom and celebrity culture, while Max Caspar quests deeper into the unstable gaming landscape of Birds of Paradise: pursued and idolized by fans, acolytes, haters, and schemers, all dazed by beauty and searching for the end of the world.

DARK PARK is the encore to DARK FACTORY, Kathe Koja’s wholly original novel from Meerkat Press, that combines her award-winning writing and her skill directing immersive events, to create a story that unfolds on the page, online, and in the reader’s creative mind. www.Darkfactory.club

Crone Cold Dead by Amanda M. LeeCrone Cold Dead by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall’s life has taken more turns than she was ready for, and it’s a new dawn in Hawthorne Hollow.

Her parents have arrived on the scene, and it turns out, they’ve been hiding in the shadows for years waiting for her.

The prophecy that foretold her winning what should be an unwinnable war, has enemies crawling out of the woodwork.

And, worst of all, she’s grappling with the realization that one of her own has betrayed her.

It’s too much for Scout to deal with, which means that the snowmen popping up around town and acting like sentries are barely a blip. When Bigfoot joins the fray, however, Scout realizes trouble is afoot.

All Scout wants is a few weeks to catch her breath. That’s not in the cards. Her life is starting to spiral, and now that she knows who the enemy is, the only thing she’s certain of is that she doesn’t have the strength to fight him.

Hawthorne Hollow is a magical nexus, and all the players are lining up. The ultimate fight isn’t far away, so when new faces appear, it’s easy to question if they’re friend or foe.

Who will come out victorious?

Imperial Hijacker by Andrew MoriartyImperial Hijacker by Andrew Moriarty:

Fleeing a smashed rebellion and near execution by their supposed allies, Dirk, Gavin, Dena and Ana abandon Scruggs and Lee during battle. When local medical treatment isn’t enough, Lee surrenders to the Imperials and arranges to surrender to Devin’s ship to save Scruggs’s life. When a botched meet-up leaves them all in Devin’s custody and surrounded by his Marines, it looks like time’s up for our heroes. But Devin gets startling news, and it’s not what it says, but what it doesn’t that worries him. He has a proposal of his own for Dirk and company. They’ll get Scruggs and what they want, but they might have to change sides!

If you like Galactic Empires, honorable enemies, and snappy dialog, this one’s for you!

Bad Habits by Hollis ShilohBad Habits by Hollis Shiloh:

Jack and Cameron have a good thing going. Jack is a burned out reporter and Cam is a fox shifter who gives him tips. They also meet up to play pinball…and to have sex. It’s a nice arrangement, no messy feelings involved, no pressure that neither one of them needs.

Cam is frightened by the idea of falling in love—been there, done that, got the scars to show for it—and Jack’s last relationship ended in a painful breakup. But things have been changing lately.

When there’s only one guy in the world you really want, is it going to work to keep pretending it’s just casual?

Mage-Queen's Thief by Glynn StewartMage-Queen’s Thief by Glynn Stewart:

She’s supposed to find a husband.
He’s supposed to steal a shuttle.
They’re each other’s only hope.

Kiera Alexander is the Mage-Queen of Mars, ruler of a hundred worlds and the protector of humanity. She is also unmarried and in desperate need of an heir—a duty that has left her traveling the Core Worlds of the Martian Protectorate aboard the luxury liner Extravagant Voyage.

Her mission? Meeting every eligible bachelor Mage that can be found.

Barry Carpentier’s only interest in the Queen’s traveling show is the strange shuttle hidden aboard Extravagant Voyage. The unique spacecraft, the smallest jump-capable ship he’s ever heard of, is worth a small fortune to the right buyer.
Like the one sending him aboard Extravagant Voyage.

A thief doesn’t want to meet the Mage-Queen of Mars—but when a thief accidentally inserts himself into galactic politics, neither of their lives will continue unchanged…

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for September 2023


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

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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, conspiracy thrillers, adventure thrillers, romantic suspense, police officers, FBI agents, amateur sleuths, assassins, serial killers, missing persons, murdered tea shop owners, bigfoot crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting journalists, murder and mayhem in London, Florida, California, Arizona, the Midwest and much more.

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

Murder With Money by Blythe BakerMurder With Money by Blythe Baker:

When Sylvia’s sister disappears unexpectedly, Sylvia doubts the official story. Joan wouldn’t run off to California to become a film star without first saying goodbye to her family. Clearly, she’s in some sort of danger and it’s up to Sylvia to find out what.

But can Sylvia set aside her doubts about her mysterious butler in order to enlist help from Miles when she needs it most?

 

Chocolate Dipped Intrigue by Beth ByersChocolate Dipped Intrigue by Beth Byers:

Long time friend of Violet Carlyle, that rogue Smith, and Jack Wakefield, Denny Lancaster is a devoted husband, a father to two, and an avid lover of crime. He’s also a little addicted to chocolate.

So he notices when things change at his favorite chocolate shop. Convinced something is amiss, Denny delves right in. This time on his own. And discovers that maybe the time has come for him to be the hero.

 

Josephine West and the Unexpected Corpse by Beth Byers and Anne WarrenJosephine West and the Unexpected Corpse by Beth Byers and Ann Warren:

Josephine West is broken after losing her husband during the Great War. She spends her days writing nonsense articles for the local newspaper and evenings avoiding the suitors her mother pushes her way.

Then, Josephine discovers a dead body in beautiful Carmel-By-the-Sea, California. She’s determined to both be the one who solves the murder and the one who publishes the story. Can she do it when everyone would try to stop her? She thinks she can, and she’s sure no one else will beat her to the truth. The only question is whether the chase will put her at risk?

The Hunt for Thaddeus Murfee by John EllsworthThe Hunt for Thaddeus Murfee by John Ellsworth:

In the heart-pounding legal thriller “The Hunt for Thaddeus Murfee,” acclaimed author John Ellsworth introduces readers to the brilliant and resourceful attorney, Thaddeus Murfee, whose life takes an unexpected turn when he crosses paths with the cunning and dangerous criminal, Johnny Seventeen.

The story begins with a shocking incident—a bar room shouting match turns fatal when Johnny Seventeen pulls out a gun and shoots a man in cold blood. Arrested and charged with murder, Johnny hires Thaddeus Murfee, known for his unparalleled courtroom skills, to defend him against the charges. As the trial unfolds, tensions rise, and the truth becomes increasingly elusive. The first trial ends with a hung jury, leaving the case open for a second trial.

With the weight of Johnny Seventeen’s conviction hanging over him, Thaddeus discovers that the stakes are higher than he ever imagined. Johnny, consumed by a thirst for revenge, breaks out of jail and becomes a relentless predator, determined to track down and eliminate the one man standing between him and freedom: Thaddeus Murfee.

Forced to abandon his comfortable life and go on the run, Thaddeus finds himself in a race against time. As Johnny’s pursuit grows more relentless, Thaddeus must rely on his wit, legal acumen, and survival instincts to outmaneuver the relentless villain. With each passing moment, the line between justice and survival blurs, forcing Thaddeus to confront his own limits.

In “The Hunt for Thaddeus Murfee,” readers will be captivated by the intricate twists and turns of the legal world as they follow Thaddeus Murfee’s desperate struggle for survival. Packed with suspense, courtroom drama, and a gripping cat-and-mouse chase, this gripping legal thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.

Twisted by Maggie GilesTwisted by Maggie Giles:

Detective Ryan Boone thought the simple jewelry heist was an open-and-shut case. That is until he discovers an unknown drug, and this minor crime he was investigating may be tied to a string of seemingly unconnected murders.

Meanwhile, Mel Parker, unscrupulous leader of a less-than-legal high-end escort service, stumbles across the same pills. On top of protecting her “investment,” she has her own reasons for attempting to unravel the mystery behind the medication.

Ryan knows someone has the answers he seeks, and Mel can’t come forward. To complicate things further, five other women are implicated in the murders despite most having never met.

As the trail turns up as many mysteries as resolutions, Ryan and Mel must discover the twisted connection before someone else ends up dead.

Memories of the Falls by Elle GrayMemories of the Falls by Elle Gray:

It’s summertime at the Falls, and this season revenge tastes even sweeter…

Sheriff Spenser Song thought she would get a much-needed break after aiding FBI agent Blake Wilder on an international trafficking ring.
Shortly upon her return to the Falls and to Ryker, the place is once again in an uproar.

When the town’s star athletes are found dead due to a drug overdose.
Once again, it’s up to Spenser with a bit of aid from Ryker to get to the bottom of the string of drug related deaths.

Mean girls, star athletes, and class clowns.
Leaving high school is easy, but the memories you make there will always stay with you.

Of Moms and Monsters by Lily Harper HartOf Moms and Monsters by Lily Harper Hart:

Maddie Graves-Winters is looking forward to a week of relaxation with her best friends. She had no idea a camping trip would be so stressful, however. She might have been picturing s’mores and ghost stories around the campfire, but the world has other plans.

Having her best friends Ivy Morgan-Harker, Harper Harlow-Monroe, and Rowan Gray-Davenport—as well as their husbands and children—around for a full week is her idea of bliss. There’s just one little problem.

Maddie doesn’t consider herself a suspicious person by nature, but when one of the college-aged girls at a nearby campsite goes missing—and nobody seems to care—she’s intrigued. Then, when a mother at a different campsite also appears to have disappeared in the middle of the night, she’s officially on the case.

Maddie and her friends can’t seem to help themselves from investigating. Their husbands are another story. They’re convinced the women are making things up in their heads.

Who will turn out to be right? And if it’s the women, what happens when they draw a potential killer’s attention to their campsite?

The group is strongest when they’re together. But this trip might be the death of one of them.

Crone Cold Dead by Amanda M. LeeCrone Cold Dead by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall’s life has taken more turns than she was ready for, and it’s a new dawn in Hawthorne Hollow.

Her parents have arrived on the scene, and it turns out, they’ve been hiding in the shadows for years waiting for her.

The prophecy that foretold her winning what should be an unwinnable war, has enemies crawling out of the woodwork.

And, worst of all, she’s grappling with the realization that one of her own has betrayed her.

It’s too much for Scout to deal with, which means that the snowmen popping up around town and acting like sentries are barely a blip. When Bigfoot joins the fray, however, Scout realizes trouble is afoot.

All Scout wants is a few weeks to catch her breath. That’s not in the cards. Her life is starting to spiral, and now that she knows who the enemy is, the only thing she’s certain of is that she doesn’t have the strength to fight him.

Hawthorne Hollow is a magical nexus, and all the players are lining up. The ultimate fight isn’t far away, so when new faces appear, it’s easy to question if they’re friend or foe.

Who will come out victorious?

Press Releases and Puff Pieces by Amanda M. LeePress Releases & Puff Pieces by Amanda M. Lee:

Avery Shaw is looking forward to a quiet—but entertaining—day in court when a furious plaintiff takes off after losing what Avery believes to be one of the funniest cases she’s ever covered. Avery gives chase because she wants an interview, and her life is thrown into turmoil during the melee that follows.

Alice Wendell likes to sue people. She’s made a name for herself suing neighbors, police officers, dogs, and even dates. That’s why, when a car is aimed at her in downtown Mount Clemens, it’s not exactly a surprise. The ensuing explosion is, however, and Avery is there for the unfortunate aftermath.

When she wakes in the hospital following a serious head injury, she finds Alice is dead…and maybe not from the blast that took out the clocktower downtown.

Once back on her feet, Avery is determined to chase the case. Her boss, husband, and the very annoyed sheriff in charge of the death investigation have other plans…and they involve Avery being pushed to the puff piece beat until she’s no longer shaky from the explosion.

Avery Shaw is not going down without a fight, however. She’s determined to get to the bottom of things, even if she dies in the process.

There’s something hinky going on at the biggest hospital in the county, and Avery won’t stop until she knows exactly what that something is. That puts a target on her back, and the individual aiming at that target just might have the upper hand.

It’s a fight to the finish for Macomb County’s favorite reporter. Will she survive to claim yet another win, or is this finally the end for Avery Shaw?

The Deadly Deal by J. LeeThe Deadly Deal by J. Lee:

David Centrelli is a junior business development executive at a pharmaceutical company in Richmond with no military training or criminal record whatsoever…but an innocent knock on the door one typical Monday morning changes his life forever.

Thrust into a world of unbelievable accusations, outrageous claims and danger he’s only seen in the movies, he’s told that his best friend’s death two weeks earlier was no accident, and that his buddy has a message for him from the grave. As skeptical as he is, clues far too specific to be coincidental keep coming, and soon his own home is engulfed in flames. When the perpetrator contacts him, he learns that not only are the accusations legitimate, but that people trained to eliminate problems have labeled him one.

Blackmailed by decisions he made years ago, informed that his brother has been kidnapped, and threatened with a future not even his worst nightmare could imagine, the temptation to give up what he knows and disappear into affluent anonymity grows stronger by the second…until he learns that millions of lives depend on him trying to do the right thing. But can this ordinary businessman really escape death from experts trained to administer it and prevent a colossal calamity already set in motion by the highest levels of government.

Behind the Mask by A.J. RiversBehind the Mask by A.J. Rivers:

Every small town has its secrets.
This secret is worth taking lives for…

After saving Molly from a trafficking ring and reuniting with her mother, FBI agent Ava James feels as though she has found true happiness.
While having a family dinner Ava receives a call from an old friend, with some bad news.

Every Halloween, teen girls from the rural Vermont town are going missing.
Each year more than the last.
Did the teens simply run away from home? Or is something far more sinister at play?

With no bodies to be found, it seems as though the teens simply just vanished.
At her friends urging and with only 11 days until Hollow’s Eve, Ava goes to Pine Bend, Vermont to investigate the disappearances.

Phantom serial killer, smugglers, weird Wicca club, and annoying youth groups.
Pine Bend is a town full of weirdos.
And behind a mask, anyone can hide in plain sight.

A Seller's Market by Wayne StinnettA Seller’s Market by Wayne Stinnett:

Six months out of high school and just days after finishing Marine boot camp, Jesse McDermitt is finally ready to unwind and have a little fun when he goes home on leave.

But everything Jesse remembers—his friends, his family, the sparkling beaches and familiar waters of the Caloosahatchee River and Pine Island Sound, even his faithful Lab, Molly, have all changed.

Only when he reunites with a boot camp buddy to explore the reefs of the Florida Keys and the oddly relaxing shallows of the backcountry does Jesse finally understand that it was he, himself, who had changed.

The two young men, enjoying life in paradise while on boot camp leave, soon find out that there are still pirates in those tropical waters. Only their galleons and corsairs have been replaced with offshore racing boats and motorcycles.

Arrest the Alibi by Anne R. TanArrest the Alibi by Anne R. Tan:

My name is Cedar Woods, and I am a recovering ostrich. I have the unfortunate habit of burying my head in the sand. Newly divorced and penniless, I am cleaning my friends’ fancy McMansions to make ends meet while lawyering up for a financial audit on my ex-husband’s tech company.

When my Aunt Coco fell and broke her hip, I hightailed back to Mirror Falls. But things took a bizarre turn when I found out my Chinese aunt thought her new corgi was her husband’s reincarnated spirit, and she took the dog’s financial advice to invest her retirement money into a tea shop. Is she losing her mind, or am I being punished by my ancestors?

To make matters worse, a rival shop owner turns up dead, and Aunt Coco becomes the prime suspect. With the help of newfound friends, I must shift through the town’s secrets to exonerate my aunt and prepare the tea shop for its grand opening. But with a vicious murderer on the loose, I might be in over my head. Can I catch the killer before someone else gets hurt? Will I find the home I spent my entire life searching for?

This humorous cozy mystery will charm readers with its endearing characters, heartwarming family relationships, and an intriguing whodunit that will keep readers guessing until the end. Don’t miss out on the fun. Grab your copy now.

The Girl Who Found Joy by Amy VasantThe Girl Who Found Joy by Amy Vasant:

Mason and Shee travel to Palm Beach to hunt a killer the FBI has nicknamed “Portia”—a type of spider more clever than a black widow. Portia finds a victim and someone to frame for his murder before disappearing with the money—the perfect crime.

Shee befriends their target but plans quickly unravel. A man stabbed to death, mysterious messages, a body washed ashore—all of it a little crazy to fit Portia’s style…

Do they have the wrong killer, or is this another of Portia’s tricks?

Shee and Mason must tap the Loggerhead crew to unravel the crime, but Portia’s web only grows more twisted…and deadly.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for August 2023

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have urban fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal mystery, space opera, military science fiction, YA science fiction, Steampunk, Dieselpunk, folk horror, regular horror, vampires, zombies, aliens, starships, magical swords, feminist monsters, puppets living in appartment walls, crime-busting witches 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:

Servant of a Pale Sword by Tim AkersServant of a Pale Sword by Tim Akers:

A lone pilgrim travels to the Temple of Absolution to free himself from a great sin. But when the priests of the temple cut too deep, Lohit Maast is left with no memory of who is or what burden he sought to escape. Among his things is a strange and powerful sword, its blade forge from materea, the very bones of the world. Is he a thief? An assassin? The hero of some great campaign? Or is he something far more dangerous…

 

 

Constant Sorrow by J.N. Chaney and Terry MaggertConstant Sorrow by J.N. Chaney and Terry Maggert

Humans have been in the stars far longer than Van originally thought, and they’ve been busy.

But not every visitor to or from Earth has good intentions, and the Peacemakers are faced with an uncomfortable reality. The Earth is about to meet aliens. Some of the aliens are bringing goods to trade. And among those items—are weapons.

When a secret cabal of humans who want to exploit the Earth is revealed, Van has to decide how and where to fight this threat. Along the way, he reveals a secret history that began in the Great War—and ends with mass chaos on his home planet.

Van won’t let that happen—at least not without a fight, and to hold back the gears of war, he’s going to need a lot of help. With Torina at his side, the crew faces a decision that will change the future of the stars themselves, and challenge the Guild, the Earth, and the Equal Grasp as the universe gets smaller with each contact between humans and aliens.

How can Van manage the clash, save earth, and deliver peace?

If he can, what will it cost him?

I Found Puppets Living In My Apartment Walls by Ben FarthingI Found Puppets Living In My Apartment Walls by Ben Farthing:

Can you tell me how to get… out alive?

Johnny awakes. A puppet looms over his bed.

He recognizes the furry monster: Grandpa was its puppeteer on the children’s television show R-City Street. But Grandpa went missing a year ago. He disappeared from this very apartment building, which was converted from the old R-City Street studio.

Desperate to see Grandpa again, Johnny follows the puppet inside the building’s walls, ever deeper into a puppet-infested labyrinth…

I Found Puppets Living In My Apartment Walls is a horror tale from the “darkly inventive” purveyor of uncanny places and wondrous evils, Ben Farthing.

Galaxy Unknown by M.R, ForbesGalaxy Unknown by M.R. Forbes:

Two hundred years ago, the generation starship Pathfinder fled a war-torn Earth, never to be heard from again. Until now…

Captain Caleb Card and his crew are on a mission to investigate a transmission believed to be from the lost ship. Ambushed upon arrival, they immediately fear the worst. But the beacon isn’t only active, it’s on the move, and where it leads will change everything they thought they knew about the universe. Cast into a distant galaxy brimming with unknown dangers, they’ll need to adapt quickly if they want to survive long enough to help the missing colonists.

Hextraordinary Circumstances by Lily Harper HartHextraordinary Circumstances by Lily Harper Hart:

Vampires are taking over the French Quarter.

Ofelia Archer was hoping for a break, a stretch of quiet time to enjoy the opening of her brother’s new bar, but the sight of vampires walking the rooftops one evening, tracking her, makes her wary. Then, the next morning, when a body is dropped in front of a famous vampire house, things in the Quarter take a turn.

Ofelia’s dealt with vampires before, but there’s something different about this fang gang. She’s confused enough to wonder: Are they really dealing with vampires, or something else entirely?

Zach Sully, Ofelia’s fiancé and a local police detective, starts digging. It seems there’s more than one dead body afoot…and possibly a conspiracy to hide multiple deaths.

Ofelia’s team is prepared to figure out the truth, even if it means putting themselves in danger to do it. When the new enemy focuses on her father Oscar, however, Ofelia goes on the offensive.

The French Quarter is a place where things frequently go bump in the night. This fight is about to get bloody, however.

In more ways than one.

Beast Mom by Kim ImasBeast Mom by Kim Imas:

An Oregon mom is about to lose her $#!t.
It might be what the government’s been waiting for.

On the outside, Harriet “Harry” Lime is a typical American mom. But after years of packing all the lunches and picking up all the socks, she’s become a bit…off on the inside. And after stumbling upon the offensive new statue at her daughter’s school, she gets unusually angry and turns into a gigantic monster.

Now she’ll have to figure out why that keeps happening-and why some mysterious uniformed men have begun lurking around town-all while keeping up with the grocery shopping, the carpool, and all those mother@#!&ing socks.

As soon as Harriet discovers that other local women are undergoing their own amazing transformations, she faces the sudden danger of being ripped away from everyone and everything she loves. Still, she’s begun to wonder: How much of her old life-with its surplus of cleaning, cooking, and monthly cramping-does she want to hold on to, anyway?

Medusa Falling by G.S. JennsenMedusa Falling by G.S. Jennsen:

*A stand-alone adventure set in the Amaranthe universe*

“Can I ask where we’re going?”
“Someplace safe…as safe as anywhere on this broken, fallen world can be.”
A first contact encounter isn’t supposed to kick off with a dead body.
Ambassador Marlee Marano has been dispatched to Belarria as part of a Concord initiative to meet new species and build alliances. But when an assassin murders her counterpart in front of her eyes and takes her hostage, she is plunged into an alien world on the brink of collapse.

With no way to contact Concord or get offworld, Marlee’s only allies may be a shadowy band of rebels with a questionable agenda steeped in government conspiracies, mysterious genetic experiments and bloody historical grievances that threaten to boil over. The rightness of their cause is the least of her concerns, though, for she finds herself wanted for murder and hunted by all sides.

Medusa Falling is a heart-pumping sci-fi adventure that will take you on a roller-coaster ride of twists and turns as Marlee races to uncover the secrets and lies of a captivating but deadly alien culture and find a way home.

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

Mystic Caravan has hit Texas, and things are supposed to be quiet in Austin. The only thing of note in a city that praises itself for being weird is the nest of vampires that rules the town.

They’re not the ones wreaking havoc this time, however.

Poet Parker knows something is up when a walk near the river results in an attack from a manic man with an ax. When he disappears just as quickly as he appeared, however, she knows something magical is afoot.

It seems Austin is trapped in the clutches of a bored being, and her way of entertaining herself includes bringing urban legends to life…and unleashing them on the city.

Poet has fought every type of magic imaginable, but this one leaves her flummoxed. It’s almost as if she’s dealing with a child mentally. Magically, however, she’s dealing with a monster.

Urban legends aren’t the only thing putting Austin in an uproar. The visiting loas—both of whom are there for Poet—are also drawing attention…and from all the wrong people.

Some magics are too strong to fight. Poet is not the sort of hero who can turn her back on people in need, however. Even if it means putting herself at risk to save them.

Poet has new magic at her disposal. Now she has to learn how to use it…or they will all perish.

It’s a fight to the finish, and who will come out on the other side is anybody’s guess.

The Lioness and the Rat Queen by Noah LemelsonThe Lioness and the Rat Queen by Noah Lemelson:

A city burning…
A murderous tycoon on the run…
And three vigilantes out for revenge…

Marcel never thought his investigations would lead to this; his once-friend Lazarus Roache turned slaver and cruel puppet master. For the good of Huile, and to salve his conscience, Marcel must take Roache down, even if that means following him into the desolate and savage reaches of the Wastes.

Yet the tycoon is not the only Wastefolk with a past with Marcel. To find the tycoon Marcel must break hardtack with an old enemy, a disgraced imperial general who he had once tried to kill, and is more than eager to return the favor. Yet she is not the greatest threat in the Wastes, for there is also a bounty hunter on his trail, the mysterious Queen of Rats, who somehow seems to know Marcel’s every dark secret.

Hyvilma by Gideon MarcusHyvilma by Gideon Marcus:

A damaged ship, a dying shipmate–can she save them both?

Under attack! The flight back to Hyvilma should have been the easy part for the crew of the Majera–until a deadly ambush by pirates sends them reeling through hyperspace. Now getting to the planet in time is the only way Captain Kitra Yilmaz can save her dying friend.

But landing at Hyvilma may be impossible: war has broken out on the Frontier.

An Unholy Triquetra: Celtic Fairy Tales</em> by Jason Parent, William Meikle and Curtis M. LawsonAn Unholy Triquetra: Celtic Fairy Tales by Jason Parent, William Meikle and Curtis M. Lawson:

Three unique voices in today’s horror bring you new takes on an old power that threatens to reshape our world. Celtic legends are reborn within these pages, with fresh stories guaranteed to spark nightmares in the vein of Grimm’s pre-Disneyfied fairy tales.

A Knot Within A Knot by Jason Parent: A man survives a plane crash only to find himself in darker circumstances, with a winter storm on the horizon and an orphaned child in tow. An elderly woman faces off against a god of night and his steed from the confines of her airplane seat, while another hides from night and storm in the hope of a new dawn. Unbeknownst to them, their fates are linked and dependent upon the next two tales.

Bound in the Valley of Balor by Curtis M. Lawson: After surviving a plane crash, a corrupt federal agent and a mob informant find themselves stranded in a remote valley. Blood spilled during a conflict between the two awakens an ancient evil bound beneath the valley. Can either of them escape from The Valley of Balor?

Summons by William Meikle (part of hisMythos of Sigils & Totems): Would you fall slave to the rhythm?
He came to Scotland after the death of his wife in search of peace. But the old house is restless. Something is waking, something noisy, something that will not be denied.
His search for meaning in the face of ever increasing activity in the house leads him down strange occult pathways, into deep history and a story that is racing to a finish.
The rhythm calls to him. Will he fall slave to it? Or is there a path to be the drum master before it subsumes him utterly?

This Celtic horror anthology is perfect for fans of folk horror, myths and legends, supernatural horror fiction, Grimm fairy tales, and Scottish survival horror, or fans of Ritual by Adam Nevill, Bag of Bones by Stephen King, or the legendary Ramsey Cambell.

Fire, Steel and Petroleum by Glynn StewartFire, Steel and Petroleum by Glynn Stewart:

From the author of Starship’s Mage, this short, magazine-style dieselpunk story delivers on action and an Arthurian hopepunk style.

Raiders have burned the village. With innocents in danger, a Knight must stand.

 

 

 

The Dead Shall Rise (Dark Tide, Book 10) by Jay Wilburn, Armand Rosamilia and Erin LouisThe Dead Shall Rise by Jay Wilburn, Armand Rosamilia and Erin Louis:

They’re coming to get you, Brave Reader.

“Prepare Because Death is Coming” by Jay Wilburn: “Take this and bear the warning.” When a messenger arrives at Dry Stretch, warning that a horde of zombies is heading their way forty years after the fall, Bay scoffs at the news. But a ‘full body’ meeting is called. Ethic is sent north to scout, but in Dry Stretch, no one is preparing. No one is repairing the walls. A William Faulkneresque story of the dead set in a dystopic dust-bowl town.

“Zombie Diner” by Armand Rosamilia: A family finds themselves on the wrong side of the zombie apocalypse while on vacation in Florida…

“Dance with the Dead” by Erin Louis: Tiffney is expecting just another night at the strip club. But when a customer goes berserk in the VIP room, things take an unexpectedly bloody turn. Stuck with a cocaine raddled manager and a shady club owner. Tiffney faces the unimaginable and is forced to turn her coworkers into allies to fight the evil that has taken over the club. Together they have to fight to stay alive.

This Zombie horror anthology is perfect for fans of post apocalyptic survival, The Walking Dead series, zombie apocalypse, and World War Z.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for August 2023


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

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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have hardboiled mysteries, cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, humorous mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, political thrillers, environmental thrillers, police officers, FBI agents, private investigators, amateur sleuths, stalkers, serial killers, murdered ballerinas, crime scene cleaners, vampires, deadly weddings, deadly funerals, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting food bloggers, crime-busting grannies, murder and mayhem in London, Las Vegas, Florida, Greenland and much more.

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

Murder at the Funeral by Beth ByersMurder at the Funeral by Beth Byers:

In this short sequel to Murder on the Downs, Vi and Jack and friends return to the downs. This time to see the body of their friend interred. His killer has been found. Justice has been served. It’s time to say goodbye.

Or is it?

When they go to bury their friend, they discover the body of another man. Someone else is in Daniel Poole’s casket, and his body is still warm. What happened to their friend? Who is the killer? And who would do such a thing?

Rebel Without a Clue by Mike FaricyRebel Without a Clue by Mike Faricy:

Private Investigator Dev Haskell is minding his business in the Spot Bar when beautiful Tracey Wilde walks in the door. Heads turn as she heads for Dev and enlists his help in investigating her soon to be former husband. A day later Dev gets contacted by Ernest Stanton, CEO of an investment company. Stanton wants to hire Dev to investigate a particular woman. Business hasn’t been this good in months . . . or is it? Dev takes on both new clients and quickly learns that appearances can be deceiving. Add to that the fact that Dev himself appears to be under investigation by another P.I. Can things get any crazier? Well, it’s Dev Haskell so of course the answer is yes, they can and will . . .

Better get your copy now and see if Dev can survive . . .

A Code to Kill by Elle GrayA Code to Kill by Elle Gray:

Most of us have a code we live by.
Some live their life altruistically, while others live by a more sinister code.
A code that only their victims know. A code to kill…

Fresh from a grueling joint operation with Spenser Song, FBI agent Blake Wilder continues to find herself being stalked and hunted down by an unknown culprit. The worst part is that they may be after her loved ones as well.

Still unable to identify her stalker, Blake meets up with Kit at a coffee shop.
There Kit gives Blake crucial intel about an arms dealer, with advanced weaponry.
A dealer that’s on a bloodthirsty path, a path that claimed the life of someone close to Kit. As Blake and her team investigate the case, they uncover a web of aliases, and a cryptic code name with a string of deaths connecting to it.

Dirty bombs, advanced weaponry, and a trail of silent victims.
Who is this elusive arms dealer? As Blake races against time to unmask the truth.
The only thing that is certain is this weapons dealer is on a path of bloodshed.
And killing is not just a choice, it’s the only code they live by…

Hextraordinary Circumstances by Lily Harper HartHextraordinary Circumstances by Lily Harper Hart:

Vampires are taking over the French Quarter.

Ofelia Archer was hoping for a break, a stretch of quiet time to enjoy the opening of her brother’s new bar, but the sight of vampires walking the rooftops one evening, tracking her, makes her wary. Then, the next morning, when a body is dropped in front of a famous vampire house, things in the Quarter take a turn.

Ofelia’s dealt with vampires before, but there’s something different about this fang gang. She’s confused enough to wonder: Are they really dealing with vampires, or something else entirely?

Zach Sully, Ofelia’s fiancé and a local police detective, starts digging. It seems there’s more than one dead body afoot…and possibly a conspiracy to hide multiple deaths.

Ofelia’s team is prepared to figure out the truth, even if it means putting themselves in danger to do it. When the new enemy focuses on her father Oscar, however, Ofelia goes on the offensive.

The French Quarter is a place where things frequently go bump in the night. This fight is about to get bloody, however.

In more ways than one.

Friday in Las Vegas by Kaye HopkinsFriday in Las Vegas by Kaye Hopkins:

When Isabel Morgan washes out of the police academy because of a deeply humiliating trait she wasn’t aware of (she can’t fire a weapon without closing her eyes), she discovers the world of crime and trauma scene cleaning. Enlisting the help of her roommate, Kenny Diaz, she starts her own cleaning business.

One of Izzy and Kenny’s first jobs is a possible murder/suicide at The Kingdom Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. As it turns out, this is one of her father’s cases. He is a homicide detective with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and wanting to be closer to her dad and his world, Izzy begins her own investigation—an investigation that puts her in the sights of one violent and vindictive security guard. But when she’s kidnapped and thrown into a dungeon-like room at the casino, she finds that guard beaten up and half dead.

So, who is the real enemy here? Could it be Devlin Russo the young handsome manager of The Kingdom with possible mob connections and the man she’s just fallen for? Could it be someone she hasn’t even met yet? And is she going to end up in the same condition as the security guard or are they both going to die, buried beneath tons of concrete, in a room where no one can hear you scream?

Emily Lickenson could not stop death by CeeCee JamesEmily Lickenson Could Not Stop Death by CeeCee James:

Join Emily Lickenson, the cat food blogger with a knack for finding trouble, in her latest cozy mystery adventure.

Emily had hoped to settle back into her peaceful routine after helping to solve the last crime spree, but fate had other plans. When she stumbles upon a murder victim in the alley behind her apartment building, she knows she can’t ignore her instincts.

However, Emily soon discovers the police aren’t interested in solving the crime, and no one is willing to talk. Does this unsettling silence have something to do with the victim? Who was he? And why is everyone being so secretive?

With the help of her trusty sidekick, Shakespeare, and Aunt Mattie, who’s dealing with the fun challenges of an adorable new foster pet, Emily dives headfirst into the investigation. Can she uncover the truth behind the murder, or will the crime remain unsolved? This delightfully gripping whodunit will keep you guessing until the very end, making it a must-read for all cozy mystery lovers.

Murder in the Chapel by Sonia ParinMurder in the Chapel by Sonia Parin:

To love and to cherish, til death us do part…

Returning from town, Evie, the Countess of Woodridge, and Tom Winchester find the village buzzing with excitement. Finally, they are getting married and everyone is thrilled and eagerly awaiting the day to celebrate the long awaited nuptials.

While they play host to wedding guests arriving from near and far, they each deal with their wedding jitters, even though they know nothing and no one will stand in their way.

… anyone present who knows a reason why these persons may not lawfully marry…

If anything can interfere with their wedding plans it is bound to be something quite ominous. Something along the lines of a dead body discovered in the crypt inside the Woodridge family chapel where Tom and Evie have been practicing the wedding ceremony.

A body with a gunshot wound to the heart.

The weapon is found and provides unquestionable proof of guilt.

The Countess of Woodridge’s guilt.

No Escape by A.J. RiversNo Escape by A.J. Rivers:

There are places in this world where you can enter, but never leave…

After witnessing and helping to solve many cases with FBI agent Emma Griffin, PI Dean Steele should get an honorary FBI badge as a reward.

With Fall and its festivities rapidly approaching, Dean gets an urgent call.

Four years ago, in the quiet town of Harper, three teens were murdered against the backdrop of Halloween.
Their body parts were found in the most bewildering way.
The body count has now risen and there are still no answers.

When the family of the first victim hires Dean to get to the bottom of it, he is plunged in a dark and terrifying web of secrets.

Now, it’s up to Dean to learn who the true Hallows Eve killer is before he builds another scarecrow out of his victim

Missed Cue by Lynn SlaughterMissed Cue by Lynn Slaughter:

When ballerina Lydia Miseau dies onstage in the final dress rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet, homicide detective Caitlin O’Connor is faced with the most complicated case of her career. She strongly suspects that someone murdered the ballerina, and her investigation uncovers several people close to the star who had reasons to kill her. But the autopsy reveals no apparent cause of death. If Lydia Miseau was murdered, who did it, and how?

Meantime, there’s Caitlin’s hot mess of a personal life. She has a bad habit of getting involved with married men. She knows it’s wrong, so why does she keep entangling herself in unhealthy relationships? She’s finally decided to go into therapy to find out.

Shadow's Conspiracy by Mary StoneShadow’s Conspiracy by Mary Stone:

Not every conspiracy is a theory.

When a man washes up onto Shadow Island, Sheriff Rebecca West has a moment of déjà vu. This isn’t the first body the ocean spat out on one of her beaches, but it’s the first one she’s found alive.

Barely.

The brutal gunshot wounds to the victim’s hand and the lower part of his face indicate he was shot offshore and dumped overboard, but there’s no boat or perpetrator. Just a few cryptic clues before the victim becomes unresponsive.

At first glance, the investigation points to pirates or a drug deal gone bad. But as Rebecca delves deeper, she realizes that this is far more than an attempt on a low-level criminal’s life. The case stretches out its tendrils, entangling the esteemed members of Shadow Island’s Select Board, the sinister Yacht Club, and even her own sheriff’s department.

And it could jeopardize everything.

Blackmail, power, and corruption collide as Rebecca resolves to clean the island up once and for all. Unless she dies trying.

Arctic Inferno by Geza TatrallyayArctic Inferno by Geza Tatrallyay:

Arctic Inferno, the sequel to Arctic Meltdown, is a timely and gripping international environmental thriller set against the background of the devastation of climate change and the melting of the polar ice cap. The heroine, Hanne Kristensen, the beautiful Danish geologist appointed Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources for the newly independent Greenland, has to maneuver through a wave of setbacks to foil both a Chinese attempt to control Greenland’s natural resources and a more aggressive Russian attempt to gain hegemony over the sparsely populated fledgling country as well as to save her friend, the ousted Premier of Russia, Pavel Laptov. Her suitor, Canadian diplomat Richard Simpson, aids her in this process as well as in the design and signing of a new and more environmentally focused Arctic Treaty to save the region from complete environmental catastrophe. But at the same time Hanne’s private life is complicated by this relationship, as she has to choose between Richard and her long-time lover and childhood friend, Kristi Olafson. This is an action-packed novel with lots of twists and turns guaranteed to keep the reader at the edge of their seats, but also one that brings home the realities we could be living in the very near future.

Pineapple Maids by Amy VasantPineapple Maids by Amy Vansant:

Pineapple Port retirees Mariska and Darla have been many things to Charlotte Morgan—surrogate mothers when her grandmother passed, belly-fillers (almost constantly), and dime-store decorators when the new Charlock Holmes Detective Agency needed upgrading…

All they ask in return is one teeny, tiny, itty-bitty thing in exchange…To go undercover so they can find out who’s killing residents at a high-end assisted living manor.

What could go wrong if Darla and Mariska masquerade as residents? Or war with the manor’s “mean girls?” Or start a revolt via talent show?

Charlotte doesn’t have time to worry about the ladies. She’s and Declan are posing as staff, and they’ve got secret gardens, scary alligator prints, and poison tea to worry about. They’ll have to hurry—one of the residents just laughed himself to death while painting a cheeky art reproduction…

Will Dead Ed be the manor’s last casualty?

Grab some cookies and find out! (Just don’t drink the tea…)

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for July 2023

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have urban fantasy, historical fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal mystery, space opera, military science fiction, Steampunk, horror, vampires, dwarves, elves, dragons, superheroes, time travel, aliens, airships, fly gods, lesbian space pirates, crime-busting witches, crime-busting ghosts and much more.

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

The Morass: Servant of the Fly God by Zachary AshfordThe Morass: Servant of the Fly God by Zachary Ashford

What if you had been kidnapped by a serial killer and your only hope of escape was cut off by rising floodwater?

“A terrifying descent into a nightmarish scenario, rendered with skill, imagination and a merciless desire to immerse the reader in undiluted horror. This is a terrific work of horror fiction by one of Australia’s best genre writers. I couldn’t put it down.”—Jamie Blanks, director of Urban Legend and Valentine

The Australian Outback is a place mired in myth, folklore, and rumour that’s inspired some of the best horror fiction and creature horror books. Some say it’s full of deadly creatures. Others claim it’s rife with serial killers hunting for backpackers and stranded tourists. Whatever the cause, young people in central Queensland are disappearing and the locals are frightened.

Katy is fresh from college and ready to research and write her magnum opus, a book investigating the many disappearances of outback youths in Australia. When she meets Kip, a guitarist on his way to the city, she knows she’s onto something good and that she can prove her hypothesis: there’s nothing there for the youth of today and they’re running away, searching for employment and prospects in the city.

Unfortunately, she’s wrong. In this terrifying cosmic horror book, there is a killer in the outback. One that thinks God is the ancient creature that lurks in the swamps near his property. With floodwaters rising, he’s certain Katy and Kip are the sacrifices that will allow the entity to emerge from the morass and cleanse the world of sinners. One terrifying abduction later, he has them both imprisoned.

As they struggle to escape the terror and the torture, their desperate fight for survival will lead only to more horror. Because their kidnapper is not crazy. His god is real. His god is hungry, and it is screaming to be reborn.

Aurealis-nominated Australian author Zachary Ashford turns his attention to the isolation of the outback with this fast-paced horror. The tension thrums. The brutality screams. The desperation of his protagonists’ plight bleeds from the page. For fans of extreme horror, splatterpunk, gore, violent films like Wolf Creek, or international movies like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the grotesque creatures of movies like Aliens, The Thing, or The Fly, The Morass: Servant of the Fly God is not to be missed.

Will Katy and Kip survive? Will their killer succeed? Will the God in the swamp take over the world. Buy this supernatural thriller book now, and discover their fate.

Brave New Dawn by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. ChaneyBrave New Dawn by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. Chaney:

Live for today. Prepare for tomorrow.

The unknown reaches of the galaxy still offer danger for Sergeant Major Reverent Pelletier and his small group of Marines and karnans. They must be ready to protect their own.

But back in human space, war has reared its ugly head once again. Pax Naxli is done, and the central government pays little attention to the Exiled Fleet. On their own now, they can’t count on help when the inevitable comes a’knocking.

Without any outside support and unable to return home, Rev, Tomiko, and the rest must figure out how to survive.

Rev is a Marine, born and bred to fight and survive, to defend those who cannot defend themselves, but one way or another, his journey is coming to an end.

The only question is: will he and his friends live long enough to see it?

Cursed by Lindsay BurokerCursed by Lindsay Buroker:

The final installment in the Legacy of Magic series!

Matti Puletasi has defeated her enemies, rescued her parents, fallen in love with the elf of her dreams, and even started thinking of having children. Will her life finally return to normal (as normal as possible when one is mated to an elf and has a goblin for a roommate and a dragon for a neighbor)?

All Matti has left to do is to fulfill her obligation to Mikki the Wrench. That task, however, takes an unexpected turn when she encounters a powerful dark-elven artifact.

Before she knows it, the foul relic has marked her, leaving her cursed as it steals her magic—and threatens to steal her life.

If she can’t figure out how to remove the curse, she may lose everything she’s fought so hard to achieve.

Uninvited House Ghosts by Rachel FordUninvited House Ghosts by Rachel Ford:

Ghosts are real, and they’re watching over their families. Sometimes, that’s a good thing. But not for the Evanses.

Tennessee Evans comes from a long, undistinguished line of crooks, grifters, layabouts, and rascals. She’s made her share of mistakes, sure, but she’s trying to break the mold. Even after a contentious breakup that hits her emotionally and financially, she works hard, keeps her head up, and carries on.

Then her ex winds up murdered in her backyard. And her prints are all over the murder weapon. She didn’t do it, but no one believes her.

Especially not the pigheaded, infuriatingly hot lead detective investigating the case. On the contrary, she seems to have it out for Tennessee.

Tennessee knows she needs help, and she needs it fast. What she doesn’t know is that the ancestral spirit council is on the job. Which is probably for the best, since their last few missions have ended in disaster – and the odd, accidental death. (Sorry about that, Jane!)

The council dispatches a 20th century American tax expert and an 18th century British criminal to tackle the case. Whether the pair can put aside centuries of personal and cultural differences to save Tennessee is anyone’s guess.

But one thing’s for sure – Marshmeadow will never be the same after this ill-advised haunting!

A supernatural cozy mystery with outrageous shenanigans, cute dogs, found family, a slow burn lesbian romance, and an old, definitely haunted house full of secrets.

Sisters of Fangs by Carlo HartSisters of Fangs by Carlo Hart:

When Emily and Luna, two sisters from Los Angeles, hear about all the paranormal activity on Frazier Mountain, they decide to move there and see if the stories are true. Armed with a camera and a tripod, they are ready to capture footage that will go viral and jump start their fledgling social media careers.

They make friends and enjoy the sweet mountain life before one of them is kidnapped and they find themselves trying to solve a dangerous mystery.

Now they find themselves surrounded by dark woods and horrible creatures. They face vampires, hellhounds, demons, aliens, a talking polar bear and a secret lab. Will they fight the growing evil before it takes over the mountain and then the world.

Sisters of Fangs is the follow up urban fantasy series to the Mountain of Fangs series that has scared so many readers deep into the night.

Rent a cabin on Frazier Mountain. Come for the quiet, stay for the monsters.

Witches of the Deep by Lily Harper HartWitches of the Deep by Lily Harper Hart:

Hali Waverly thought she’d seen the worst the world had to offer. Then her boyfriend Gray Hunter’s parents arrived on her beach. Now the horror truly begins.

Hali has a big problem…and that’s not including the skeletons that are taking over the beach thanks to an errant spell.

Nobody knows who cast the spell, or more importantly why, but Hali is determined to find out. When she’s not dodging visits from the people Gray wants to see least in his life that is.

Hali is a fixer, which means she can’t stay out of the situation. Will she make matters better or worse, though?

Gray knows exactly how he sees his future going. His parents aren’t part of it. Despite that, part of him doesn’t want to shut the door forever. If he lets them in, though, will he lose everything he’s been working toward?

Gray and Hali are a team. Dark forces are moving in on them from every direction, however. It’s going to take both of them working together to come out on the other side.

Even then, it might not be enough.

Death is coming for St. Pete Beach, and it’s not taking any prisoners.

Little Nothing by Dee HollowayLittle Nothing by Dee Holloway

Two young women race to turn the tide in a Florida on the brink of civil war…

Everyone knows that Jonnie trains and races the limerunners, the deadly water horses that live in the swamps and streams around the town of Sawgrass and that she’s got a way with them that none of the local men can match. And everyone suspects that while Bess works at her family’s inn, The Nag’s Head, she sews her little nothings, magic in every stitch, to protect her beloved Jonnie and their family. What they don’t know is that Jonnie runs messages, stitched in code by Bess, for the Union Army. But now the Confederate forces have taken the nearby fort and they want to use Jonnie’s limerunners and Jonnie herself as weapons against the Union. And all of Bess’s magic won’t be enough to save them when they’re caught in a web of betrayal in a Florida being torn apart by burgeoning civil war. Only Ada Nuit, the Maroon’s ghost queen, knows what lies in store for them and she’s not telling…

Black Sails to Sunward by Sheila JennéBlack Sails to Sunward by Sheila Jenné:

In a world of frock coats, solar sails, and rigid class boundaries, Lucy joins the Martian Imperial Navy as a midshipman.

Mars and Earth are at war, and Lucy hopes for quick promotion. But when she arrives aboard ship, she finds harsh officers and a crew on the verge of mutiny. And worse: her former friend, Moira—a commoner and a radical—is a member of the crew.

It’s clear where Lucy’s duty lies. As an officer and a gentlewoman, she has to quell the crew’s rebellion and preserve her ship for the fight against Earth. But soon, she’ll have to make a decision between all she’s been taught to believe and the injustice she can see with her own eyes.

A Book of Blades Vol. II, edited by Matthew John and L.D. WhitneyA Book of Blades, Volume II, edited by Matthew John and L.D. Whitney:

Within this tome are buried the blades of warriors, thieves, and wizards. Tales of their deeds, glories, and triumphs shall ring throughout the ages.

Rogues in the House Podcast has gathered the best tales of Sword & Sorcery from across the community.

Here, brave adventurers will discover tales of daring and adventure, of dark sorcery and bloody combat, all penned by members of the burgeoning Sword & Sorcery Community. Returning authors John R. Fultz, Jason Ray Carney, and Charles Clark are joined by new addtions like J. Thomas Howard, Bryn Hammond, and legendary Kirk A. Johnson. Journey across distant, unremembered lands with these and many more!

Bewitched and Bothered by Amanda M. LeeBewitched and Bothered by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter is taking some downtime with her fiancé Galen Blackwood. All she wants to do is bask in their happiness and pretend nothing bad could possibly happen.

This is Moonstone Bay, however. That’s simply not reality.

When Galen gets a call that an old-timer on the island is holding a gun on the guests at a local bar, Hadley accompanies him to the scene…and watches as the unthinkable happens. The man’s death is strange enough, but when news starts to spread that their victim had been carrying on with a woman who was young enough to be his granddaughter, things take an even odder turn.

It seems there’s an unknown power on the island, and this individual is casting the sort of love spells that force unusual couples to start burning—literally—for one another.

Not only are Hadley and Galen hot on the trail of an outside player, but they’re also targets.

Hadley has learned a lot since finding out she’s a witch. This lesson, however, might be too hot to handle.

The union of earth, air, fire, and water has become symbolic on Moonstone Bay. This time the union will lead to a whole new adventure.

Nothing will ever be the same again.

Of Wings and Shadows by Kyoko M.Of Wings and Shadows by Kyoko M.

In a modern-day world teeming with marauding dragons, there is only one solution: The Wild Hunt.

The United States government has decided to hold a tournament called The Wild Hunt to determine who will be responsible for the capture of wild dragons by the Knight Division. The four challengers Noah Wilson, Charlie Howard, Su Jin Han, and Beowulf have to catch five deadly dragons alive if they want to win the tournament and become the new Knight Division dragon hunters. Their journey will take them through the mountains of South Carolina, the seas of Key West, the caverns of Ruby Falls, the Redwood forest, and finally, the murky bayous of Louisiana. Will they succeed against their competition, or will the dragons of the Wild Hunt be too wild to tame?

Of Wings and Shadows is the sixth book in the Of Cinder and Bone series. It takes place in medias res of Book Five, Of Claws and Inferno. It follows Of Cinder and Bone, Of Blood and Ashes, Of Dawn and Embers, and Of Fury and Fang

Vaulting Through Time by Nancy McCabeVaulting Through Time by Nancy McCabe:

Can she perform the vault of her life to save her loved ones—and herself?

Sixteen-year-old gymnast Elizabeth Arlington doesn’t care that her mother is older than the other girls’ moms or that she doesn’t look anything like her parents. She has too much to worry about like her body changing and how all of a sudden the balance beam is not as easy as it used to be. But when she makes a discovery that throws her entire identity into question, she turns to her ex-best friend Zach, who suggests a way for her to find the answers her mother won’t give her: a time machine they found in an abandoned house.

As Elizabeth catapults through time, she encounters a mysterious abandoned child, an elite gymnast preparing for Olympic Trials, and an enigmatic woman who seems to know more than she’s revealing. Then when a thief makes off with an identical time machine, Elizabeth finds herself on a race to stop the thief before the world as she knows it—and her future—are destroyed.

Space Ships and Other Trips by Raven OakSpace Ships and Other Trips by Raven Oak:

Part II of this debut collection by multi-award-winning author and artist Raven Oak brings together speculative fiction stories from the past ten years of her career, ranging from space adventures with a dash of mystery and other near-future tales to post-apocalyptic stories and deep dives into the mind.

You’ll find closed-ship mysteries, foul-acting apps, talking cats, retail hell, and hacked programs in these ELEVEN speculative fiction pieces. Space Ships & Other Trips contains FIVE never-before seen stories for your enjoyment, including a tie-in story from Jeff Sturgeon’s The Last Cities of Earth universe.

STORIES INCLUDED: The Loss of Luna, Hungry, Mouth, Only a Bird, Q-Be, Hands, Ol’ St. Nick, Drip, Level Up, Scout’s Honor, and D.E.A.T.H.

Blue Lancer by Glynn StewartBlue Lancer by Glynn Stewart:

It was just supposed to be a run to the bank…

A superpowered criminal named Cashout just took over the bank Joshua Hammond went to for cash—demanding that the unlicensed super-vigilante called Blue Lancer come out and fight him.
Unfortunately for everyone, Joshua Hammond is the Blue Lancer—and trapped with the rest of the hostages, he can’t do anything.

But if Cashout’s “nemesis” doesn’t come out and fight, people are going to die…

Faraway and Forever by Nancy Joie WilkieFaraway and Forever: More Stories by Nancy Joie Wilkie:

This collection of novelettes takes the reader from the not-to-distant future to a time when travel between worlds is a common occurrence. Each stop along mankind’s journey outward to the stars is accompanied by a deeper look inward–from examining how extraterrestrial beings might use our own biology against us, to whether a human consciousness can survive in a virtual environment, to how wishes are really granted. Original and thought provoking, these stories–which include an interstellar religious thriller involving a second coming of Christ–will stimulate the intellect and engage the imagination.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for July 2023


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

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

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, adventure thrillers, horror thrillers, police officers, FBI agents, private investigators, amateur sleuths, serial killers, kidnappings, missing persons, deadly weddings, plane crashes, redneck detectives, murdered space tourists, fly gods, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting butlers, crime-busting ghosts, murder and mayhem in London, Louisiana, New Mexico, Florida, the Australian Outback, a deserted island in the Pacific and much more.

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

The Morass: Servant of the Fly God by Zachary AshfordThe Morass: Servant of the Fly God by Zachary Ashford

What if you had been kidnapped by a serial killer and your only hope of escape was cut off by rising floodwater?

“A terrifying descent into a nightmarish scenario, rendered with skill, imagination and a merciless desire to immerse the reader in undiluted horror. This is a terrific work of horror fiction by one of Australia’s best genre writers. I couldn’t put it down.”—Jamie Blanks, director of Urban Legend and Valentine

The Australian Outback is a place mired in myth, folklore, and rumour that’s inspired some of the best horror fiction and creature horror books. Some say it’s full of deadly creatures. Others claim it’s rife with serial killers hunting for backpackers and stranded tourists. Whatever the cause, young people in central Queensland are disappearing and the locals are frightened.

Katy is fresh from college and ready to research and write her magnum opus, a book investigating the many disappearances of outback youths in Australia. When she meets Kip, a guitarist on his way to the city, she knows she’s onto something good and that she can prove her hypothesis: there’s nothing there for the youth of today and they’re running away, searching for employment and prospects in the city.

Unfortunately, she’s wrong. In this terrifying cosmic horror book, there is a killer in the outback. One that thinks God is the ancient creature that lurks in the swamps near his property. With floodwaters rising, he’s certain Katy and Kip are the sacrifices that will allow the entity to emerge from the morass and cleanse the world of sinners. One terrifying abduction later, he has them both imprisoned.

As they struggle to escape the terror and the torture, their desperate fight for survival will lead only to more horror. Because their kidnapper is not crazy. His god is real. His god is hungry, and it is screaming to be reborn.

Aurealis-nominated Australian author Zachary Ashford turns his attention to the isolation of the outback with this fast-paced horror. The tension thrums. The brutality screams. The desperation of his protagonists’ plight bleeds from the page. For fans of extreme horror, splatterpunk, gore, violent films like Wolf Creek, or international movies like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the grotesque creatures of movies like Aliens, The Thing, or The Fly, The Morass: Servant of the Fly God is not to be missed.

Will Katy and Kip survive? Will their killer succeed? Will the God in the swamp take over the world. Buy this supernatural thriller book now, and discover their fate.

Dead Among Stars by Kat BellemoreDead Among Stars by Kat Bellemore:

Space tourism isn’t dangerous. It’s the passengers.

Psychologist Maddie Swallows had always thought of space tourism as science fiction. That was before the phone call that turned her world upside down and she was hired to work with celebrity passengers as they prepared for their once-in-a-lifetime flight.

It was her dream job. Until six passengers went up into space, and two hours later, only five returned.

If you don’t count the dead body.

Investigating a murder hadn’t been in the job description, but Maddie now needs to use her psychological training to discover who of the remaining five passengers is a murderer.

Before they strike again.

Dead Among Stars is the fourth book of the Maddie Swallows mystery series. If you like confined suspects, humor, and impossible whodunits, you’ll love this cozy mystery.

Üotch Our Evils by Beth ByersPitch Our Evils by Beth Byers:

Once again, adventure arises for Smith and Bea. Only this time, it’s Bea who drags them into trouble. Bea who faces the dark side of her soul. And, it is Bea who has to decide just how deep into the darkness that she is willing to go.

The only question remaining is can Smith pull her back out?

 

 

 

Never Letting Go by Stacy ClaflinNever Letting Go by Stacy Claflin:

A destination wedding is the idyllic escape. Except when there’s a murderer on the loose.

Ariana and Damon are thrilled for a getaway weekend to celebrate their friends’ new life together. Everything is smooth sailing until strange things start happening… Unexplained noises. People feeling watchful eyes when alone. Mysterious threats.

Then a member of the wedding party goes missing.

Everybody must work together to find their friend. But who can they trust? Any of them could be behind the disappearance… or it could be someone who came without an invitation. Either way, they’re dealing with a desperate person who will stop at nothing to end the marriage before it even begins.

Ariana is determined to find answers before anyone else vanishes…

Uninvited House Ghosts by Rachel FordUninvited House Ghosts by Rachel Ford:

Ghosts are real, and they’re watching over their families. Sometimes, that’s a good thing. But not for the Evanses.

Tennessee Evans comes from a long, undistinguished line of crooks, grifters, layabouts, and rascals. She’s made her share of mistakes, sure, but she’s trying to break the mold. Even after a contentious breakup that hits her emotionally and financially, she works hard, keeps her head up, and carries on.

Then her ex winds up murdered in her backyard. And her prints are all over the murder weapon. She didn’t do it, but no one believes her.

Especially not the pigheaded, infuriatingly hot lead detective investigating the case. On the contrary, she seems to have it out for Tennessee.

Tennessee knows she needs help, and she needs it fast. What she doesn’t know is that the ancestral spirit council is on the job. Which is probably for the best, since their last few missions have ended in disaster – and the odd, accidental death. (Sorry about that, Jane!)

The council dispatches a 20th century American tax expert and an 18th century British criminal to tackle the case. Whether the pair can put aside centuries of personal and cultural differences to save Tennessee is anyone’s guess.

But one thing’s for sure – Marshmeadow will never be the same after this ill-advised haunting!

A supernatural cozy mystery with outrageous shenanigans, cute dogs, found family, a slow burn lesbian romance, and an old, definitely haunted house full of secrets.

Fatal Games by Elle and K.S. GrayFatal Game by Olivia and K.S. Gray:

Jumping off a plane is one thing, but being forced to do so amid a plane crash is something no one puts on their bucket list.

After surviving a plane crash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, FBI agent Olivia Knight and a group of survivors are washed ashore onto a desolate island.

An island harboring more danger than any of them could have ever imagined.

As they set foot on the sandy shores, Olivia and Brock discover a chilling truth.
A masked figure known as the Game Master has brought all the survivors there for the purpose of his twisted games.
Games where the unwitting contestants must fight for their lives.
Forced to play the fatal games with possible enemies hiding at every turn,
Olivia and Brock must rely on one another more than ever before.

What is the true identity of the Game Master and what is the purpose of these games?
With mysteries at every turn and answers fleeting, there is only one thing certain.
On this forsaken island everyone is a pawn, and there’s only one way off it…

Witches of the Deep by Lily Harper HartWitches of the Deep by Lily Harper Hart:

Hali Waverly thought she’d seen the worst the world had to offer. Then her boyfriend Gray Hunter’s parents arrived on her beach. Now the horror truly begins.

Hali has a big problem…and that’s not including the skeletons that are taking over the beach thanks to an errant spell.

Nobody knows who cast the spell, or more importantly why, but Hali is determined to find out. When she’s not dodging visits from the people Gray wants to see least in his life that is.

Hali is a fixer, which means she can’t stay out of the situation. Will she make matters better or worse, though?

Gray knows exactly how he sees his future going. His parents aren’t part of it. Despite that, part of him doesn’t want to shut the door forever. If he lets them in, though, will he lose everything he’s been working toward?

Gray and Hali are a team. Dark forces are moving in on them from every direction, however. It’s going to take both of them working together to come out on the other side.

Even then, it might not be enough.

Death is coming for St. Pete Beach, and it’s not taking any prisoners.

Bewitched and Bothered by Amanda M. LeeBewitched and Bothered by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter is taking some downtime with her fiancé Galen Blackwood. All she wants to do is bask in their happiness and pretend nothing bad could possibly happen.

This is Moonstone Bay, however. That’s simply not reality.

When Galen gets a call that an old-timer on the island is holding a gun on the guests at a local bar, Hadley accompanies him to the scene…and watches as the unthinkable happens. The man’s death is strange enough, but when news starts to spread that their victim had been carrying on with a woman who was young enough to be his granddaughter, things take an even odder turn.

It seems there’s an unknown power on the island, and this individual is casting the sort of love spells that force unusual couples to start burning—literally—for one another.

Not only are Hadley and Galen hot on the trail of an outside player, but they’re also targets.

Hadley has learned a lot since finding out she’s a witch. This lesson, however, might be too hot to handle.

The union of earth, air, fire, and water has become symbolic on Moonstone Bay. This time the union will lead to a whole new adventure.

Nothing will ever be the same again.

The Redneck Detective Agency by Phillip Quinn MorrisThe Redneck Detective Agency by Phillip Quinn Morris:

The title seems to say it all. But not quite. Fifty-five year old Rusty Clay does not claim to be a detective, though his office door says otherwise. He says he is no redneck, though his longtime friend Gloria Davenport asserts otherwise.

Not being a detective changes when a big man walks into Rusty’s office and insists he find his two hundred fourteen pound catfish. Five thousand dollars cash asserts this is no joke. And he wants it found so he can win first place in the annual grabbling (catching a catfish with one’s bare hands) rodeo.

Second Chance by Jim RileySecond Chance by Jim Riley:

FBI agent Sheila Richardson finds herself in a twisted game of cat and mouse when the daughter of a powerful Louisiana congressman is kidnapped. As she leads the search, Sheila discovers that the kidnapper possesses intimate knowledge of her dark past, turning the investigation into a treacherous dance of deception.

To save the young girl, Sheila joins forces with Niki Dupre, an independent investigator whose sharp instincts rival her own. But as tensions rise and the kidnapper demands ransoms from both women, they must unravel a web of secrets and betrayal, knowing that defying the captor’s demands could cost the girl her life.

With each passing moment, the kidnapper’s grip tightens, forcing Sheila and Niki to question everyone around them. In a heart-stopping race against time, they uncover a shocking truth that extends beyond the abduction, leading to a revelation that challenges their notions of loyalty and justice.

The Girl on the Road by A.J. RiversThe Girl on the Road by A.J. Rivers:

“You’re going on a date with someone you’ve just met online?
There are a bunch of crazies out there. You need to be careful!”

After multiple assassination attempts, FBI agent Emma Griffin is on the road to recovery.
At times though, her dreams and reality seem to blur together. Leaving her to question aspects of her life.

When the bodies of young women are found on the side of the road at multiple rest stops.
Emma and her team are assigned to the case.
No one could make sense of the brutal and sadistic murders, and it seems as though the bloodthirsty killer might be sending a message.

With more questions than anyone could answer. Nothing is certain.
On the pathway of justice, the pit stops to find the highway killer will exact a costly toll…

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