First Monday Free Fiction: The Four and a Half Minute Boiled Egg

The Four and a Half Minute Boiled EggWelcome to the April 2020 edition of First Monday Free Fiction. To recap, inspired by Kristine Kathryn Rusch who posts a free short story every week on her blog, I’ll post a free story on every first Monday of the month. It will remain free to read on this blog for one month, then I’ll take it down and post another story.

Next weekend is Easter, so what could be more fitting than a story about an egg. Therefore, I have chosen The Four and a Half Minute Boiled Egg, the first story in my series Alfred and Bertha’s Marvellous Twenty-First Century Life as this month’s free story.

The Alfred and Bertha stories are not really science fiction. They are parodies, mundane short stories about a couple in a troubled marriage written in the over the top infodumpy and technical style of science fiction’s so-called “golden age” of the 1940s and 1950s, where every single bit of technology, no matter how mundane, is explained.

Fans of Alfred and Bertha – I know there are about two of you out there – will be pleased to learn that a new Alfred and Bertha story entitled Canis Familiaris of the Sofa (that’s “dog” to you mundanes) will be coming out very soon.

But for now, follow along as Alfred and Bertha von Bülow get into an argument about the correct time required to boil an egg in

The Four and a Half Minute Boiled Egg

A Not Really SF Short Story

Bertha awoke to the shrill beeping of her alarm clock. She opened her eyes to see the numbers six zero zero edged into the clock face, in truth a display of so-called liquid crystals, that is matter in a state which has properties between those of conventional liquids and solid crystals.

What was more, the alarm clock was so accurate that it would neither gain nor lose a single second in an estimated one hundred and thirty eight million years, for it was controlled via a radio signal received from an atomic clock which measured time using the microwave signals that the electrons in a caesium atom emitted while changing energy levels at near absolute zero temperatures.

Bertha hit the button labelled “Off” on the alarm clock and got out of bed. Beside her, Alfred groaned in his sleep. Being a man and Bertha’s husband, Alfred was entitled to an extra fifteen minutes of sleep, measured to an accuracy of plus minus one second in an estimated one hundred and thirty eight million years by the alarm clock on his own nightstand.

Bertha walked over to the window and pressed the switch that closed an electrical circuit, which in turn activated a small motor, which pulled up to electrically operated window blinds. Outside, the sun was shining and the neighbour drove past in a small red hybrid vehicle, which was powered alternately by an internal gasoline combustion engine and an electric motor supplied via an array of high energy efficiency lithium-ion batteries under the hood. The vehicle emitted a whizzing sound, which told Bertha that the neighbour was currently using the electric motor.

Bertha smiled. Wasn’t it wonderful to live in the twenty-first century?

She went into the bathroom, which was illuminated via electrified glass tubes containing rarified neon. She brushed her teeth with a vibrating battery powered toothbrush and showered with water that was kept at a steady temperature of twenty-five degrees Celsius via an inbuilt thermostat. Finally, she dressed herself in clothing made of synthetic polymer fibres and walked over to the kitchen.

The kitchen was also illuminated via electrified glass tubes containing rarified neon, though Bertha did not switch them on, for it was summer in the Northern hemisphere, which meant that the sun rose early in the morning due to the axial tilt of the planet. However, Bertha switched on the radio, which received a broadcast of the morning news via its aerial, which intercepted radio waves of a particular frequency and transformed them into electric power, which was then amplified into sound.

Next, Bertha began to prepare breakfast, for Alfred would be hungry when he woke up. Besides, such was the duty of a wife.

First, she made the coffee. She opened a cupboard and took out a package of plastic-coated aluminium foil that contained the roasted and ground seeds of the Coffea arabica plant, which was cultivated in large plantations in Southern and Central America, the Caribbean and Africa. With a perfectly calibrated, spoon-shaped measuring instrument, she filled exactly the right amount of ground coffee into a plastic funnel that was covered by a layer of fine pored paper for filtration purposes. She inserted the plastic funnel into the electric coffeemaker and poured an accurately measured volume of tap water into a compartment at the top of the machine.

Some experts warned against using unfiltered tap water, because the high calcium content might damage the delicate innards of the electric coffeemaker. However, Bertha regularly rinsed the machine with a decalcifying agent, which dealt with the problem before it could arise.

Finally, Bertha pressed a switch and activated the machine. The switch glowed red, while a heating coil in the water reservoir heated the water and let it drip at a controlled rate through the ground Coffea arabica seeds in the plastic funnel, until it emerged as a hot bitter-flavoured dark brown liquid into a vessel of heat-resistant borosilicate glass.

Satisfied, Bertha turned to preparing the eggs, while the coffee was being automatically boiled by the machine. She opened the refrigeration unit, which was kept at a steady temperature of plus four degrees Celsius by an inbuilt thermostat. As soon as she opened the door, a switch was triggered which closed an electrical circuit and caused a small lamp inside the refrigeration unit to come on to illuminate the interior. It was truly a small miracle and Bertha recalled with a smile how her late father, who had been an electrical engineer, had explained to her how the lights inside the refrigerator worked, when she had been but six years old.

Bertha withdrew a box made of moulded papier-mâché, a composite material consisting of paper pulp and an adhesive, from the refrigeration unit. She opened the box. Inside, there sat ten perfectly ovoid shapes. These were the eggs of Gallus gallus domesticus and not just the eggs of any old Gallus gallus domesticus either, but the eggs of Gallus gallus domesticus that were not kept in pens, but allowed to roam freely, while fed only the kernels of Zea mayz plants that were raised without the aid of chemical fertilisation agents, herbicides or insecticides. True, these eggs, known as corn-fed organic eggs, were pricier than the regular kind, but Bertha believed in always purchasing the highest quality of foodstuffs.

She removed two of the ovoid shapes from the papier-mâché box and returned the rest into the refrigeration unit. Next, she opened a cupboard and took out a device consisting of a round base of brushed chromium steel with a diameter of approximately twenty centimetres topped by a dome-shaped lid of translucent plastic. This device was an electrical egg cooker.

Bertha set it down on the kitchen counter, which was coated with several layers of sturdy Kraft paper impregnated with melamine thermosetting resin and finally cured with heat to create a hard and durable surface. She inserted the power cord into an electrical socket, which supplied their house with power generated via a mix of massive wind turbines, photovoltaic panels as well as nuclear fission, though that was on its way out due to the risk of a meltdown and the severe health and environmental hazards it posed.

Bertha removed the dome-shaped lid and pricked the bottom of the eggs with the tiny but sharp steel needle embedded into the centre of the chromium steel base of the electrical egg cooker. Then she inserted the eggs into the plastic cradles inside the chromium steel base.

Next, Bertha took the measuring cup of translucent plastic, which was included with her electrical egg cooker, and filled it with water from a gleaming chromium tap. She poured the water from the measuring cup into the egg cooker, replaced the dome-shaped lid and finally set the boiling time at the plastic dial on the base of the egg cooker. She was careful to set the boiling time to exactly four and a half minute, for this was how Alfred liked his eggs, not too hard and not too soft, but boiled for exactly four and a half minutes.

Now the machine took over. A heating coil installed inside the chromium steel base brought the water to a boil, until it gradually evaporated. The resulting steam was trapped by the dome-shaped plastic lid and condensated on its inner surface. And so the heat generated by the boiling water and the steam cooked the eggs to just the right texture and firmness, until finally — once all the water had evaporated — the device emitted a shrill whistle and switched itself off.

While the coffee was brewing and the eggs were boiling, Bertha busied herself with setting the table, which was also coated with several layers of sturdy Kraft paper impregnated with melamine thermosetting resin and finally cured with heat to create a hard and durable surface. First, she covered the table with a piece of cloth woven from the natural fibres of the Linum usitatissimum plant and then dyed a cheery red and white with synthetic azo dyes.

Bertha opened the cupboard and removed two ceramic plates, two large ceramic cups for the coffee and two smaller ovoid shaped cups for the eggs and set them on the table. Next she removed four clear glasses, two for each of them, and set them onto the table as well. Then she opened a drawer and removed two small spoons made from melamine plastic and two knives as well as two small spoons made from inoxidable acid-resistant steel containing eighteen percent chromium and ten percent nickel. The plastic spoons were intended for the eggs, the inoxidable steel spoons for the coffee.

From another cupboard, Bertha took a paper bag containing several small round lumps of baked dough made from finely ground Titicum aestivum seeds. She opened the refrigeration unit and removed two containers made of pressed paper coated with a protective plastic layer. One of these cartons contained the secretions of the mammary glands of Bos taurus taurus, which were rich in calcium, iron and other vital minerals. The other carton contained juice made from the concentrated pulp of the Citrus sinensis fruit, which was rich in Vitamin C.

Finally, she removed a small platter of inoxidable steel with a translucent plastic lid from the refrigeration unit. This platter contained an oblong lump of the fatty acids contained in the mammary secretions of Bos taurus taurus and separated from the liquid components of the milk by churning. Because of its unattractive natural colour, this lump of fatty acids had been dyed a cheerful yellow colour with an organic pigment named beta-Carotene.

The coffee was still brewing, the eggs were still boiling and the sound of water rushing through the copper pipes in the walls of their home told Bertha that Alfred had gotten up and was immersed in his own morning grooming routine, to which she — being a only woman — was not privy.

So Bertha went over to the front door instead. She turned the key, a motion which shifted a cunning arrangement of cylinders and bars, which in turn unlocked the door. Bertha waddled out of the door, nodded to her neighbour, who was just getting into her vehicle, which was powered by an internal gasoline combustion engine. From a tube of dark green plastic she withdrew a bundle of sheets listing the day’s news, printed onto cheap woodpulp paper by a rotation printing press.

She took the rolled up newspaper inside, unrolled and smoothed it and laid it onto the kitchen table. Alfred was always rather peculiar about his morning paper.

When she returned to the kitchen, the automatic coffeemaker had finished its work and the vessel of heat-resistant borosilicate glass was filled with freshly brewed coffee. What was more, the egg cooker was whistling, announcing that the eggs were ready. So Bertha lifted the dome-shaped lid and blinked as the steam rising from the device clouded her vision. She removed the plastic cradle with the boiled eggs and briefly held them under cold water from the chromium tap. Then she placed the eggs into their respective cups.

By now, Alfred had finished his own morning routine and entered the kitchen.

“Good morning, dear,” Bertha exclaimed, “I trust you have slept well.”

“Morning,” Alfred grunted. He was always rather monosyllabic first thing in the morning. Men simply were that way.

Bertha poured the coffee, Alfred picked up the melamine spoon and repeatedly hit the top of his egg, until the thin shell of calcium carbonate crystals stabilised by a protein matrix cracked. Alfred brushed the remnants of the cracked shell away, inserted his spoon into the exposed interior and abruptly stopped.

“Bertha…”

“Yes, dear?”

“The egg is too hard.”

Bertha said nothing, for she was far too busy smearing a thin layer of the fatty acids in the mammary secretions of Bos taurus taurus, separated from the liquid components of the milk by churning, onto a halved lump of baked dough made from finely ground Titicum aestivum seeds.

“Bertha, the egg is too hard,” Alfred repeated.

“I heard you the first time,” Bertha said. She lifted a cup to her mouth and enjoyed bitter flavour of the ground and brewed seeds of Coffea arabica as well as the way the caffeine contained in the brew stimulated her central nervous system.

“How long did you boil the egg?” Alfred wanted to know.

“As you know, Alfred, eating too many eggs is not healthy,” Bertha replied, “After all, a single egg contains up to one hundred eighty six milligrams of cholesterol, which promotes the development of atheroma in arteries and is therefore one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease.”

“Actually, Bertha, science has long since debunked the myth that eggs are unhealthy,” Alfred countered, “Indeed, the effect of egg consumption on blood cholesterol is minimal compared to the effect of trans-unsaturated fatty acids.”

He looked down on the boiled egg that was gradually cooling down on the table in front of him. “Besides, I wanted to know how long you boiled this particular egg.”

“Well, as you know, Alfred, you always want your eggs boiled for exactly four and a half minutes…”

“I know that,” Alfred snapped.

“Well then, why do you ask?”

“Because it is physically impossible that this egg…” Alfred banged his spoon against the egg in frustration, further shattering the thin shell of calcium carbonate crystals. “…was boiled for four and a half minutes.”

“But every morning, I take care to precisely set the timer built into the electrical egg cooker and precisely measure out the required volume of water and boil your egg for precisely four and a half minutes, just as you like it.”

“If your measurements were truly that precise…” Alfred said, “…then why is the egg too hard on some mornings and too soft on others?”

“Well, I don’t know,” Bertha snapped, “After all, I am not a female member of the Gallus gallus domesticus species.”

“As you know, Bertha, Gallus gallus domesticus is a sub-species of Gallus gallus, more commonly known as red junglefowl, which in turn is a sub-species of the Phasianidae family. It was domesticated at least five thousand years ago in Asia and is one of the most common domestic animals with a worldwide population of approximately twenty-five billion…”

“I know what a chicken is,” Bertha said, “Don’t bloody lecture me.”

“Considering your continued inability to boil an egg of said species for the exactly correct time and to the exactly right consistency, I just thought you needed a small refresher course.”

“Well, I don’t,” Bertha snapped.

“Then how do you know when the egg is done?” Alfred asked.

“That’s simple. After exactly four and a half minutes, the buzzer goes off and I remove the eggs from the egg cooker.”

“But we have just established that the egg cannot have been boiled for four and a half minutes, because it is too hard,” Alfred pointed out, “What is more, I couldn’t help but notice that the electrical egg cooker only has setting for three and five minutes, not for four and a half minutes. So how do you determine the precisely correct cooking time?”

Bertha shrugged. “I just know. It’s intuitive.”

Alfred looked genuinely shocked. “But Bertha, you should know that intuition is hardly a scientifically accurate method of determining the proper cooking time for an egg.”

“After twenty years of marriage, I guess I have acquired sufficient knowledge and insight to intuitively know how to set the timer on the bloody egg cooker.”

“Nonetheless, evidence suggests that your intuition is wrong,” Alfred said with an infuriatingly smug smile, “Which is not surprising, considering that what is commonly referred to as intuition is a right-brain activity and therefore associated with emotions and irrationality…”

“And of course, women are so emotional and irrational, that’s what you meant to say, isn’t it?”

“There is some statistic evidence that female members of the Homo sapiens sapiens species are more governed by irrational phenomena such as emotions and intuition, whereas male members of the same species are more analytical…”

Bertha seriously contemplated pouring her one third empty cup of cooling Coffea arabica brew over her husband’s head.

“…which is evidenced by the fact that you use intuition to determine the time required to boil an egg to the desired consistence. And as a result, the consistence of the egg is only correct by sheer accident.”

“What does it matter if the egg is boiled for four and a half minutes by sheer accident, as long as it is boiled for four and a half minutes?” Bertha wanted to know.

“Because I’d like an egg with the exact right consistence and not just with an accidentally right consistence,” Alfred said, “I don’t care for how long you boil it, as long as the consistence of the yolk is right.”

“Oh, so after twenty years of lecturing me about boiling your bloody eggs for exactly four and a half minutes, now you suddenly no longer care about the cooking time?”

“That’s not what I meant. I…”

“Oh, so you suddenly no longer care about all the hard work I do to keep the household running, while you go off to chase the elusive Higgs Boson particle at the Large Hadron Collider…”

“As you know, Bertha, the Large Hardon Collider is the world’s most powerful particle collider and also coincidentally the largest single machine in the entire world….”

“Yes, I know,” Bertha snapped, “Because you won’t bloody shut up about it. You never shut up, you’re always lecturing me, while completely dismissing my contributions to this marriage.”

Alfred sighed theatrically. “All I wanted was a soft egg.”

“Well, I’ll tell you where you can stuff your egg. You can stuff it into your anus and I’m not talking about the seventh planet of our solar system.”

“As you know, Bertha, inserting an egg into the anus of the human being may — though not physically impossible — cause serious injury to the muscles of the anal sphincter…”

Bertha emitted a scream of primal frustration.

“Bertha, dear, you are being irrational again.”

Bertha emitted another scream with a pitch and frequency that were even higher than those of the previous scream. She picked up her own egg and hurled it full force at Alfred.

Alas, Alfred ducked at the last possible split second and the egg hit the kitchen counter instead. The calcium carbonate shell shattered and both egg white and egg yolk ran all over the coating of several layers of sturdy Kraft paper impregnated with melamine thermosetting resin and finally cured with heat to create a hard and durable surface, that thankfully also happened to be easy to clean.

“Now that egg seems to have the exact right consistence,” Alfred declared.

But Bertha was no longer listening. Instead, she stormed from the kitchen, slamming the door, which consisted of several thin layers of wood veneer glued together while rotating the direction of the woodgrain by up to ninety degrees to one another.

“Men…” she declared, “…can be such primitive examples of Homo neanderthalensis.”

Alfred looked down at his too hard egg and contemplated poisoning Bertha with diethyl parathion, a powerful insecticide and acaricide best known under the trade names Folidol and E605, which disrupted the nervous system by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase.

But if he did poison Bertha, then who would boil his breakfast egg?

The End

***

That’s it for this month’s edition of First Monday Free Fiction. Check back next month, when a new story will be posted.

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Retro Review: “Exile” by Edmond Hamilton

Super Science Stories, May 1943Now that we’re waiting for the finalists for the 1945 Retro Hugos to be announced, let’s take the time to look at some of the finalists for previous years of Retro Hugos. I’ll start off with “Exile”, a science fantasy short story by Edmond Hamilton that was published in the May 1943 issue of Super Science Stories and was a finalist for the 1944 Retro Hugo Award. The story may be read online here. This review will also be crossposted to Retro Science Fiction Reviews.

Warning: Spoilers beyond this point. Continue reading

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Star Trek Picard offers up space battles, stirring speeches, murder synths and meditations on life and death in part 2 of “Et in Arcadia Ego”

Welcome to my final episode by episode review of Star Trek Picard for season 1. Previous installments may be found here.

Warning: Spoilers behind the cut! Continue reading

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for March 2020

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

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

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, dark fantasy, YA fantasy, paranormal mysteries, paranormal romance, science fiction romance, science fantasy, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, YA science fiction, vampires, werewolves, wizards, demons, dragons, zombies, necromancers, succubi, crime-busting witches, crime-busting weretigers, missing giants, missing kings, space mages, space pirates, space rebels, teens lost in space 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:

Rebel by Krista D. BallRebel by Krista D. Ball:

Trust is the rarest of commodities.

From the moment she stepped onboard Liberty’s Pleasure, Rebecca St. Martin knew something was off. Before she could sound the alarm, she was kidnapped and pulled into a conspiracy that made her question every single relationship she’d made.

Even as Rebecca questioned, she looked around at her co-captives and decided it didn’t matter. She wouldn’t let anyone harm these people for one minute longer than necessary. They had no hero coming to rescue them. Just her.

Rebecca will have to put aside a lifetime of fear and be the hero these people need. Anyone wanting to hurt them would have to go through her first.

Balancing the Scales by Annie BelletBalancing the Scales by Annie Bellet:

Never fear an ending. For every end is a beginning, too. Even the darkest night is broken by the dawn…

Jade Crow faces her biggest challenges yet, and the consequences just might be world-ending…

This is the tenth book and the exciting conclusion to The Twenty-Sided Sorceress urban fantasy series!

 

 

Battle Bond by Lindsay BurokerBattle Bond by Lindsay Buroker:

If you think having one dragon around messes up your life, imagine what it’s like when a second one shows up.

I’m Val Thorvald, assassin of magical bad guys and tenuous ally to the dragon lord Zav.

He still calls me a mongrel and thinks I’m a criminal, but he healed my wounds after we fought those dark elves together. That’s progress, right? Maybe one day, he’ll deign to use my name.

Not that this is my primary concern. I’m busy with a new assignment. Nin, the awesome lady who makes my magical weapons, has a werewolf problem. Specifically, sleazy loser werewolf competitors who want to drive her out of business. Or worse.

Normally, a couple of werewolves wouldn’t be a big deal, but these ones have powerful allies. And then there’s that new dragon.

It turns out he’s one of Zav’s enemies, and he wants to use me against him.

I don’t know why he’s picking on me—it’s not like I mean something to Zav—but somehow I’ve gotten stuck in the middle of dragon politics. If you think that sounds like a nightmare, you’re right.

If I can’t figure out a way to help my friend with the werewolves while keeping these dragons from tearing me apart, we’re both going to end up flatter than the deck chairs when Zav lands on the roof of my apartment building.

Apple of My Eye by Alyssa DayApple of My Eye by Alyssa Day:

A detective who turns into a tiger. A pawn shop owner who can see how you’ll die. The criminals never had a chance.

If you enjoyed Sookie Stackhouse and True Blood, you’ll love Tess Callahan and the Tiger’s Eye mysteries. Tess and sexy shapeshifter Jack solve mysteries with supernatural flair, and the laughs fly as fast as the clues.” — New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn.

When Tess starts receiving mysterious gifts from a stalker, addressed to “The Apple of My Eye,” she starts to worry. Because it’s Dead End, Florida, where dead bodies have been piling up faster than competitive pecan pies at the county fair. But when the gifts turn deadly, she and Jack know they have to solve the mystery and track down the stalker before they find another dead body … and this time it might be Tess!

Luckily, Tess has Jack to help her solve this case … because sometimes it takes a tiger’s eye to see the truth.

Daughter of Winter by Corina DouglasDaughter of Winter by Corina Douglas:

Some choose to fight the darkness; others become it.

Darkness and danger enter Brydie MacKay’s life in the form of an unforeseen inheritance.

Ignorant of her turbulent birthright, and unaware that she is marked by an ancient prophecy wielded by the gods, Brydie becomes prey to a powerful adversary who seeks vengeance for the curse laid upon him thousands of years before.

When her life is threatened, and the lives of the people she cares for are placed in jeopardy, Brydie must choose to embrace her legacy and fight the darkness or lose everything she loves.

Daughter of Winter is the first book in a gripping fantasy series based on the legends behind the winter goddess, Cailleach Bheur. The series draws you into a world of Celtic mythology, powerful Druids, dark magic, and fated mates.

Wizard's Hatchling by James EggebeenWizard’s Hatchling by James Eggebeen:

The age of Dragons has returned…

Kedrik was just another promising student at the wizard’s school in Amedon. He thought saving the last dragon egg was the right thing to do. Little did he know he was going to be stuck raising the troublesome hatchling.

Expelled from the school for losing control of their magic and run out of every town they entered, Kedrik and his dragon, Sul’ing must learn to control their wild magic, but the threat to the dragon realm has them chasing their tails.

Bones TradersBone Traders by Rachel Ford:

A missing giant. A sinister conspiracy. A decision that will change the fate of a jarldom.

The bone trade is big business. Black market buyers will offer many silvers for fresh giant bone, to carve into charms or use in dark enchantments.

When cloaked men kidnap the giant Njal Frostborn, everyone knows why. He’s destined to be murdered and sold in that terrible trade.

His best friend, apprentice wizard Idun Wintermoon, is determined to save him from that terrible fate. But to do so, she must defy the head of her order, and face powers far beyond her ability. To survive, she’s going to need an ally. Luckily for her, Lissette Forlatt – a down-on-her-luck sellsword – is on the case. Together, they’ll brave worse than the elements and rogue mages in their quest to save Njal. What they discover might shake the jarldom to its core.

If they live long enough to tell the story.

No Quarter by Rachel FordNo Quarter by Rachel Ford:

Sometimes, old debts cost dearly.

War breaks out when the Union’s newest member planet is attacked by an age-old rival. Now every planet or star system with a grudge is capitalizing on the unrest.

And every available hand is drafted into service, to help keep the peace. That includes privateers Kay Ellis and Captain Magdalene Landon, whose honeymoon is cut short when the Black Flag is assigned to the far reaches of Union space.

It’s supposed to be a quiet mission: a simple show of force to deter mischief makers and reassure the border colonies that they haven’t been forgotten.

What they find instead is a ruthless enemy, who will stop at nothing to oust the Union – and anyone flying her colors.

Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus by Jonathan FortinLilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus by Jonathan Fortin:

England, 1876. Twenty-year-old Maraina Blackwood has always struggled to adhere to the restrictive standards of Victorian society, denying the courage and desire that burn within her soul. But after a terrifying supernatural encounter, Maraina’s instincts compel her to action.

Maraina soon discovers a plot to unleash a new world—one of demonic aristocrats, bloody rituals, and nightmarish monsters. Putting her upbringing aside, Maraina vows to fight the dark forces assuming control of England. But as her world transforms, Maraina finds that she too must transform…and what she becomes will bring out all that she once buried.

Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus is the first chapter in an epic dark fantasy saga, proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

Wicked Reunion by Lily Harper HartWicked Reunion by Lily Harper Hart:

Ivy Morgan was convinced she was heading toward a smooth future … until she was arrested and charged with criminal trespass. Sure, she was saving a woman from certain death at the time, but in order for the criminal case to hold up against a murderer, she has to face the music.

Fear is the one thing Ivy hates more than anything else, so in order to make herself feel better, she decides to fix her Aunt Felicity’s love life. That includes tracking down an old love … who just so happens to have set up shop one town over.

While visiting, Ivy is horrified when a battered woman straggles through the door and is immediately shot dead by a masked man. Traumatized, horrified, she calls her fiancé Detective Jack Harker for help. By the time he arrives, though, things are already spiraling out of control.

Ivy was always a good girl – although sometimes with a bad attitude – but now she’s a murder suspect thanks to some overzealous police officers … and a criminal record that’s fresh in the minds of everyone concerned.

Jack is determined to protect Ivy, but there’s only so much he can do. That means he needs to work with her to solve the crime. Otherwise, it could haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Who would be so brutal, though? That’s the question of the day.

A dangerous game of cat and mouse is afoot, and it’s going to take both Jack and Ivy working together to figure it out.

Kiss of Death by Kelly HashwayKiss of Death by Kelly Hashway:

The only life Alex Montgomery knows is raising the dead and having zombie servants, normal stuff for an Ophi.

Alex is a necromancer descended from Medusa—or at least he will be once he comes into his powers. So far his life is training to use abilities he doesn’t yet possess, which gets him beaten up by zombies on more than one occasion. And his parents Victoria and Troy won’t tolerate anything less than perfection from Alex. He has a lot to live up to, and they remind him of it every day.

So when an innocent birthday kiss turns deadly, Alex has to work twice as hard to master his Ophi abilities. He isn’t the Chosen One, but he’s still a Montgomery, which means he’s expected to run the Ophi school one day. With a new group of students coming to the school, Alex needs to learn fast because he’s about to be sent on the biggest mission of his life.

No Crone Unturned by Amanda M. LeeNo Crone Unturned by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall is on the verge of getting information about her past. Patience has never been one of her virtues, though. As she’s waiting for her source to get settled, a new problem arises … and it has fangs.

When she was a kid, a chance encounter in a park left Scout questioning the existence of monsters. Now, one of those potential monsters is back … and he’s taken up residence in Hawthorne Hollow. He isn’t alone either.

Vampires are on the prowl and it’s up to the Spell’s Angels to figure out what they want and eradicate them through any means necessary. That’s easier said than done, though.

Scout can’t shake the feeling that something bigger than the obvious is happening, and when her boyfriend’s close friend is infected, she realizes she has to increase her efforts if she wants to save as many people as possible.

One vampire is deadly. A nest, though? That can be catastrophic. In this particular case, the head vampire trying to infiltrate Hawthorne Hollow has a plan … and it involves turning as many people as possible.

It’s a race against time. Scout has to keep those closest to her safe while expanding her search for answers. In the end, she might get more than she bargained for on both fronts … if she can survive long enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Alpha and Omega by Carol T. LunaAlpha and Omega by Carol T. Luna:

Ao never believed in monsters—not after being branded one since childhood. Exiled, he lives with his adoptive guardian, Kaisei Aizawa, amidst verdant valleys surrounded by desolation.

Humanity only had themselves to blame for the wretched landscape. Their war poisoned the seas. Their greed coveted the fertile and the green.

Their ambition set it ablaze.

One hundred years had passed since the war banished Talus to the skies. Doomed to chase the sun, the once proud nation survives as a floating city. But the fallen always hunger for more.

When the Talarians descend to claim the earth as their own, Ao escapes capture—but nothing is without its price. The only man he ever saw as family, Kaisei, is imprisoned instead.

Ao vows to rescue him, no matter the cost—even if it means taking a stand against the most powerful nation left on earth. He knows of the risks. He knows of the dangers. But never would he know that someday, somehow, he would finally believe in monsters.

Kitra by Gideon MarcusKitra by Gideon Marcus:

Stranded in space: no fuel, no way home…and no one coming to help. Nineteen-year-old Kitra Yilmaz dreams of traveling the galaxy like her Ambassador mother. But soaring in her glider is the closest she can get to touching the stars–until she stakes her inheritance on a salvage Navy spaceship.On its shakedown cruise, Kitra’s ship plunges into hyperspace, stranding Kitra and her crew light years away. Tensions rise between Kitra and her shipmates: the handsome programmer, Fareedh; Marta, biologist and Kitra’s ex-girlfriend; Peter, the panicking engineer, and the oddball alien navigator, Pinky.Now, running low on air and food, it’ll take all of them working together to get back home.

Unbroken Vows by Christine PopeUnbroken Vows by Christine Pope:

Hell hath no fury like a demon back from the dead.

Rosemary McGuire thought the past was dead. Unfortunately, she’s dead wrong…because it’s standing on her doorstep, very much alive. But this time, Caleb Lockwood’s target isn’t the hidden hard drive with the footage that proves demons are real. His target is Rosemary.

When Will Gordon comes home to find Rosemary gone, he trusts his instincts and reaches out to a network of friends forged in the fires of too many demon battles. Soon he, Michael, Audrey, and Glynis are casting supernatural nets far and wide in a desperate search. And Will is torn between hurling ungodly curses at who — or what — took the love of his life, and falling to his knees to pray for her safe return.

The truth isn’t just a nightmare — it’s a night terror. And Rosemary faces the terrible choice of surrendering everything she is to an unspeakable evil…or losing everyone she loves.

Unbroken Vows concludes the six-part Project Demon Hunters series.

Marek by Liza ProbzMarek by Liza Probz:

Jazmine

Being a thief was never my life’s ambition, but there’s something I need to find, and I’ll go to any length to do it.

It’s a matter of life and death. And no one is willing to help.

A few mishaps later, I find myself in trouble with the feline king and it’s time to RUN.

But I don’t get very far. A handsome humanoid is wanting company for a long trip and he’s offering just the help I need.

For a cost…

Marek

One year. That’s all I get before I’m to step up as rightful king of my people.

A people believed to be extinct by the surrounding worlds.

Even though I’m the eldest and most responsible, I’m in need of an adventure and a beautiful woman to help keep my blood warm.

Finding a human thief who needed a transport around the galaxy was not part of the plan, but once I laid eyes on her, I knew she was mine.

She might plan on ripping me off and not paying up on her half of the bargain, but that’s all right. I don’t only want her body.

I want everything she’s got to offer.

Forever.

Magically Poisoned by Joynell SchultzMagically Poisoned by Joynell Schultz:

The Mayor was murdered?
And a magical plant from my garden is to blame?

Even if I wanted that jerk dead, running my Bed & Breakfast takes all my time. There’s no way I could have snuck a murder into my busy schedule, but obviously, someone I know did.

They stole a plant from my garden and poisoned the Mayor. It couldn’t be my hard-working assistant, the delivery driver, or my gardener, could it be? And I’m sure it wasn’t the sexy water witch who spends an absurd amount of time staying at my little Bed & Breakfast…but he does know way more than he should about magical plants.

When the police ask for my cooperation, I begin to investigate myself. Who would steal from me? Frame me? None of my friends look like they could murder anyone…but what does a murderer look like?

But don’t worry, I have this all under control.

I’m a potion witch and have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Mountains of Mars by Glynn StewartMountains of Mars by Glynn Stewart:

The Mage-King of Mars is dead
Chaos rocks Olympus Mons
A new monarch must rise – but she does not stand alone!

As the celebration of the victory at Legatus cools, a shuttle accident claims the lives of the Mage-King of Mars and his heir. The Crown and the Mountain fall to the Mage-King’s daughter, sixteen-year-old Kiera Alexander. She recalls Damien Montgomery, her father’s First Hand, to stand as her Lord Regent.

The pair are unprepared to govern but are thrust into the heart of Protectorate politics as the Mage-King had left behind everything from an unfinished war to an incomplete new Constitution.

Even as they get a handle on the list Kiera’s father left them, Damien is grimly certain of one thing: when it comes to the deaths of Kings, he doesn’t believe in accidents.

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

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

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

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

The Black Raider by John TriptychThe Black Raider by John Triptych:

In command of the most notorious pirate outfit in known space, Captain Dangard is a mystery- a man without a past, until a stowaway triggers an event that reveals long buried secrets.

Before the legend, a young military officer chose honor over duty. His actions led to betrayal and then exile to the worst prison imaginable. Within that forsaken world there were infinite ways to die, yet only one path led to freedom and ultimately, vengeance.

For somewhere in the shadows of deep space, a black ship waited—ready to unleash her unholy power across the entire galaxy.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for March 2020

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

So what is “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of crime fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some February 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, hardboiled mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mystries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, domestic thrillers, legal thrillers, noir, private investigators, amateur sleuths, police officers, FBI agents, lawyers, missing persons, domestic abuse, crime-busting witches, crime-busting realtors, crime-busting journalists, crime-busting writers, crime-busting weretigers, murdered mayors, murdered Santas, dark family secrets, crime and murder in New York City, Nashville, Florida, Oregon, California, Damascus 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 in the Early Hours by Blythe BakerMurder in the Early Hours by Blythe Baker:

When Alice Beckingham finally uncovers the truth about her brother’s death, she must set off for New York City in search of the powerful criminal responsible. An unexpected family reunion pulls her cousin Rose and the famous detective Achilles Prideaux into the case, even if Rose seems mysteriously reluctant to be involved.

Alice’s search for her brother’s killer will lead her from the streets of the city to the highest echelons of New York society as she closes in on the shadowy villain.

With the murder of an informant destroying Alice’s best hopes of cornering her enemy, will she ever find justice for her family? Or will the painful mystery that has tormented her for years go forever unsolved?

Death in Damascus by Karen Baugh MenuhinDeath in Damascus by Karen Baugh Menuhin:

A 1920s Murder Mystery – Death in the desert with intrigue, adventure and a dog of distinction.’

There’s a damsel in distress and accusations of attempted murder flying around, but it’s not in the comfortable confines of the English countryside, it’s in the very distant city of Damascus.

Lennox must go and investigate, although he’s not too keen on exotic locations, and his old retainer, Greggs is distinctly averse to the very idea.

Nevertheless, ex-Chief Inspector Swift persuades them and they reach the ancient city to discover a movie crew, a spy and a couple of mysterious ladies. Nobody seems to be telling the truth, they all have secrets, and there’s one secret in particular that’s drawn them like bees to the honeypot. But what is it? And then there’s murder, and mysteries from the ancient past, and a handsome Sheik who remains in the shadows. Heathcliff Lennox and Swift must investigate and use all their ingenuity to unravel the enigma that lies hidden deep below the dusty streets of ancient Damascus.

Major Heathcliff Lennox, ex-WW1 war pilot, six feet 3 inches, unruly dark blond hair, age around 30 – named after the hero of Wuthering Heights by his romantically minded mother – much to his great annoyance. Death in Damascus is the fourth book in the Lennox series.

Killer Deals by Jenna BennettKiller Deals by Jenna Bennett:

Savannah Martin has always been a good girl, doing what was expected and fully expecting life to fall into place in its turn. But when her perfect husband turns out to be a lying, cheating slimeball, Savannah kicks him to the curb and embarks on life on her own terms. With a new apartment, a new career, and a brand new outlook on life, she’s all set to take the world by storm.

If only the world would stop throwing her curveballs…

A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS – #1

Everyone has warned new-minted realtor Savannah Martin that real estate is a cutthroat business. But Savannah doesn’t think she’s supposed to take the warning literally … until an early morning phone call sends her to an empty house on the ‘bad’ side of town, where she finds herself standing over the butchered body of a competitor, face to face with the boy her mother always warned her about.

Rafe Collier is six feet three inches of testosterone and trouble; tall, dark, and dangerous, with a murky past and no future—not the kind of guy a perfect Southern Belle should want to tangle with. In any way. But wherever Savannah turns, there he is, and making no bones about what he wants from her.

Now Savannah must figure out who killed real estate queen Brenda Puckett, make a success of her new career, and avoid getting killed—or kissed—by Rafe, all before the money in her savings account runs out and she has to go back to selling make-up at the mall.

HOT PROPERTY – #2

When Savannah Martin’s fellow Realtor and friend Lila Vaughn is robbed during an open house, Savannah rushes to the rescue with tea and sympathy, or at least a really good lunch and a shoulder to cry on. However, Lila seems more peeved than distraught, and her main gripe is that the sexy robber who tied her to a kitchen chair—for her own good—didn’t follow her suggestion to tie her to the bed instead.

Lila’s description of the man fits Savannah’s old school-mate Rafael Collier to a T. Rafe has recently turned up in Savannah’s life again, and he isn’t above doing a little breaking and entering. Metro Nashville Homicide Detective Tamara Grimaldi is of the same opinion, and when Lila turns up dead, tied to her bed and strangled, Rafe becomes a suspect.

Now Savannah must get busy finding the real murderer before Detective Grimaldi can arrest the wrong man.

Death Between the Pages by Beth ByersDeath Between the Pages by Beth Byers:

April 1937

When Georgette Dorothy Aaron first started writing books, she little expected to affect real life. When she dives into writing crime novels with Robert, she little expects to see fiction come to life once again.

Once before she wrote a book and changed the fate of her neighbors. Was it happening again? When the book she and Robert Aaron write together seems to be coming to life, Georgette can’t help but wonder if the gods are playing games with them.

Once again, Georgette and her family turn to the crime in front of them and work together to discover just what happened, why it happened, and what to do next.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Country Bumpkin by Sam CheeverRudolph the Red-Nosed Country Bumpkin by Sam Cheever:

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Bumpkin, died a very shiny death…

Rudy-Bob Hortmann has never quite gotten the hang of making friends. He doesn’t much like people, mostly preferring the company of his pot-bellied pig, Ethel Squeaks to humanoid types. But there’s one exception. Rudy-Bob loves kids. So for Christmas every year he gives himself a present. He plays Santa at the annual Deer Hollow Christmas party. Only this year, Rudy-Bob doesn’t make it out of the Santa suit when the Pageant is done. Instead, Deputy Sheriff Arno Willager finds Rudy-Bob literally chillin’ in a snowbank, his bulbous nose flashing red through the snow.

That’s where I come into the picture. I’m Joey Fulle and I’m pretty good at finding bodies around my place on the outskirts of Deer Hollow. I didn’t actually find this one, of course. But I’m fully invested in locating his killer. ’Cause, with the help of my handsome PI boyfriend Hal, my sweet and goofy Pitbull Caphy, and my opinionated Siamese cat, LaLee, I’m also pretty good at finding killers. Sometimes, even before they find me…

Family Secrets by Stacy ClaflinFamily Secrets by Stacy Claflin:

Some questions are better left unasked.

Like whose blood is on the knife upstairs.

Kenzi Brannon’s life was turned upside down when she moved into her family’s abandoned home to raise her niece. Problems compound when her aging mother starts to remember things.

And clues the police find regarding the knife don’t match anything Kenzi knows about her family.

Things go from bad to worse when she and her niece discover something horrifying in their house. But not even that compares to the strange ways her mom is acting.

Can they get to the bottom of it all, or will their house—a local legend that goes bump in the night—and the family secrets destroy them all?

Hush, Hush by Niki DanforthHush, Hush by Niki Danforth:

She’s living proof that 55 is the new 35, but this case could send the rookie P.I. into permanent retirement.

Private detective Ronnie Lake has a few wins under her belt, but she’s still proving she’s got what it takes, including to her biggest critic…herself. Eager to solve more crimes, the recently-licensed sleuth accepts a job to track down a young runaway. Her search quickly points to a far more sinister crime.

Sniffing out clues with her loyal German Shepherd, the determined investigator uncovers a brutal crime and meddling authorities. The abduction may be part of a dark conspiracy that’s out of her league, and following a trail that leads to shadowy powerbrokers could put her directly in their crosshairs.

Can she solve the case before one missing person turns into two dead bodies?

A smart heroine, fast-paced action, and now a dash of political intrigue, Hush, Hush is the page-turning fourth standalone book in the Ronnie Lake Mystery Series.

The House in the Woods by Mark DawsonThe House in the Woods by Mark Dawson:

Four murders. Two detectives. One mystifying crime.

On Christmas Eve, DCI Mackenzie Jones is called to a shooting at a remote farmhouse. Ralph Mallender believes his father lies dead inside. When three more bodies are discovered, it’s clear a festive family gathering has turned into a gruesome tragedy.

At first it seems like an open and shut case: a murder suicide committed by Ralph’s volatile brother Cameron. Then new evidence makes Mack suspect the man who reported the crime is in fact the perpetrator.

But Mack isn’t the only one with a stake in the case. Private investigator Atticus Priest has been hired to get Ralph acquitted. That means unearthing any weaknesses in Mack’s evidence.

Irascible, impatient and unpredictable, Atticus has weaknesses of his own. Mack knows all about them because they share a past – both professionally and personally. This time round, however, they aren’t on the same side. And as Atticus picks at the loose ends of the case, everything starts to unravel in a way neither of them could ever have predicted…

Apple of My Eye by Alyssa DayApple of My Eye by Alyssa Day:

A detective who turns into a tiger. A pawn shop owner who can see how you’ll die. The criminals never had a chance.

If you enjoyed Sookie Stackhouse and True Blood, you’ll love Tess Callahan and the Tiger’s Eye mysteries. Tess and sexy shapeshifter Jack solve mysteries with supernatural flair, and the laughs fly as fast as the clues.” — New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn.

When Tess starts receiving mysterious gifts from a stalker, addressed to “The Apple of My Eye,” she starts to worry. Because it’s Dead End, Florida, where dead bodies have been piling up faster than competitive pecan pies at the county fair. But when the gifts turn deadly, she and Jack know they have to solve the mystery and track down the stalker before they find another dead body … and this time it might be Tess!

Luckily, Tess has Jack to help her solve this case … because sometimes it takes a tiger’s eye to see the truth.

The Post Office by John EllsworthThe Post Office by John Ellsworth:

This is the story of Rachel, the world’s bravest girl.

She is very sick and needs a lawyer to get the right medical care. Enter Thaddeus Murfee, who takes up her case and starts doing what lawyers do. Her family and Thaddeus travel from California to Oregon, where the laws are friendlier. There, they set up housekeeping in a campground. Their group includes a young male nurse named Johann.

Johann takes a package to the USPO to mail. Waiting in line, he happens to glance at the FBI Wanted posters. Only to find–he’s wanted, too! The chase is on. Who could that possibly be in the poster if not him? And the name on the poster is his own name. Frantically, he places a call to Thaddeus Murfee.

The trials begin, a race to live, a race to die…

Wicked Reunion by Lily Harper HartWicked Reunion by Lily Harper Hart:

Ivy Morgan was convinced she was heading toward a smooth future … until she was arrested and charged with criminal trespass. Sure, she was saving a woman from certain death at the time, but in order for the criminal case to hold up against a murderer, she has to face the music.

Fear is the one thing Ivy hates more than anything else, so in order to make herself feel better, she decides to fix her Aunt Felicity’s love life. That includes tracking down an old love … who just so happens to have set up shop one town over.

While visiting, Ivy is horrified when a battered woman straggles through the door and is immediately shot dead by a masked man. Traumatized, horrified, she calls her fiancé Detective Jack Harker for help. By the time he arrives, though, things are already spiraling out of control.

Ivy was always a good girl – although sometimes with a bad attitude – but now she’s a murder suspect thanks to some overzealous police officers … and a criminal record that’s fresh in the minds of everyone concerned.

Jack is determined to protect Ivy, but there’s only so much he can do. That means he needs to work with her to solve the crime. Otherwise, it could haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Who would be so brutal, though? That’s the question of the day.

A dangerous game of cat and mouse is afoot, and it’s going to take both Jack and Ivy working together to figure it out.

New Media & Old Grudges by Amanda M. LeeNew Media & Old Grudges by Amanda M. Lee:

Avery Shaw likes to win. Unfortunately, her single-minded focus on being declared victor tends to get her into trouble. That’s never more true than when she decides to take on her archnemesis Tad Ludington.

With an election coming up, Avery is ready to let her freak flag fly in an attempt to get Tad to show his true colors on television … thus sabotaging his chance at getting into office. That backfires when, after a truly epic meltdown, Tad is shot and left for dead in his own home.

Sheriff Jake Farrell knows Avery isn’t guilty but his belief doesn’t matter when the case is taken away from him and given to the Michigan State Police. The incoming investigator zeroes in on Avery almost instantly … and makes her life a living hell.

In addition to Tad, who is fighting for his life in the hospital, Avery also has to grapple with Eliot’s former employee Fawn, a woman who won’t stop flapping her lips about Avery’s probable guilt … all because she holds a grudge and finally has a platform to express it.

Avery is in a bind. She’s been banned from covering Tad’s attack and the election, and she’s being called a “suspect” on every television station in the state. If she wants to clear her name, she’s going to need help.

There’s little more she loathes than asking for help. She has no choice this time.

Avery has always attracted weirdos. This go-around, those weirdos are going to come to her defense. It’s going to take a motley band of colorful characters to save Macomb County’s favorite intrepid reporter.

Will they be up for the challenge?

No Crone Unturned by Amanda M. LeeNo Crone Unturned by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall is on the verge of getting information about her past. Patience has never been one of her virtues, though. As she’s waiting for her source to get settled, a new problem arises … and it has fangs.

When she was a kid, a chance encounter in a park left Scout questioning the existence of monsters. Now, one of those potential monsters is back … and he’s taken up residence in Hawthorne Hollow. He isn’t alone either.

Vampires are on the prowl and it’s up to the Spell’s Angels to figure out what they want and eradicate them through any means necessary. That’s easier said than done, though.

Scout can’t shake the feeling that something bigger than the obvious is happening, and when her boyfriend’s close friend is infected, she realizes she has to increase her efforts if she wants to save as many people as possible.

One vampire is deadly. A nest, though? That can be catastrophic. In this particular case, the head vampire trying to infiltrate Hawthorne Hollow has a plan … and it involves turning as many people as possible.

It’s a race against time. Scout has to keep those closest to her safe while expanding her search for answers. In the end, she might get more than she bargained for on both fronts … if she can survive long enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Girl Next Door by A.J. RiversThe Girl Next Door by A.J. Rivers:

Complete silence filled the room until an unexpected sound brought Emma out of her slumber and into the mystery of the girl next door.

Sherwood is a sleepy little town. A town full of friendly faces, and even friendlier neighbors.

Which is why FBI agent Emma Griffin isn’t surprised when her new neighbor starts stopping by to chat.

Turns out her neighbor has a dark past and secrets that made her run.

As much as Emma wished it wasn’t true, dark past and secrets are things that she is far too familiar with, especially now more than ever.

A chilling unknown filled the air of Sherwood, Virginia.

Strange things are happening around Emma.

Things that no one can explain, and many don’t believe.

And when Emma witnesses two figures hidden by sheer curtains, strangling a smaller figure.

A figure she can only assume to be Ruby’s.

She becomes a witness to the murder of the girl next door.

But what do you do when no one believes that the girl even existed?

Emma’s world starts to spin, and she begins to wonder…

Is someone taunting her and taking lives to torment her? Or has she truly gone crazy?

Magically Poisoned by Joynell SchultzMagically Poisoned by Joynell Schultz:

The Mayor was murdered?
And a magical plant from my garden is to blame?

Even if I wanted that jerk dead, running my Bed & Breakfast takes all my time. There’s no way I could have snuck a murder into my busy schedule, but obviously, someone I know did.

They stole a plant from my garden and poisoned the Mayor. It couldn’t be my hard-working assistant, the delivery driver, or my gardener, could it be? And I’m sure it wasn’t the sexy water witch who spends an absurd amount of time staying at my little Bed & Breakfast…but he does know way more than he should about magical plants.

When the police ask for my cooperation, I begin to investigate myself. Who would steal from me? Frame me? None of my friends look like they could murder anyone…but what does a murderer look like?

But don’t worry, I have this all under control.

I’m a potion witch and have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Murder at High Tide by Lee StraussMurder at High Tide by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s all wet!

It’s 1956 and WPC (Woman Police Constable) Rosa Reed has left her groom at the altar in London. Time spent with her American cousins in Santa Bonita, California is exactly what she needs to get back on her feet, though the last thing she expected was to get entangled in another murder case!

If you love early rock & roll, poodle skirts, clever who-dun-its, a charming cat and an even more charming detective, you’re going to love this new series!

Haftmann's Rules by Robb WhiteHaftmann’s Rules by Robb White:

It was another kiddie hunt. Ex-cop Thomas Haftmann is a private investigator in the resort town of Jefferson-on-the-Lake. What do you want me to do?” he asked the man sitting across the desk from him. “I want you to find her and bring her home,” he replied.” Haftmann countered “I have to ask this, you understand. What if she’s dead?” The answer: “Then tell me where she’s buried so I can bring her home.” Thus Haftmann faces another case, another venture into that dark world of murder and madness.

 

Deviant Souls by Amanda WilhelmDeviant Souls by Amanda Wilhelm:

Once I saw her, I had to have her.

Sam McIntyre had it all. Brilliant surgical career. Wealth. The begrudging respect of the best in the profession. Everything except someone to share it with.

Terri Malone is young, beautiful and a bit naïve. So what if Sam is a little possessive, a little pushy? Sam knows more about the world, about life, than Terri does. Of course Sam is going to make most of the decisions.

They look like the kind of couple everybody envies. The big house. The fabulous weekend getaways. The fast track to marriage and a family. As far as anyone knows, everything is perfect. And Sam will do whatever it takes to keep it that way.

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Star Trek Picard heads for the endgame in Part 1 of “Et in Arcadia Ego”

Welcome to my latest episode by episode review of Star Trek Picard, once again a little late. Previous installments may be found here.

Warning: Spoilers behind the cut! Continue reading

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Star Trek Picard puts together some “Broken Pieces”

Welcome to my latest episode by episode review of Star Trek Picard, again late this time. Previous installments may be found here.

Warning: Spoilers behind the cut! Continue reading

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The Cold Crowdfunding Campaign

Save the Girl and Save Me From Having to Toss Her Out of the Airlock

Organised by Captain C. Barton

Started on August 4, 2178, 08:48                         Category: Accidents and emergencies

My name is Barton and I’m the pilot of an EDS (Emergency Dispatch Ship) currently en route to the frontier world of Woden to deliver some desperately needed medical supplies.

I have a problem, because I just discovered a stowaway aboard my ship, an eighteen-year-old girl named Marilyn Lee Cross. Upon questioning, Marilyn explained that her brother Gerry works on Woden as part of the government survey crew. She wants to visit him and since there is no regular passenger traffic to Woden because of the current medical crisis, she snuck aboard my ship. She did see the big red UNAUTHORIZED PERSONNEL KEEP OUT! sign, but chose to ignore it.

Now anybody who is familiar with the Emergency Dispatch Service will be familiar with Paragraph L, Section 8, of Interstellar Regulations:

“Any stowaway discovered in an EDS shall be jettisoned immediately following discovery.”

So you see my dilemma: The law requires that I throw Marilyn out of the airlock. However, I don’t want to do that. Sure, Marilyn may be a little stupid, but that’s hardly a reason to kill her. Not to mention that our security measures are way too lax, as I’ve pointed out time and again. And, besides I’m just not the killing type. If I were, I’d have joined the Starship Troopers, where the pay is better.

Once I discovered Marilyn, I immediately commed my superior Commander Delhart, who yelled a lot and then demanded that I throw the girl out of the airlock at once.

I asked about emergency refuelling – which is possible, if rare and expensive. Delhart said if I requested an emergency refuel without an emergency (as if this wasn’t an emergency), I’d have to pay for it out of pocket. Oh yes, and I should consider myself fired, if I refuse to follow orders.

So in short, I need twenty thousand solar credits and I need them in the next ten hours or poor Marilyn is doomed.

So save Marilyn! And save me from becoming a murderer!

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Updates:

August 4, 2178, 08:54 by Tom G.:

Don’t do it, Barton! A few years ago, they forced me to do it and I never managed to forget or live it down.

PS: Donated what’s left of my unemployment pay. Because they will fire you anyway.

August 4, 2178, 09:02 by Brett:

Thank you for serving. Donated.

August 4, 2178, 09:15 by JWC:

The cold equations of physics and the laws of space know no mercy. Out of the airlock with her now!

August 4, 2178, 09:18 by Ursula in reply to JWC:

           You, sir, are an unempathetic arsehole!

PS: Donated.

            August 4, 2178, 09:20 by JWC in reply to Ursula: 

            Overly emotional and knows nothing of science. How typical of a woman!

August 4, 2178, 09:23 by Ursula in reply to JWC:

 Oh, so you’re a misogynist, too. Why am I not surprised?

August 4, 2178, 09:22 by Michael M. in reply to JWC:

Way too soft, Ursula. He’s a fascist arsewipe.

Donated as well.

August 4, 2178, 14:19 by Jeannette in reply to JWC:

Ursula and Mike are right. You’re a fascist, a misogynist and probably an arsewipe, too. Also why do you even bother to comment, if you’re not going to help?

Donated and shared.

August 4, 2178, 09:35 by Gary W.:

I have a question: What idiot designed a spaceship (and an EDS at that) that has zero margin for error? It’s not just a mass increase due to a stowaway that will cause problems. Fuel loss, meteor strikes, system failures, pilot errors could all easily cause an EDS to fail.

Donated, because bad engineering shouldn’t cause deaths.

August 4, 2178, 09:44 by Captain Barton (Organiser) in reply to Gary W:

Tell me about it, Gary. I’ve been complaining about the inadequacy of our ships and security measures for ages now. Maybe now they’ll listen.

August 4, 2178, 09:46 by Tom G. in reply to Gary W.:

Can confirm. EDS ships are crappily engineered and our security measures are a joke. How many more must die before somebody does something?

August 4, 2178, 09:55 by Cory D. in reply to Gary W.:

I agree. The engineering is just plain bad. Also, why just a simple “Keep out” sign with no notice that the penalty for ignoring the sign is death?

Donated as well.

August 4, 2178, 11:09 by Richard H. in reply to Gary W.:

In my opinion, the Emergency Dispatch Service is looking at a lawsuit for criminal negligence here. Captain Barton will probably be on the hook for manslaughter as well (sorry). I advise the family of Marilyn to get a lawyer asap.

Donated and started a legal fund for the Cross family.

August 4, 2178, 11:12 by Captain C. Barton (Organiser) in reply to Richard H:

Dude, I’m just following orders here. I no more like this than you.

August 4, 2178, 11:23 by Richard H. in reply to Captain C. Barton (Organiser):

The “I was just following orders” defence didn’t save Korvakian, the butcher of Telos V, and it won’t save you.

August 4, 2178, 11:25 by Captain C. Barton (Organiser) in reply to Richard H:

Great. Now you’re comparing me to one of the worst war criminals in galactic history. Thanks a lot.

Why do you think I started this GoFundMe? Because I don’t want to do this.

August 4, 2178, 12:45 by JWC in reply to Richard H.: 

The laws of physics and the cold equations of space know no mercy.

August 4, 2178, 12:49 by Richard H. in reply to JWC:

Shut up, troll! We’re talking about the laws of man here.

August 4, 2178, 14:56m by Neva of Gelania:

By the Stars of Zod, I fear this may all be my fault. I met Marilyn, whose Gelanese is excellent by the way, aboard the Stardust, where I work as a cleaner. She told me all about her brother and I told her that there would be an EDS leaving for Woden that very day.

I’m so sorry, Marilyn. I honestly didn’t know that they kill stowaways. I thought the penalty was just a fine.

Oh please, Captain Barton, don’t kill Marilyn for something I did. I donated my entire pay and the rest of the Stardust cleaning crew chipped in as well. It’s not much, but I hope it will help.

August 4, 15:15 by SadPuppy3:

Girls don’t belong in space. Out of the airlock with her.

August 4, 15:23 by Jeannette in reply to SadPuppy3:

Shut up, misogynist troll!

August 4, 15:45 by Gerry Cross: 

Hi, here’s Gerry, the brother of Marilyn. Me and the boys of the survey crew all donated, of course.

Mari, sweetheart, don’t do something stupid like that ever again, do you hear me? The frontier worlds are not like Earth. It’s the Wild West out here. Also, why aren’t you on Mimir like you promised?

Barton, if you throw my sister out of that airlock, me and the boys of the survey crew will rough you up, understood? And they’ll never find your body.

August 4, 15:52 by Captain C. Barton (Organiser) in reply to Gerry Cross:

Chill out, dude. I don’t want to kill your sister either.

August 4, 15:54 by Marilyn Lee Cross in reply to Gerry Cross:

I’m so sorry, Gerry. I didn’t know. Please help me. I’m so scared. And don’t hurt Captain Barton. It’s not his fault and he’s been very kind.

August 4, 16:01 by Gerry Cross in reply to Marilyn Lee Cross:

It’s all right, Mari. Everything will be all right.

August 4, 16:16 by Harold W. Tannenbaum, director of the Woden colonisation project:

Far be it from me to interrupt this drama, but when can we expect those medical supplies? Cause we’ve run out of kala fever serum here and several members of Group One are sick.

August 4, 16:22 by Gerry Cross in reply to Harold W. Tannebaum:

With all due respect, sir, that’s my sister we’re talking about here. Group One can endure a bit of cosmic diarrhoea.

August 4, 16:25 by Robert Tucker in reply to Gerry Cross:

Hi Gerry, it’s Bob from Group One. I think we met at the rec centre once. Anyway, we can manage for a few more hours without the serum, even if purple and green spotted poop is really, really unpleasant.

PS: The whole ward donated.

August 4, 18:57 by Commander Eberhard Delhart:

Stop stalling, Barton, and jettison the girl now. That’s an order!

August 4, 19:09 by Captain C. Barton (Organiser) in reply to Commander Eberhard Delhart:

With all due respect, sir, fuck you! We’re funded. And I quit.

***

Inspired by this comment thread at Camestros Felapton’s blog and “The Cold Equations” by Tom Godwin:

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

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

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

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

Feeling Lucky by Kathy BrysonFeeling Lucky by Kathy Bryson:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky Lion by Lola KiddLucky Lion by Lola Kidd:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now on to the books without further ado:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Shamrock Shenangigans by Kathi DaleyShamrock Shenangigans by Kathi Daley:

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

Shammed by Bernadette FranklinShammed by Bernadette Franklin:

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

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

She’s never been so wrong in her life.

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Indulge yourself in a sweet slice of murder!

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

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

Lucky Strike by Madison JohnsLucky Strike by Madison Johns:

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

Lucky You by Mark ParkerLucky You by Mark Parker:

SOME KILLERS ARE BORN, SOME ARE CREATED…

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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