Puzzles Can Be Deadly

By David S. Pederson

A bizarre old woman who worships the memory of her lost son.

A nun with hidden secrets.  

A spinster housekeeper with a secret of her own.  

An angry young man with a troubled past.

A neighbor who claims to talk to dead people at seances.

Skip Valentine and Henry Finch encounter these eccentric people on their weekend trip to visit Henry’s uncle. When they learn of the groundskeeper who died in a mysterious fire shortly before they arrived, strange occurrences are imbued with ominous portent. The peculiar accidents, ghostly barking, a pounding heard late at night in the creepy old mansion, and a strange old box buried behind the burned-out carriage house all add up to something.   

Skip yearns to investigate. It’s all so perplexing. But when another death raises the stakes, the puzzle turns deadly. The solution may lie in a curious rhyme told by the groundskeeper before he died, but first Skip and Henry must decipher it.

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Mississippi River Mischief

By Greg Herren

Gangsters
New Orleans 
Friends & Community
A Scotty Bradley Mystery

Spring has returned to New Orleans, bringing with it the swarming termites! First-time homeowner Scotty Bradley is feeling like he may have made the biggest mistake of his life buying in the French Quarter. Between dealing with the Vieux Carré Commission rules, termite damage, and contractors, it’s a relief when his best friend David brings the accidental sleuth a case: one of his students is being harassed by a much older man who turns out to be a big wheel politician in one of the parishes outside of New Orleans, up to his neck in corruption.

When the politician turns up dead and Scotty’s client is the most obvious suspect, Scotty and his friends set out to prove his client’s innocence. Lots of people wanted the man dead, but someone doesn’t want all the corruption in St. Jeanne d’Arc Parish exposed. And if that's not bad enough, someone from Scotty's past returns, making him question what he thinks he knows about himself and his own history...

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Murder at the Oasis

By David S. Pederson

A Private Detective Mason Adler Mystery | Book 3
California
Friends & Community
Private Investigator
Vacation

A relaxing trip to a Palm Springs resort turns deadly for Mason Adler and his friend Walter Wingate when first one of their fellow guests, then another, ends up murdered. Suspects and motives abound among the remaining guests as well as the owner of the Oasis resort, Marvin Gagliardi, an old friend of Walter’s.

Mason investigates, hoping to prove Marvin’s innocence, but the more he uncovers, the more he wonders if Marvin actually might be the murderer. Distracting Mason is the handsome and eligible police detective assigned to the case, Brian Branchford. Mason had vowed not to become interested in anyone living a five-hour drive from Phoenix, but Branchford’s green eyes, gray hair, and toothbrush moustache are compelling reasons to give it a try.

It’s up to Mason to uncover the truth about the deaths at the Oasis, and to discover if there’s romance as well as murder at the Oasis.

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Manny Porter and The Yuletide Murder

By D.C. Robeline

Tinker Creek Series | Book 2
Blue Collar
People of Color
Amateur Sleuths
Friends & Community
Small Town Romances

Riding a tide of success after helping his boyfriend, Lyle, save their neighborhood of Tinker Creek from predatory developers, reporter Manny Porter throws himself into his career and community activism. The last thing he expects is to discover the body of prominent research scientist Phillip Nikolaidis during a laboratory tour. Murder can strike anywhere, and all the evidence is pointing toward Tristan DeJesus, Manny’s nineteen-year-old mentee.

Manny only has the holiday season to overcome jealous colleagues, an angry corporation, and a skeptical publisher to discover who killed Nikolaidis before the judicial system condemns an innocent man to lethal injection.

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Corpus Calvin

By David Swatling

Calvin Mystery Series | Book 2

Jason Dekker doesn’t believe in ghosts but is haunted by memories of Amsterdam. A move to the White Mountains of New Hampshire with his dog, Calvin, promises a fresh start. College friend Tessa Bernstein enlists his help at Cloverkist Inn, where strange occurrences are scaring off customers and staff. Is someone trying to drive Tessa out of business, or are darker forces at work? Does an enigmatic boy who bonds with Calvin hold the key to a secret dating back to the Civil War? The unsolicited arrival of psychic medium Valraven creates further turmoil when his investigation into paranormal activity clashes with Dekker’s skepticism. Loyalties shift and deep emotional wounds resurface as past and present converge with far-reaching consequences. Ghosts of memory may prove more difficult to exorcise than any phantom at Cloverkist.

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Murder at Union Station

By David S. Pederson

A Private Detective Mason Adler Mystery | Book 2
Big City
Private Investigator
Actors/Artists
Friends & Community

Phoenix, May 6, 1946

At close to midnight in the Union Station baggage room, the air is hot, still, and thick. The eleven forty-five Golden State Limited to Los Angeles is approaching rapidly when the baggage handler, Alfred Brody, notices a stray hound dog sniffing around one of the steamer trunks. The horrific discovery of a body inside the trunk can mean only one thing: there’s a murderer among them.

The young woman was certainly murdered, but who did it, and why? Suspects and motives abound as Private Detective Mason Adler investigates. He soon realizes that nothing, and no one, are what they seem to be as he races to uncover the truth and bring the real murderer to justice without becoming the next victim.

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Pursued: Lillian's Story

By Felice Picano

International Setting

In Pursuit: A Victorian Entertainment, Addison Grimmins, slum-born but ambitious and ruthless, sets out on a quest to bring back the Lord Exchequer of England’s missing wife. Now, in Pursued: Lillian’s Story, we get the other side of the story from Lillian, the woman being pursued.

From boat to stagecoach to train, as Lillian and her questionably reliable companions elude her pursuers throughout Europe, Lillian writes to her daughter-in-law on her honeymoon, warning her of what she may expect marrying into the Ravenglass estate and its cursed male line of descent. Lillian recounts how as a girl she entered a dream marriage to the “golden” son of a great Lord. And how, little by little, one misfortune after another, the dream union threatened to become a nightmare that would destroy her reputation—and her life.

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Murder on Monte Vista

By David S. Pederson

Private Investigator
A Private Detective Mason Adler Mystery | Book 1
KindleUnlimited
Veterans
Actors/Artists
Big City
Friends & Community

It’s 1946, and on a hot spring night in Phoenix, Arizona, things are only beginning to heat up at the Monte Vista Road home of flamboyant decorator Walter Waverly Wingate.

Private detective Mason T. Adler isn’t thrilled to be turning fifty, and the party Walter throws him makes him even more uncomfortable. Walter has arranged a special birthday present for Mason: a private hour with the handsome, young Henry Bowtrickle in Walter’s upstairs bedroom. But the night turns deadly when his birthday gift turns up murdered. The room was locked, no way in or out, and only Henry and Mason were inside.

Mason Adler is on the case, but he is also a suspect, along with the other assorted party guests who were all downstairs at the time of the stabbing. Or were they?

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#shedeservedit

By Greg Herren

Coming Out
Virgins/First Love
Young Adult
Psychological Thriller
Sports
Amateur Sleuths

Liberty Center High School’s football team has a long history of success, and the dying small town has nothing else to cling to. But when Lance, the star quarterback, is found dead, Alex Wheeler becomes the prime suspect in his best friend’s murder. Alex thought he was the only one who shared Lance’s biggest secret—but someone else found out. How well did Alex really know Lance, and what else did he keep hidden?

To prove his innocence and figure out what really happened to Lance that last night, Alex starts connecting the dots and finds that everything leads back to the recent death of a cheerleader who may have been sexually assaulted at a team party. Did online bullying drive her to suicide? Or was she murdered?

Alex must come to terms with his own secrets and soon finds his future may be at risk, as he gets closer and closer to the horrifying truth about how far Liberty Center will go to protect their own.

Content advisory: This work contains references to sexual assault.

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Fresh Grave in Grand Canyon

By Lee Patton

Close Quarters
Veterans
Children / Families
Amateur Sleuths
Friends & Community

When Ray O’Brien volunteers to raft the Grand Canyon with a research team, the last thing he expects is murder. After a few days on a river closed to the public, one of the volunteers is found struck dead on a secluded beach. Sixty wilderness miles from contact with other people, the group must carry on in total isolation, sure someone committed murder and may kill again. 

Despite the terrible timing, Ray falls for Duke, the group’s handsome ranger, who seems to return the attraction. Ray and Duke join forces with Jenny Bridger, the group leader, to solve the mystery. Jenny must act with confidence and decisiveness but meets puzzling resistance from the volunteers. Ensuring safe passage for all will mean overcoming the group’s misgivings and slaying Jenny’s own demons, but her compassion for the victim’s widow may lead them all astray.

The age-old Canyon becomes more and more ominous as the group fights to survive alone in nature and uncover a murderer among them.

Fresh Grave in Grand Canyon contains a racial slur by a minor character.

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Bury Me in Shadows

By Greg Herren

Amateur Sleuths
Young Adult
Homecoming
Psychological Thriller
College Life
People of Color
New Orleans 
Ghosts
Children / Families

After landing in the hospital after a bad breakup and an ensuing drug-and-alcohol binge, college student Jake Chapman is given two options: rehab, or spend the summer at his dying grandmother’s decaying home in rural Alabama. The choice is obvious. 

His grandmother’s land has been in Jake’s family since the early nineteenth century; the ruins of the old plantation house are a short walk through the woods behind her home. An archaeological team is excavating the ruins, looking for evidence to prove an old family legend—and there’s a meth lab just over the ridge. 

Once Jake is there, he begins having strange experiences—flashes of memory, inexplicable emotions—that he can’t explain, and he keeps seeing something strange out in the woods. As he explores his family history, he uncovers some dark secrets someone—or something—is willing to kill to keep hidden.

Mystery Scene raves: "History looms over Herren’s superior Southern gothic thriller, which sensitively explores the region’s legacy of racism and homophobia. Jake’s wonderfully vulnerable narration is full of foreboding, the supernatural elements are expertly incorporated, and a flurry of stunning reveals catapults the thoughtful, multilayered plot to a devastating yet hopeful conclusion."

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Death Foretold

By David S. Pederson

A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery | Book 7
Veterans

A traveling spiritualist is found shot to death in an alley late at night with his underwear around his ankles. But the perpetrator is an enigma. Was it the young trick with a drug problem the spiritualist met in the alley? The unusual woman who runs the boarding house where the trick lives? The dead man’s wife, another spiritualist with secrets of her own? The handsome, alcoholic protégé? The beautiful woman who leads the spiritualist’s fan club? Or someone else altogether?

With a list of suspects a mile long, only Detective Heath Barrington will be able to crack the murder. But Heath’s handsome fellow detective, Grant Riker, has an unlikely connection to their prime suspect that reveals a shady past he’s ashamed to admit. With more questions than answers, a séance may be the only way to the truth. Or perhaps the answer is in the cards? While Heath searches for the murderer, he uncovers more dark secrets than he bargained for, and witnesses firsthand the relentless pressure for LGBTQ+ people in the 1940s to stay hidden in the shadows.

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Death's Prelude

By David S. Pederson

Virgins/First Love
International Setting
A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery | Book 6
Vacation
New York City
Age Gap
Amateur Sleuths

It’s 1937, and Heath Barrington is a naïve twenty-two-year-old about to set sail across the Atlantic on theQueen Mary. While on board, he meets the handsome Lord Simon Quimby, who invites Heath to his estate. Heath falls for Simon hard, but Simon soon becomes withdrawn and distant. Is Simon all he appears to be, or is there more to him than meets the eye? And what of the old gypsy curse Simon claims his family is under? Did it really cause his mother’s death, his sister’s suicide, and his father’s murder, or did Simon have something to do with it all? It’s up to Heath to uncover the truth, despite his heart telling him otherwise.

In this prequel to the Detective Heath Barrington Mystery series, Heath discovers that first love changes you forever and drives you to become the person you’re destined to be.

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Death Overdue

By David S. Pederson

A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery | Book 5

I know what you are. Five words scrawled on a note, and Heath knew his life was now in jeopardy. He had no choice but to confront the blackmailer and find out what proof he had. But what then? Pay up and risk demands for future payments? Or not give in and throw his life away?

The decision’s made for him when the blackmailer turns up dead. Is Heath a murderer? Even he isn’t sure, thanks to several double martinis. Other suspects include a voluptuous neighbor, a smarmy grocer, a ruthless gangster, Heath’s cousin Liz, who was once married to the blackmailer, and Miss Caldwell, a wily librarian who has eyes for the blackmailer’s current wife, Alice. Heath tries to read between the lines to solve the case of a death overdue before he’s arrested for the crime.

 

Praise from Mystery Scene: "Pederson successfully evokes and shrewdly capitalizes upon the time in which his mystery takes place, using the era’s prejudices and politics to heighten the story’s stakes and more thoroughly invest readers in its outcome. Plausible suspects, persuasive red herrings, and cleverly placed clues keep the pages frantically flipping until the book’s gratifying close."

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Everyday People

By Louis Barr

Veterans

Film star Diana Danning hires private eye Clint Steele to find her son, Shane, after he vanishes like smoke in the night. LAPD Captain Hal Flynn suspects Shane disappeared by choice; until Clint and Diana receive a late-night call from Jud Tucker, the most under-the-radar serial killer since Patrick Bateman. Tucker demands five million dollars within twenty-four hours, or nobody will ever find Shane's body.

With no time to lose, Clint turns to his former West Point barracks mate and best friend, Mars Hauser, to lend his cyber espionage and digital black ops skills to the case. As Clint, Mars, and Captain Flynn race against time to rescue Shane and bring Jud Tucker to justice, their greatest threat may be much closer than they know.

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Royal Street Reveillon

By Greg Herren

Close Quarters
International Setting
Police / Cops
A Scotty Bradley Mystery
Friends to Lovers Romance
Good girls/Bad girls
New Orleans 
Bisexual
College Life
Friends & Community
Private Investigator
Holidays |
Children / Families
Celebrity

Someone is killing the Grande Dames of New Orleans!

It’s Christmas time, but the last thing in the world Scotty Bradley wants under his tree is a murder case that strikes close to home. The premiere party for a new reality show sets the stage for a murder, and Scotty’s sort-of nephew is the prime suspect. As more and more cast members fall victim to a cold-blooded killer, Scotty and the boys must figure out what is real and what is scripted, and have to exhume some long-buried secrets in order to bring the killer to justice.

A Scotty Bradley mystery.

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Death Takes a Bow

By David S. Pederson

A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery | Book 4
Actors/Artists
Police Procedural 
Police / Cops

Alan Keyes takes a break from his police duties to scratch his acting itch in a local stage production. But when the leading man is murdered during the opening night performance, his partner Detective Heath Barrington is thrust into the limelight to find the killer. Alan soon learns the theater has a deadly past and ghostly forebodings, including a telegram that seems to have come from the beyond.

Among the large cast of suspects is Oliver Crane, the director whose finances depend on the success of this play, Jazz Monroe, Milwaukee’s sweetheart with a secret, and the handsome actor Henry Hawthorne, who has designs on Alan. When Alan seems to return Henry’s attentions, Heath must put his jealousy and insecurities aside to determine what’s real, what’s illusion, and who’s acting and who’s telling the truth before death takes a bow.

A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery

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Death Checks In

By David S. Pederson

A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery | Book 3
Veterans
Police / Cops
Big City

All Detective Heath Barrington and his partner, Alan Keyes, want is to get away for a weekend of romance, but they find murder instead when a missing tie leads them to the body of the peculiar Victor Blount, and Heath can't resist the urge to investigate.  Who killed Blount, and why? 

Clues turn up around every corner, but what do they mean? The bloody "W," the green spool of thread grasped in the dead man’s hand, the newspaper left at the doorstep: they all lead down a strange and winding road of mystery and danger. As Heath and Alan work together to solve the case, they encounter various and eccentric suspects, old friends, and a hostile Chicago Detective, Marty Wilchinski, who doesn’t like Milwaukee police involved in a Chicago crime. Forced to act on their own, out of their jurisdiction, they race against time to find the killer before Wilchinski files the case closed.

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