by Daniel Stallings
“An Agatha Christie cast of characters seen with a modern eye, and with startling moments of both insight and compassion.” —Anne Perry
The traditional murder mystery collides with an entirely different kind of detective hero in the new mystery novel Sunny Side Up. An engaging mixture of Agatha Christie–style intrigue and Millennial snark, Sunny Side Up takes a fresh approach to the traditional murder mystery with a modern sensibility and a working class amateur sleuth.
For 20-year-old Liam “Li” Johnson, a job as a cruise ship waiter was supposed to be a way to get over his father’s death and earn enough money to go back to college. Instead, Li is struggling to maintain his sanity while coping with the demands of a sadistic maître d’ and a boatload of entitled rich jerk passengers.
Li just wants to keep his head down and survive his job from hell, but when he finds a passenger sunburned to a crisp on the Sunbathing Deck, something about the scene just doesn’t add up. Li starts asking uncomfortable questions … and gets some forceful pushback, including a whispering campaign suggesting that Li himself may have had something to do with the victim’s death.
Before he knows it, Li is on the track of a murder … and if Li doesn’t find the real killer soon, or he might just get framed for the crime — or worse, lose his crappy job.
A brand-new classic in the amateur detective genre, Sunny Side Up is a traditional murder mystery for the 21st century, with a glamorous setting, a gallery of suspects, clues that will keep readers guessing to the last page, and a delightful new hero in Li Johnson, the millennial minimum wage manhunter, who brings sleuthing to the service economy.
Audience: Lovers of traditional murder mysteries.
About the Author: Daniel Stallings’ love of Golden Age detective fiction inspired him to bring the style of the classic murder mystery to modern audiences. In addition to writing mysteries, Stallings works in theater as a producer, director, and actor. He currently serves as President of the Eastern Sierra Branch of the California Writers Club. Stallings lives in the city of Ridgecrest in California’s Mojave Desert.
$12.95 US • Trade Paperback • 6″ × 9″ • 206 pages
by Richard Armstrong
The Mafia comes to Comic-Con and outrageousness ensues, in the new fast-paced suspense caper The Don Con.
A hilarious comic crime thriller in the tradition of Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich, The Don Con. mixes suspense, razor-sharp pop culture satire and author Richard Armstrong’s dry comic style into a delightful cocktail of pure entertainment.
Joey Volpe hit the high watermark of his acting career when he played a small role as a mobster on The Sopranos. If you blinked, you missed it.
But now he’s unemployed, broke and forced to make a living by signing autographs at pop-culture fan conventions, or “Fan-Cons,” for $35 a pop. His lack of income, along with his chronic womanizing, has put his marriage at risk, too.
Joey’s life gets even worse when real mobster Tony Rosetti shows up in the autograph line with a plan to rob the next Fan-Con — an offer Joey can’t refuse. When the heist goes awry, Joey is left with a beef with Rosetti and two long years to plan.
Partnered with a smooth-talking con man, Joey is using all his acting skills on new projects: Revenge. Money. And saving his marriage.
Combining the intrigue of Ocean’s 11 and The Bank Job with pointed comic takes on The Sopranos, The Godfather, Comic-Con, Star Trek, The Sting and nerd culture, The Don Con. is a crime thriller / screwball comedy that will leave readers breathless with excitement and laughter.
Audience: Crime thriller / mystery readers, humor readers and pop culture fans.
About the Author: Richard Armstrong has been a freelance advertising copywriter for more than forty years. His previous books include Leaving the Nest: The Complete Guide to Living on Your Own; The Next Hurrah: The Communications Revolution in American Politics; and the world’s only novel about direct mail, God Doesn’t Shoot Craps. Armstrong’s articles have appeared in National Review, Washingtonian Magazine, Advertising Age and many other publications. He lives with his wife Sharon and his dachshund Stardust in Washington, DC.
$14.95 U.S. • Trade Paperback • 5¼” x 8″ • 270 pages
by Veronica Giolli
A Native American investigator returns to the reservation to find the truth behind her friend’s death — and discovers family secrets and dysfunction — in the new mystery novel Whispers in the Wind.
When San Francisco fraud investigator Sunny Davis hears that her best friend Gina has committed suicide, it’s emotionally devastating for Sunny … and the beginning of her determined pursuit to find the truth. Sunny can’t believe that Gina would kill herself when she was raising small children — let alone that she would shoot herself while her children played outside.
Sunny returns to her childhood home, an Indian reservation in Nevada, to attend Gina’s funeral and get some answers. But Sunny finds the situation back home even more puzzling. Gina’s husband, Jesse, is disengaged and evasive. Gina’s sister, Eva, seems absolutely unmoved that her sister is dead. Both only give noncommittal answers to Sunny’s urgent questions.
When Sunny receives a psychic vision of Gina’s brutal death and senses that Gina’s spirit is contacting her, she realizes she must learn the truth. Sunny’s investigation leads her deep into a complex mystery, her tribal culture’s spiritual beliefs, and the secrets that tore apart Gina’s family and threaten her own.
Combining fully realized Native characters, family drama, Native spirituality, the paranormal, and the everyday reality of modern Native American life, Whispers in the Wind is a fascinating detective novel that appeals to the logical and intuitive mind.
Whispers in the Wind introduces a new kind of detective hero in Sunny Davis, a smart and tough professional investigator who solves cases with equal parts deductive logic, psychic intuition, and spiritual insight, in a story that portrays grief, courage, and compelling insights into Native American families.
Audience: Mystery fans and readers interested in Native American culture.
About the Author: Veronica Giolli’s mystery stories have previously appeared in The Poison Pen. She was a founding member of Writers of the Purple Sage Publishing Consortium in Reno, Nevada. While living on a reservation Giolli acquired firsthand knowledge of tribal customs and spiritual practices. This in part provided the inspiration to write Whispers in the Wind. Giolli lives in California’s Central Valley.
by Sean Padraic McCarthy
Publication Date: May 1, 2019 (Available now)
A moody, atmospheric and terrifying horror thriller reminiscent of classic Stephen King, In the Midst of the Sea is an impressive debut novel by a gifted new writer.
In the Midst of the Sea is a gripping story of supernatural horror and psychological realism that slowly reveals that the greatest danger is the people closest to you in your own home.
Trapped in an isolated old house on Martha’s Vineyard in winter, Diana Barlow is either seeing ghosts or losing her mind. After an estrangement from her parents, Diana came to Martha’s Vineyard to start a new life with her husband Ford and young daughter Samantha. The beautiful Victorian house that Ford inherited seemed the perfect home for a fresh beginning.
But in the winter, when the tourists go home and the island is deserted, Diana is afraid she’s going crazy. Specters of people long dead flicker in and out of her vision. The antique dolls in her house never stay where they’re put. Samantha suddenly has a whole group of imaginary friends who live in the house and tell her terrible things. And Ford is becoming increasingly moody, unpredictable, and violent.
The mysteries of the old house deepen when Diana finds a strange book in the basement — the journal of Elizabeth Steebe, whose husband built the house in 1871. Diana finds an eerie parallel between her own life and Elizabeth’s, as she reads Elizabeth’s fear-filled chronicle of her religion-crazed husband’s descent into abuse and insanity.
As Diana researches Elizabeth’s fate, she begins to wonder whether the phantoms she encounters on the Vineyard are illusions or a glimpse into the past, and whether Elizabeth’s journal was left to her as a warning.
While Diana investigates the horrifying history of the house, the past, the present, the living and the dead fatally intertwine, and Diana realizes she and her daughter must escape — if Ford and the house will let her.
Audience: Horror and supernatural thriller readers.
About the Author: Sean Padraic McCarthy’s short stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, The Hopkins Review, Supernatural Tales and numerous other journals. He is a ten-time Top 25 Finalist in the Glimmer Train Fiction Open Award, and a 2016 recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Artist Fellowship in Fiction Award. He lives in Massachusetts.
by Daniel Stallings
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Attention, shoppers! Today’s special is murder!
The Minimum Wage Manhunter returns, bagging groceries — and a killer —in the delightful new mystery novel Cleanup on Aisle Six.
Liam “Li” Johnson is a different kind of amateur sleuth, who brings a fresh, young, working-class sensibility to the traditional murder mystery. Li solves the intricate murders that the cops can’t, but he’s not a refined English gentleman of the interwar period — he’s a modern California twentysomething struggling to get by in the service economy.
After solving a murder at his last low-paying job as a cruise ship waiter (in the first Li Johnson mystery, Sunny Side Up), Li is fresh out of options. Unemployed, flat broke and fighting to stay in community college, Li is desperate to find a job, any job.
Li catches a lucky break when kindly supermarket clerk Reuben Rodriguez gets him work at Esther’s Family Grocery. Li thinks he’s finally getting a chance to live a normal life and never see a corpse again. But then Li’s floor duster bumps into the body of the local newspaper’s famously vindictive restaurant critic, bludgeoned to death in the spice aisle … and the evidence suggests that Li’s new friend and benefactor might be the murderer.
Determined to clear Reuben’s name, Li sets out to find what really happened to the shopper in aisle six. But if Reuben didn’t kill the food critic, who did? The many restaurant owners the critic maligned? The critic’s psychologically abused son? The newspaper editor harassed by his most cantankerous employee? Why does the city’s shadowy political boss, the perky and commanding “Mrs. Mayor,” try to warn Li off his investigation? Li tries to answer these questions while dodging the attention of a homicide detective who hates amateur sleuths.
Can a lowly grocery clerk uncover a secret that powerful people want hidden? Once again, Li Johnson delivers fresh value and everyday high quality to the traditional mystery.
Audience: Lovers of traditional murder mysteries.
About the Author: Daniel Stallings’ love of Golden Age detective fiction inspired him to bring the style of the classic murder mystery to modern audiences. His previous novel was the first Li Johnson mystery, Sunny Side Up. In addition to writing, Stallings works in theater as a producer, director, and actor. He currently serves as President of the Eastern Sierra Branch of the California Writers Club. Stallings lives in Ridgecrest, California.
$12.95 US • Trade Paperback • 5¼” x 8″ • 200 pages
An Asheville Mystery
by Kenneth Butcher
Publication Date: June 2, 2020
How do you solve a murder when the main witness is a crow? A bookish police detective and his roller derby star partner investigate a quirky mystery involving superintelligent animals, military conspiracy … and murder.
When a body is found in the River Arts District of Asheville, the man on the case is police lieutenant Ira Segal, recently returned to semi-active status after being shot in the line of duty and struggling with depression and PTSD. Segal maintains his precarious composure by carrying paperback books in his coat pockets as security blankets, changing authors with his mood — Elmore Leonard on good days, Ernest Hemingway on bad ones. Segal isn’t sure he’s up to investigating a murder, and neither is his partner, military veteran and local roller derby star Sgt. Dinah “Dinosaur” Rudisill.
Segal discovers that the victim worked for the mysterious start-up company Creatures 2.0, which trains animals to acquire uncanny capabilities. Creature 2.0’s eccentric founder, Francis Elah, has gone missing, and no one can find him, not even Elah’s top client, the Office of Naval Intelligence.
As Segal and Rudisill investigate the murder and Elah’s disappearance, they encounter the bizarre animals Elah trained, including a raccoon who rolls cigarettes, pigeons who follow a priest to church, and a crow named Richard, who has a disconcerting way of bringing relevant evidence to Segal and Rudisill’s attention.
When the trail leads to a shadowy military contractor, more murders, and a threat to national security, Segal and Rudisill don’t know who to trust and face a dangerous confrontation.
Witty, engaging and fast-paced, As the Crow Dies is a mystery that veers from the norm in unexpectedly delightful ways.
About the Author: Kenneth Butcher is a materials engineer and researcher with sixteen U.S. patents. He was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up mostly in Ohio, where he was raised on a strict diet of science fiction, mystery novels, and classics. His first novel, The Middle of the Air, received Ben Franklin and Independent Book Publishers awards. His second novel, The Dream of Saint Ursula, is a mystery set in the Virgin Islands. Butcher lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where he continues to write and to research novel materials. He also publishes a podcast called The Middle of the Air, which concentrates on interviews with authors and artists who live or travel to the area. The podcast can be found at themiddleoftheair.com. His website is kennethbutcher.com.
$14.95 US • Trade Paperback • 5.25″ x 8″ • 378 pages
A Gold Coast Mystery
by Timothy Cole
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
A headless corpse tossed in a dumpster unites a small-town cop and a formidable retired lady spy to track a killer in a wealthy New England neighborhood.
Westport, Connecticut, 1989. A decapitated body burned to a crisp might be found in any dumpster in any city in America, but not in the aristocratic Gold Coast community of Westport. Local cop Tony DeFranco dutifully collects evidence, knowing that the State Police will take over the case. But when the state investigator tries to cover up the murder, DeFranco starts a rogue investigation.
Not knowing if any of his police colleagues can be trusted, DeFranco forms an alliance with two unlikely colleagues — local TV reporter Tracy Taggart and retired CIA case officer Dasha Petrov, whose elderly, ladylike appearance masks a lifetime’s experience with violence and deception.
Petrov, who had long reconciled herself to a quiet and dwindling retirement taking care of her ailing sister, responds to DeFranco’s request for help with an eagerness that surprises herself. Born in czarist Russia, Petrov spent her childhood fleeing Bolsheviks and her youth fighting Nazis. An officer of the wartime OSS and then the CIA, Petrov brings a strategic mind, an insight into the evil of the human heart, and a shocking level of comfort with violence to the investigation, and Petrov finds herself thrilled to be back in action.
While the trio of investigators track the identity and tragic life of the murder victim, the unknown killer strikes again. And as DeFranco and Taggart develop feelings for one another, it becomes clear that both have become the killer’s next targets. The body count mounts, and DeFranco must rely on Petrov’s insights and skills, acquired over decades of global troubleshooting, to stop a killer operating at the pinnacle of American power. A glimpse at the sordid underside of position and wealth, with a breakout star character in Dasha Petrov, the elderly lady with a glamorous past and a will of steel, The Sea Glass Murders is an action mystery with an immersive, fast-paced plot and unforgettable characters.
$16.95 US • Trade Paperback • 6″ x 9″ • 326 pages
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