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June 21, 2024
By PW Staff

In this edition of our monthly roundup of BookLife titles, we feature mysteries and thrillers. Want to see your book featured? Check out the Indie Spotlight calendar at


International Thrillers

The Koh Ker Conspiracy
Caleb Andrew
Author statement: “A favor to his friend Thomas turns into a nightmare for ex-spy Boran Tompkins. With Thomas’s life on the line, Boran pursues a dangerous smuggler to a forgotten temple pyramid in the Cambodian jungle, where he uncovers a plot to steal a priceless antiquity. Can he rescue his friend, stop the theft, and keep everyone alive? I wrote The Koh Ker Conspiracy to capture that sense of wonder and intrigue I felt when I first visited the Koh Ker pyramid in the jungle of Cambodia at age 15.”
Marseille, from my own travels in France. It was inspired by the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal.”
Missing in France
Rita Lee Chapman
 Author statement: “When Mike accepts a two-year contract in France, Anna is delighted the prospect of spending time in Paris and Marseille. She doesn’t anticipate being drawn into yet another mystery, one which puts her own life in danger. Missing in France is a standalone book and describes places, such as Marseille, from my own travels in France. It was inspired by the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal.” 
Rage in the Wilderness: A Nikki Garcia Mystery
Kathryn Lane
ISBN 978-1-73546-385-8
Author statement: “Private investigator Nikki Garcia races across New Mexico and the Colorado prairie to save her loved ones from an international spy ring. In the process, she unravels a past that defies explanation. My love of nature made New Mexico and the Colorado prairie a natural fit for a mystery involving a spy
ring intent on stealing national secrets.”
The School of Homer
Alexander Marriott
ISBN 978-1-80016-420-8
Author statement: “A British tourist is found dead at the feet of Ithaca’s statue of Odysseus. Virgil Colvin, a retired American detective who wants nothing more than to wallow in the memories of better times with his dearly departed wife, is forced to help his new friend, Vathy police chief Costas Pantakalas. Together, they must unravel a murder that involves guns, coups, communists, infidelity, antiquities smuggling, investor syndicates, and the myths of the island.”

 Action and Espionage

Aesop: A Matti Baker Thriller
Michele Packard
Author statement: “In this nonstop action series, private contractor Matti Baker identifies, locates, and eliminates individuals and nations that pose a threat to the United States and will trigger global destruction if not stopped. I grew up in a military family and I worked in the cable TV industry, so I combined these experiences when I wrote my series. Think of it as a female James Bond—with more humor and she can still manage a family.”
Becoming Samantha Colt
Ken Cressman
ISBN 978-1-5424-9754-1
Author statement: “I was writing a mystery/ thriller series featuring former government agent David Larkin and his partner/sidekick Samantha Colt. While the series focuses on
Larkin, Colt operates more in the background, showing up as needed, and watching Larkin’s back. Many people said to me that they found Colt to be a fascinating character and they wanted to know more about her. And she began whispering to me to tell her story.”

Tangled Tales and True Crime

The Empty Kayak
Jode Millman
ISBN 978-1-68512-287-4
Author statement: “For detective Ebony Jones, crime is always personal. But this time, it strikes too close to home. A pop-up thunderstorm marched its way across the Hudson River, ambushing a young couple’s kayaking trip. The woman miraculously made it back to shore, but her fiancé remains missing. The victim’s identity shocks Ebony to the core: the man who never made it out of the water is Kyle Emory, the ex-boyfriend of her estranged best friend, attorney Jessie Martin. The accident ignites a firestorm between the two friends, pitting them against each other in a race to discover whether Kyle survived or whether he met his untimely demise.”
Hidden in the Shadows
A.D. Vancise
ISBN 978-1-63988-691-3
Author statement: “Twenty-three-year-old Evie Day never dreamt she’d be back in Woodsville, Ark., a small town in the middle of nowhere, but the death of her grandfather called for her return. After discovering a photo from 1933 of a mysterious woman standing next to a tiny wooden box, a strange vial of blood wrapped up in a handkerchief in the pocket of her grandfather’s overalls, and a key hidden in his desk drawer that belongs to a secret safety deposit box, Evie is unwittingly thrown into a world of evil. When I was nine, I found a photo in my grandfather’s shoebox of a woman standing next to a tiny coffin. (Just as Evie does.) When I questioned him about it, he said he didn’t want to talk about it.”
Murder on Federal Street
Sean Nam
Author statement: “Six months after losing a world title fight that remains infamous as one of the last mob fixes in boxing, Tyrone ‘The Butterfly’ Everett—a flashy, handsome lightweight southpaw on the verge of stardom—was dead. Only 24 years old, he was shot in the head by his girlfriend, Carolyn McKendrick, who claimed that Everett had abused her. But for years, street corner talk raised doubts about what actually took place. The book was conceived as an attempt to shed light on a little-known Philadelphia tragedy and provide some answers.”
D.L. Hammons
Author statement: “Cassie Underwood’s life is shattered when her younger sister dies in a freak car accident. In her grief, Cassie unfairly blames her sister’s constant companion—Taggart McGill, a boy with a sketchy past. She soon learns everything she knows about Taggart is wrong. Prick was conceived as my way to explore teenage assumptions run amok. It is part of a trilogy where the title of each book has a dual meaning.”
Rem’s Chance
Dave J. Andrae
Author statement: “Rem Bruxvoort, the former guitarist of the Bubbling Samovars—an obscure ’90s punk band—is still feeling the fallout from the pandemic. It’s October of 2021 and he’s stuck living under the same roof as his ex-fiancée. A chance encounter reunites Rem with his former bandmate Gene and Rem goes on a quest to locate the band’s lost master tapes. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to everyone, an ominous figure in a white van has been stalking them in the periphery, seething with resentment.”
Cozy Mysteries
The Corpse in the Trash Room
Colette Tajemna
ISBN 978-1-961852-07-5
Author statement: “In a college dorm in the late ’70s, seven hallmates hold a funeral for a pet hamster, only to stumble upon a body. Startled but not exactly sorrowful at finding their unpopular dorm preceptor slumped atop a garbage can in the trash room, Keith and his friends can’t resist investigating, and they set to questioning potential witnesses and suspects. I’d been publishing short, mostly magical realist fiction for several years when it occurred to me that it would be fun to see if I could write a humorous mystery.”
The Deadliest Lead
Hanna Wren
Author statement: “When a routine dog walk leads to a violent discovery, criminology student Jenna Stack finds herself caught in a web of international intrigue. Can she discover the truth and expose the assassins? Or will she die trying? Hanna Wren is the pen name that we, Amy Eyrie and Alix Sloan, use when we write the Jenna Stack Mystery Series together. We’ve been friends for over 20 years and are both fans of a good mystery. We love brainstorming dangerous situations and exciting cases for Jenna to tackle.”
Please Don’t Push up the Daisies (A Madison Night Mystery)
Diane Vallere
ISBN 978-1-954579-76-7
Author statement: “This cozy series features Madison Night, a midcentury modern interior decorator over 50 who loves Doris Day,
and each book winks at a different movie in the actress’s filmography. In this installment, Madison’s boyfriend’s sister’s soon-to-be-ex-husband is murdered. Through encountering the families of two recurring characters (Tex, the cop boyfriend, and Nasty, a sometime nemesis/sometime ally), readers are able to see both of them in a new light. In a twist for the series, Tex is sidelined by his four troublemaker nephews, which gives Madison license to step up her sleuthing—and discover a few things about her own family in the process.”