Queer Mystery Coming Attractions: April 2024

by Matt Lubbers Moore

One advantage of being a bibliographer is that it brings you into contact with a lot of very interesting people. People who often have a story to tell about a book they never got around to publishing, an author being snubbed by their own publisher, a bookseller who came across a rare find, or in this case, a collector who is ready to sell their collection.

A friend of a friend who became a friend has decided to sell their collection of gay mysteries. He sent me and others in the LGBTQ Mystery-Suspense-Thriller Facebook page the full list of all of the books he was ready to part with. This list of roughly 1,500 titles was amazing. Signed copies of The Man from CAMP by Victor Banis, several copies of Rodney Garland’s The Heart in Exile, dozens of rare pulps with names like Jocksucker, Easy Meat, and Sado Murder, the full series of Priscilla Royal’s Brother Thomas/Prioress Eleanor series. Books worth thousands, hundreds worth only a few dollars, plus a dozen or so nonfiction reference books, and so much more.

For weeks, I pored over the titles eager for this book or that. Nitpicking whether I could afford to add just one more book to my list of wants and whether a book should move from my Wants list to Needs list.

Did I say it was an advantage to know people like this? Maybe it’s more of a curse!!

➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for more articles ⬅

On with the books!

Cranberry Cove by Hailey Piper

April 1, 2024, Bad Hand Books, LLC

For decades, the chilling mystery within the derelict hotel has claimed those foolish and unwary enough to go inside. Following the violent assault of a criminal kingpin's adult son, enforcer Emberly Hale takes a dark journey into the haunted core of Cranberry Cove-and her own past-to find out the horrible truth.

Molten Death by Leslie Karst

April 2, 2024, Severn House

Retired caterer Valerie Corbin and her wife Kristen have come to the Big Island of Hawai'i to treat themselves to a well-earned tropical vacation. After the recent loss of her brother, Valerie is in sore need of a distraction from her troubles and is looking forward to enjoying the delicious food and vibrant culture the state has to offer. Early one morning, the couple and their friend – tattooed, local boy, Isaac - set out to see an active lava flow, and Valerie is mesmerized by the shape-shifting mass of orange and red creeping over the field of black rock. Spying a boot in the distance, she strides off alone, pondering how it could have gotten there, only to realize to her horror that the boot is still attached to a leg - a leg which is slowly being engulfed by the hot lava.

The Am-Dram Detectives by Peter Boon

April 6, 2024, Meadowcroft Publishing

The committee of Northport Drama Society (NODS) have a problem. Their leading man, disgraced, former chair, Oliver Fairhurst, has been murdered on the opening night of Romeo and Juliet. Okay, for once, Oliver wasn’t actually playing the lead role (he was at least 30 years too old to play Romeo), but the society committee agree that it’s probably respectful to refer to him as their leading man after he died; it’s the least they can do. The most they can do is solve his murder, which has now become the committee’s number-one agenda item. In fact, they are no longer just NODS committee; unofficially, they are the Am-Dram Detectives (according to a majority vote). But their reluctant new Chair PC Cuthbert Pink, the longest-serving member of the society at over 40 years, isn’t keen on this new enterprise. Cuthbert is content enough running Northport Village Police Station, one of the last of its kind in the UK, where there’s barely ever any serious crimes to deal with. Missing post and stolen gnomes are as dangerous as it gets. Cuthbert doesn’t investigate murders and doesn’t want to start now!

Rough Trade by Katrina Carrasco

April 9, 2024, MCD

Washington Territory, 1888. With contacts on the docks and in the railroad, and with a buyers’ market funneling product their way, Alma Rosales and her opium-smuggling crew are making a fortune. They spend their days moving product and their nights at the Monte Carlo, the center of Tacoma’s queer scene, where skirts and trousers don’t signify and everyone’s free to suit themselves. Then two local men end up dead, with all signs pointing to the opium trade, and a botched effort to disappear the bodies draws lawmen to town. Alma scrambles to keep them away from her operation but is distracted by the surprise appearance of Bess Spencer―an ex-Pinkerton's agent and Alma’s first love―after years of silence. A handsome, young stranger comes to town too and falls into an affair with one of Alma's crewmen. When he starts asking questions about opium, Alma begins to suspect she’s welcomed a spy into her inner circle and is forced to consider how far she’ll go to protect her trade.

The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers by Samuel Burr

April 9, 2024, Doubleday

Clayton Stumper might be in his twenties, but he dresses like your grandpa and fusses like your aunt. Abandoned at birth on the steps of the Fellowship of Puzzlemakers, he was raised by a group of eccentric enigmatologists and now finds himself among the last survivors of a fading institution. When the esteemed crossword compiler and main maternal presence in Clayton’s life, Pippa Allsbrook, passes away, she bestows her final puzzle on him: a promise to reveal the mystery of his parentage and prepare him for life beyond the walls of the commune. So begins Clay’s quest to uncover the secrets surrounding his birth, secrets that will change Clay—and the Fellowship—forever. This is not a murder mystery. This is a “Where did I come from” novel.

Fragments of Truth by Jake Grenier

 April 16, 2024

Finn, Theo, and Jada are trying to move on with their lives in the Big Apple until an old friend from decides to use their past for entertainment, getting the attention of the entire nation on them and the town of Cape May. The media is vicious. Conspiracy theories are running wild. Fact and fiction become intertwined. Podcast listeners cast Finn, Theo, and Jada as the villains in their own story. Branded the "Cape May Trio," they must navigate the turbulent waters of public scorn while a mystery figure emerges hellbent on revenge and threatening to expose their darkest secrets to the authorities. With the nation watching their every move, the trio are in a race against time to uncover the identity of their blackmailer and protect the sense of normalcy they've fought so hard to get back, while trying to clear their names. Finn, haunted by his traumatic past, struggles to cope with old graves getting dug up that he’d rather forget, while Theo, familiar with the weight of a tarnished reputation, is determined to shield their relationship from the storm. As the trio dig into their past to find out who is targeting them, they unearth shocking truths from their own history, realizing that some secrets were never what they seemed.

Text Me When You Get This by Frances Lucas

April 16, 2024, Bella Books

Seventeen-year-old Nora Thomas carries the burden of childhood loss and trauma, navigating life shrouded in solitude. A school trip introduces her to Claire Tucker, who is everything Nora’s not. Optimistic, outgoing, self-confident. She’s a magnet to others, including the mysterious Ethan St. James, Claire’s best friend since freshman year. When Nora and Claire begin an unlikely romance in another city, Ethan, absent for weeks, suddenly reappears. A brutal murder follows in his wake, and the girls soon discover that some secrets are best left unexplored.

Under the Table by Layla Reyne

April 16, 2024

Chef February Winters hates Valentine’s Day. So much so she refuses to open her restaurant for it. Except now the critics say that she can’t—not, that she won’t—so of course she must. But planning the perfect V-day menu eludes her until her sexy new bartender mixes up a sublime concept. Jax Dillon is a hacker, but for the past three months they’ve been undercover at Under the Table, tending bar while on the lookout for a rogue spy. Truth be told, they’ve spent more time looking at the stunning head chef while struggling to balance their professional and personal lives. Feb’s been looking Jax’s way too. Until V-day arrives and she finds her restaurant full of bounty hunters, assassins, bullet holes, and more. 

A Fondness for Truth by Kim Hays

April 16, 2024, Seventh Street Books

Andi Eberhart is riding her bicycle home on an icy winter night when she is killed in a hit-and-run. Her devastated partner, Nisha, is convinced the death was no accident. Andi had been receiving homophobic hate mail for several years, and the letters grew uglier after the couple’s baby was born.
Bern homicide detective Giuliana Linder is assigned to investigate what happened to Andi. As she pieces together the details of Andi and Nisha’s lives, her assistant Renzo Donatelli looks into Andi’s job advising young men drafted into Switzerland’s civilian service. Working closely together, Giuliana and Renzo are again tempted to become more than just friendly colleagues.

Providence by Craig Willse

April 23, 2024, Union Square & Co.

Mark Lausson has everything he thought he wanted: a coveted job at elite Sawyer College in Ohio. But at the start of his second year, stuck in a small town with deadlines piling up and paychecks falling short, Mark can already feel the fantasy crumbling. And then, a few weeks in, sophomore Tyler Cunningham shows up in class. In Tyler—confident, mysterious, and popular—Mark glimpses another way of being in the world. He finds Tyler’s self-possession both compelling and unsettling. Caught in the rush of sex and secrets, Mark ignores the increasing evidence that Tyler can’t be trusted. But by the time Mark comes to his senses, the irreparable damage is done. Complicating easy ideas of innocence, Providence explores the ways loneliness and desire distort our senses of self and right and wrong.

The Lilies by Quinn Diacon-Furtado

April 30, 2024, Harper Teen

At Archwell Academy, it’s the ticket to a successful future. But like every secret society, there is something much darker beneath the surface … sometimes girls disappear. When four Archwell students find themselves trapped in a time loop, they must relive their worst memories, untangling the Lilies’ moldering roots and unraveling the secrets at the core of their school … before they destroy their futures forever.

Other Releases:

The Devil to Pay by Katie Daysh, April 4, 2024.

Under His Sheets by R. L. Merrill, April 9, 2024.

Something Happened, April 9, 2024.

To Have and to Hold by Nicole Edwards, April 9, 2024.

A Spooky Legacy by S. E. Harmon, April 9, 2024.

Under His Name by M. A. Grant, April 23, 2024.

Quest for the Immortal by MJ Spickett, April 30, 2024.

Cole: The Madman by CJ Bishop, April 30, 2024.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.
Matt Lubbers-Moore has two graduate degrees in library science and history. He is the co-owner of ReQueered Tales and author of Murder and Mayhem: An Annotated Bibliography of Gay and Queer Males in Mystery; 1909-2018.