The Underground Authors are a collection of writers from the United States and Canada who banded together to support each other in the publishing process. Just for kicks we decided to do a group project and write a book of short stories.
We liked it so much, we thought, let’s do that again! We are publishing a book each month through December 2022. Check back often for the newest release!
This time we decided to each write a mystery about Magnolia Bluff—a small town in the hill country of central Texas where people are dying at an alarming rate. We call our project
The Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles.
Texas law enforcement officer, Madison Jackson awakes to discover her
infant kidnapped from her crib.
Was it revenge for someone Madison had arrested or something far more
Madison’s estranged husband is incarcerated in Supermax. As the second
in command of a deadly Mexican cartel, did he issue the order to abduct
“This novel, the 19th in a series, is a quick read that is well-paced and boasts
emotional heft…an effective thriller.”—Kirkus Reviews
"Bye Baby Bye is a gripping tale that traverses the terrain of love, loss,
and the darker shades of humanity, making it a must-read for those who
appreciate layered crime fiction.”—Literary Titan Review
Southern, Sweet, and Snarky
From the simply delightful front cover to the end of this cozy masterpiece that ends with
a bang, The Dog Gone Diamond Dilemma is a deeply satisfying read. It’s one of those
books you stay up all night to finish. Author Linda Pirtle knows her southern characters.
Easy enough, she’s a long-time resident of the Lone Star State. The populace of
Magnolia Bluff is kooky, cantankerous, kind, and yes, sometimes murderous. Pirtle
knows them all so well and offers distinctly charming, definitely southern, ever so subtle
snarky quips to make those characters unforgettable. “Mary Lou stood up in support of
the Archambeau women. Her syrupy sweet voice belied the pointed shards darting from
her ice-cold grey eyes. ‘Ladies, I am sure all of us will attend the wine tasting.’”
The story centers around three close friends who are desperately trying to find their
neighbor Esther Williams who disappeared months ago. Disappointed with the lack of
action from law enforcement on the case, Carolyn McCluskey, Magnolia Nadine, and
Daphne Leigh plot to rescue their friend in distress. The women are like later-day
versions of Charley’s Angels dressed head to foot in burglar-black breaking into
Esther’s home looking for clues.
Give yourself a treat and order The Dog Gone Diamond Dilemma. It’s delicious.
Born and Bred Texan is a barbeque and beer version of a cozy mystery by Jinx Schwartz. Full of the flavor of the Lone Star State, the ninth edition of the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles is the story of Bluebonnet Bonet who returns home to Texas after the loss of her beloved husband.
Still grieving, she returns to her roots and antiquated family homestead. As she spruces up the old place, she discovers a dead body and a back forty pit of ancient and fresh bones.
This book is heavy on the cozy and peppered with homespun Texas euphemisms and humor. I think you’re gonna love it. I know I did.
Justice - Amazon #1 Best-Selling Book!!
Bloody pants on a tree. A young girl’s mutilated body on the ground. This was the sight that
greeted Officer Madison Jackson of the Texas State Department of Parks and Wildlife in
Magnolia Bluff while on patrol just outside the town.
The autopsy results revealed that the girl had been raped before being brutally murdered. Further investigations identify the girl as a victim of human trafficking by the Jalisco cartel. This was so frustrating to Madison, especially because her department had busted a human trafficking operation earlier on in the year. Were they fighting a losing battle?
Determined to bring the young girl’s assailants to justice and stop the evil business, Madison finds herself treading a dangerous path that leads her into the heart of the Mexican cartels; human trafficking hub. What will happen to Madison?
Get yourself Kelly Marshall’s Justice to discover more. If you love mystery murder thrillers laced with spicy romantic action, Kelly Marshall’s Justice is a must-read for you. Marshall had me captivated from the start. The narration focuses on love, secrets, unexpected affairs, family, sex trafficking, Mexican cartels, blackmail, espionage, thrills, and suspense. Marshall hatches an intriguing plot, featuring an amazing cast and spectacular twists. Marshall portrays the scenes vividly, capturing them with dramatic effect and a clever sense of humor. She develops the characters boldly, describing their traits and emotions, which made it easy for me to connect with them. Madison is an intelligent and tough woman, but with a big heart.
Justice is the eighth installment in the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles and a stand-alone book.
Underground Author Linda Pirtle has a knack for drawing you into her new book with
descriptions and characters that we all love, and yes, sometimes intensely dislike. The
Dewey Decimal Dilemma is warm and cozy. Just one look at the cover and your heart
melts at the sight of the delightful puppy pictured front and center. That puppy is an
instrumental part of a mystery puzzle that Linda builds piece by piece.
There’s a tinge of romance, but it's hard to know which direction protagonist Caroline
McCluskey’s heart will follow. Will it be the policeman who has adored her from afar for
years? Or the dashingly handsome new FBI Agent in town who makes her heart race at
the mere sight of him.
Despite the homespun tale, it is after all a mystery, and people end up dying. Caroline
and the ladies in Magnolia Bluff take the lead in helping to solve a very strange mystery.
Do yourself a treat. This cozy is warm and inviting and just right for reading on a cool
Dr. Michael Kurelek settles in Magnolia Bluff, TX to escape a secret past. An
attractive psychologist, he attracts troubled young college students to his door.
When two of them end up dead, he very quickly becomes law enforcement’s
Author Richard Schwindt has crafted an intriguing tale of a serial killer that gives
his victims an expensive gift just before taking their lives. His writing is crisp and
descriptive in a remarkable way. Here’s an example from page one: “I knew what
a Walker Coonhound could do, but my experience with Butch mostly involved
watching him roll over and invite me to rub his belly on the days I wandered next
door to drink with Jack Rice. This didn’t prepare me for the furious restraint of the
animal now stalking beside me in the hot brush, ten miles outside of Magnolia
Bluff. His hackles rose stiff as knives, and his mouth curled in a rictus of canine
rage and anticipation.”
Schwindt has been a psychotherapist for a number of years and has a keen
insight into the human psyche. He also understands the deviant turn behavior can
take when someone’s life shatters and madness overtakes a mind.
Richard Schwindt is an exceptional writer with remarkable depth. Give yourself a
treat and read The Shine From A Girl In The Lake.
Globe-trotting lovers JJ and Jo find themselves in the sleepy, southern town of Magnolia Bluff, Texas. The two just want to be left alone to explore each other and enjoy a respite from their busy, glamorous work lives. Well, that was the plan anyway. But when a group of women in the small town is stymied from doing a podcast about a pressing local issue, the couple is drawn into their drama. Someone with malicious intentions is sabotaging the podcast and threatening the ladies. But it’s not just the podcast. Under the surface lurks a darker, more evil secret. The Flower Enigma is engaging, charming and a terrific read by Charles Breakfield and Rox Burkey.
Father Frank DeLuca discovered a call to serve the Lord and became a Catholic Priest. But it’s not Father Frank’s only deep-seated call. When he sees injustice, he tries to right the wrong. In You Won’t Know How …or When, Father Frank knows someone is trying to kill his good friend and fellow priest, Father Lee Gorman.
Bound by the confidentiality of the confessional, Father Frank has to search for the culprit on his own. Like a professional sleuth, Father Frank hunts down the person who has threatened to kill his good friend.
This cozy mystery will keep you reading long after midnight. What I truly admired about this book was the unique twist on the meaning of true justice and forgiveness. Well done, Author James Callan. Get your copy on Amazon.
Town folk in Magnolia Bluff, Texas get scarce on May Twenty-Third every year. Some go on “vacation.” Others go visit their relatives in distant cities. Many people stay home and lock their doors. Why such peculiar behavior? They want to live. Every May Twenty-Third for the last nine years someone has been murdered in Magnolia Bluff. Who’s next? Only the killer knows.
Caleb Pirtle III is an accomplished and prolific writer. I lost count after eighty books. I always come away from reading his books with a deep sense of satisfaction. EULOGY IN BLACK AND WHITE certainly falls in that category. Pirtle has mastered a style of writing I call bulleted prose that hits the reader right between the eyes. Bam! Bam! The mystery moves swiftly, and keeps you engrossed to the end. And speaking of the end, Caleb twisted a tale so neatly, I didn’t see it coming. Well, done, Master. You’ve earned five stars from me. - Kelly Marshall
She calls herself Bliss for a reason. Her real name is Sambethe Ursula Watkins; and yes, she hates the name. According to legend, her first name Sambethe was once a Persian seer—maybe that explains why she sees dead people who demand that she solve their murders. Bliss breaks down in Magnolia Bluff, Texas when her motorcycle peters out. She’s stuck in town waiting on a cycle part, so why not solve a murder why she waits? Before she knows it, someone wants to make her his next victim. The Great Peanut Butter Conspiracy is amusing, charming, and deadly.
Underground Author Cindy Davis is a masterful writer. She can captivate readers with traditional murder mysteries, (she’s written twenty-two of them). She’s also delved into metaphysical mysteries with fiction drama like Zipacna’s Legacy and two sequels. In her latest adventure, THE GREAT PEANUT BUTTER CONSPIRACY, Davis dives into a whimsical tale about a ghost that haunts her room and demands that she solve his mysterious death. Then there’s the pizza-loving toucan, and clues she finds in her favorite Jimmy Buffett tunes. The tale turns deadly though when Bliss gets too close to discovering the killer, and her own life is in peril. It’s a unique book and a real nail-biter.
Harry Thurgood is an enigma. Polished, cultured, and relatively new to Magnolia Bluff, Texas, he’s a man with a past, and he keeps his secrets close to his chest. Not only is Harry hiding his sins, but so is a good portion of Magnolia Bluff. The Crimson Hat Society is a group of women in the town who do many charitable works for their community, but beneath the group’s surface bubbles a malignancy of lies and deceit that leads to death.
KELLY GIVES IT 5-STARS!
CW Hawes’ characters are colorful and unforgettable—like the Reverend Ember Cole, preacher at the local Methodist Church. She moves around Magnolia Bluff dressed in ministerial black with a Saturno religious hat perched on her head. Despite her dour dress, Ember’s face is as angelic as her personality, and Harry is willing to go to hell and back to win her love. Someone in the town wants to make sure Harry and Ember never consummate their romance. DEATH WEARS A CRIMSON HAT is a great romp of a read and earns 5 stars.