Queer Mystery Coming Attractions: September 2023

Aug 19, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Coming Attractions!, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Matt Lubbers-Moore

Editor’s note: A lot of these mysteries have a fantasy/supernatural side to them.

This month was the largest month of LGBTQ+ mysteries I have ever seen! Some of the titles are for elementary and middle school aged kids, some are for high school aged young adults, and then there are those for adults, including fan favorites Greg Herren and J.M. Redmann! I am very excited to see what Scotty and Micky are up to now!

The great thing about all these kids and young adult books is that kids and teens can read about people just like themselves, or their friends, or their classmates, in a fictional setting. I would have loved to have books like this when I was younger. My school library had nonfiction books about LGBTQ+ people, and I devoured them. My public library had none, as far as I am aware.

Visibility is moving forward at a tremendous pace, but we still have ways to go. I was talking with a co-worker of mine whose son has been out since middle school. She was telling me that he dated other guys in high school, but the other guy was never out to his parents and sometimes not even to friends. This young man felt like when he dated in high school that he had to engage in closet dating for their sake. He was so relieved when he went off to college and met other queer guys who were out to everyone and could date openly.

What a wonderful world that we could have if we continue to be able to read openly about our own lives, those of our LGBTQ+ brethren, sisters, and transgender family, without fear.

Here’s to hoping book bannings and cis/straight/whitewashing of history and sexuality comes to an end sooner than later.

On with the books!

Tangled Webs by Maria McDonald
Out September 1, 2023, Bloodhound Books
Jane Best and Agnes Williams are known in Belfast for taking in lodgers at Riverdale House, the business they started together after losing their husbands in the Anglo-Zulu War. For 40 years, they’ve welcomed young women in need of a respectable place to stay in the city—including unfortunate cases like young Iris Seoin, who’s come here to get away from her abuser. When a man shows up at the lodging house looking for Iris, he experiences a flash of recognition. He knows these two. He knows their past. And he knows what they’re hiding.

The Mossheart’s Promise by Rebecca Mix
Out September 5, 2023, Balzer + Bray
Twelve-year-old fairy, Canary Mossheart knows this better than most. A few years ago, the mold took her papa, and even her famous, former, chosen one Gran never found a cure. So when Ary’s beloved mama falls ill, Ary decides it’s taken enough. Armed with only a bucket and a prayer, she sneaks out to find a magical, underground lake whose healing waters are straight out of Gran’s adventures. But when Ary gets there, the lake’s bone dry, and instead of healing waters, she finds a terrifying secret: her entire world is actually trapped inside a giant terrarium—one they were meant to leave centuries ago. Worse, Gran knew and hid the truth, dooming Ary and her generation to a dying, rotting world. Now, allied with only her doomsdayobsessed frenemy, a timid pill bug, and a particularly grumpy newt, Ary has one week to unravel the clues and find a way out of the terrarium—or they’ll be trapped for good.

Deephaven by Ethan M. Aldridge
Out September 5, 2023, Quill Tree Books
When Guinevere “Nev” Tallow receives an acceptance letter to the exclusive Deephaven Academy, they know it’s the fresh start that they’ve been looking for. But things are strange from the moment they arrive: the house itself seems to breathe, students whisper secrets in dark corridors, and the entire east wing of the academy is locked away for reasons no one wants to explain. And Nev knows something ragged stalks the shadowy corridors, something that sobs quietly and scratches at the walls, waiting to be released. With the help of another first-year student, Nev takes it upon themselves to unravel the mysteries hidden in Deephavens’ halls. But will they risk their fresh start to bring the academy’s secret to light?

The Spirit Bares its Teeth by Andrew Joseph White
Out September 5, 2023, Peachtree Teen
London, 1883. The Veil between the living and dead has thinned. Violet-eyed mediums commune with spirits under the watchful eye of the Royal Speaker Society, and 16-year-old trans, autistic Silas Bell would rather rip out his violet eyes than become an obedient Speaker wife. After a failed attempt to escape an arranged marriage, Silas is diagnosed with Veil sickness—a mysterious disease sending violet-eyed women into madness—and shipped away to Braxton’s Finishing School and Sanitorium. When the ghosts of missing students start begging Silas for help, he decides to reach into Braxton’s innards and expose its guts to the world—so long as the school doesn’t break him first.

The Haunting of Oak Springs by Crin Claxton
Out September 12, 2023, Bold Strokes Books
Ghosts are rising at Oak Springs Farm, and supernatural detective Tony Carson is facing her deepest mystery yet. Tony and her Trinidadian best friend, Jade, unravel clues searching for a woman who doesn’t want to be found. Red and Chris are the last two lesbians living on what was once a women’s land farm, oblivious to the secrets buried around them. If the developers start digging before Tony finds the ghost’s accomplice, then Red and Chris are in trouble. When an old enemy returns to the village, will the rural community of Wooly Mill side with Oak Springs, or will homophobic history repeat itself? And while Tony and Jade are rallying the women’s group, a devious plan is spinning around them.

Say I Boo by Morgan Spellman
Out September 12, 2023, Meadow Cat Press
When, whimsical stage magician Abby Spector finds herself snowbound at a mysterious mansion days before her friend’s wedding, she uncovers a vengeful spirit’s deadly agenda. Armed with her quick wit and tools from a former paranormal investigator, Abby must navigate a web of ghostly suspects and cryptic clues. Alongside her eccentric allies, she embarks on an enchanting journey brimming with supernatural suspense, whodunit intrigue, witty banter, and a budding sapphic romance. As Abby bridges the gap between the living and the spectral, she unravels deep secrets that lie within the haunted estate. With the wedding approaching, Abby must face her tragic past and unite old friends in a race against time to identify and vanquish the correct ghost before the big day. Can they put their differences aside and prevent a murder from beyond the grave?

Where You Left Us by Rhiannon Wilde
Out September 12, 2023, Charlesbridge Teen
Cinnamon and Scarlett are the Prince sisters, the youngest generation of the Mad Princes who earned their reputation in their seaside town when their Great-Aunt Sadie went missing without a trace decades ago. Even with the shared history, the sisters can’t stand each other. While Scarlett has been away at school, Cinnamon has stayed to work and take care of their rock star father after his latest mental health struggles. But now Cinnamon and Scarlett are back under the same roof for the holidays, and things are heating up. Great-Aunt Sadie’s secrets seem determined to be unearthed. Scarlett’s anxiety is coupled with newfound feelings for Cinnamon’s ex, Will. And Cinnamon can’t ignore her growing attraction to her co-worker Daisy.

What Stalks Among Us by Sarah Hollowell
Out September 12, 2023, Clarion Books
Best friends and high school seniors, Sadie and Logan make their first mistake when they ditch their end-of-year field trip to the amusement park in favor of exploring some old, forgotten backroads. The last thing they expect to come across is a giant, abandoned corn maze.
But with a whole day of playing hooky unspooling before them, they make their second mistake. Or perhaps their third. Maybe even their fourth. Because Sadie and Logan have definitely entered this maze before. And again before that. When they stumble on the corpses in the maze, identical to them in every way (if you can ignore the stab and gunshot wounds)–from their clothes, to their hidden scars, to their dyed hair, to that one missing tooth–they quickly realize they’ve not only entered this maze before, they’ve died in it too. A lot. And no matter what they try, they can’t figure out what—or who—is hunting them.

Mississippi River Mischief by Greg Herren
Out September 12, 2023 (this has been moved to a November release), Bold Strokes Books
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 sort of nephew Taylor brings the accidental sleuth a case: one of his friends 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 and is 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.

Transitory by J. M. Redmann
Out September 12, 2023, Bold Strokes Books
The cops blow it off, another Black, transgender woman who surprised a customer with what was under the dress—bad luck she was pushed out of the car, and then hit by another vehicle. But Micky Knight witnessed it, crossing the street at the right—or wrong—time, only yards away from what didn’t look at all like an accident to her. The woman was dressed more like a librarian than a sex worker. It’s not her case, she was just walking home from a local bar. No ID was found on the victim, and the only clue is an appointment card with cryptic initials, CJ at CC. Micky has a good idea what they mean—Cordelia James at CrescentCare, a local health clinic that sees many transgender clients. Cordelia is a doctor and, happens to be, her ex. Micky doesn’t want to get involved, but there will be no justice if she doesn’t.

Your Lonely Nights are Over by Adam Sass
Out September 12, 2023, Viking Books for Young Readers
Dearie and Cole are inseparable, unlikeable, and (in bad luck for them) totally unbelievable. From the day they met, Dearie and Cole have been two against the world. But whenever something bad happens at Stone Grove High School, they get blamed. Why? They’re beautiful, flirtatious, dangerously clever queen bees, and they’re always ready to call out their fellow students. But they’ve never faced a bigger threat than surviving senior year, when Mr. Sandman, a famous, never-caught serial killer emerges from a long retirement—and his hunting ground is their school Queer Club.

The Society for Soulless Girls by Laura Steven
Out September 19, 2023, Delacorte Press
Ten years ago, four students lost their lives in the infamous unsolved North Tower murders at the elite Carvell Academy of the Arts, forcing the school to close its doors. Now, Carvell is reopening, and fearless freshman Lottie Fitzwilliam is determined to find out what really happened. But when her beautiful but standoffish roommate, Alice Wolfe, stumbles upon a sinister soul-splitting ritual in a book hidden in Carvell’s library, the North Tower claims another victim. Is there a killer among them . . . or worse, within them?

The Undetectables by Courtney Smyth
Out September 26, 2023, Titan Books
A magical serial killer is stalking the Occult town of Wrackton. Hypnotic whistling causes victims to chew their own tongues off, leading to the killer being dubbed The Whistler (original, right?).
Enter The Undetectables, a detective agency run by three witches and a ghost in a cat costume (don’t ask). They are hired to investigate the murders, but with their only case so far left unsolved, will they be up to the task? Mallory, the forensic science expert, is struggling with pain and fatigue from her recently diagnosed fibromyalgia. Cornelia is suddenly stirring all sorts of feelings in Mallory. Diana is hitting up all her ex-girlfriends for information. And don’t forget ghostly Theodore: deceased, dramatic, and also the agency’s first – unsolved – murder case.

Other Releases:
We’re Good People Now by Erika Strauss, out September 1, 2023
Death Chill by David Jewell, out September 1, 2023
Vengeance by J. K. Flynn, out September 1, 2023
The Forgotten Prince by Julian Kennedy, out September 1, 2023
Illuminate the Night by Jay Leigh, out September 1, 2023
The Seattle Slayer by M. Sawyer, out September 1, 2023
Her Mafia Queen by Persephone Black, out September 1, 2023
Double Exposure by Rein Gray, out September 4, 2023
Hold Me Closer by M. Katherine Clark, out September 5, 2023
Disrupted Engagement by Nicky James, out September 7, 2023
A Harmony of Hells by Yves Fey, out September 8, 2023
The Death I Gave Him by Em X. Liu, out September 12, 2023
A Calculated Risk by Cari Hunter, out September 12, 2023
Murder in Shades of Red by Ripley Hayes, out September 12, 2023
The Bone Collector by Onley James, out September 12, 2023
Dear Sylvia, Love Jane by Erin Hall, out September 19, 2023
How to Find a Missing Girl by Victoria Wlosok, out September 19, 2023
Manner of Death, Vol. 2 by Sammon, out September 19, 2023 (review of Vol 1)
A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel by KJ Charles, out September 19, 2023
The Base by H.M. Wolfe, out September 21, 2023
Honey Mead Murder by Dahlia Donovan, out September 21, 2023
Nelson and MacIlwraith by K. Sterling, out September 28, 2023

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode goes up next week.

Click on this link to take you to Mysterious Galaxy’s website where you can purchase many of these books & a portion will go to help support KRL:

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

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.