Up Jumped the Devil
NEW! Book Two in the Crescent City New Orleans Mystery Series
Available December 2023!
As festive Mardi Gras Carnival season begins, graffiti vandals are targeting notable tombs in NOLA’s historic St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Jane Byrne, the cemetery’s new Chief Security Officer and Gigi Pascoe, a transgender sleuth must identify the miscreants and halt the desecration. Together, they snare two homeless teens who share a horrifying tale of off-the-street kidnappings fueling an inhuman supply chain network.
On the sly, Gigi has emailed renowned rock music promoter Frankie Malcolm about recording an album of recently rediscovered WarBirds’ songs. Frankie leaps at the opportunity, promising Ken Pascoe, Gigi’s father, and the last surviving WarBirds band member a royalty jackpot. The future looks rosy for the Pascoe family until a previously unknown relative appears, staking a priority claim on the long-lost songbook.
After the suspicious deaths of several key witnesses, NOLA FBI’s interest in the local kidnapping investigation withers. Overbooked NOPD detectives consider the missing NOLA homeless people a low priority item, and the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office is wary of burning sensitive political connections. Refusing to quit, Jane and Gigi tap into the riotous Mardi Gras energy to expose a murderous criminal conspiracy.
A Crescent City New Orleans Mystery
2021 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion
Best Attending Author Award Winner
+ Finalist - Best Mystery
Disgraced ex-police detective Jane Byrne is on the run. After surviving a brutal excessive force civil lawsuit that scarred her with PTSD she blows into New Orleans on her Ducati motorcycle looking for a fresh start, never expecting to uncover a hate crime serial killer targeting NOLA’s inclusive LGBTQ community.
Jane’s new landlords, Leslie and Ken Pascoe and Leslie’s Aunt Babette, a mediumistic voodoo queen offer Jane a haven. Ken is the sole surviving remnant of The WarBirds, an ‘80’s one-hit wonder heavy metal band whose single stadium anthem mega hit “Love Power” was one of the first music videos produced for MTV.
At a surprise party we meet Gigi Pascoe, Ken and Leslie’s transgender daughter and Gigi’s two BFFs. After one of her friends goes missing, Gigi’s concern turns to fear that their LGBTQ world is being targeted for hate crime violence when a second friend vanishes.
Dissatisfied with the NOPD force and local FBI bureau agency responses, Jane and Gigi team up only to discover that their united effort has refocused the serial killer’s white supremacist hate-filled intent on them.
“We meet the heroine who is vulnerable, yet strong in her pursuit of justice. The author does a great job in capturing the essence of this story keeping me immersed in all details, allowing us to see the characters for who they are, not what they are, and keeping me enthralled at what transpired from beginning to a surprising end.”
- Dru's Book Musings
"Martha Reed has penned an intriguing mystery encompassing some of my favorite things: strong female protagonists, and a crazy tour into the deliciously seedy underbelly of both the indie music scene and the always fascinating Big Easy. Even better, she's embraced the LGBTQIA community with open arms and created a fabulous transgender character in Gigi Pascoe, a true force of nature. Can't wait for the next installment!
- Jessie Chandler, author of the Shay O'Hanlon Caper Series
"Love Power's focus on hate crimes against the LGBTQ community is both unique and prescient, while the New Orleans setting is particularly memorable. The circumstance of a serial killer targeting a particular New Orleans community is immediately engaging. Jane Byrne is a dynamic and complex character with her fair share of scars, while colorful NOLA side characters fill out the cast. Reed has a fine grasp on storytelling and delivers a graceful blend of description, dialogue, and well-played exposition."
- The BookLife Prize
"Martha Reed has launched a new series with Love Power, featuring ex-detective Jane Byrne. Set largely in the Bywater Historical District of New Orleans, Reed populates her story with characters from across the LGBTQ+ spectrum. With a case that features a hate-crime fueled serial killer, this story pulls-no-punches when it comes to addressing issues facing marginalized groups. Love Power is a very contemporary and timely book, but the inclusion of information about the early-80’s music scene makes for a nice counter-point without distraction. It is clear that Reed knows NOLA and she brings the location to vibrant life and exposes much of the grittier underlayer that taints the façade. Her characters feel like the people you would encounter walking down those iconic streets and readers will long for more than a few of them to become regulars as the series moves forward."
- BOLO Books, Kristopher Zgorski
No Rest for the Wicked
Book Three in the John and Sarah Jarad Nantucket Mystery Series
2017 Independent Publisher Nominee
Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do ...
When state archaeologists lift the lid on a suspicious steamer trunk buried in Nantucket’s landfill, Detective John Jarad’s world explodes. The trunk’s contents reactivate intense interest in the island’s most notorious cold case crime, the Baby Alice Spenser kidnapping in 1921.
Sarah Jarad has a different life focus. Halfway through a twin pregnancy, Sarah can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched. She’d like to blame her paranoia on raging hormones, but that doesn’t ring true. She fears that her control freak ex-fiancée Mason Hollister has finally tracked her down, and that Mason is on Nantucket plotting revenge.
As John pursues the Baby Alice investigation, myriad family scandals emerge from the Spenser’s privileged and gilded past. Events flare white-hot when a copycat criminal snatches a second child. John and Sarah must race against the clock to unmask the kidnapper and expose these modern day threats.
5 STAR REVIEWS!
"Captivated me from start to finish ..."
"Compelling non-stop reading."
"Martha Reed has outdone herself with the latest installment. I could not put it down."
The Choking Game
Book One in the John and Sarah Jarad Nantucket Mystery Series
2015 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion nominee for Best Traditional Mystery
The Whistler, a seasonal stalker, is terrorizing the women of Nantucket as they head home from the bars. When the body of a missing nanny is found anchored to the bottom of a bog, police Lieutenant John Jarad fears that this year The Whistler is upping his twisted game, and that more women may be in danger.
"A perfect summer beach read, with a first-rate plot."
"A great first book in an exciting new mystery series."
The Nature of the Grave
Book Two in the John and Sarah Jarad Nantucket Mystery Series
2006 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Honorable Mention for
Mid-Atlantic Best Regional Fiction
John Jarad is deeply rooted in the charming island home his family helped to settle. When newlywed Sarah Jarad begins to explore John's family history, she reactivates interest in his younger brother's cold case disappearance. A great-uncle's surprising bequest brings family tensions to the surface, and the sudden reappearance of the missing brother shakes the Jarad family tree. A string of mysterious deaths ensue as John and Sarah forge their investigative talents to solve a sinister island conspiracy.
"I read this book in two days ... I could not put it down. Dreamt about the characters ... it was simply a GREAT story."
"The multi-layered plot will keep you guessing."