by K. Wodke

Independent authors are thriving today, and not merely because of the often lower price of their works, but also because of the quality products many indies offer to their readers. Thanks to the internet and the ease of digital publishing, the reading population has more choice than ever before. For basically the same cost of a traditionally published book, I can load my Kindle with several indie selections of comparable content.

Some readers are reluctant to sample the work of indie authors, believing that books not handled by big name publishers are somehow inferior. This is true in some cases, but absolutely false in others. I began reading books by indie authors several years ago and in most cases have not been disappointed. Here are just seven great books I have been lucky enough to discover:

Peril by Ruby Barnes. The main character is Gerald Mayes, a lazy man who blunders through life, cheating on his wife, slacking on the job, and becoming inadvertently tangled up with a drug gang. The author sends the reader through twists and turns as Gerald struggles to extricate himself from the mess he’s in, making bad decisions along the way, and compounding his problems. Peril is darkly humorous, cleverly written, and very engaging. I did not like the main character, but found myself rooting for him anyway, which tells me the author knows a little somethin’-somethin’ about how to write a good book! To learn more about Ruby Barnes and his books, visit his blog:


Far From Over by Penny Childs. If you like some paranormal spice along with your mystery/suspense, this book will satisfy your literary palate. Alex Devaroe, a vicious criminal, brutalized Andi and her family when she was a teenager. Years later, she is happily married and Alex is executed for his crimes. But wait...Andi’s husband, Nick, is shot on his way to work one morning by a man who looks like Alex. Trying to figure out how an executed killer could still be stalking victims was a puzzle that kept me intently turning pages. To further heighten the suspense, Nick’s personality changes in unpleasant ways as he recovers from the shooting. To find out more about Penny Childs and her books, visit her Amazon author page:

Castle Cape by CL Withers. The action in this novel, set against a backdrop of the beautiful but savage Alaskan wilderness, is nonstop. McKenna, an Anchorage police detective, investigates the murder of his mentor and finds himself tangled in a web of danger involving the FBI, terrorists, and a rogue Russian agent. This book has so many interesting elements: a decades-old mystery, a devoted canine partner, lethal conditions, and triangulation of forces which work to thwart McKenna’s purpose. The plot is a successful combination of action/adventure and thriller. To discover more about CL Withers and his work, visit his website:


Junkie by Robert P. French. This novel was rather unusual and quite riveting. Former detective, Cal Rogan, is a heroin addict. In spite of this overwhelming burden, he tries very hard to maintain a relationship with his little girl and handle his addiction without falling completely to pieces. It’s not easy. He’s homeless, jobless, and divorced. When his best friend dies, Cal refuses to believe the cause is suicide. Though he is no longer a law enforcement officer, he is determined to solve what he believes is a murder case. He meets with one horrendous situation after another, all the while trying to appease the monster of heroin addiction and protect the daughter he loves. A gritty, dark read with surprising optimism mixed in, this book will pull you in. To learn more about Robert French and his work, visit his website at:


Blood Orchids by Toby Neal. Probably the only way I’ll ever be able to visit Hawaii is by reading about it in a book, and that is but one of the reasons I enjoyed this novel by Toby Neal. In Blood Orchids, Toby Neal introduces readers to the dark side of paradise. Lei Texeira is a policewoman determined to solve the murders of two teenagers, and in the process becoming a target of a stalker herself. This book is an engaging police mystery and even has a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. As Lei is put through twists and turns by a diabolical killer, she begins to have tender feelings for Detective Michael Stevens. But Lei is a survivor of a harsh childhood, and this complicates matters. This book will grab your attention from the very start and hold it throughout. It offers not only a well-developed plot but also swirling subplot undercurrents to pique your interest. To discover more about Toby Neal and her books, visit:


Sullivan’s War, The Complete Adventure by Michael K. Rose. For sci-fi fans, the Sullivan’s War series is a must-read. Tightly plotted and flawlessly written, Sullivan’s War spans the reaches of space, hops planets, deals with politics, oppression, assassination, space travel, alien beings, and a necessary war. Mr. Rose masterfully delivers on all the elements that make a sci-fi fan sigh with enjoyment.  The series is divided up into three books which can be bought separately or as a complete adventure. They include All Good Men Serve the Devil, A City Without Walls, and Edaline's Dawn. There is also a prologue to the trilogy entitled Sergeant Riley’s Account. I would recommend grabbing the complete adventure along with the prologue. In Sullivan’s War, Rick Sullivan is on a mission to save his home planet from oppression, but he is viewed as a criminal by the powers that be. To learn more about Michael Rose and his books, visit:


Solomon’s Men by Glenn Starkey. This fast-paced thriller introduces the reader to Greg Valdez, master thief. He is commissioned to steal an artifact from an ancient monastery in Portugal. The prize? The actual burial shroud of Jesus Christ, protected for centuries by the Templar Knights. His successful crime lands him in deep trouble and puts his family at risk. The many twists in this novel make it fun and intense read, zooming the reader around and through one dilemma after another. This novel is so well-written and vivid it almost feels like you are absorbed in a movie. It’s a book to be devoured, not snacked upon. This author could easily play with the big boys, like Cussler and Clancy. To find out more about Glenn Starkey and his works, visit: