Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for February 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some January books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have plenty of cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, craft mysteries, animal mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, action thrillers, historical thrillers, pulp thrillers, science fiction thrillers, police procedurals, private investigators, amateur sleuths, serial killers, assassins, vigilantes, CIA agents, dead people who got better, cold cases, crime-busting witches, crime-busting ghosts, overweight detectives, murder on the seaside and ski lodges, in country manors and libraries, in big cities and small towns, in Upstate New York, the Missouri backwoods, New York City, Australia, London and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Crime Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Indie Crime Scene, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things crime fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Dying for an Education by Stacey AlabasterDying for an Education by Stacey Alabaster:

Alyson has headed off to university to explore higher education, leaving Claire back in Eden Bay for an adventure of her own. When a professor turns up dead, Alyson must find a killer before her potential education gets the best of her. Can Alyson and Claire survive their separate adventures and bring a killer to justice?

Dying for an Education is the tenth book in the Hang Ten Australian Cozy Mystery series, a fast-paced cozy mystery with an authentic Australian flair. If you quirky characters and unexpected twists, you’re going to love the Alyson and Claire.

Brideg to Burn by Rachel AmphlettBridge to Burn by Rachel Amphlett:

When a mummified body is found in a renovated building, the gruesome discovery leads Detective Kay Hunter and her team into a complex murder investigation.

The subsequent police inquiry exposes corruption, lies and organised crime within the tight-knit community – and Kay’s determination to seek justice for the young murder victim could ruin the reputations of men who will do anything to protect their business interests.

But as Kay closes in on the killer, tragedy strikes closer to home in an event that will send a shockwave through her personal life and make her question everything she values.

Can Kay keep her private and professional life under control while she tries to unravel one of the strangest murder cases of her career?

She'll Stitch You Up by B.K. BaxterShe’ll Stitch You Up by B.K. Baxter:

After her generous, and unintentional, donation for splinter-free park benches, Velma Harmon gets invited to a charity dinner hosted by the Beautification Committee of Bliss at the home of Everett Gaines, one of the wealthiest widowers in town. With no interest in going, she hopes to find adventure elsewhere, much to the dismay of Ethel and Chief Rayne. Ethel has always wanted to see Gaines Manor up close, and Chief Rayne just wants Velma to enjoy her retirement and stay out of trouble.

When Ethel begs her to go to the event in hopes of finding herself a man, Velma reluctantly agrees. But when a heavy storm takes out a tree and a bridge, Velma finds herself trapped in Gaines Manor with two dead bodies, one handsome mailman, and a vicious killer. Who said nothing exciting ever happens in Bliss, Texas?

A Valentine for the Silencer by Cora BuhlertA Valentine for the Silencer by Cora Buhlert:

Valentine’s Day 1938: All Richard Blakemore a.k.a. the masked crimefighter known only as the Silencer wants is to have a romantic dinner with his beautiful fiancée Constance Allen.

But on his way to his date, Richard happens upon a mugging in progress. Can he save the victim and make sure that young Thomas Walden has the chance to propose to his girlfriend? And will he make it to dinner with Constance on time?

This is a short Valentine’s Day story of 7200 words or approx. 24 print pages in the Silencer series, but may be read as a standalone.

Valentine's Madness, edited by Beth ByersValentine’s Madness: A 1920s Historical Mystery Anthology, edited by Beth Byers:

Welcome to a very flapper Valentine’s Day!

Are you ready for the roaring twenties? For spunky young women crafting their own lives? If so, you’ll love Violet, Julia, Abigail, Evelyn, and Rosemary.

Inside, you’ll find four short Valentine’s day adventures, 1920s style including roses, chocolates, kisses, and cocktails. With stories from The Violet Carlyle Mysteries, the Piccadilly Ladies Club Mysteries, the Abigail Dutcher Mysteries, the Jazz & Gin Cozy Mysteries, and The Lillywhite Mysteries.

Winter Frost by Lauren CarrWinter Frost by Lauren Carr:

It all started with a chance encounter in the city with Blair, his late wife.

Chris Matheson and the Geezer Squad, working under the guise of a book club, dig into the events surrounding his late wife’s supposed death halfway around the globe. A state department employee shoots himself in the back three times. A CIA operative goes missing. A woman is targeted by an international assassin three years after being declared dead in a terrorist attack overseas.

Nothing is as it seems.

In his most personal cold case, Chris fights to uncover why the state department told him that Blair, the mother of his children, had been killed when she was alive. What had she uncovered that has made her a target? Who terrified her so much that she had gone into hiding and why are they now after him?

Killer Blow by M.A. ComleyKiller Blow by M.A. Comley:

A hunter on the prowl…

On the scent of his next victim.

DI Sara Ramsey has to dig deep to find an evil suspect who gets a thrill out of chasing victims to their deaths.

The murderer is smart, inventing new methods of tracking down his victims. Just as the inspector senses she’s closing in on the culprit, they change their MO, undoing all her hard work.

The media is striking fear into the residents. Can Sara set aside her personal problems and prevent the killing spree causing havoc on her patch?

Murder in Downfell Manor by E.M. CooperMurder in Downfell Manor by E.M. Cooper:

Eleanor Blakely hails from a long line of talented witches, yet after failing to graduate from the Fanglewick School of Magic her prospects look grim. An apprenticeship at the Wandermere Observatory in the Department of Astronomical Predictions offers her a second chance to gain registration as a magic practitioner, but after falling asleep on the job, missing the planetary alignment in the newly discovered Merlin constellation and mistaking a dragon weyr flying over Wandermere for the Cazilla comet shower, she’s booted out. In the Old World, a magically unlicensed adult witch sits just above humans and troublesome teenage goblins on the scale of social worthiness, well below the most ordinary elves, witches and wizards. Unable to practise magic and in her mid-twenties, Eleanor endures work as a transfer officer, supervising humans on the wards of Silverwing Hospital. Her team transports witches and wizards suffering a fatal affliction, known as magic madness or magdolor, to St Blightus, an asylum in the south. In the midst of a transfer, a murder changes everything, forcing her to flee across dimensions to Earth with an amnesiac wizard. Pursued by ruthless elves, she takes refuge in Downfell Manor, where her grandmother, Lucinda and her strange cat, Bella reside. Murder and mayhem follow Eleanor and Artemis, their paths inevitably crossing those of a non-magical wizard, Detective Finley Quiveridge.

The Girl in the Woods by Chris CulverThe Girl in the Woods by Chris Culver:

A volunteer found the body while searching the Missouri backwoods for a pair of missing teenagers. The victim was murdered and dumped at a camp site deep in the woods.

It’s tornado season in central Missouri. The air is still. The sky is dark green. There’s a wall cloud to the west.

A nasty storm is coming…

Detective Joe Court knows her team shouldn’t be out there, but they need to collect the evidence before it’s destroyed.

Little does Joe know, that storm should be the least of her concerns…

Letters in the Library by Kathi DaleyLetters in the Library by Kathi Daley:

A heartwarming cozy mystery series about losing everything, taking a chance, and starting again.

After suffering a personal tragedy Abby Sullivan buys a huge old seaside mansion she has never even seen, packs up her life in San Francisco, and moves to Holiday Bay Maine, where she is adopted, quite against her will, by a huge Maine Coon Cat named Rufus, a drifter with her own tragic past named Georgia, and a giant dog with an inferiority complex named Ramos. What Abby thought she needed was alone time to heal. What she ended up with was, an inn she never knew she wanted, a cat she couldn’t seem to convince to leave, and a new family she’d never be able to live without.

In book 2 of the series, Abby finds a bundle of letters which had been written in 1954 in the wall of the library after Lonnie tears it down as part of the remodel. Intrigued by the secret revealed in the letters, Abby and Georgia set out to find the rest of the story.

Meanwhile, Chief Colt Wilder uncovers a new clue relating to the death of a local girl the previous summer. In spite of her vow to focus her time on her writing, Abby finds herself pulled into the tangled web of half truths that may tell a different story than was first believed true.

Join Abby, Georgia, Rufus, and Ramos, as they continue with the remodel on the old mansion, prepare for a busy summer season, and continue to find a new meaning for their lives in the charming small town of Holiday Bay.

North Country Girl by Anthony DeCastroNorth Country Girl by Anthony DeCastro:

Voices from the past are best left there.

Myrtle Beach PI Fuzzy Koella knows this better than anyone.

But when his old teammate Jo Jo Bigtree calls about a young vagabond accused of murdering a nun, Fuzzy doesn’t heed that advice.

In the frigid landscape of Upstate New York, Fuzzy finds a town with a penchant for violence and dark secrets. An abusive high school hockey coach. A Voodoo doctor. A corrupt Tribal Sheriff. Even his own friend and the good Sister, herself.

As the temperature drops and the body count rises, Fuzzy questions the wisdom of sticking around to catch another bullet. Or worse, freezing to death. But a scared kid sits in jail that nobody seems to care about except Fuzzy.

Fuzzy Koella returns in his second, exciting adventure. If you love witty detective novels with a dose of hard-boiled action, you won’t want to miss North Country Girl.

The Fat Detective in Love by Christian HayesThe Fat Detective in Love by Christian Hayes:

Eugene Blake Is Back

When Eugene fills out an online dating profile he does not expect it to lead to his next case.

But his search for love triggers a mystery involving a glamorous (straight-to-video) movie actress, a shadowy society known as The Brotherhood of Broken Hearts and a fictitious 1940s New York detective. Oh, and he might just fall in love along the way.

This all means that Eugene is forced to put on his raincoat and head out into the rain-soaked city again.

Captivating, inventive and mysterious, The Fat Detective in Love is the second exciting book in the Eugene Blake trilogy by London novelist Christian Hayes.

Read now to find how Eugene’s journey as the most under-qualified detective in London continues…

The Ghost Who Says I Do by Bobbi HolmesThe Ghost Who Says I Do by Bobbi Holmes:

A Valentine’s Day Wedding at Marlow House?

Love is in the air—along with secrets—some are deadlier than others.

Will secrets from Clint Marlow’s past come back to haunt Walt and Danielle?



A Book of Truths by Ty HutchinsonA Book of Truths by Ty Hutchinson:

She’s feisty. She’s fearless. She’s fifteen. Meet Mui, the assassin’s daughter.

When a book filled with cryptic handwriting falls into Mui’s possession, she thinks nothing of the scribbling—until she learns the writings are hidden messages, and one is connected to her past.

But Mui’s not the only one interested in deciphering the symbols. Someone is killing anyone with knowledge of that information. Will Mui fall victim while figuring out her connection to the book?

A Book of Truths is the first installment in a gripping series about a mother-and-daughter assassin duo.

Ghoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia JaymesGhoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia Jaymes:

It’s time for another Ravenmist Whodunnit! A tiny Midwestern town with charming covered bridges, quirky residents, delightful antique shops, and more than their share of haunted activity.

Tedi has another packed inn of people for the Ravenmist Valentine’s Day Ball. The evening was a complete success until she and Jack find a dead body on the back patio with a Cupid’s arrow through his heart. There’s no shortage of suspects for his murder either. Jack will have his hands full paring down the list.

And Tedi? She’s staying out of this. No way is she going to be pulled into it. Not after last time. She has her own investigation. She and her friend Missy are trying to find why the town has suddenly been infused with paranormal energy. Ghosts are literally getting up and dancing around. It’s all going well too. That is until the investigation starts to hit just a little bit too close to home.

Hop into your ghostmobile and take a ride with Tedi as she meets a spirit who doesn’t think he’s dead, two ghosts in love, and a hard partying specter who just might have witnessed the murder. It’s a hauntingly good time in the little town of Ravenmist and you’re invited to the party.

The Spoils of War by Ethan JohnsonThe Spoils of War by Ethan Johnson:

Be careful what you search for…

After a successful tactical strike against The Thirteen, Ana Lode searches the city for her fellow rookie officer Sloan, who languishes in a secret detention facility.

This causes friction between Ana and the mysterious Klark, who insists on her undivided attention in the struggle to free the city from the iron grip of The Thirteen.

When Diane Pembrook leads a strike team to their remote hideout, Ana is forced to choose between her loyalty to Klark and her vow to save Sloan. What — and who — is she willing to sacrifice in the name of justice?

Freaky Witches by Amanda M. LeeFreaky Witches by Amanda M. Lee:

Mystic Caravan Circus is heading for the Midwest … and their first stop is Michigan. Hemlock Cove to be exact.

Poet Parker is looking forward to what she believes will be a quiet time. Hemlock Cove isn’t big, after all, and Mystic Caravan is essentially serving as the centerpiece for a paranormal festival in a town where everyone pretends to be witches.

There’s just one problem … real witches are afoot, and they’re unbelievably powerful.

When a body drops close to the circus grounds, Poet finds herself facing off with local law enforcement, the town’s only reporter, and an elderly witch who is set in her ways … and knows exactly how she’s going to do things no matter who agrees with her or not.

Yes, Poet is about to interact with the Winchester witches, and who comes out on top is anybody’s guess. The only thing both factions know is that they have to work together to uncover a killer and keep their true natures under wraps. That’s easier said than done, especially when Nellie and Aunt Tillie join forces and decided to take control of the situation.

It’s a battle for supremacy, with Mystic Caravan in one corner and the Wicked Witches of the Midwest in the other. Both sides are going to come out swinging … and cursing.

Place your bets.

Lady Rample and Cupid's Kiss by Shéa MacLeodLady Rample and Cupid’s Kiss by Shéa MacLeod:

Just when Lady Rample has given up on love, a former flame reappears, bringing with him all sorts of emotions she thought buried. Unfortunately, that flame comes with one very aggressive and rather angry almost-ex-wife. The ensuing catfight is almost worth the price of admission.

When the ex-wife is found dead in Hyde Park, stabbed with a hatpin in the shape of a heart, the police naturally assume the killer is the husband. Our intrepid heroine is not about to allow her love to go down for a crime he didn’t commit. Unfortunately, proving him innocent may put her own neck on the line.

Never one to shirk from danger, Lady R—with the help of her eccentric Aunt Butty—will need all her wits about her if she’s to solve the crimes of the Cupid Killer.

Enjoy the glitz and glamor of the 1930s with the sixth book in the popular 1930s historical mystery series, Lady Rample Mysteries.

Arsenic in the Azaleas by Dale MayerArsenic in the Azaleas by Dale Mayer:

Riches to rags. … Controlling to chaos. … But murder … seriously?

After her ex-husband leaves her high and dry, former socialite Doreen Montgomery’s chance at a new life comes in the form of her grandmother, Nan’s, dilapidated old house in picturesque Kelowna … and the added job of caring for the animals Nan couldn’t take into assisted living with her: Thaddeus, the loquacious African gray parrot with a ripe vocabulary, and his buddy, Goliath, a monster-size cat with an equally monstrous attitude.

It’s the new start Doreen and her beloved basset hound, Mugs, desperately need. But, just as things start to look up for Doreen, Goliath the cat and Mugs the dog find a human finger in Nan’s overrun garden.

And not just a finger. Once the police start digging, the rest of the body turns up and turns out to be connected to an old unsolved crime.

With her grandmother as the prime suspect, Doreen soon finds herself stumbling over clues and getting on Corporal Mack Moreau’s last nerve, as she does her best to prove her beloved Nan innocent of murder.

Ghostly Hunt by K.E. O'ConnorGhostly Hunt by K.E. O’Connor:

Murder by crossbow. A haunted house used for ghost hunting, and an unloved iguana waiting for his soul mate!

When Lorna Shadow takes on a short term job at Applebank Manor, she gets the shock of her life. It turns out she’s in charge of setting up romantic weekends full of ghost hunting!

When a recent murder comes to light and the ghost asks for help, Lorna’s drawn into the mystery, alongside Helen and Flipper.

As the mystery deepens, the house ghosts cause Lorna problems, while Helen has to get to grips with a broken stove and a giant iguana. Then another crossbow murder takes place.

With the police closing in on the wrong suspect, Lorna must move fast. Can she stop the killer before they strike again and save an innocent man? And will Helen help a lonely iguana find his forever home?

There will be ghosts, humor, romance, treats, and a murder (or two) to solve in this new cozy ghost mystery.

The Forgotten Mother by M.L. RoseThe Forgotten Mother by M.L. Rose:

When a famous film director is brutally killed in his home, Detective Arla Baker is called in to investigate. This killer is sadistic, insanely clever, and somehow able to stay one step ahead of the police. As Arla pulls the clues out, disturbing secrets emerge from the glittering glamour of London’s film studios. This director had secrets that an entire industry would kill to keep quiet…

Arla’s own love life is heating up. But before she knows it, the man in her life is threatened by this killer, and he will not stop till he meets his goal. For some reason, the killer wants Arla.

He’s watching her.

Waiting for her.

He will destroy everyone around her till he has Arla in his grasp…

My Wicked Valentine by Lotta SmithMy Wicked Valentine by Lotta Smith:

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner… Love is in the air and so are the ghosts!

When Rick’s old friend, up-and-coming celeb psychic Brian Powers is accused of murdering an esthetician at a luxe gentlemen-only spa, Mandy’s cozy afternoon at home goes from cookie-baking to crime solving.

With baby Sophie and ghost-pal Jackie in tow, Mandy and Rick take to haunting the spa where the facials are fab and the intrigue is high-end.

Every suspect has a secret, but who’s willing to kill to keep theirs under wraps? [Seaweed wraps, that is.] Find out in this dangerously funny installment of the Manhattan Mystery series.

Valentine's Blizzard Murder by Linnea WestValentine’s Bizzard Mystery by Linnea West:

When a minor celebrity staying at the Shady Lake Bed and Breakfast dies of an allergic reaction during a blizzard, it doesn’t seem like it could get much worse. But was it really an accident?

Jake Crawford is a D list celebrity who loves to come back to Shady Lake to be the big fish in a small pond. This time, he brought his new wife back to Shady Lake for his honeymoon and they are staying at the bed and breakfast that Tessa Schmidt helps her family run. Jake is kind of a jerk, but then a blizzard hits and he dies of an allergic reaction. It seems like things couldn’t get any worse for a Valentine’s Day weekend. But Tessa is starting to suspect that the allergic reaction isn’t the horrible accident she had assumed.

As the blizzard stretches on and on, secrets keep coming out. It seems like almost everyone has a motive to kill Jake. Can Tessa figure out who wanted to kill Jake Crawford before the killer strikes again?

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