Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for May 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 April 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 Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, hard boiled mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, paranormal thrillers, romantic suspense, noir fiction, private investigators, amateur sleuths, ex-cons, precognitives, serial killers, missing persons, heists, crime-busting witches, crime-busting fashion photographers, crime-busting cats and crime-busting ghosts, a surfeit of puppies, murders in small towns and big cities, on theatre stages and aboard cruise ships, in 18th century Venice, contemporary New York City, Glasgow, New Orleans, Las Vegas, North Carolina, New Mexico 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:

Cold Steele by Kimberly AmatoCold Steele by Kimberly Amato:

A SERIAL KILLER IS SAYING IT WITH FLOWERS…
In the fourth installment of Kimberly Amato’s chilling hard-boiled mystery series, badass detective Jasmine Steele is back — and shockingly, to herself most of all — she’s as happy as she’s ever been.

She and her brilliant psychologist partner Frankie are planning a wedding that’s been years in the making, and she’s settled into a new chapter of life with her nephew-turned-adopted son, Chase. But the good life turns out to be more fleeting than the detective’s caffeine withdrawals.

Jasmine, or Jazz, to her friends, gets a rude awakening when a 3-year-old cold case comes back hot. New York City’s “Carnation Killer,” a serial rapist and murderer, leaves his fifth calling card on a woman named Emilia Smith. The calling card? A heart-shaped carving into the woman’s chest and a single white carnation.

On the creep spectrum, Jazz puts this killer somewhere between Jack the Ripper and the Zodiac Killer. And her veteran right-hand man is on medical leave.

She’s joined instead by temporary partner Detective Sydney Locke, a welcome new character. Sydney’s pretty green but has a fiery determination and talent for the beat that Jazz recognizes within minutes. Soon enough, they’ve got a mentor/protégé thing going – which certainly comes in handy at their often patriarchal workplace.

And it turns out Jazz and Syd will need that and more when the military gets involved with the investigation — because the victim is none other than the daughter of a high-ranking official, and the brass knows more than they’re saying.

What the team does know is that Emilia’s last night alive was spent at a college bar that sparks Jasmine’ least happy memory – the very same establishment that served as a backdrop to her own early adult years, a past defiled and traumatized by a dangerous man. Just as Jazz is finally ready to be happy, her bone-chilling trauma comes rushing back. And the Carnation Killer is still out there.

Out of Options by Dianne AshcroftOut of Options by Dianne Ashcroft:

Out of Options is a prequel novella to the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series, and introduces Lois Stone and her companions, Raggs and Ribbons, a pair of perceptive calico cats.

A dry district, a shocking secret, a missing person. When Lois Stone’s friend, Beth Darrow, arranges to meet her to reveal an astonishing discovery, Lois’s curiosity is piqued. Then Beth doesn’t keep their lunch date and Lois becomes worried. What has happened to her friend?

Middle-aged widow Lois is settling into life on her own in her neighbourhood and in the library where she works, and she is just about coping with her fear of strangers after her husband was mugged and died in the park at the end of their street. But her quiet existence is rocked when her friend and fellow local historical society researcher, Beth, arranges to meet her to reveal an exciting and shocking discovery she has made about the history of prohibition in West Toronto Junction, the last dry area in Toronto, and then goes missing before she can share her secret with Lois. There isn’t any proof that Beth is missing so the police won’t actively search for her. Only Lois and Beth’s niece Amy are convinced that Beth’s disappearance is very out of character, and they are worried about her. Where has Beth gone? Is she in danger? And, if she is, who might want to harm her and why? Lois knows she must find the answers to these questions fast if she wants to help and protect her friend.

And so begins a weekend of skulking in the park, apple and cinnamon pancakes, familiar faces staring out of old newspapers, calico cats, shadows on the windowpane, and more than one person who might want Beth to disappear from the quiet, leafy streets of the historic and staunchly dry West Toronto Junction neighbourhood.

The Lion's Diamonds by Richard AuffreyThe Lion’s Diamonds by Richard Auffrey:

Recently released from prison, Leonidas “the Lion” Blackwood is already looking for his next score when a perfect opportunity drops into his lap. To appease his parole officer, Leonidas works at a local church doing general cleaning maintenance. He learns that five million dollars in diamonds will be stored into a safe at the church. Leonidas isn’t a safecracker but he knows the combination to the safe. The heist should be simple. However, complications ensue, and Leonidas is soon on the run, trying to elude Russian gangsters, including a psychotic enforcer. Can Leonidas trust the sultry woman he met in a bar? Can he trust an old friend with whom he shared time in prison? Can he trust anyone? Is there any way that Leonidas can escape with the diamonds to a tropical island?

Court Me Kill Me by David BradwellCourt Me Kill Me by David Bradwell:

What if the only person you can trust is secretly plotting to kill you?

Fashion photographer Anna Burgin faces a career in ruins after her studio is destroyed, but when armed police burst into her home, she realises it’s the least of her worries.

Murders in Seattle, Frankfurt, Venice and London all point to one common killer – and the chief suspect has just been in her house. The evidence is compelling, the body count is rising, but as news emerges of a corrupt business network that reaches into the heart of the police, nothing can be taken for granted – especially the promises of the person who offers to protect her.

Packed with twists, intrigue and dark humour, Court Me Kill Me is book 5 in the bestselling Anna Burgin series. Read it now.

Bula Bridge by J. Drew BrumbaughBula Bridge by J. Drew Brumbaugh:

The exciting sequel to “War Party.” Tommy has another vision and this one shows a plot that will endanger thousands of innocent people. The only problem is the vision doesn’t provide the exact location, only a railroad bridge that will be destroyed. What can he do?

 

 

 

Hairless Harassment by Molly FitzHairless Harassment by Molly Fitz:

I never signed up to be a private investigator with a snarky, talking cat for a partner, but there’s no backing down now. Especially considering a prominent politician was murdered pretty much right in my backyard.

The only witnesses were the senator’s two hairless cats, Jacques and Jillianne. Normally pets want to help us solve their owner’s murders, but this time it seems the two devious felines might actually be the ones who committed it…

Surprisingly enough, my own partner in crime, Octo-Cat, actually wants to help this time, but he can barely understand our two prime suspects because of their strange Sphynx accents. And I thought speaking tabby was hard!

So, there you have it, even with two successful cases behind me, I really don’t know how I’m going to solve this one. Is it too late to go back and pick another career?

Murder at Macbeth by Samantha GoodwinMurder at Macbeth by Samantha Goodwin:

Whose deadly secret has taken centre stage?

When a talented, young actress unwittingly stabs herself live onstage after a prop knife is tampered with, suspicion immediately falls on her eclectic band of castmates. But who had the motive to kill the show’s leading lady?

As the insightful, yet disillusioned, Detective Inspector Finley Robson and his shrewd partner, Detective Sergeant Nadia Zahra, interrogate the seven key suspects, secrets unfold to unveil a web of scandal, blackmail, and deceit. Bitter rivalries, secret trysts and troubled pasts are just the beginning of the story…

Set against the backdrop of a gritty London theatre production of Macbeth, this compelling novel explores a dark world of mystery and intrigue. All is not as it seems…

The Devil and Ms. Devlin by Hannah HoweThe Devil and Ms. Devlin by Hannah Howe:

In her heyday, the critics regarded Dana Devlin as the most beautiful actress in movies. They also regarded her as shallow, lacking emotion. That was strange because Dana Devlin’s life had been a rollercoaster of emotions, with divorces and nervous breakdowns to the fore. And now she was making a comeback, in a gothic romance, Demon Seed.

Everyone’s a critic, it seems, because someone didn’t like the sound of Demon Seed, and they voiced their disapproval through a series of death threats. However, the death threats were covered in hearts, flowers and angels. What was going on?

Demetrios Angelopoulos, Dana’s lover, and the producer of Demon Seed, asked me to investigate the death threats. Meanwhile, I recruited Faye, Mac and Blake to ensure that Ms Devlin came to no harm.

As the cameras rolled, I opened a can of worms, which led to the spilling of secrets and murder. And Dana Devlin? She was about to play her greatest role, a role that would reshape her life.

Flip the Witch Switch by Amanda M. LeeFlip the Witch Switch by Amanda M. Lee:

Bay Winchester and Landon Michaels are looking for a romantic outing, revisiting the past now that they know they met as children. That trip leads them to the camp they visited back in the day … and to a new adventure.

It’s a happy excursion down memory lane until they happen upon the old pool and discover a hand poking out of an ancient cover. That means their day off becomes an official investigation.

Once identification comes through, Bay starts digging … and hard … to find out why a young woman writing a book would go missing in Hemlock Cove. The information she finds is disturbing … and the answers to the present case may come from the past, and a long-forgotten missing person’s case.

There’s a lot going on. Mrs. Little is trying to buy the property and wants the crime kept secret, which means Aunt Tillie is on a rampage to make sure her mortal enemy doesn’t win … even if the prize is something she doesn’t really want.

The Winchester witches are in turmoil. The local police chief is officially dating Bay’s mother, one of their own is keeping a huge secret, and they have a wedding coming up so that means dress fittings and place setting decisions galore.

Bay is on deck and has to figure it all out. She’s going to need help to do it. Even then, with her team in place, she might not come out on the winning side.

There’s a killer hiding in the shadows and death is coming. It’s going to take everyone working together to uncover the truth.

Can they pull it off?

Jake of All Trades by A.T. MahonJake of All Trades by A.T. Mahon:

Jake is not long out of prison for violence and takes on any job he can get. He is also a private investigator, though he doesn’t have a license, despite what his fake qualifications state.

Mrs Carson, his ex-teacher, hires him. They despise each other, but they forego their animosities for the sake of the job in hand. She wants him to find a missing schoolgirl by any means possible. In doing so, he comes face to face with perverts, rapists and gangsters.

With little information to go on, he has to cut corners, which includes aggression.

Along the way, he not only discovers the who’s who of the underworld, but also who he really is. It’s a far different picture than the self portrait he had painted of himself.

Things come to a head when he confronts both the antagonists and his own demons.

Serene by David NeilsonSerene by David Neilson:

Violent moneylender Corona Mundt warned Sophie not to come back to Venice, so she shouldn’t be guarding Archduchess Isabella at the Carnival – any more than Isabella should fall for louche, penniless, would-be librettist Larry da Ponte. And once the two of them get together, it’s only a matter of time before Sophie comes face to face with her worst enemy.Serene is the third in a series of novels from the era of Mozart and Maria Theresia.

 

 

Roots of Misfortune by Seth PeveyRoots of Misfortune by Seth Pevey:

The dead girl is holding roots, one grasped tightly in each palm, when the NOPD finds her mangled body out on Interstate 10.

David Melancon has gone independent. The corruption on the force was just too much for an old detective who doesn’t play ball. But there is something eerily familiar about the details of this young girl’s demise as he reads them in the Picayune. Something deeply personal. Something he can’t drink his way past this time.

But he’s got his young and naïve partner, Felix Herbert, to think about. The boy hasn’t even let the ink dry on his newly-minted PI’s license. He just isn’t ready for this kind of case.

Yet, when another girl goes missing the same week, a knock at the door ensures the two unlikely partners won’t have a choice. They soon find themselves entangled in an ever-thickening web of cruelty, violence, and revenge.

As they search for the missing girl, they’ll confront Voodoo priestesses, Mardi Gras Indians, and a secret at the root of things so terrible that, once uncovered, will change David Melancon’s life forever.

This is Not a Double Date by Grace RisataThis is Not a Double Date by Grace Risata:

Andi Cartwright is intrigued when her best friend invites her to a concert and insists it is not a set-up. Yes, she’ll be meeting Cara’s new boyfriend and his cousin, but it was made abundantly clear that this is not a double date.

Much to everyone’s surprise, Roman hits it off with Andi. The normally antisocial man recognizes a kindred spirit, and can’t stay away from her no matter how hard he tries.

After a series of group outings including an escape room, family game night, and a food eating competition, it becomes apparent that all is not what it seems.

Once Roman’s true motive is revealed, will Andi be able to put her feelings aside and move on…or will she simply become another victim caught in a web of lies?

This is not your typical ‘boy-meets-girl’ story. With plot twists around every corner and sinister intentions behind seemingly innocent actions, who can really be trusted?

Don't Tell by Willow RoseDon’t Tell by Willow Rose:

One close-knit family. Too many secrets.

When detective Jack Ryder is going skiing with his family in the mountains of North Carolina, he hopes for a week of fun in the snow with the ones he loves.

But then the body of a teenage boy turns up in the cold waters of the creek behind the cabin they have rented.

Don’t tell or you might be next.

The find shocks the rural community of Maggie Valley and rattles local law enforcement. What happened to the boy is more than strange.

Soon more bodies are found, and Jack Ryder digs into the case that seems to be anything but ordinary. What happened on the night that Benjamin Rutherford disappeared from the porch of his childhood home? Is his father — the local pastor — telling the truth? Is his sister?

As Jack digs deeper into this seemingly perfect family, he begins to wonder if any of them are what they pretend to be and what secrets they are hiding beneath the surface.

Coal Miner's Slaughter by Elise SaxCoal Miner’s Slaughter by Elise Sax:

Death is following Matilda, and it’s not going unnoticed in the small town of Goodnight, New Mexico. When she finds Inga Mueller, a local jewelry maker, drowned in a bucket of resin, Matilda’s reputation is sealed as the harbinger of death. As she begins to investigate Inga’s murder, she discovers Inga’s darker, secret life with ties to Goodnight’s prominent residents. In order to find the killer, Matilda must unlock the town’s secrets, and the town isn’t happy about it. As she follows the twists and turns of a mystery with a long reach, she’s making enemies and dodging a killer who wants to shut her up.

Coal Miner’s Slaughter is the fourth installment of the funny small town mystery romance Goodnight Mysteries series and a spinoff of the Matchmaker Mysteries.

Much Ado about Wicked Witness by Lotta SmithMuch Ado about Wicked Witness by Lotta Smith:

A tricky art theft and talking teacup… Throw in a perky ghost and a perkier toddler!

When a slightly tricky art theft takes place in an upscale Upper East Side neighborhood, Mandy and Rick are called in to crack the case.

With their daughter Sophie and Mandy’s ghost pal Jackie in tow, the USCAB duo tackle a baffling switcheroo. An art dealer’s pricey Japanese vase has been replaced with a cheap fake and an attempted murder complicates the situation. The only witness: a talking teacup. Can Mandy coax the spirit of an ancient Samurai with a fuzzy memory to spill the tea on who nabbed the Shino while wrangling a demanding toddler and wrestling with worry about taking a baby to a crime scene?

Join the Rowling clan as they attempt to literally save the Day in the latest adventure of the Manhattan Mystery series.

Nothing Ventures, Nothing Gained by Brennen TammonsNothing Ventures, Nothing Gained by Brennen Tammons:

Five men. Five unique personalities. Five different reasons.

In “The Celluloid Closet Series”, “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained”, five men embark in an epic journey, full of several twists and turns. This action packed, suspense, thriller, will have you entertained.

A group of men who feel ostracized from society, take on a world of organized crime, each for their own personal agenda. These men who all come from several backgrounds, form a special brotherhood, to obtain the success they seek.

Throughout the adventure, many trials and tribulations will form. These events will test these men to their ultimate potential and self worth. How far will these men go to achieve what they truly want? What risks will they be willing to take along the journey? Will they learn any important lessons along the way?

Keeping in mind, “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.”

Hazy Grooms and Homicides by Anne R. TanHazy Grooms and Homicides by Anne R. Tan:

Raina Sun arrives in Las Vegas to elope and ends up with a missing groom. With an overbooked hotel-casino and a rock and roll conference, Raina thought her fiancé was helping the hotel-casino with their security—until a strange woman searches Raina’s room and a dead woman is found in a laundry bag.

And to make matters worse, the security videos show both Raina and her fiancé interacting separately with the dead woman hours before her death. With no communication from her fiancé, Raina fears the worse—he is in hiding. But from whom? And how is he connected to the victim? With the help of the grandmas, can Raina find the killer and track down her fiancé?

Come join Raina, Po Po, and the rest of the gang in Sin City. It’s Vegas, baby! Grab your copy of “Hazy Grooms and Homicides” today!

Come Find Me by Casper ValentineCome Find Me by Casper Valentine:

Come find me…

Ever since they were kids playing hide-and-seek, Narcotics Detective Nate Randolph took care of his troubled half-sister. When he discovers her missing one morning, Nate immediately knows something is wrong. As a single mother she’s had her struggles, but Ruby would never run off and leave her baby all alone. Not even before she got clean.

Come find me…

Nate is under no illusions. Each day that passes diminishes the chances of finding his sister alive. But he’s not about to give up. Not when a shred of hope remains to solve her kidnapping. Not when a beautiful colleague offers to help. And definitely not when his sister’s plea echoes day and night in his mind.

Come find me…

When the Narcotics Task Force goes up against the Armenian Mafia, both investigations unexpectedly collide. Explosive revelations that tie past to present push Nate to the edge.

And everything is on the table when a man is desperate.

Pineapple Puppies by Amy VansantPineapple Puppies by Amy Vansant:

Puppies have taken over book NINE of the hilarious Pineapple Port mystery series from Wall Street Journal and USA TODAY Best-Selling author Amy Vansant!

Someone has left puppies on the doorsteps of Pineapple Port’s residents, but the adorable balls of fur seem to be connected to the murder of a nearby millionaire with too many heirs of his own. Meanwhile, Mariska’s been framed for baking a killer cake, and Charlotte must clear her name

Fans of classic cozy mysteries will adore this whodunnit packed with puppies, baking, horses, sneaky maids and a dead rich man!

Beauty Queens and Cruises by A.R. WintersBeauty Queens and Cruises by A.R. Winters:

What’s worse than a self-centered beauty queen? A cruise chock full of them!

But what if the self-centred beauty queen is also a murderer?

When the Swan of the Seas hosts a beauty pageant, Adrienne is forced to spend her time dealing with narcissistic judges, oblivious contestants and a feminist protest.

The event seems hectic enough, when Diana Penn, the esteemed beauty queen and headlining judge, is found murdered!

Now, it’s up to Adrienne and her friends Cece, Sam, and First Officer Hot Stuff—er, First Officer Ethan Lee—to sort through the secrets and lies and uncover the truth hiding behind those pristine smiles.

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