Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for September 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 August 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 noir, harboiled mysteries, cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, culinary mysteries, historical mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, action thrillers, horror thrillers, police procedurals, private investigators, amateur sleuths, forensic specialists, FBI agents, reporters, stalkers, serial killers, human trafficking, organised crime, cold cases, crime-busting witches, crime-busting werewolves, crime-busting dogs, kidnapped teens, missing mothers, murdered techies, murders in small towns and big cities, in New Zealand, Minnesota, Las Vegas, Boston, Florida, India 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:

A Missing Mom and Mutt Munchies by Aleksa BaxterA Missing Mom and Mutt Munchies by Aleksa Baxter:

Maggie May Carver is done with murder. She’s sworn that if she finds another dead body she’s just going to step right over it and continue on her merry little way. But when a little boy with sad eyes and freckles shows up asking her to find his mom, she just can’t say no.

Once more Maggie is in the thick of things, this time trying to find a little boy’s mom in time for his birthday with the help of her cranky grandpa, the handsome local cop, and his charming but criminally-inclined brother. Oh, and of course, her incorrigible Newfoundland, Miss Fancypants.

Chestnuts, Camping and Culprits by Cindy BellChestnuts, Camping and Culprits by Cindy Bell:

Kerri was looking forward to camping with her grandfather. Too bad their campsite just became a crime scene.

Kerri Gale is excited to be going camping with her grandfather, George, and her cute Yorkshire Terrier, Cashew. She is looking forward to a relaxing break and is leaving her nut shop, Nuts about Nuts, in the capable hands of her best friend and employee, Natalie. But when there are protesters and loggers at loggerheads in the Cascade Grove State Park, their idyllic camping trip isn’t as drama free as she had hoped.

Then things go from bad to worse when someone is found murdered on the mountain. Foul play is suspected, and her grandfather is one of the main suspects. With George having many secrets he can’t reveal and his nemesis, Detective Colleen Carver, on the case, Kerri knows that she must do everything she can to keep her grandfather out of jail. But when the murderer has their eyes on another victim, George and Kerri know that there is far more at stake than George’s freedom.

Will Kerri find the murderer before her grandfather lands up behind bars? Or there is another victim?

Recipe included: Ginger Chestnut Cookies

Danger Zone by Stacy ClaflinDanger Zone by Stacy Claflin:

Someone is going to great lengths to destroy Alex Mercer’s life.

On the surface, the Mercers are finally settling into a comfortable routine—Alex’s job is going great, he’s accepted his unusual family dynamics, and they’re even planning a dream vacation. Things couldn’t be better.

Or could they?

Dig a little deeper, and the problems are growing out of control. Someone is threatening to ruin Alex, his wife is harboring a shocking secret, and their daughter is hiding a dangerous new relationship.

If Alex’s cyber-stalker doesn’t get him first, his family could implode on its own. If he can’t unravel the tangled mess in time, he might lose everything—and everyone—he holds dear.

Bright Lights by Mark DawsonBright Lights by Mark Dawson:

Is John Milton on the path to redemption or the road to revenge?

John Milton has done some bad things in his life. Very bad things. Now he’s looking for ways to make amends. But trouble always seems to be looking for him.
Heading from San Francisco to Las Vegas, Milton’s solo road trip takes an unexpected turn when he picks up Jessica Russo, a young woman in distress at the side of the road. She urgently needs a ride and he’s happy to help her out.

But what starts out as a simple favour quickly becomes something more sinister. Once they get to their destination, it’s clear something isn’t right. Working for the Vegas casinos has got Jessica’s father wrapped up with the wrong people. A mistake that could prove fatal for him and his family.

This is just the beginning of a dangerous journey that will take Milton from Sin City to Siena and beyond. As Milton goes deeper into a world of violence, ruthlessness and revenge, will he finally put his demons to rest? Or is he about to awaken the devil he’s been trying to smother for so long?

Ghostly Fears by Lily Harper HartGhostly Fears by Lily Harper Hart:

Ten years ago, Harper Harlow lost a classmate. Jennifer Jessup was sweet, nice, and seemingly aimless in life. She came from a good family, lived on an island, and was spoiled with every material gift that could possibly be bestowed upon her.She was still unhappy.Now, a decade later, her father Byron Jessup has approached Harper with a business opportunity. He wants her – and the rest of her operation, of course – to spend a long weekend on his island. Other psychics and ghost hunters will be there, as will his family. The goal? To find out what happened to Jennifer.Harper feels weighed down with guilt, enough so that she can’t see straight. She feels bad about not reaching out to Jennifer when she was still alive and even worse about not looking for her once she went missing.Harper is out of her element. The other psychics are driving her crazy … and making her nervous. She can’t even decide if she believes Jennifer is missing or dead. When another woman on the island disappears, Harper is left with nothing but endless questions.She’s determined to find the answers, even if she has to delve into the past to do it. Someone doesn’t want her getting those answers, however, and it’s going to be a fight to the death to see who comes out the other side.

The Mystery of a Techie's Murder by Vijay KerjiThe Mystery of a Techie’s Murder by Vijay Kerji:

Priya, a software engineer, is found dead in her apartment when her flatmate Julia is away on a weekend. Detective Mayur finds a Pizza Hut cap with the strand of hair in it at the crime scene along with a cigarette butt and shoe prints. Krishna Raj, Priya’s manager, says Priya became close to her colleague, Praful, who has been sacked by his previous employer because of the sexual harassment charges. Mayur also learns that Priya’s fiance loves someone else and is forced to marry Priya by his parents. He also comes across Priya’s ex-friend and her uncle, who were also interested in Priya. He finds that her younger sister has a motive to become a sole proprietor of their father’s assets. Will Detective Mayur find the murderer in spite of hitting the dead end?

Oracles and Obituaries by Amanda M. LeeOracles and Obituaries by Amanda M. Lee:

Halloween is Avery Shaw’s favorite time of year. What’s not to love? Slasher movies, hot chocolate and corn mazes. She’s addicted to them all.

During a visit to one of those mazes, she runs across several men trying to kidnap a teenage girl. In true Avery fashion, she intervenes … resulting in a severe injury. While she’s on the mend, she starts tracking information on a group of people working in the area.

Avery can’t decide if she’s on to something or imagining things. The attack leaves her weaker than she would like, something she refuses to acknowledge, and questioning her investigative mind.

Eliot Kane, her live-in love, decides to help. As much as he wants her safe, he understands she needs to take control. Together, they’re going to dig until they find the information they need. Unfortunately for both of them, the deeper they get, the more they start to wonder just how big of an operation they’re dealing with.
Information pours in, leading to questions about missing girls from years before … and an odd woman serving as an oracle for the Halloween fans in the present. She’s keeping a secret, too, and Avery is determined to figure out what it is.

As she’s proven her entire life, Avery won’t quit until she wins. This time, however, the battle is going to be long, dark and deadly.

She won’t ever give up … even if the search for the truth ultimately kills her.

No Crones About It by Amanda M. LeeNo Crones About It by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall is settling in with the northern Lower Michigan branch of Spell’s Angels. She’s feeling bold, brash … and just a little bit flirty thanks to her burgeoning relationship with Gunner Stratton, a shifter whose father happens to serve as the chief of police in Hawthorne Hollow.

Things are going well … until they’re not.

A group of shifters who used to live in the area have returned and they’re up to something. Right from the start, Scout is suspicious but she can’t quite explain why. Then, when a local homeless man is found dead – with Scout’s name literally carved into him – she starts to believe that she’s being set up to take a fall.

Gunner is determined to help. His history with the shifters in question makes things difficult, though. On top of everything else, it becomes apparent that the dead guy’s ties to Scout run deep … like genetically deep. He’s related to her, and for a woman who was abandoned as a child, it’s a hard blow to absorb.

Gunner is determined to stick close as the warring wolves close ranks and start issuing threats. It’s going to take everybody working together to find the answers Scout desperately needs, including uncovering the secret of her past. When one of their own is taken, Scout has no choice but to put her full cache of magic on display.

It’s going to be a fight to the finish, rival gangs going at one another, and only one side will be victorious.

Which one will it be?

The Pale White by Chad LutzkeThe Pale White by Chad Lutzke:

After being held against their will in a house used for trafficking, three girls plan their escape.

Alex: A hardened goth-punk who’s convinced she’s a vampire with a penchant for blood.
Stacia: A seventeen-year-old raised by an alcoholic mother, her fellow captives the only family she’s ever truly had.
Kammie: The youngest of the three—a mute who finds solace in a houseplant.

But does life outside the house offer the freedom they’d envisioned? Or is it too late, the scars too deep?

A coming-of-age tale of revenge and survival that explores a friendship and the desperate measures taken to ensure they stay united, held together by the scars that bind them.

This contemporary Suspense Thriller / Horror novella with an all-female cast is the perfect read for fans of Robert R. McCammon, Stephen King, and Jack Ketchum.

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

Deception by Jason RichardsDeception by Jason Richards:

It started as a simple case . . . then the bodies started piling up.

Elizabeth Barlow hires private investigator Drew Patrick to gather evidence of her husband’s affair. But the truth is even more devastating. Nevin Barlow is entangled with some of Boston’s most dangerous figures, and Drew’s investigation leads deep into a shadowy world of money-laundering and murder.

When an informant is run down in the streets of Boston, Drew realizes just how far Nevin Barlow and his associates will go to keep their secrets from coming to light. But in a world of lies and deception, nothing stays secret forever. A surprise twist will either help Drew prove his case or get him killed.

Witty and tough hard-boiled detective Drew Patrick returns in this gripping crime thriller novel that keeps the pages turning.

Say You Love Me by Willow RoseSay You Love Me by Willow Rose:

Former FBI-profiler Eva Rae Thomas is back and embedded in a true nightmare reaching deep into her own family.

What would you do if your brother was accused of a horrible crime, and you were certain he didn’t do it?

Life is not done throwing Eva Rae Thomas curveballs.

A phone call turns her life upside down – once again. The call is from her father, the man she hasn’t seen in thirty-six years, not since he kidnapped her sister in a supermarket.

Now, he is back in Florida, and he needs her help. Her younger brother – who she didn’t know existed – has been arrested on Amelia Island. The boy is in a coma after being shot by an officer during the incident. But his father doesn’t believe the police, and he asks for Eva Rae’s help to prove it.

At the same time, a serial killer is planning one of the most horrific mass killings in history.

Will Eva Rae find it in her heart to help her father after what he did to her? Will facing him again set her free or pull her under?

Dead Cat Bounce by Robert WhiteDead Cat Bounce by Robert White:

Old Mrs Bello lived above the family grocery store all her life, she worked hard, was frugal and lived an ordinary life. There was one thing that people knew about Mrs B though – she absolutely didn’t trust banks.

When she died at the age of 88 there was only one question on everyone’s lips – what happened to the family money?

Despite frantic searching from her surviving relatives, not a single cent was ever found and the missing family fortune passed into local legend.

Butchie Parmenter doesn’t believe in legends.

Experience has taught Butchie not to believe in anything except himself, so when good fortune unexpectedly lands at his feet he grabs the opportunity with both hands, determined not to let go. No matter what.

Butchie should have figured that nothing worth having ever comes easy and if something looks too good to be true, it usually is.

A Dark and Painful Mystery by Wendy M. WilsonA Dark and Painful Mystery by Wendy M. Wilson:

NEW ZEALAND, 1878: Has the missing man been murdered in the dense bush, or has he simply abandoned his wife and children for another woman?

Sergeant Frank Hardy and his new wife Mette attempt to solve two real mysteries from nineteenth century New Zealand: the whereabouts of Peter Kane, who left his home to look for work and did not return, and the brutal murder of an accommodation house owner who was splitting palings in the bush. Were they connected? If so, how?

As one newspaper said at the time about the Peter Kane disappearance:

“…the fate of the poor fellow may be cleared up, and the state of horrible suspense in which his unfortunate wife has been kept in for months brought to an end; and we would ask not only the people of Woodville, but of the other districts he may have visited, to take all possible steps to throw light upon what at present appears to be a dark and painful mystery.” The Manawatu Times, Volume III, Issue 81, 20 July 1878

This engaging novella is perfect for readers who have enjoyed the other three Sergeant Frank Mysteries. For readers who have not read the series already, the novella includes a backstory/history of the two main characters.

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