Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for March 2020

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 crime fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some February 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, hardboiled mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mystries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, domestic thrillers, legal thrillers, noir, private investigators, amateur sleuths, police officers, FBI agents, lawyers, missing persons, domestic abuse, crime-busting witches, crime-busting realtors, crime-busting journalists, crime-busting writers, crime-busting weretigers, murdered mayors, murdered Santas, dark family secrets, crime and murder in New York City, Nashville, Florida, Oregon, California, Damascus 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:

Murder in the Early Hours by Blythe BakerMurder in the Early Hours by Blythe Baker:

When Alice Beckingham finally uncovers the truth about her brother’s death, she must set off for New York City in search of the powerful criminal responsible. An unexpected family reunion pulls her cousin Rose and the famous detective Achilles Prideaux into the case, even if Rose seems mysteriously reluctant to be involved.

Alice’s search for her brother’s killer will lead her from the streets of the city to the highest echelons of New York society as she closes in on the shadowy villain.

With the murder of an informant destroying Alice’s best hopes of cornering her enemy, will she ever find justice for her family? Or will the painful mystery that has tormented her for years go forever unsolved?

Death in Damascus by Karen Baugh MenuhinDeath in Damascus by Karen Baugh Menuhin:

A 1920s Murder Mystery – Death in the desert with intrigue, adventure and a dog of distinction.’

There’s a damsel in distress and accusations of attempted murder flying around, but it’s not in the comfortable confines of the English countryside, it’s in the very distant city of Damascus.

Lennox must go and investigate, although he’s not too keen on exotic locations, and his old retainer, Greggs is distinctly averse to the very idea.

Nevertheless, ex-Chief Inspector Swift persuades them and they reach the ancient city to discover a movie crew, a spy and a couple of mysterious ladies. Nobody seems to be telling the truth, they all have secrets, and there’s one secret in particular that’s drawn them like bees to the honeypot. But what is it? And then there’s murder, and mysteries from the ancient past, and a handsome Sheik who remains in the shadows. Heathcliff Lennox and Swift must investigate and use all their ingenuity to unravel the enigma that lies hidden deep below the dusty streets of ancient Damascus.

Major Heathcliff Lennox, ex-WW1 war pilot, six feet 3 inches, unruly dark blond hair, age around 30 – named after the hero of Wuthering Heights by his romantically minded mother – much to his great annoyance. Death in Damascus is the fourth book in the Lennox series.

Killer Deals by Jenna BennettKiller Deals by Jenna Bennett:

Savannah Martin has always been a good girl, doing what was expected and fully expecting life to fall into place in its turn. But when her perfect husband turns out to be a lying, cheating slimeball, Savannah kicks him to the curb and embarks on life on her own terms. With a new apartment, a new career, and a brand new outlook on life, she’s all set to take the world by storm.

If only the world would stop throwing her curveballs…

A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS – #1

Everyone has warned new-minted realtor Savannah Martin that real estate is a cutthroat business. But Savannah doesn’t think she’s supposed to take the warning literally … until an early morning phone call sends her to an empty house on the ‘bad’ side of town, where she finds herself standing over the butchered body of a competitor, face to face with the boy her mother always warned her about.

Rafe Collier is six feet three inches of testosterone and trouble; tall, dark, and dangerous, with a murky past and no future—not the kind of guy a perfect Southern Belle should want to tangle with. In any way. But wherever Savannah turns, there he is, and making no bones about what he wants from her.

Now Savannah must figure out who killed real estate queen Brenda Puckett, make a success of her new career, and avoid getting killed—or kissed—by Rafe, all before the money in her savings account runs out and she has to go back to selling make-up at the mall.

HOT PROPERTY – #2

When Savannah Martin’s fellow Realtor and friend Lila Vaughn is robbed during an open house, Savannah rushes to the rescue with tea and sympathy, or at least a really good lunch and a shoulder to cry on. However, Lila seems more peeved than distraught, and her main gripe is that the sexy robber who tied her to a kitchen chair—for her own good—didn’t follow her suggestion to tie her to the bed instead.

Lila’s description of the man fits Savannah’s old school-mate Rafael Collier to a T. Rafe has recently turned up in Savannah’s life again, and he isn’t above doing a little breaking and entering. Metro Nashville Homicide Detective Tamara Grimaldi is of the same opinion, and when Lila turns up dead, tied to her bed and strangled, Rafe becomes a suspect.

Now Savannah must get busy finding the real murderer before Detective Grimaldi can arrest the wrong man.

Death Between the Pages by Beth ByersDeath Between the Pages by Beth Byers:

April 1937

When Georgette Dorothy Aaron first started writing books, she little expected to affect real life. When she dives into writing crime novels with Robert, she little expects to see fiction come to life once again.

Once before she wrote a book and changed the fate of her neighbors. Was it happening again? When the book she and Robert Aaron write together seems to be coming to life, Georgette can’t help but wonder if the gods are playing games with them.

Once again, Georgette and her family turn to the crime in front of them and work together to discover just what happened, why it happened, and what to do next.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Country Bumpkin by Sam CheeverRudolph the Red-Nosed Country Bumpkin by Sam Cheever:

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Bumpkin, died a very shiny death…

Rudy-Bob Hortmann has never quite gotten the hang of making friends. He doesn’t much like people, mostly preferring the company of his pot-bellied pig, Ethel Squeaks to humanoid types. But there’s one exception. Rudy-Bob loves kids. So for Christmas every year he gives himself a present. He plays Santa at the annual Deer Hollow Christmas party. Only this year, Rudy-Bob doesn’t make it out of the Santa suit when the Pageant is done. Instead, Deputy Sheriff Arno Willager finds Rudy-Bob literally chillin’ in a snowbank, his bulbous nose flashing red through the snow.

That’s where I come into the picture. I’m Joey Fulle and I’m pretty good at finding bodies around my place on the outskirts of Deer Hollow. I didn’t actually find this one, of course. But I’m fully invested in locating his killer. ’Cause, with the help of my handsome PI boyfriend Hal, my sweet and goofy Pitbull Caphy, and my opinionated Siamese cat, LaLee, I’m also pretty good at finding killers. Sometimes, even before they find me…

Family Secrets by Stacy ClaflinFamily Secrets by Stacy Claflin:

Some questions are better left unasked.

Like whose blood is on the knife upstairs.

Kenzi Brannon’s life was turned upside down when she moved into her family’s abandoned home to raise her niece. Problems compound when her aging mother starts to remember things.

And clues the police find regarding the knife don’t match anything Kenzi knows about her family.

Things go from bad to worse when she and her niece discover something horrifying in their house. But not even that compares to the strange ways her mom is acting.

Can they get to the bottom of it all, or will their house—a local legend that goes bump in the night—and the family secrets destroy them all?

Hush, Hush by Niki DanforthHush, Hush by Niki Danforth:

She’s living proof that 55 is the new 35, but this case could send the rookie P.I. into permanent retirement.

Private detective Ronnie Lake has a few wins under her belt, but she’s still proving she’s got what it takes, including to her biggest critic…herself. Eager to solve more crimes, the recently-licensed sleuth accepts a job to track down a young runaway. Her search quickly points to a far more sinister crime.

Sniffing out clues with her loyal German Shepherd, the determined investigator uncovers a brutal crime and meddling authorities. The abduction may be part of a dark conspiracy that’s out of her league, and following a trail that leads to shadowy powerbrokers could put her directly in their crosshairs.

Can she solve the case before one missing person turns into two dead bodies?

A smart heroine, fast-paced action, and now a dash of political intrigue, Hush, Hush is the page-turning fourth standalone book in the Ronnie Lake Mystery Series.

The House in the Woods by Mark DawsonThe House in the Woods by Mark Dawson:

Four murders. Two detectives. One mystifying crime.

On Christmas Eve, DCI Mackenzie Jones is called to a shooting at a remote farmhouse. Ralph Mallender believes his father lies dead inside. When three more bodies are discovered, it’s clear a festive family gathering has turned into a gruesome tragedy.

At first it seems like an open and shut case: a murder suicide committed by Ralph’s volatile brother Cameron. Then new evidence makes Mack suspect the man who reported the crime is in fact the perpetrator.

But Mack isn’t the only one with a stake in the case. Private investigator Atticus Priest has been hired to get Ralph acquitted. That means unearthing any weaknesses in Mack’s evidence.

Irascible, impatient and unpredictable, Atticus has weaknesses of his own. Mack knows all about them because they share a past – both professionally and personally. This time round, however, they aren’t on the same side. And as Atticus picks at the loose ends of the case, everything starts to unravel in a way neither of them could ever have predicted…

Apple of My Eye by Alyssa DayApple of My Eye by Alyssa Day:

A detective who turns into a tiger. A pawn shop owner who can see how you’ll die. The criminals never had a chance.

If you enjoyed Sookie Stackhouse and True Blood, you’ll love Tess Callahan and the Tiger’s Eye mysteries. Tess and sexy shapeshifter Jack solve mysteries with supernatural flair, and the laughs fly as fast as the clues.” — New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn.

When Tess starts receiving mysterious gifts from a stalker, addressed to “The Apple of My Eye,” she starts to worry. Because it’s Dead End, Florida, where dead bodies have been piling up faster than competitive pecan pies at the county fair. But when the gifts turn deadly, she and Jack know they have to solve the mystery and track down the stalker before they find another dead body … and this time it might be Tess!

Luckily, Tess has Jack to help her solve this case … because sometimes it takes a tiger’s eye to see the truth.

The Post Office by John EllsworthThe Post Office by John Ellsworth:

This is the story of Rachel, the world’s bravest girl.

She is very sick and needs a lawyer to get the right medical care. Enter Thaddeus Murfee, who takes up her case and starts doing what lawyers do. Her family and Thaddeus travel from California to Oregon, where the laws are friendlier. There, they set up housekeeping in a campground. Their group includes a young male nurse named Johann.

Johann takes a package to the USPO to mail. Waiting in line, he happens to glance at the FBI Wanted posters. Only to find–he’s wanted, too! The chase is on. Who could that possibly be in the poster if not him? And the name on the poster is his own name. Frantically, he places a call to Thaddeus Murfee.

The trials begin, a race to live, a race to die…

Wicked Reunion by Lily Harper HartWicked Reunion by Lily Harper Hart:

Ivy Morgan was convinced she was heading toward a smooth future … until she was arrested and charged with criminal trespass. Sure, she was saving a woman from certain death at the time, but in order for the criminal case to hold up against a murderer, she has to face the music.

Fear is the one thing Ivy hates more than anything else, so in order to make herself feel better, she decides to fix her Aunt Felicity’s love life. That includes tracking down an old love … who just so happens to have set up shop one town over.

While visiting, Ivy is horrified when a battered woman straggles through the door and is immediately shot dead by a masked man. Traumatized, horrified, she calls her fiancé Detective Jack Harker for help. By the time he arrives, though, things are already spiraling out of control.

Ivy was always a good girl – although sometimes with a bad attitude – but now she’s a murder suspect thanks to some overzealous police officers … and a criminal record that’s fresh in the minds of everyone concerned.

Jack is determined to protect Ivy, but there’s only so much he can do. That means he needs to work with her to solve the crime. Otherwise, it could haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Who would be so brutal, though? That’s the question of the day.

A dangerous game of cat and mouse is afoot, and it’s going to take both Jack and Ivy working together to figure it out.

New Media & Old Grudges by Amanda M. LeeNew Media & Old Grudges by Amanda M. Lee:

Avery Shaw likes to win. Unfortunately, her single-minded focus on being declared victor tends to get her into trouble. That’s never more true than when she decides to take on her archnemesis Tad Ludington.

With an election coming up, Avery is ready to let her freak flag fly in an attempt to get Tad to show his true colors on television … thus sabotaging his chance at getting into office. That backfires when, after a truly epic meltdown, Tad is shot and left for dead in his own home.

Sheriff Jake Farrell knows Avery isn’t guilty but his belief doesn’t matter when the case is taken away from him and given to the Michigan State Police. The incoming investigator zeroes in on Avery almost instantly … and makes her life a living hell.

In addition to Tad, who is fighting for his life in the hospital, Avery also has to grapple with Eliot’s former employee Fawn, a woman who won’t stop flapping her lips about Avery’s probable guilt … all because she holds a grudge and finally has a platform to express it.

Avery is in a bind. She’s been banned from covering Tad’s attack and the election, and she’s being called a “suspect” on every television station in the state. If she wants to clear her name, she’s going to need help.

There’s little more she loathes than asking for help. She has no choice this time.

Avery has always attracted weirdos. This go-around, those weirdos are going to come to her defense. It’s going to take a motley band of colorful characters to save Macomb County’s favorite intrepid reporter.

Will they be up for the challenge?

No Crone Unturned by Amanda M. LeeNo Crone Unturned by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall is on the verge of getting information about her past. Patience has never been one of her virtues, though. As she’s waiting for her source to get settled, a new problem arises … and it has fangs.

When she was a kid, a chance encounter in a park left Scout questioning the existence of monsters. Now, one of those potential monsters is back … and he’s taken up residence in Hawthorne Hollow. He isn’t alone either.

Vampires are on the prowl and it’s up to the Spell’s Angels to figure out what they want and eradicate them through any means necessary. That’s easier said than done, though.

Scout can’t shake the feeling that something bigger than the obvious is happening, and when her boyfriend’s close friend is infected, she realizes she has to increase her efforts if she wants to save as many people as possible.

One vampire is deadly. A nest, though? That can be catastrophic. In this particular case, the head vampire trying to infiltrate Hawthorne Hollow has a plan … and it involves turning as many people as possible.

It’s a race against time. Scout has to keep those closest to her safe while expanding her search for answers. In the end, she might get more than she bargained for on both fronts … if she can survive long enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Girl Next Door by A.J. RiversThe Girl Next Door by A.J. Rivers:

Complete silence filled the room until an unexpected sound brought Emma out of her slumber and into the mystery of the girl next door.

Sherwood is a sleepy little town. A town full of friendly faces, and even friendlier neighbors.

Which is why FBI agent Emma Griffin isn’t surprised when her new neighbor starts stopping by to chat.

Turns out her neighbor has a dark past and secrets that made her run.

As much as Emma wished it wasn’t true, dark past and secrets are things that she is far too familiar with, especially now more than ever.

A chilling unknown filled the air of Sherwood, Virginia.

Strange things are happening around Emma.

Things that no one can explain, and many don’t believe.

And when Emma witnesses two figures hidden by sheer curtains, strangling a smaller figure.

A figure she can only assume to be Ruby’s.

She becomes a witness to the murder of the girl next door.

But what do you do when no one believes that the girl even existed?

Emma’s world starts to spin, and she begins to wonder…

Is someone taunting her and taking lives to torment her? Or has she truly gone crazy?

Magically Poisoned by Joynell SchultzMagically Poisoned by Joynell Schultz:

The Mayor was murdered?
And a magical plant from my garden is to blame?

Even if I wanted that jerk dead, running my Bed & Breakfast takes all my time. There’s no way I could have snuck a murder into my busy schedule, but obviously, someone I know did.

They stole a plant from my garden and poisoned the Mayor. It couldn’t be my hard-working assistant, the delivery driver, or my gardener, could it be? And I’m sure it wasn’t the sexy water witch who spends an absurd amount of time staying at my little Bed & Breakfast…but he does know way more than he should about magical plants.

When the police ask for my cooperation, I begin to investigate myself. Who would steal from me? Frame me? None of my friends look like they could murder anyone…but what does a murderer look like?

But don’t worry, I have this all under control.

I’m a potion witch and have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Murder at High Tide by Lee StraussMurder at High Tide by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s all wet!

It’s 1956 and WPC (Woman Police Constable) Rosa Reed has left her groom at the altar in London. Time spent with her American cousins in Santa Bonita, California is exactly what she needs to get back on her feet, though the last thing she expected was to get entangled in another murder case!

If you love early rock & roll, poodle skirts, clever who-dun-its, a charming cat and an even more charming detective, you’re going to love this new series!

Haftmann's Rules by Robb WhiteHaftmann’s Rules by Robb White:

It was another kiddie hunt. Ex-cop Thomas Haftmann is a private investigator in the resort town of Jefferson-on-the-Lake. What do you want me to do?” he asked the man sitting across the desk from him. “I want you to find her and bring her home,” he replied.” Haftmann countered “I have to ask this, you understand. What if she’s dead?” The answer: “Then tell me where she’s buried so I can bring her home.” Thus Haftmann faces another case, another venture into that dark world of murder and madness.

 

Deviant Souls by Amanda WilhelmDeviant Souls by Amanda Wilhelm:

Once I saw her, I had to have her.

Sam McIntyre had it all. Brilliant surgical career. Wealth. The begrudging respect of the best in the profession. Everything except someone to share it with.

Terri Malone is young, beautiful and a bit naïve. So what if Sam is a little possessive, a little pushy? Sam knows more about the world, about life, than Terri does. Of course Sam is going to make most of the decisions.

They look like the kind of couple everybody envies. The big house. The fabulous weekend getaways. The fast track to marriage and a family. As far as anyone knows, everything is perfect. And Sam will do whatever it takes to keep it that way.

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