Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for May 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 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, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, 1930s mysteries, 1950s mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, domestic thrillers, legal thrillers, medical thrillers, action thrillers, horror thrillers, police procedurals, romantic suspense, noir, private investigators, amateur sleuths, police officers, lawyers, spies, terrorists, drug dealers, yakuza, serial killers, dark secrets, sinister mansions, deadly cruises, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting librarians, crime and murder in Miami, Los Angeles, Louisiana, California, Norfolk, Paris, Columbia, the Panama Canal 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:

The Floating Funeral by Cheri BakerThe Case of the Floating Funeral by Cheri Baker:

Wealthy entrepreneur and famed gambler Morgan Picklewick is dead, and his family and friends are coming aboard the S.V. Adventurous Spirit for the memorial service at sea. As the ship heads to sunny South America, Morgan’s heirs will scatter his ashes in the deep blue waters of the Panama Canal. But not everything is as it seems. Morgan’s business partner and friend, Roberta Crowley, strongly suspects that he was murdered by one of his children.

Did one of Morgan’s children kill their father to avoid being disinherited? As Ellie mingles with the mourners, it seems everyone is hiding a motive or two. Perhaps one of his wealthy business partners saw an opportunity to take a bigger piece of the pie? And what about his ex-wife? Is her diva-like behavior covering a guilty conscience? As Morgan’s heirs prepare to seize their father’s stake in the cruise line, with devastating consequences for the crew, Roberta gives Ellie her most difficult assignment yet: Identify Morgan’s killer before the crew is torn apart and scattered to the four winds, forever.

Death in the Beginning by Beth ByersDeath in the Beginning by Beth Byers:

June 1938

A new baby, an elopement, an unexpected visitor. Georgette Dorothy Aaron and her family of orphans knew it would be an exciting summer, but none of them expected to be drawn into yet another murder investigation.

When they band together, however, surely they can accomplish anything.

 

The Darkest Garden by Stacy ClaflinThe Darkest Garden by Stacy Claflin:

How many secrets can one house hide?

Kenzi Brannon has always dreaded going down to the dark basement of the old Brannon house she grew up in. Now an adult, she’s returned home to find her apprehension has intensified. She avoids that locked door and the secrets beyond in hope that ignoring the problem will keep long-forgotten horrors buried.

A neighbor’s obsession with her house and history has rekindled Kenzi’s old fears. And reconnecting with someone from her past may force her to face what she’s been running from her entire life.

And that might not be the worst of it.

The garden her family is restoring could conceal something far more terrifying than anything inside the house. Something that could rip her newly found family apart.

Some people say the truth will set you free. Kenzi can’t help but feel that it will destroy everything.

When You Star to Miss Me by Stacy ClaflinWhen You Start to Miss Me by Stacy Claflin:

She’s there for everyone. But who’s there for her?

Malia is the glue that holds her dysfunctional family together. Her two brothers need constant attention, the family business drains her, and her narcissistic parents are on the verge of divorce. All that leaves her little time for herself. But when her brother nearly dies in her arms, she’s terrified she isn’t enough to save him.

Then Lincoln walks into her life at that crucial moment.

Linc’s got real pain in his past, pain that’s made him harden his heart. Even so, he can’t walk away from Malia—not the night he meets her, and not afterward. She might just be the thing that helps him risk love again.

But Malia has secrets that make her try to push him away, secrets some people would do anything to protect. When Linc forces them to light, he puts her in jeopardy, making him once again face the fear of losing someone he loves. And this time, he doesn’t think he can survive it.

Kill Our Sins by J.M. DalglieshKill Our Sins by J.M. Dalgliesh:

What would you do to keep your past a secret?

When the mutilated remains of a woman are retrieved by local fishermen, it falls to DI Tom Janssen and his team to identify how she came to be in the water and what put her there. Joined on the case by his new permanent boss, DCI Tamara Greave, it remains to be proven if the woman’s death was as a result of foul play or a tragic accident.

The victim carried no means of identification, was poorly dressed for the winter and horribly disfigured when pulled from the water. As the case progresses old ghosts return to haunt those living in the present. Matters thought settled a long time ago face intense scrutiny… attention that some hoped would never come to pass. When childhood friends begin to question one another, suddenly the long forgotten past comes to the fore.

The misadventure of youth can have grave consequences. No matter how much time passes nor how deep you bury them, your sins will always return to haunt you. But who has the most to lose and what else are they willing to sacrifice in order to keep what they have? Is someone prepared to kill for their sins?

Janssen must reveal and catch a killer without a conscience before they strike again…

The Man Who Never Was by Mark DawsonThe Man Who Never Was by Mark Dawson:

Can the man who never was catch the criminals who never get caught?

John Milton is used to operating in the shadows, weaving his way through dangerous places behind a fake identity. Now, to avenge the death of a close friend, he must wear his mask of deception once more.

Beau Baxter was brutally murdered by a drugs cartel but that doesn’t stop Milton from blaming himself for his friend’s death. With the help of a trusted team of undercover experts and Beau’s son, Milton is determined to track down the killers. And he isn’t just after the man who gave the order. He’s heading right for the top.

Milton plans to follow the trail of cocaine from the nightclubs of Amsterdam all the way to its source in Colombia. Disguised as an ambitious buyer, he’s prepared to work his way up the cartel hierarchy one rung at a time. But the ladder can be slippery and, as Milton travels deeper into a world of violence, ruthlessness and greed, he finds himself in a jungle that could prove impossible to escape.

Bullets and Beads by Jana DeLeonBullets and Beads by Jana DeLeon:

Let the good times roll?

It’s Mardi Gras time and Fortune is looking forward to seeing the spectacle firsthand, but when a visitor to Sinful is murdered during the celebration there, Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie can’t help but wonder what happened. As they start looking into the woman and the family in Sinful she came to visit, their investigation sends them to New Orleans, right at the height of the Mardi Gras celebration. But instead of relaxing a little and enjoying the festivities, Fortune can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched.

When she catches sight of her father in the Mardi Gras crowd, she knows why.

Unfortunately, her father’s presence in Louisiana has brought with it a host of terrorists, all with only one thing in mind—locate and terminate Dwight Redding. Can Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie manage to evade the killers long enough to figure out why Dwight has returned from the dead? And will knowing the answer make things worse or better?

Ghostly Business by Lily Harper HartGhostly Business by Lily Harper Hart:

Every “quiet” town has secrets. The one nobody expected is about to rock Whisper Cove.

During what should’ve been a romantic double date, a fire breaks out at a historic home. Harper Harlow and Jared Monroe race to the scene to make sure nobody is trapped or in danger … and discover one heck of a secret.

It seems the house, which was owned by a solitary older woman who kept to herself, was being run as a brothel. Now she’s dead and there’s a bevy of married men on the hot seat for her murder.

Harper has a cantankerous ghost to deal with … and a bevy of odd emotions running roughshod over her mental health. She feels like an invader in her own skin, and she can’t figure out why.

Jared’s problems are even more pronounced. Whenever he questions an individual present at the house that night, they threaten him with a legal suit before clamming up. On top of that, he’s worried about Harper, who seems fixated on the case.

Since the moment they met, they were joined at the hip … and lips. Now, that unshakeable bond they’ve always reveled in is going to be put to the test.

Nothing can break them apart … but that doesn’t mean outside forces won’t try, and they might be willing to kill to do it.

Imminent Harm by Robin JamesImminent Harm by Robin James:

Her reputation is on the line. A woman’s life is in danger. Can she stop them both from flatlining?

Lawyer Cass Leary is desperate for a break from her family drama. And when a local judge asks for help protecting his sister from domestic abuse, she sees an opportunity to resurrect her career. But the case quickly turns ugly when her client vanishes without a trace.

Convinced the volatile husband is behind the disappearance, Cass doubles down on her frantic search. But she’s unprepared for the tragic twist that could upend the entire Delphi court system…

With powerful figures circling, can Cass expose the shocking truth before her voice is silenced?

Imminent Harm is the sixth book in the high-octane Cass Leary Legal Thriller Series. If you like strong female leads, gripping courtroom conflict, and page-turning suspense, then you’ll love Robin James’s riveting novel.

To Love a Witch by Amanda M. LeeTo Love a Witch by Amanda M. Lee:

Bay Winchester is at a crossroads in her life. Her powers are growing, her personal life is settled, and there’s a young witch in crisis under her care.

Things are … difficult.

A good witch at heart, Bay knows that the teenager she’s trying to tame is dangerous. To keep Hemlock Cove safe, she’s isolated her at the campground property she owns with her boyfriend Landon. While visiting one day, a ghost catches her attention across the lake … and when Bay crosses to investigate, she finds a fresh body and a whole lot of trouble.

It seems the new property owner is currently dating the victim’s ex-boyfriend and there’s a convoluted mess to untangle. That’s on top of the other people in town – including Aunt Tillie’s nemesis Mrs. Little – who keep showing up at the lake with an agenda.

Bay has no idea what to do. She needs to keep her teenage protégé hidden while uncovering a deadly story of an affair gone wrong and greed run amok. All the while she wonders what will happen if she can’t turn things around for her new teenage responsibility. What will she have to do to protect the people that she loves?

If that wasn’t enough, Landon is acting out of sorts. His demeanor is strange and he’s having secret conversations with her mother while trying to keep Bay out of his sock drawer. She can’t figure out why and her imagination is running wild.

It’s going to be a race to the finish. There’s an out-of-control ghost, a teenager who doesn’t want to be helped, and a man who has a plan to give his favorite witch everything she’s ever wanted.

This is the one you’ve been waiting for. The big moment is finally here.

The Whisper Killer by Rob LittleThe Whisper Killer by Rod Little:

Wolf Hollow is not like other towns. It gets what it needs.

Ben is a baby-faced serial killer who can charm his victims with a smile. But when he stumbles into Wolf Hollow to hide from the FBI, it’s the town that charms him and convinces him to stay. Because Wolf Hollow gets what it needs, and it needs Ben. It knows his secret.
Ben isn’t alone. He shares his body with a century-old demon. He may be the town’s worst nightmare, but he’s exactly what they need.

Under cover of a blinding snowstorm, a bitter enemy returns to Wolf Hollow, a group of men hell-bent on revenge, resolved to wipe out the entire town and leave no survivors. Only Ben has what it takes to stand in their way . . . if he chooses. He is their only hope.

Because some evils can only be met by a greater evil.

The White Death by Willow MorganThe White Death by Willow Morgan:

It’s Tessa Newbridge’s first ever live fire exercise as a Cadet in the LAPD Police Academy. She’s certain to graduate. She just has to get through the sealed course she’s been through five times before—without live fire.

Running out of ammunition with the exit in sight, she’s ready to finish the course when, out of nowhere, two strange men jump the fence into her line of fire.

That startling incident spins Tessa off into a nightmare whirlwind of danger, intrigue, and mystery that could blow her whole world apart, to say nothing of the country itself.

Nothing and no one is what she thought they were and hidden enemies and unknown allies emerge from every side.

Can she dig deep enough to find the resources within herself to overcome all the forces closing in around her, or will they destroy her and everything she holds dear?

Death Trap by Willow MorganDeath Trap by Willow Morgan:

By some miracle, Tessa Newbridge somehow survives the terrible car accident escaping the White Death Yakuza. Now she’s a sitting duck in a hospital bed with nothing and no one to stop the assassins finding her.

LAPD doesn’t seem to notice or care that the most dangerous crime syndicate on the planet wants her dead, and where is Leon Griggs, the hero Detective who saved her life?

Are the very Police officials assigned to protect her erasing the evidence that a tattooed member of the Yakuza is about to be elected President of the United States?

Tessa can forget about saving the world from impending disaster. She’s got her hands full just making it through the next few hours before her enemies finally catch up with her and she might not be the only one who pays the price.

Can she escape from this death trap before time runs out for her and those she loves?

Murder at the Fashion House by Sonia ParinMurder at the Fashion House by Sonia Parin:

Evie, Countess of Woodridge, is on a mission to rescue her favorite modiste from the consequences of an unfavorable review. Her quest is a timely diversion as her granny, Toodles, appears to be suffering from a case of restlessness.

All goes well until Evie’s public clash with the journalist responsible for the article is followed by the journalist’s death. The circumstances are suspicious and the police is warning Evie to stay away from the case.

While she is happy to comply with the detective’s request, the killer has other ideas and goes one step too far…

Never Walk Alone by Willow RoseNever Walk Alone by Willow Rose:

The world is on lockdown due to a virus that originated in Miami.

A woman is kidnapped from her apartment, and Detective Harry Hunter is on the case.

At the same time, his sister shows up after they haven’t seen each other in a year.

As it turns out, Harry’s sister knows more about the virus than she lets on. Soon, he wonders if the virus is connected to the missing woman.

As he digs deeper into the strange mystery, he realizes his sister’s life is in great danger, and so is his.

Bedlam by L.J. RossBedlam by L.J. Ross:

In a world gone mad, who can you trust?

Fresh from a high-profile case in the Paris fashion world, elite forensic psychologist and criminal profiler Dr Alexander Gregory receives a call from the New York State Homicide Squad. The wife of a notorious criminal has been admitted to a private psychiatric hospital and can no longer testify in his upcoming trial. Without her, their case will collapse but, amidst reports that the staff are as unpredictable as their patients, who can the police trust?

In desperation, they turn to an outsider and now Gregory must find the courage to step inside the fortified walls of Buchanan Hospital to uncover the truth. The question is, will he ever be the same again?

Murder and mystery are peppered with dark humour in this fast-paced thriller set amidst the spectacular Catskill Forest.

Blood Family by Jacqueline SeewaldBlood Family by Jacqueline Seewald:

In Jacqueline Seewald’s fifth Kim Reynolds Mystery, Kim, an academic librarian, is intent on locating her biological father, James Shaw. Unfortunately after finding him, he dies unexpectedly. It is up to Kim to connect with the family she has never known. In doing so, she discovers a half-sister who is in need of her help. Kim is concerned that Claire Shaw is being exploited, and Kim wants to help her however she can. Kim then learns that Claire’s stepmother also died under mysterious circumstances, and her stepbrother disappeared. Once Kim becomes involved, she quickly realizes her own life is now in danger. With Kim’s fiancé, Lieutenant Mike Gardner, Wilson Township homicide detective, investigating along with Sergeant Bert St. Croix, the race is on to catch a killer that is now intent on adding Kim to the list of deceased.

Murder at the Bomb Shelter by Lee and Norm StraussMurder at the Bomb Shelter by Lee and Norm Strauss:

Murder’s a blast!

Rosa Reed’s holiday with the Forester Family in Santa Bonita has turned into an extended stay, and Rosa decides to make use of her Metropolitan Police training and sets up a private investigative business ~ just like her mother! But she finds she’s not the only one who keeps business in the family, and when one of the members of the prestigious Gainer family is found dead in his bomb shelter, Rosa is invited to take on the case ~ much to Detective Miguel Belmonte’s chagrin. If Rosa doesn’t find the killer soon, the summer of ’56 just might be her last.

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