Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for September 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 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 cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, Regency mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, 1930s mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, humorous mysteries, paranormal mysteries, science fiction mysteries, police procedurals, crime thrillers, spy thrillers, action thrillers, police officers, amateur sleuths, private investigators, spies, journalists, sports agents, archaeologists, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting bakers, crime-busting cats, crime-busting ghosts, vampires, werewolves, Bigfoot, murdered Santas 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 Cat's Sure in the Rye by B.K. BaxterThe Cat’s Sure in the Rye by B.K. Baxter:

Bodies are piling up, and I’m in charge of figuring out why.

I can’t help it! There are innocent people being accused.

And don’t get me started on the heat and humidity in Beulah.

The thick cloud of death is only surpassed by the constant hot flashes induced by the weather.

I could keep going. I should actually.

After almost being killed by a history-obsessed realtor that wanted my inherited house for herself, I’m ready to get out of Dodge.

Unfortunately, this new situation is a bit more personal in nature.

A guy that disappeared a decade ago was discovered dead in this new case. Where has he been for the last ten years?

And one of my friends just happens to have the murder weapon. You can’t make these things up. Not even in the pages of a good mystery novel.

Speaking of books, my new book club is at the center of my thoughts as the judgmental kitty and I traverse this new mystery.

The members of the club are fan-girling over the town’s new resident, but the man is up to no good! I can feel it.

With all this craziness, it isn’t easy being a sleuth right now, but Chonks will help me navigate the twists and turns of this gritty mystery, as long as we’re home in time for his dinner.

That is a must.

Old Sins Never Die by Daniella BernettOld Sins Never Die by Daniela Bernett:

While in the Lake District, journalist Emmeline Kirby and jewel thief/insurance investigator Gregory Longdon overhear a man attempting to hire international assassin Hugh Carstairs, a MI5 agent who went rogue. They race back to London to warn Philip Acheson of the Foreign Office and Superintendent Oliver Burnell. But it’s a devil of problem to prevent a vicious killing, if the target is a mystery.

More trouble brews as Emmeline pursues a story about shipping magnate Noel Rallis, who is on trial for murder. Rallis is desperate to keep the negative publicity from exposing his illicit schemes, especially something sinister called Poseidon. Lord Desmond Starrett, whose dark past made him easy prey for blackmail, is getting cold feet about their dubious partnership. Hovering in the shadows of this ugly secret world is a Russian mole buried inside MI5. Scorned prima ballerina Anastasia Tarasova makes the fatal mistake of threatening to reveal all she knows. The hunt for the answers takes Emmeline and Gregory up to Scotland, where they learn that the truth has lethal consequences.

A Grave Case by Cora BuhlertA Grave Case by Cora Buhlert:

When the elderly widow Maureen Pettigrew is found bludgeoned to death on the grave of her late husband, the case seems clear. Maureen is the latest victim of the cemetery mugger who has been terrorising Kensal Green cemetery for several weeks now.

However, the only suspect – a young man in jeans and a battered leather jacket – is a phantom no one except the cemetery caretaker has ever seen.

Can Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd and her team find the young man in the leather jacket? And does he even exist?

This is a novelette of 7700 words or approx. 26 print pages in the Helen Shepherd Mysteries series, but may be read as a standalone.

A Lonely Little Death by Beth ByersA Lonely Little Death by Beth Byers:

Georgette Dorothy Aaron is a busy woman. She’s gone from being a lonely old maid to the matriarch of an growing family. Her writing career has expanded and for some reason the women in her life turn to her for advice. She’s not sure she’s qualified to help, but she does what she can.

Only a series of letters reveal that she’s become important to someone else. Someone she doesn’t know. And they’re asking for help–before it’s too late.

Now, she’s racing to piece together clues and find her pen pal before it’s too late.

A Masked Murderer by Beth ByersA Masked Murderer by Beth Byers

All Hallows 1926

Violet and Jack have been invited to a masquerade by someone who doesn’t name himself and gives no details other than all the guests are coming under the same circumstances.

They know something is afoot, so they aren’t even surprised when there’s been a murder. What surprises them is the invitation to all those in attendance to solve the crime.

 

On Borrowed Time by Adam CroftOn Borrowed Time by Adam Croft:

Each morning, the first train of the day leaves Oakham station and thunders through a tunnel under the village of Manton. But today the driver sees something that changes his life: A dead body hangs in the tunnel’s exit.

DI Caroline Hills knows this isn’t a suicide. It’s murder. And when a second apparent suicide appears in Rutland, Caroline uncovers a shocking link: the victims knew each other.

As Rutland Police fight to catch the killer, a group of friends is left with an even more shocking realisation. One of them is the murderer. And one of them will be the next to die.

The $3 Million Turnover by Richard CurtisThe $3 Million Turnover by Richard Curtis:

In the cutthroat, glamorous world of professional sports, one man works behind the scenes to fix his superstar clients’ biggest problems: agent Dave Bolt.

Officially, Dave Bolt is a sports agent, representing professional athletes in basketball, football, baseball, hockey—you name it. Unofficially, he is a kind of undercover operator, a troubleshooter for a number of pro sports organizations.

Bolt’s walk on the dark side starts with one phone call concerning the hottest basketball prospect in the country. It ends with a hairline fracture of his cheekbone, temporary blindness, a scrotum full of someone’s knee, and the loss of the most promising marital prospect since his divorce. Oh, and a commission of staggering proportions.

God Save the Spy by John EllsworthGod Save the Spy by John Ellsworth:

The story of a spy escaping from the Soviet Union in 1962. It continues even today.

Moscow learns KGB officer Nikolai Semenov is spying for the British in London. He is kidnapped and flown to Moscow, where a bullet awaits unless the British can get him out. Moscow is notoriously difficult to exfiltrate: the airport is crawling with KGB, no waterways to speak of, shipping and rails hopelessly monitored by KGB, leaving automobiles the only way out. Only MI6’s secret Operation TINKER might save him. Nikolai grabs his daughter and runs into the night, fiercely determined to make the rendezvous.

It is the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and President Kennedy desperately needs the war plans that only Nikolai has seen. He awaits Nikolai’s call, which will come once he reaches freedom. It is October 22, 1962, the day the Russian and US navies will collide at Cuba’s outer waters. Can Nikolai escape with his daughter and the intel Kennedy must have?

The Mystery of the Missing Heiress by Riana EverlyThe Mystery of the Missing Heiress by Riana Everly:

It is the summer of 1811 and Fitzwilliam Darcy is consumed with worry. His sister and her new companion were expected at Pemberley three weeks ago, but they seem to have vanished into the air. Is Georgiana safe? Is she even still alive? And is Mrs. Younge a victim in some nefarious plan or is she behind the disappearance?

Darcy’s friend Ecclesford tells him of a smart young investigator who might be able to help… and at the same time he might help Ecclesford with a romantic problem of his own.

In this prequel variation to Pride and Prejudice, private investigator Alexander Lyons makes his debut and sets his remarkable intellect to work to help Ecclesford win his bride and to solve the mystery of the missing heiress!

This is a novella of about 19000 words.

Dream House by Mike FaricyDream House by Mike Faricy:

P.I. Dev Haskell is minding his own business, looking out the window, when a pink Mercedes convertible pulls to the curb. His old flame, Barbie Dahl, a surgically enhanced Barbie Doll look alike, gets out of the car. Barbie Dahl, the same woman who dumped Dev on a trip to Las Vegas. Now, she’s back in town and needs Dev’s help. Apparently her extensive Barbie collection is missing, along with Arnold Wazinski, AKA Ken Carson, Barbie Doll’s significant other…

Fortunately, Dev comes up with a plan. But then Barbie gets involved and decides ‘Ken’ is going to pay, BIG TIME!

Another hilariously delightful Dev Haskell tale.

Sit back, enjoy, and realize things in life could be worse… A lot worse!

Ghostly Camping by Lily Harper HartGhostly Camping by Lily Harper Hart:

Harper Harlow’s romantic life is perfect, her wedding is in the works, and now she’s decided to enhance her business standing by attending a haunted campground opening. If she enjoys herself, publicly endorses it and the owner, then she’ll open up a brave new world.

Unfortunately for Harper, old ghosts die hard and a fresh murder taints what is supposed to be a quiet weekend.

Harper’s happy foursome – her fiancé Jared Monroe, her best friend Zander Pritchett, and his fiancé Shawn Donovan are all along for the ride – turns into a nightmare when the group must pretend to solve a fake murder while actively hunting clues regarding a real murder. On top of that, Harper and Zander don’t have as much fun “roughing it” as they thought they would … well, despite the s’mores.

Four urbanites go into the woods. Will any of them come out alive? It’s going to take everyone working together to solve an old mystery and ease the fresh hell that has emerged.

Get ready for adventure, because it’s going to be one heckuva trip, and there’s a big wedding right around the corner for those who survive.

Foreign Interference by Ethan JonesForeign Interference by Ethan Jones:

Played like a pawn…

Fresh off an operation that sent shockwaves across Europe, CIS covert operative Carrie O’Connor is dispatched down under. Her assignment is to identify the meddling of a foreign power in Australia’s internal affairs that could wreak havoc on their democracy.

Working with untested partners with dubious motives, Carrie discovers the extent of the political interference reaches higher than anyone had expected. With her efforts thwarted at every step by shadowy figures, she’s uncertain who she can trust and has to question even her closest allies.

Tested as never before, Carrie must infiltrate the powerful network pulling the strings. She’s taken on the CIA, terrorists, and her own past, but she has never come across something as powerful as this… What will she need to do to stop this deadly interference from spreading beyond the continent and across the globe?

Cut to the Crone by Amanda M. LeeCut to the Crone by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall needs answers on a past she can’t remember … and when an associate introduces her to an individual who claims to have known her family way back when, she believes those answers might finally be accessible. That falls by the wayside, though, when a tanned vampire lands in her backyard in the middle of the night … and he has a magical teenager in tow.

Sami Winters is all mouth and determination … and she’s looking for her parents. Scout wants to help, but handling a teenager like Sami isn’t as easy as it looks on the surface. By the time her wayward parents catch up with her – including a mother who is rumored to be the most powerful mage in the world – Scout finds herself knee-deep in a new adventure.

It seems female shifters in the area are going missing and rogue vampires from areas unknown are on the prowl. Sami Winters is a hybrid, part-wolf and part-mage, and she’s a coveted ally in what’s being described as a coming war. Scout has no choice but to join with the newcomers to figure out what’s going on.

Vampires and werewolves working together is unheard of, right? Maybe not. If the signs are right, it seems a new enemy is brewing, and Scout is going to need help taking down an entire army of paranormal foes.

At the end of the day, she just wants to know who she is and where she came from. The answers might be closer than she ever imagined.

Mayhem and Mistletoe by Amanda M. LeeMayhem and Mistletoe by Amanda M. Lee:

Avery Shaw has the world at her fingertips … and a pile of dead Santas near the railroad tracks. Interestingly, she’s more focused on the Santas than her personal life, but only because she’s been warned that a proposal is imminent from her live-in love Eliot Kane and she needs to look somewhere else – anywhere else will do – rather than accept what he’s trying to offer.

Avery never pictured herself married but it appears it might be happening … no matter how she tries to dodge and weave. The Santas make an enticing distraction, so Avery throws herself in with gusto.

Tracking the Santas isn’t easy because Macomb County Sheriff Jake Farrell doesn’t want the names released. He lets one slip, though, and that leads Avery on an adventure … all the way down to a halfway house in Detroit.

It’s a big world and some crimes are worse than others. The only common thread Avery can find when chasing this story is a drug ring, and when she pulls that particular thread, everything comes toppling down.

The drug world is dark and seamy and Avery is going to need her guile and wits to survive this one. Even if she comes out on the other side – and that’s a big if – then there’s a proposal waiting.

It’s finally time for Avery Shaw to grow up … at least a little bit. Come along for the ride, because the big moment is finally here. There might even be a murder to solve along the way.

The Last Review by Lucas PogrzebnyThe Last Review by Lucas Pogrzebny

TRUTH BECAME FICTION.
FICTION BECAME… DEATH.

Back in his native Buenos Aires, Polo Levington, a.k.a. “Levin”, a young freelance writer with a hidden phobia and an addiction to coffee, is tasked by an old employer with one last job—writing an article about The Last Farewell, a movie about to wrap shooting. The assignment is simple: he has to go to the studio and write about what he sees. Sounds easy enough, so he reluctantly agrees…

But what starts with typical behind-the-scenes drama—with two aging stars returning to the spotlight after a fatal tragedy decades prior—quickly spirals out of control when an actor is stabbed while the camera rolls…

Soon, between the props, make-up, and deceptions, death follows—and with it, a chilling descent into madness and an unsolved murder of a famous actress many years ago. Under the masks that the cast and crew all seem to wear, something dark lurks, bending the worlds of fiction and reality before Levin’s very eyes.

A crafty killer, capable of masking murder as fiction; a mysterious honey-eyed actress eager to solve the riddle as bodies pile up; a world-weary homicide detective, one case away from promotion.

And among them all is Polo Levington, seeking the truth—even if it brings him dangerously close to the trauma that has marked him for life.

All the while, Levin must ask himself: Is it ever too late to face your fears?

On the Loop by J.D. RobinsonOn the Loop by J.D. Robinson:

How can 30 crew members just vanish into thin air?

One last month in paradise before an 8,000-year journey. That’s what the Company had promised before whisking Alina Andra and her entire crew of 500 to tropical Tilulipu, where it had built a luxurious resort just for the occasion.

Only the rooms of the entire executive team now stand empty, and Alina’s crewmates turn to her to make sense of their predicament. So why have a handful of her more dubious colleagues decided that the mass disappearance is part of an outlandish plot? And why have they named Alina as a co-conspirator?

Now thrust into a less glamorous spotlight, Alina heads a search for the truth. But while the answer she discovers may explain the missing crew members, it may also put Earth’s first crewed extrasolar mission in jeopardy.

Black Frost by Willow RoseBlack Frost by Willow Rose:

Emma Frost is tied up in a murder mystery that seems out of this world.

When a young girl disappears one night from the park, then turns up again the next morning in a different place on the island, people start to talk about her.

Was she drunk and just doesn’t remember what happened?

Did she go home with a guy and won’t admit it?

What happened to her, and why is she insisting that she doesn’t know?

Emma Frost is fighting for Victor’s best friend, Skye.

Emma is trying to get her back from the people who took her in the night, but having no luck when a guy falls into her arms in the street and dies a few minutes later.

The autopsy shows he has frozen to death, but it doesn’t seem possible. When a young boy from Victor’s school turns up frozen as well, and things start to get cold around her own house, Emma begins to fear for her loved ones’ lives.

Once again, Willow Rose has written a story so compelling that it leaves the reader in almost unbearable suspense until the surprise ending is revealed.

Puff Love by John SladekPuff Love by John Sladek:

Puff Love is John Sladek’s final novel, completed just before his early death in 2000. A mystery story with the traditional elements of a discovered corpse, a crowd of suspects and a reluctant sleuth with an unusual sidekick, Puff Love has all the qualities associated with John Sladek’s best work: a gentle parodic wit, inventive ideas and a wholly original way of looking at modern life.

 

 

Murder at Tregowyn Manor by G.G. VandagriffMurder at Tregowyn Manor by G.G. Vandagriff:

Winter of 1935 finds Oxford archaeologist, Sonny Nichols, under arrest for the theft of a priceless Roman relic from a dig in Cornwall. Catherine Tregowyn and her sleuthing partners Harry and Dot go to his aid. Almost immediately an anonymous telegram threatens Catherine’s life. Dot’s cousin has involved himself in something deadly.

Undeterred, they motor down to the dig in Cornwall which is on Catherine’s estranged father’s estate. Shortly after their arrival, someone viciously attacks Catherine, nearly killing her. The next morning, one of the archaeologists is missing, and more artifacts have been stolen. The attacker is clearly desperate. Is this only simple greed or are there other factors at work here?

When murder intervenes, Catherine, Harry, and Dot must dig deeper. Is the murderer the charismatic student who has forsaken his aristocratic birthright? Or the misanthropic and penniless professor who seeks to advance his career? Could it be the charming and glib young Irish peer who loves Greek dancing or the ruthless student who needs to reverse his family’s fortunes?

When the truth finally comes out it is on a scale none of them could possibly have imagined…

Folk Tales and Fudge Brownies by A.R. WintersFolk Tales and Fudge Brownies by A.R. Winters:

When popular Bigfoot skeptic Kevin McNight is murdered, Jean Williams refuses to believe Detective Wheeler’s explanation that the killer was just a bear – she believes there was a human involved, and she’s determined to find justice for Kevin.

With the local Bigfoot festival just days away, there many who stand to benefit from Kevin’s death – from the well-known Sasquatch believer Roy Turner, to the event organizers who profit from the festival each year, to the Bigfoot “researchers” who despised Kevin.

In between working at her aunt’s bakery café, Jean finds time to slip into the woods and the festival campground in her quest to uncover the truth. But will her hunt lead her straight into a bear’s den – or worse, into the hands of a killer?

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