Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for February 2021


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 January 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 traditional mysteries, cozy mysteries, historical mysteries, Victorian mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, 1950s mysteries, paranormal mysteries, science fiction mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, humorous crime fiction, police procedurals, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, environmental thrillers, conspiracy thrillers, science fiction thrillers, dystopian thrillers, romantic suspense, police officers, amateur sleuths, private investigators, FBI agents, lawyers, journalists, serial killers, missing persons, elder abuse, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting maids, crime-busting dressmakers, crime-busting ghosts, detective AIs, murder and mayhem in Chicago, Washington DC, New Orleans, Pennsylvania, Maine, California, Suffolk 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 Design for Deceit by Blythe BakerA Design of Deceit by Blythe Baker:

Upon hearing rumors of “dark” goings on at a nearby country estate, Iris Dickinson cannot resist the pull to become involved. When a sudden storm traps her on the property, she must navigate the dangerous waters of a family mystery she does not fully understand, without the help of her sister Lily.

But there is more than one mystery haunting Iris, as shadowy childhood memories resurface. Can she survive one “storm” before being overtaken by another?

 

An Unexpected Misfortune by Blythe BakerAn Unexpected Misfortune by Blythe Baker:

Anna Fairweather’s resolution to delve further into the death of her father is interrupted by a fresh murder investigation. When a dinner party at the home of the attractive Jerome Townson ends in violence, it is up to Anna to get to the truth.

But with even her own employer a suspect, will Anna uncover a darker secret than she bargained for, one that could change her life forever?

 

Conviction by Jennifer BlackstreamConviction by Jennifer Blackstream:

Shade’s FBI partner has shot a kelpie.
Again.
And this time, the law may not be on his side…

Agent Andrew Bradford once used deadly force to stop a kelpie from kidnapping a human teenager. And now Shade has gotten a call saying he’s done it again. Flesh-eating kelpie dead, human victim saved.

At least, he thinks that’s what happened.

He doesn’t remember.

His inability to clearly recall the night’s events forces Shade to seek answers among the monsters of the Otherworld. She’ll have to question scheming leannan sidhe, malicious waterhorses, and take a dangerous step into the world of vampire politics.

Otherworlders are nothing if not opportunistic. And there are plenty of powerful players ready to take advantage of Shade’s desperation to do whatever it takes to save her partner…

Amid Rage by Joel BurcatAmid Rage by Joel Burcat:

A psychotic coal mine operator and cynical neighbors with an anti-mining agenda fight out a strip mine permit battle. Mike Jacobs, a 29-year old environmental prosecutor with Pennsylvania’s environmental agency, DEP, is caught between the warring factions, but is ordered to “babysit” the case. All Mike wants to do is to protect the environment and neighbors from certain harm as a result of the proposed mining. Sid Feldman, the Philadelphia lawyer for the mine operator, who oozes power and privilege, offers Mike a job midway through the proceedings. Miranda Clymer, the lawyer for the neighbors, pulls out all the stops to win Mike’s affection and assistance. Mike’s nearest and dearest friend, Nicky Kane is by his side as his paralegal. Mike must use all of his talents as a lawyer and rely on his discretion and courage to do what is right and not anger the political bosses for whom he works. In the cataclysmic ending, someone will die, but who?

The Uncountable Cost of Mystery by Beth ByersThe Uncountable Cost of Mystery by Beth Byers:

January 1926

Severine DuNoir and friends have left New Orleans and started on the trail to just what happened to Jane Oliver.

Things are confused and emotions are intense as they find Jane. The relief of finding their missing loved one fades as they have to face what they’ve found? Will their friendship survive? Where do they go from here?

 

Snakes and Ladders by Adam CroftSnakes and Ladders by Adam Croft:

A body lies amongst the undergrowth in Mildenheath Woods. His hands are bound behind his back, and he’s been killed execution-style.

But the victim isn’t a gangland kingpin: he’s a well-liked young man, never in any trouble, who had his whole life ahead of him.

But as Jack Culverhouse and Wendy Knight begin to dig deeper into what happened, a shocking new truth comes to light. Was the victim quite as innocent as he seemed?

Pagan's Veil by Matt EatonPagan’s Veil by Matt Eaton:

Washington Times-Herald reporter Edna Drake receives an anonymous tip about a classified government program in possession of a fully functional flying saucer.

But before she can publish she’ll need to prove it, which won’t be easy.

It’s 1952… the flying saucer frenzy is at its peak. Sightings are through the roof across America.

Nobody knows what’s going on, least of all the government.

Yet Drake is sure President Harry Truman and the US Air Force know a lot more than they’re willing to admit.

Standing between her and the truth is retired soldier and wartime spymaster ‘Wild’ Bill Donovan.

Donovan is worried America will end up at war with the Soviet Union if Drake gets too close.

Pagan’s Veil brings you face-to-face with the men who’ll do anything to keep their secrets under wraps.

Moonlight Dance Academy by Mike FaricyMoonlight Dance Academy by Mike Faricy:

Desperate times call for desperate measures!

Hub Schneider and Val Harwood flee the upper midwest for sunny Florida. They’re unemployed, broke, and basicly, haven’t a clue.

Hub’s girlfriend had piled his belongings in the driveway and set her sights on someone else.

Fortunately, Val has come up with a get rich quick brainstorm. UniqueDancing!

Open a ‘Dance Academy’ and while Val gives lessons to wealthy seniors, Hub can break into their homes and steal precious items they’ll never miss.

What could possibly go wrong?JUST WAIT!

Start with J.W. Brooks, head of a criminal enterprise in Atlanta.

Add to that there’s the “little” problem of ‘Crazy Bobby Falconi’ mobster hitman. Lord only knows how things will workout. Better grab your copy to find out…

All the Pretty Witches by Lily Harper HartAll the Pretty Witches by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok was looking for adventure when she inherited Casper Creek from her grandmother.

She got more than she was bargaining for.

Now she’s grappling with two ancient sister witches, both of whom are inhabiting the bodies of others, and a war is brewing.

Hannah knows she has to fight on the side of good but she’s not certain their ally has anybody’s best interests at heart, and it has her faltering. On top of everything, there’s a new demon on the loose and he appears to have joined sides with the dark witch who wants to end them all.

Life has never been easy for Hannah but it’s harder than ever for her now. The magic she’s only recently discovered is taking hold … and growing. That makes her an appealing target for the sister witches should they want a stronger body to leap into.

Cooper Wyatt loves Hannah with his whole heart but fear has gripped him by the throat. He wants to help Hannah with her battle but he’s not sure what he has to offer … other than loyalty. He will protect her with his dying breath, although she’s determined to make sure that’s not necessary.

Ancient evil is about to take on a powerful new witch. Who will be left standing? It’s anybody’s guess.

The Last Exit by Michael KaufmanThe Last Exit by Michael Kaufman:

Set in Washington D.C. in the near future, climate change has hit hard, fires are burning, unemployment is high, and controversial longevity treatments are only available to the very rich. Enter resourceful young police detective, Jen B. Lu, and her ‘partner’, Chandler, a SIM implant in her brain and her instant link to the Internet and police records, and constant voice inside her head. He’s an inquisitive tough guy, with a helluva sense of humor and his own ideas about solving crimes.

As a detective in the Elder Abuse unit, Jen is supposed to be investigating kids pushing their aging parents to “exit” so they are eligible to get the longevity drug. But what really has her attention are the persistent rumors about Eden, an illegal version of the longevity drug, and the bizarre outbreak of people aging almost overnight, then suddenly dying–is this all connected? Is Big Pharma involved?

When Jen’s investigations of Eden take her too close to the truth, she is suspended, Chandler is deactivated, and her boyfriend is freaked out by “the thing inside her brain.” This leaves Jen to pursue a very dangerous investigation all by herself.

Valentine's Day: Kiss of Death by Charlot KingValentine’s Day: Kiss of Death by Charlot King:

The quintessentially English Professor Elizabeth Green is not herself, shut in her bedroom she doesn’t even have time for her grandson, Godric, whom she adores. As the director of the student play, Godric, meanwhile, attends a College Valentine’s Banquet with some of his troupe. Soon after, he is one actor down, a body is found.

Meanwhile, Inspector Abley’s messy divorce has brought him alone up to Grantchester, as Sergeant Lemon steps in to lend support. With mystery after mystery building up, will Professor Green open her door to help?

Hugely popular author makes this beautiful historic city of Cambridge, England, leap off the page, with the eccentric Professor of poisons. Join the fast-growing number of readers of these page-turning whodunnits in the tradition of Agatha Christie, Colin Dexter, and grab a murder mystery fuelled by poison in the dark alleys of Cambridge!

Missing Amanda by Duane LindsayMissing Amanda by Duane Lindsay:

P.I. Lou Fleener’s got a great disguise—he’s kind of short, slightly pudgy, and a little nondescript. But whatever you do, don’t get in a fight with him, even if you’ve brought a couple of buddies. Because you’re gonna lose every time. Some people just have a gift.

One of Lou’s is that nobody ever sees him coming, and he’s pretty much the Bruce Lee of street fighting. Who they see—especially if they’re female—is his tall, handsome friend Monk, and that brings us to Lou’s second superpower. He’s got a little something for the ladies too—he can dance like an Arthur Murray instructor.

Not your average 1950s Chicago P.I.

Duane Lindsay’s fresh take on the tough-guy detective is nicely buttressed by humor, graceful writing, and big, fun plots that sometimes evolve into intricate capers. Like this one.

It starts out nice and easy. Lou—an expert in Chicago gangster lore—is hired against his better judgment to find the adorable missing daughter of a wise guy. Only Amanda’s not really missing. In fact, there is no Amanda. The gangster’s got a devious agenda of his own.

But by the time Lou’s found that out, he’s got four crime bosses gunning for him, and he’s plenty pissed off. Not only should you never fight with Lou Fleener, you should also never piss him off. He quickly enlists Monk to outplot the plotters— because Monk’s super power is working out intricate and diabolical revenge plans. Next thing you know, Lou, Monk, a ragtag bunch of other P.I.s and blonde, intrepid Cassidy, Lou’s new squeeze, are conducting a dizzying array of heists that whisk the reader around glorious 1950’s Chicago.

If it all works, they get to live. And they might get rich. And for sure, somebody gets the girl.

Vengeance and Dinner by Sophie LoveVengeance and Dinner by Sophie Love:

Marie Fortune, 39, a successful dog groomer in Boston, leaves the stressful life behind and heads to a small town in coastal Maine to create a new life. She remains intent on renovating the old, historic house her great-aunt left her and giving it a new life as a B&B. Yet there was one thing she couldn’t plan for: the house is haunted. Two things, actually: her great-aunt also left her a dog—and he is far from a typical dog.

When Marie is invited to exorcise a supposedly haunted house, she encounters a twist she never could have anticipated. But before she can wrap her mind around the situation, a man turns up dead—forcing her to solve the case and to clear her own name.

To Die For by Willow RoseTo Die For by Willow Rose:

Former FBI-profiler, Eva Rae Thomas is caught off guard by a murderous plan that sends her on a pulse-pounding race against time in this romantic thriller by Willow Rose.

It is a typical Tuesday morning. Scott Benton gets up, kisses his girlfriend Sarah goodbye, and goes to work.

But when he returns home from work later in the afternoon, his girlfriend of two years is gone.

And just like that, Scott’s life is turned upside down.

The police are after him, thinking he hurt her. His friends and family have turned their backs on him, thinking the same. Meanwhile, there is one thing Scott can’t stop thinking about.

Two months ago, Sarah told him that he should go looking for her if she ever turned up missing.

Former FBI-profiler Eva Rae Thomas has enough on her plate as it is: a newborn baby, an upcoming marriage, and a house not big enough to fit them all.

On top of it, she takes in a young girl who is in serious trouble, only adding to the strain on her family life.

When Scott Benton shows up and tells her she’s his only hope in finding his girlfriend, Eva Rae is inclined to say no, but she can’t get herself to do it.

Scott and Eva Rae used to date for a brief period in high school, and Eva Rae isn’t the type of person who just can stop caring about someone.

Especially when they have nowhere else to turn.

As the investigation deepens, Eva Rae Thomas finds out what it is from her past that Sarah was so afraid of, and she’ll need all of her profiling skills in the race against time to find the girl before it is too late.

The Valentine's Day Murders by Kendall ScottThe Valentine’s Day Murders by Kendall Scott:

It has been nine months since Constance Aberfield “retired” from her crime solving ways and she is loving every minute of it. That’s what she is telling herself anyway. Besides, with Valentine’s Day week descending upon the small town of Modest Peak, Constance is flat out too busy to even think of doing anything non-hotel related. Even if she wanted to work a case, she would not have the time.

Constance is so dedicated to her retirement in fact, that when she is alerted to a serial killer known as the St. Valentine Killer, operating in Denver, she refuses to take the case. Even Sheriff Nevil, begging for her help for a change, isn’t enough to get her back in the game. She really is done with that life.

But when the St. Valentine Killer makes his way to Modest Peak, and begins to target people close to Constance, she will have to ask herself if her self-imposed retirement is worth it. This is especially true when it becomes increasingly clear that only she possesses the skills required to put the killer behind bars once and for all.

Murder at the Races by Lee StraussMurder at the Races by Lee Strauss:

Murder is a wreck!

Rosa Reed attends a charity stock car race in Santa Bonita and expects to have an exhilarating time shared with family and friends. That ends when a driver inexplicably crashes into a guard rail and dies. When local assistant medical examiner, Dr. Larry Rayburn determines the death is suspicious, Rosa once again finds herself working with the handsome Detective Miguel Belmonte in an awkward and uncomfortable alliance to solve the murder.

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