Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for September 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 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 hardboiled mysteries, cozy mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, WWII mysteries, traditional mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, spy thrillers, psychological thrillers, revenge thrillers, action thrillers, adventure thrillers, historical thrillers, police officers, private investigators, amateur sleuths, FBI agents, ex-CIA agents, spies, reformed thieves, con artists, assassins, organised crime, serial killers, missing persons, stalkers, influencers, real estate fraud, murderous circuses, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting journalists, crime-busting ghosts, murder and mayhem in London, New Orleans, Denver, Florida, Wisconsin, Malta, Syria, 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:

Impact by Mark David AbbottImpact by Mark David Abbott:

An honest man in a dishonest world.

Detective Inspector Rajiv Sampath still believes he can make a difference.

Fifteen years ago when he joined the Indian Police Service as a fresh recruit, he was full of big ideas and pure ideals about how he could make the world a better place by upholding the law.

Now, after years of working in a world that seems to reward dishonesty and self-interest, he could be forgiven for turning a blind eye.

But he won’t give up.

Follow Inspector Sampath as he does whatever it takes to make sure justice is served… even if sometimes he has to skirt the boundaries of the law.

Followers by Christina BerglingFollowers by Christina Bergling:

You never know who is on the other side of the screen.

Sidney, a single mother with a dull day job, has big dreams of becoming a full-time horror reviewer and risqué gore model. Between managing a cellphone store, honoring her soccer mom duties, and wrangling her hostile ex-husband, it seems building her following and interacting with her fans is the only authentic outlet she has—and the validation it gives her is proving to be a little addictive. She’ll overlook her responsibilities for it. She’ll neglect her real-life friendships for it. She’ll even pose nude in bathtubs of blood for it.

If her growing pool of online followers is any indication, her efforts are working, and things are looking good for her Elvira-esque aspirations. Her website is gaining traction, and every day it seems more and more people are sliding into her DMs to chat with her and tell her how amazing she is. In fact, Sidney has so many followers that chatting with them is getting to be a job in itself. More than a job, it might even be getting a little risky….

When Sidney travels to the mountains to attend a horror film festival, she is flattered to find that one of her followers has come to meet her. But he might not be the only one who has gone out of his way to get up close and personal with her. When Sidney is attacked on the way back to her hotel late one night, she learns that real-life horror is not a game, and being stalked isn’t flattering—it’s terrifying, and it could get her killed.

Believing the incident to be a fluke, Sidney decides to forget the attack and focus on her life again. Only this might not be so easy. Because Sidney—and her loved ones—are in serious danger. This stalker isn’t just your average stalker. He knows her every movement, and he knows each step of her routine. In fact, he’s right behind her…and when he gets close enough, he won’t take no for an answer.

Followers is a mystery and thriller with a strong female protagonist that blends women’s fiction with horror.

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

Viper's Nest of Lies by Daniella BernettViper’s Nest of Lies by Daniella Bernett:

Twice dead… A living nightmare

The discovery of a blood-encrusted stiletto knife in journalist Emmeline Kirby’s bag at Heathrow Airport sets in motion a chain of events that ensnares everyone she holds dear. The body of Sebastian Jardine is soon found in the boot of Superintendent Oliver Burnell’s car, leading to accusations that he and Emmeline conspired to commit murder. Desperate to clear their names, she turns to Philip Acheson of the Foreign Office for help. But when two Special Branch officers arrive to arrest him, he is forced to go on the run.

Gregory Longdon, Emmeline’s husband and a jewel thief/insurance investigator with ties to the criminal classes and MI5, is the only man Philip can trust. Gregory is on his own quest to prove her innocence in a game that makes no sense. Jardine was no stranger. His old friend was a former Interpol agent, who soured on the law and succumbed to his baser instincts. The real problem is Jardine died five years earlier. A fancy pink diamond with a murky provenance that men are willing to kill to possess holds the key to the truth. From London to Malta, Emmeline and Gregory are drawn into a web of corruption and revenge. Will they forfeit their lives for justice?

A Lesson in Murder by Verity BrightA Lesson in Murder by Verity Bright:

When Lady Swift is invited to her old school, she walks through familiar classrooms, finds her favourite books in the library… and surely that’s not a body? Time for a lesson in murder!

Autumn, 1921. Lady Eleanor Swift is invited to her old school, St Mary’s, as a guest speaker. Her favourite teacher, Mrs Wadsworth, has asked that Eleanor talk about her intrepid travels around the globe – travelling the Silk Road by bicycle, crossing the Himalayas and even befriending the Maharaja of India. But in the circumstances, perhaps it would have been a good idea to talk about her career as a daring detective…

Because no sooner has Eleanor brushed up on her times tables then she is greeted by terrible news: Mrs Wadsworth has been murdered. Eleanor is utterly devastated but she owes it to her dearest teacher to find out who killed her and why. So, alongside Gladstone the bulldog, it’s best paw forward to track down a villain.

But when the art teacher is also found dead, Eleanor is sure someone is trying to do away with the people who taught her everything. As Eleanor delves into possible motives, she discovers a clue in the most unlikely place: her mother’s old school diary. Does the route to the murderer lie within a secret passageway her mother uncovered? Can Eleanor nail the culprit in time or is the killer coming for her next?

Something Wicked by Beth ByersSomething Wicked by Beth Byers:

Smith is a man who knows when to say no. He avoids the cases where he’ll never get paid. The cases for which no resolution is possible. And, most of all, the heart-rending cases. The ones that start with the tear-filled eyes of a mother, a sister, or a friend. The ones that haunt a man. The ones that push him to his limits. He says no before he gets pulled in, and he doesn’t look back.

His wife, Beatrice, however, does not. And thus begins the adventure that will push their love to the limits and cause them to risk everything that matters. And this time, they don’t have their friends to help them along the way.

Florida Sinking by David CrosbyFlorida Sinking by David Crosby:

Water, water everywhere–

Deadlier than you’d think!

In Will Harper’s latest hardboiled, action-packed adventure, Floridian families are shocked–and occasionally killed–when their brand-new houses start falling into the earth. The culprit? Lethal sinkholes worsened by climate change. But government officials and one particularly greedy developer keep turning a blind eye.

And as the homeowners suddenly realize their sinkhole-ridden land is worthless, they’re sometimes driven to homicidal behavior…

Will, a semi-retired investigative reporter turned amateur sleuth, is too big-hearted not to get involved. While researching a hard-hitting expose on climate change and the quality of water in Florida, he discovers the deceitful real estate developer is constructing an entire development on top of a massive sinkhole. Whole neighborhoods could slide into the muck!

The developer will stop at nothing to conceal his intricate fraud, but luckily, Will comes equipped with his ever-sharp prose, his commitment to Florida social issues, his beloved trawler, The Wanderlust, and a little help from his friends.

Still, the shoddy real estate cartel’s a behemoth— fortunately for the reader, it won’t be easy!

Beyond Sacrifice by Alicia DillBeyond Sacrifice by Alicia Dill:

Concepcion Chapa, an Army veteran, FBI special agent, and the orphaned daughter of two CIA agents, has lived a life of sacrifice for her country. When she learns that her parents may not be dead, just undercover, she allows herself to be recruited as a killer-for-hire for the CIA. Faking her death and undergoing surgery to change her looks, Concepcion leaves everything behind-her friends, family, and country. Under the identity of Sofia Paltrini, she travels the globe doing the dirty work of the US government. But in a world of subterfuge and hidden motives, no one is quite who they seem. Concepcion is left not knowing who to trust and wondering if there’s a way to live a life for herself that’s beyond sacrifice.

Eye for an Eye by Rachel FordEye for an Eye by Rachel Ford:

First mistake: they kidnapped his niece and nephew.
Second mistake: they didn’t kill him when they had the chance.
Now, they’re going to rue the day they were born.

Former Army intelligence analyst Owen Day is on vacation in Random Lake, Wisconsin with his niece and nephew. It was supposed to be a quiet getaway.

But sometimes the best place to hide is in plain sight. When Owen crosses paths with a band of dangerous fugitives posing as tourists, his family becomes a target.

When they take his niece hostage in a desperate endgame, there’s only one way to ensure her safety: find the fugitives, and eliminate them. Down to the last man.

Ghostly Endeavour by Lily Harper HartGhostly Endeavour by Lily Harper Hart:

Harper Harlow is ready to move forward with her business, which just so happens to include taking ownership of the beleaguered Whisper Cove Cemetery. She and her partner Zander Pritchett have big plans … until the day they close on the property and discover a body on one of the well-worn pathways.

Cassie Clifton is recently divorced, a devoted runner, and an individual with a lot of secrets. She was estranged from her parents before her death and apparently desperate to get out of town. Why, though? Harper is determined to figure answers, no matter how hard she has to dig.

Harper’s husband Jared Monroe is on the case but the proximity of death to his new wife has him spinning. It was supposed to be a fun business endeavor, a way for Harper to continue running her cemetery tours without oversight. It’s turned into so much more.

Harper and Jared join together, and when they uncover ties between Cassie and one of their closest friends, they’re thrown for a loop. Have they embedded themselves with a killer?

It’s a race to the finish to find Cassie’s murderer and bolster Harper’s new business in the process. It’s going to take everything they have – every member of their motley crew of friends working together – to cross the finish line safely.

Death is stalking Whisper Cove again. Will they all survive to see another day?

A Crone to Pick by Amanda M. LeeA Crone to Pick by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall knows what she is, more than a witch, more powerful than she ever thought imaginable. She’s only hit the tip of the iceberg on what she can do. Now she has to grapple with another problem.

When her former partner Evan was believed dead in a vampire attack, she blamed herself, mourned, and tried to move on. Now he’s back, and he’s more than anybody ever imagined, too. Unfortunately, nobody can find him.

When news reaches Scout that there’s been a potential vampire attack in neighboring Hemlock Cove, she packs her bags and hits the parnormal tourist destination with her boyfriend Gunner as backup. She’s not prepared for what she finds, including a gaggle of witches who like to cause trouble wherever they go.

Evan is there, lurking in the shadows and struggling with an identity he didn’t ask for, but death is stalking the town from multiple directions. Murder, mayhem, and monsters are afoot and Scout is determined to get to the bottom of it all … even if her life is in danger in the process.

The baddest motorcycle gang in the Midwest is about to meet the Winchester witches. The world will never be the same.

Hard Hitting and Misleading by Amanda M. LeeHard Hitting and Misleading by Amanda M. Lee:

Avery Shaw is back from her honeymoon and on the prowl for a story. She wants to prove that marriage hasn’t softened her – nothing ever could – and the way she’s going to do that is by rocking the news world with something monumental.

Then a body drops in her neighborhood, only blocks away from her house, and the hunt is on.

The victim is divorced, having an affair with a married co-worker, and generally unlikable. Avery has multiple places to look for a suspect … and then another woman dies only a block away from Avery’s house and the entire dynamic of the story changes.

Avery’s new husband Eliot is worried, enough so that he taps Sheriff Jake Farrell to help. Avery’s anger with Jake hasn’t diminished but now they’re working as a group to track down a deadly killer.

Avery doesn’t want help but she needs it, because someone is watching her house and, more importantly, her. Eliot is beside himself and begins upgrading their security system but it doesn’t feel like enough.

Avery is supposed to cover the news, not become part of it. This time the headline that’s coming for her includes the word “victim,” however, and she’s having none of it.

She’s a strong, capable woman, and if she has to take down a serial killer, she’s going to do it … as long as she’s not taken down first.

Her team is large and in charge and it’s going to take all of them working together. Even then, they may not be strong enough to stem the tide of death washing over Macomb County.

It’s time. Avery is ready for war.

Ricochet by Ty PattersonRicochet by Ty Patterson:

Cutter Grogan came to Syria to search for a missing woman.
He found old enemies who greeted him with violence

A missing woman in the Middle East isn’t the assignment Cutter would take on, but when an old client makes the request, he can’t refuse.

Samira Latif’s disappearance is shrouded in darkness. His client doesn’t have much information for him. The missing woman’s connection to one of the most powerful people in the US remains unexplained.

On arriving in Syria, he finds everything he was told was a lie. His old enemies haven’t forgotten him and have laid out a welcome.

Was he set up from the start?

The Girl in the Woods by A.J. RiversThe Girl in the Woods by A.J. Rivers:

I’m all alone now… But I just have to make it there.
I need to keep going… Keep…

A beautiful woman’s body is found frozen on the ground.
And many questions that no one can answer arises.

When Emma Griffin joined the FBI, she had hopes that she could find out the truth about her own past. But over time she realized that it was more than just herself. She wanted to be a voice for the victims. To bring justice for those that are no longer with us. To rid this world of evil doers, hunt down those who destroyed lives, and be the voice for the voiceless.

But what happens when she’s asked to help someone who not only inflicted unbearable pain to her life, but to the lives of many?

After Emma’s wedding is disrupted by a phone call from a voice from the past that starts her on a new chase, she’s forced to face one of the most difficult decisions of her career.

Would you exonerate a killer in the search for truth and justice?

Only Emma can put the clues together.
Could she clear the name of the man she loathes, or will all clues lead back to him?

Truth has consequences.
And the big bad is back and this honeymoon is coming to an end…

Deliver Us From Darkness by L.T. RyanDeliver Us From Darkness by L.T. Ryan:

An unexpected clue in his son’s disappearance leads Mitch Tanner to Denver. But there are forces at work who will stop at nothing to send Tanner – and his son – home in a body bag.

When Tanner’s search for his son leads him to Denver, Colorado, an old friend is ready to help out. But things go sideways when Bridget Dinapoli is assigned a similar case. Nothing is as it seems as Tanner and Bridget race to stop a suspect. But when the trail goes cold, they find themselves being pulled into something much more sinister. It will take everything they have to save Tanner’s son, and themselves.

The Seer by Eva ShawThe Seer by Eva Shaw:

It’s February 1942. War grips the world. Asian hate runs rampant, and New Orleans is a dangerous place for Chinese-English scientist Thomas Ling as he collides with self-proclaimed psychic Beatrix Patterson. She’s a good liar with an excellent memory, which in truth is her only gift—well, that and conning the well-heeled out of their money and secrets.

Hired by the US Army to use her connections to expose Nazi saboteurs and sympathizers, Beatrix recruits the reluctant Thomas. Together, they pit their skills against a government conspiracy, terrorist cells, kidnappings, and murderous plots. As Beatrix grapples with the truth of her own past, she must come to terms with her ruse. Exposing the Nazi war machine about to invade the country could cost Beatrix everything she’s worked so hard to build. But the information she and Thomas uncover could change the outcome of the war.

The question remains: will anyone believe a liar and a suspected traitor?

Murder on Mallowan Court by Lee StraussMurder on Mallowan Court by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s afoot!

As Mrs. Ginger Reed~also known as Lady Gold~waits impatiently for the coming of her baby, new neighbours move onto Mallowan Court. The Foote family is very much like Ginger’s own, if not the mirror opposite: Mr. and Mrs. Foote an unhappy couple; Mr. Rothwell an aging, irate patriarch; Miss Charlotte, whom Scout finds to be a tantalizing, if confusing specimen of young ladyhood; along with a similar collection of staff.

The sudden passing of a Foote family member is determined to be unsuspicious, but something about this strange family doesn’t sit right with Ginger.

When the doctor banishes Ginger to her bed to await the coming birth, she has to depend on the information brought to her by her good friend and former sister-in-law, Felicia.

Can the two ladies solve the crime before the baby comes?

Murder at Magic Lake by Sandra Ulbrich AlmazanMurder at Magic Lake by Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

After losing her job, twenty-nine-year-old Abigail Ritter isn’t looking forward to returning to her hometown of Magic Lake, Wisconsin, for her grandmother’s birthday party. All she has to offer her family is her own special fruit juice and tea blend. But when Grandma suffers a fatal accident in her apartment building, The Grand, Abigail’s cousin Brian is blamed. Abigail will have to step up and investigate with the help of her best friend Sam, an intriguing detective, and a magical stuffed fox named Sherlock. Abigail’s got a plan for the Grand and its shuttered restaurant, but will she solve the case or drown in a sea of suspects?

Pineapple Circus by Amy VasantPineapple Circus by Amy Vasant:

Now in the center ring… murder!

Newly-minted private detective Charlotte Morgan, resident orphan of the Pineapple Port 55+ community, discovers she might not be an orphan after all. Stunned by the news, she distracts herself with a cat burglar who left a smear of make-upped whiskers on a sliding glass door, and a path straight to “Clown Town” a retirement community for retired circus performers. When a fortune-teller doesn’t see her own death in the cards, Charlotte’s burglary becomes a murder investigation!

Charlotte’s neighborhood moms, Mariska and Darla, can’t help with this one. They’re busy infiltrating an underground golf cart racing ring, led by a shady operator and her toady sidekick…

When another circus performer falls victim to the Big Top Killer and Stephanie goes missing, Charlotte finds herself walking a highwire of danger…this killer isn’t clowning around!

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