Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for February 2022


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 cozy mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, legal thrillers, action thrillers, adventure thrillers, police officers, private investigators, amateur sleuths, FBI agents, lawyers, occult detectives, archaeologists, assassins, psychics, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting maids, crime-busting innkeepers, murder and mayhem in London, Brighton, San Francisco, Savannah, Upstate New York, Maine, Wisconsin, the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, Burgundy, the Caribbean, Norway 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 Behind the Closed Door by Blythe BakerMurder Behind the Closed Door by Blythe Baker:

When Lillian Crawford becomes a guest at a country house party, she hopes it will be her opportunity to get closer to her attractive host, Eugene Osbourn. But it isn’t the famous pianist who winds up capturing Lillian’s attention, as a fellow guest turns up dead.

Suddenly Lillian and her twin brother Felix are tossed headfirst into another dangerous investigation. Can the Crawford siblings catch a murderer before time runs out?

 

An Unfortunate Demise by Blythe BakerAn Unfortunate Demise by Blythe Baker:

Death stalks the guests at a seaside resort…

While staying at Brighton with the formidable old Mrs. Montford, Anna Fairweather witnesses a drowning. Suspecting the “accident” is something more sinister, Anna begins a search for the truth – and the killer.

Does a belligerent brother-in-law carry an old grudge? Is the victim’s grieving husband a little too quick to move on? With an entire hotel full of suspects, Anna must uncover the secrets, and the motives, the hotel guests and employees are desperate to hide. But with the clock ticking, will Anna get to the bottom of the mystery – or find herself at the bottom of the ocean?

The Secret of the Chateau by Carrie BedfordThe Secret of the Chateau by Carrie Bedford:

A jug of wine, a loaf of bread – and death.
She knows it’s coming, she has to stop it!

London architect Kate Benedict has barely shucked off her coat before she spots her host’s aura, a swirling pattern above his head that Kate has come to recognize as a prediction of death within a few days.

And she’s barely realized he’s in danger when he drops to the floor, shot by an unseen assailant.

It should have been the perfect junket—escaping miserably rainy London to a luxurious chateau in the Burgundy countryside. All she had to do was advise the owner on rebuilding his winery’s tasting room. But trouble seems to come in threes…

The first person to rush into the room, the young woman who manages the tasting room, also has an aura, as does the winemaker, nephew to the dead man.

Surrounded by absolute strangers and the ever-present reminders of imminent death, Kate is overwhelmed by uncertainties: Where is the danger coming from? Does it extend to her? And dodgiest of all, Whom to trust?

She makes fast friends with the tasting room manager, and she knows from past experience that if she can discover the source of the danger she can cheat death out of a victory. She desperately wants to save this woman.

So she’ll have to make the chateau give up its centuries of secrets: betrayals among the highly competitive vintners of the region, disputed ownership claims, deceitful spouses, treacherous employees, even secret passageways.

And, of course, since it’s a 700-year-old chateau, there will be ghosts. The question is: Does the elegantly-caped gentleman in the green hat mean to help…or to harm?

Just as you’re thinking, “What a clever solution,” the tale takes an even cleverer twist. This is a book with pretty much everything—a likeable heroine, an ancient chateau, all the wine you can drink, a fun plot, and a ghost to top it off. The very definition of cozy.

A Romantic Little Murder by Beth ByersA Romantic Little Murder by Beth Byers:

Jack and Vi have been on edge. Maybe Vi has been snippy and distracted. Maybe Jack has been sharp and irritable. Maybe they panic when they realize they’re unhappy with each other.

On an evening of romance, they dance, they kiss, they connect, and then they find a body. Of course, they aren’t surprised. Only this time, they realize they know the victim.

Once again, they delve into an investigation. They work together to find a killer and if they repair what’s been going amiss between then at the same time, they’re all right with that too.

Lantern in the LighthouseLantern in the Lighthouse by Kathi Daley:

A heartwarming cozy mystery series about losing everything, taking a chance, and starting again.

After suffering a personal tragedy Abby Sullivan buys a huge old seaside mansion she has never even seen, packs up her life in San Francisco, and moves to Holiday Bay Maine, where she is adopted, quite against her will, by a huge Maine Coon Cat named Rufus, a drifter with her own tragic past named Georgia, and a giant dog with an inferiority complex named Ramos. What Abby thought she needed was alone time to heal. What she ended up with was, an inn she never knew she wanted, a cat she couldn’t seem to convince to leave, and a new family she’d never be able to live without.

In book 18 in the series, while on a date with Abby, Colt receives a call to check out a light inside an old abandoned lighthouse closed for renovations. The pair respond to the call only to find evidence of two trespassers, one of which is now dead.

Meanwhile, Abby is swamped at the inn helping Georgia and Jeremy when the cast of a reality show check in. “Real Detectives” might just be a ‘small time’ competition hosted by the same local cable television station that airs Georgia’s cooking show, but the quarter million dollars in prize money represents a ‘big time’ payday causing the eight competitors who made it to the finals to take things quite seriously.

The Smuggler's Chase by Cap DanielsThe Smuggler’s Chase by Cap Daniels:

Out of Time . . . Out of Options . . .Out of Nowhere

When a United States Supreme Court justice is abducted by an international cartel of terrorists, American covert operative Chase Fulton and his team of tier-one operators are ordered to find and rescue the victim, but that’s only phase one of the mission that may change the landscape of international diplomacy forever.

In a tropical paradise where vacationers see nothing less than perfection in every detail, from The Bahamas to South America, Chase and the team are forced to dive beneath the flawless surface and into the depths of terroristic depravity to unravel a web of unthinkable atrocity and infiltrate and devour an evil like none they’ve ever faced.

When the U.S. military isn’t an option, and the FBI is shackled by bureaucracy, only the invisible forces capable of operating beyond the limits of civility and front-page exposure can crush the tyranny overshadowing the American geopolitical scene and restore order to the highest court.

Join the warriors as they once again stare evil in the eye and refuse to blink. Stretching their capabilities and their very souls to limits like never before, five men hold countless lives and the foundations of freedom in their hands. But as they face a fearless enemy with nearly limitless resources, the team must wage a war like no other while racing against the relentless clock and the horrific consequences of failure.

From the shallows of the tranquil Caribbean, to the depths of the soul-wrenching unimaginable, let Cap Daniels take you on an adventure you’ll never forget and leave you questioning if freedom could stand without men like Chase Fulton and his team.

Apple of My Eye by Rachel FordApple of My Eye by Rachel Ford:

A young woman, bloodied and stabbed, and dumped for the coyotes. Then another. And another.

Owen Day is back in Wisconsin – and death followed him.

In Bayfield Wisconsin, the annual apple festival draws tens of thousands of people to the north woods every year. This year, one of them is a psychopath haunting the north, killing young women and dumping their bodies in the woods and orchards by Lake Superior.

When one of those bodies hits a little too close to home, doing nothing is no longer an option. But he’d better move fast.

The killer has a full weekend scheduled.

A Time to Die by Elle Gray:

Tick. Tock.

When a series of bombings rock the Pacific Northwest, FBI Agent Blake Wilder leaps into action. The investigation though, brings her back into contact with an ATF agent she has clashed violently with in the past.

Their theories clash as hard as their personalities and Blake opts to run her own concurrent investigation. What she uncovers is a twisted tale twenty years in the making. The story, as they uncover it, is full of twists, turns, and explosive revelations. All the while, Blake’s renewed rivalry with ATF Agent Winslow is threatening to derail everything.

The bombs continue to explode, and the bodies continue to mount as Blake races to find the killer before he’s able to kill anybody else. At the same time, she’s forced to fend off the vengeful attacks coming from within the law enforcement community itself as well as the strife within her own team.

Old enemies resurface and new ones lurk in the shadows, waiting for their moment to step forward and strike. The knives are out, and Blake must dodge them all to keep a serial bomber from burning the city to the ground.

Time is running out.
Blake must either find the killer or become his next victim…

Haunted Plains Drifter by Lily Harper HartHaunted Plains Drifter by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok and Cooper Wyatt are newly engaged and ready to celebrate. Cooper just didn’t think the celebration would involve a hike to a long-abandoned boom town called Blackridge. He had something more romantic in mind. Despite that, he agrees … and believes the trip will be fine, right up until they stumble across a homeless man warning them away from their destination.

Hannah tries talking to him but the man is out of it, to the point where she recognizes he needs medical help. They manage to call the local sheriff to provide that help, but when the team he brings to carry the individual out of the valley crosses the Blackridge border, a wave of magic ricochets back and knocks Hannah for a loop.

She recovers quickly, but there’s a question as to what happened. Once back in Casper Creek, that question becomes a concern. It seems the ghostly shadow that appeared in Blackridge at the time it fell more than a hundred years before is back, and now he’s focused on Hannah.

The dark man is more than a ghost. He’s more than a shadow. He’s a monster who can straddle two worlds. He needs Hannah to lift the curse that has kept him trapped for a century, and he’s more than willing to threaten those she loves to make it happen.

A new sort of terror has come to town, and Hannah has no idea how to fight him. She’s a strong witch, but she’s also a new witch, and when this battle lands on her doorstep, it’s going to be a doozy.

Buckle up, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Freaky Sights by Amanda M. LeeFreaky Sights by Amanda M. Lee:

Mystic Caravan Circus is on the move after their winter break. First stop? Moonstone Bay. Poet Parker and crew are looking for a permanent location because traveling won’t be an option for much longer. They’re expecting a normal trip.

They’re getting so much more … including a mystery.

The day after they arrive, a body drops in the ditch across from the city park, and what follows is a series of bone-chilling events that revolve around the island’s children. It seems something weird is causing them to act out of sorts … and they might just have murder on their minds.

Moonstone Bay is a magical place and Poet feels a kinship with the land and people who live there almost immediately. Unfortunately, the terror stalking the island isn’t something that can be ignored.

Poet has to band together with the island inhabitants – including a feisty witch and fiery half-demon – to figure out what’s happening. Their research leads them to an ancient story about a possessing demon, and the villages he left decimated in his wake.

Poet is strong. Her new friends make her stronger. If Moonstone Bay is ultimately to be their home, she’s going to have to go all out to protect it.

Two teams are coming together to fight a war. It’s going to take all of them to ensure a happy ending.

Buckle up. Things are about to get wicked on Moonstone Bay.

Behind the Lie by Emilya NaymarkBehind the Lie by Emilya Naymark:

NYPD detective turned small town PI Laney Bird is in a fight to save lives—including her own—after a neighborhood block party turns deadly.

A transplant to the upstate New York hamlet of Sylvan, all Laney wants is a peaceful life for herself and her son. But things rarely remain calm in Laney’s life—and when her neighborhood summer block party explodes in shocking violence and ends with the disappearance of her friend and another woman, she’ll need all her skills as a PI to solve a mystery that reaches far beyond her small town.

As people closest to Laney fall under suspicion, the local authorities and even her colleagues question her own complicity. And then there’s fifteen-year-old Alfie, her complicated and enigmatic son, obviously hiding something. Even as Laney struggles to bury evidence of her boy’s involvement, his cagey behavior rings every maternal alarm.

Laney’s personal life unravels as she’s drawn into her missing friend’s dark secrets and she realizes she and Alfie are in danger. With treachery blazing hot as the searing summer sun, Laney fights to save lives, her family’s included.

Wired Revenge by Toby NealWired Revenge by Toby Neal:

If Lisbeth Salander and Jack Reacher had a Black/Thai love child, she’d be Sophie, and she’s a badass.

BUT SOPHIE’S IN TROUBLE.

Her mom is an assassin who wants to kill her and take her children
Her cyber-vigilante ex-boyfriend is now a cult leader with a ninja army
There’s a handsome Frenchman making eyes
She has a newborn, a toddler, a nanny, and two dogs to deal with while trying to move house and fight crime
But right now, she needs to put on a bra and get ready for a showdown, because Mama’s comin’ to get her.

Paradise can’t contain an evil that’s sworn revenge.

What would you do if your mother wanted you dead?

Sophie has fought hard for a measure of peace and safety for her loved ones, but her assassin mother, hidden behind a beautiful new face, has other plans for the family.

Sophie will need her friends, lovers, and dogs to have her back when she takes on an enemy that no one ever sees coming.

Aeronwen's Hammer by A. Peter PerdianAeronwen’s Hammer by A. Peter Perdian:

In Norway, Marte Nass, a respected Viking archaeologist, has arrived home to visit her family. While in Oslo, she learns of a recently uncovered tomb, an unmarked and untouched grave dating to the beginning of the Viking era. A preliminary examination shows that the tomb houses a Viking warrior, and with the prospect of excavating the grave before it becomes public knowledge, she’s thrilled.

In England, Derek Lishmer receives a call from Marte. His partner launches into what she’s learned about the tomb, about a possible treasure hidden inside the grave. He puts aside his own excitement to remind her she’s been banned from practicing archaeology in Norway. When Marte tells him she doesn’t care, he heads for Norway.

In Guatemala, Emma Ruiz gets a call from Marte Nass, her best friend. The Mesoamerican archaeologist listens as Marte tells her about the Viking tomb and its remarkable occupant. With follow-up talk of mystical Vikings, spiritual Druids, and pagan gods that supposedly still roam the land, Emma’s persuaded to visit Norway.

Aeronwen’s Hammer is an action-packed seventy thousand word novel, a suspenseful semi-thriller.

Last Call by Sheldon SiegelLast Call by Sheldon Siegel:

A bar. A body. A bloody knife.

Mike wasn’t expecting the early-morning call from his 86-year-old uncle. Big John Dunleavy arrived at his namesake bar to find the body of San Francisco police officer Eddie Corcoran in the alley, a bloody knife at his side.

Corcoran was a tough cop whose life went off the rails after his partner was killed two years earlier. Infidelity and alcohol abuse led his wife to file for divorce. Excessive force and harassment while arresting drug dealers and the homeless resulted in his recent suspension from the force. Corcoran was on the verge of permanently losing his job, custody of his children and everything. He didn’t think he’d lose his life.

All signs point to Big John’s grandson Joey as the killer. Witnesses reported that Joey and the cop argued at the bar shortly before last call. The alleged murder weapon is Joey’s Boy Scout knife. The only fingerprints are his.

Big John begs Mike to represent Joey. Mike and his team of ex-wife/boss (Rosie) and brother/P.I. (Pete) embark on a desperate search for the truth that takes them around San Francisco — from the foggy streets of the Sunset to the colorful corners of the Mission to the homeless encampments in Golden Gate Park to the drug-infested hotels in the Tenderloin.

Can they find justice for Joey before the bars close?

Dark Malice by Mary StoneDark Malice by Mary Stone:

In the face of malice, evil is spawned.

Savannah Police Detective Charli Cross thought she’d seen it all. But when Charli and her partner, Matthew Church, are called in on a missing persons report from a local funeral home, she realizes this may be the most bizarre and perplexing case yet. Not only are three funeral home employees missing, but one left her car in the funeral home parking lot overnight. Stranger still, the cremator was filled with the ashes of two people, even though all the funeral home’s “guests” are accounted for.

Where are the missing employees? Who was burned to ash? And why?

As Charli and Matthew investigate, the questions continue to stack up. With no DNA evidence to identify the cremains, their only clue is a diary filled with cryptic descriptions and video footage that’s as mysterious as the case itself.

When the puzzle pieces begin to fit together, one thing becomes clear. The closer Charli gets to the killer, the more certain she is that she or her partner might be the next one to burn.

Oscar Tremont: Investigator of the Strange and Inexplicable by Cameron TrostOscar Tremont: Investigator of the Strange and Inexplicable by Cameron Trost:

Introducing Oscar Tremont, Investigator of the Strange and Inexplicable.

Join Oscar Tremont on his first four cases as he tackles mysteries too strange for the police and assures his clients that a rational explanation lies behind what at first appears to be impossible. You will find clues, question suspects, don disguises, break into abandoned houses, solve codes and puzzles, and if you really have your wits about you, crack the case before our hero.

Oscar Tremont, Investigator of the Strange and Inexplicable consists of two novellas and two short stories that display the keen intellect of a private investigator who is bound to make a name for himself in the mystery genre.

  • The Hunt for the Stayne Fortune
  • The Ghosts of Walhalla
  • The Witch at the Window
  • The Secret of the Severed Hand

These four mysteries will challenge and surprise even the most experienced armchair detectives.

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