Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for May 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 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, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, action thrillers, adventure thrillers, horror thrillers, police procedurals, detective novels, police officers, ex-cops, private investigators, amateur sleuths, thieves, con artists, serial killers, organised crime, drug dealing, human trafficking, heists, sleazy megachurch ministers, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting ghosts, crime-busting dogs, deadly writer retreats, murder and mayhem in London, Rutland, the Pacific Northwest, Florida, Texas, Kansas, Calgary 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 Over the Cold Grave by Blythe BakerMurder Over the Cold Grave by Blythe Baker:

When a serial killer draws Lillian Crawford into a deadly game, she and Eugene Osbourn must team up one final time to thwart their mysterious foe. But will they stop the murderer’s twisted game in time to prevent one more death?

 

 

 

Iconoclast by Laurie BuchananIconoclast by Laurie Buchanan:

Burdened by the pressing weight of survivor’s guilt, Sean McPherson, an ex-cop, is desperate for redemption. At Pines & Quill, a writer’s retreat in the Pacific Northwest, he and his fiancée, Emma Benton, are planning their lives together. He wants to go back into law enforcement. She plans to walk again.

Georgio “The Bull” Gambino, head of a Seattle-based crime family, has a long reach. Like cockroaches, his minions infiltrate even the most inaccessible of places to do his bidding. With Seattle to the south, the Canadian border a stone’s throw to the north, and Bellingham Bay—a gateway to the Pacific Ocean—immediately to the west, Bellingham is the ideal location for the Gambino crime family to traffic drugs, weapons, and humans. But McPherson’s in Gambino’s way, which means he must be eliminated.

The writers in residence at Pines & Quill include an Afghanistan War veteran, a professional photographer, a civil rights attorney, and a gourmet chef. But McPherson suspects that there’s more going on than the joy of creating plot twists. Is one of them conspiring murder outside the pages of their manuscript?

Murder with Daffodils by Beth ByersMurder With Daffodils by Beth Byers:

Vi and friends have traveled to a nearby village to see the flowers. These aren’t just any spring bulbs. They are fields of flowers planted as a living love poem. People who know of their existence travel from miles around to witness the beauty.

If only they could be surprised when they discover a mystery along with the blossoms. Vi and friends are also not surprised when, once again, they can’t leave things alone. This time they’re intrigued by the very person the flowers were planted for, and the one who planted them.

As the case progresses, they wonder if it’s a romance or a horror story. Violet uncovers clues and chases down secrets, delving into the darkness amidst the beauty. Only as they draw closer to the killer, they discover that maybe they don’t want to know what happened after all.

The Megachurch Heist by L.W. CadleThe Megachurch Heist by L.W. Cadle:

1.4 million in stolen cash. It should be a simple heist to steal from a thief. What could go wrong?

Darla Doyle could have retired with the money she made from her last heist. But her partner in crime, Flynn, comes to her with an offer she can’t refuse.

Andrew Curtis, a sleazy megachurch minister, has stolen 1.4 million in donations and hid the cash, and Flynn knows exactly where. Darla has a personal grudge to settle with religious scammers, so she signs on.

But when they get to the Kansas church, posing as a preaching couple wanting business advice, Darla finds it nearly impossible to keep up the persona they’ve created for her. She’s no actress, she’s a getaway driver! And worse, the megachurch’s head of security, Silas Flecke, is far sharper an operator than she expected to encounter.

Flecke is a pro at securing the church against crime. Darla and Flynn are pros at stealing. Who will come out on top when they break into the church at night to retrieve the stolen cash?

Watch Your Back by Stacy ClaflinWatch Your Back by Stacy Claflin:

Even perfect neighborhoods have deadly secrets.

Ariana and Damon moved to the gated neighborhood of Rosy Hills to leave behind their traumatic pasts. Now they have their dream jobs and are part of a tight group of friends. All of that crumbles when their neighbor Rita disappears without a trace.

Now it looks like one of their own could be a killer. Ariana and Damon must figure out who it is, or they risk never finding Rita alive. If they don’t reach her in time, they could all end up dead…

Kiss of Death by Adam CroftKiss of Death by Adam Croft:

An elderly woman collapses and dies during a Sunday morning church service in Oakham. But things aren’t quite as innocent as they seem.

Within hours, there’s a second unexplained death in Rutland. Then a third. But the victims appear to be completely unconnected.

With the body count rising by the day, DI Caroline Hills and DS Dexter Antoine need to uncover the link before more innocent people die.

Only one thing is certain: a killer walks the streets of Rutland. But no-one knows who the next victim will be, when they will be killed — or why.

The Bus to Beulah by E.C. HanesThe Bus to Beulah by E.C. Hanes:

On her way to a new job in America, Maria Puente accidentally discovers a human trafficking ring. Fearing exposure, the American company that manages the operation—with the help of their Mexican partners—kidnaps Maria.

Maria’s disappearance triggers a desperate search, by her family and local law enforcement, to find her before the kidnappers can permanently dispose of her. As the investigation unfolds, long-time Hogg County high sheriff Will Moser confronts Albert Waters, a powerful businessman who Will suspects knows about Maria’s disappearance—but Albert and his Mexican cartel partners prove to be brick walls.

At the urging of his wife, Lana, Will calls on Elijah Kahn, a man he got to know while serving in Vietnam who now runs one of the largest international security firms in the world. The idea of working with men who are rightly known as mercenaries troubles Will, but he knows he’ll never find Maria without Elijah’s help—and when Lana reminds Will of the debt they owe to Tomas Delgado, Maria’s uncle, his hesitation evaporates.

Organized in an hour-by-hour structure, The Bus to Beulah is a taut thriller that culminates in a massive, heatrt-pounding chase to save Maria—before she disappears forever.

Ghostly Shadows by Lily Harper HartGhostly Shadows by Lily Harper Hart:

Harper Harlow has it all, including a new business, a husband she adores, and a best friend she’s determined not to murder even though he’s determined to be the groomzilla to end all groomzillas. Life is good … until it’s not.

Everything is thrown into doubt when her former boyfriend, a grifter on trial for murder, escapes from the county courthouse and starts terrorizing Whisper Cove.

Her husband Jared Monroe is on edge. Quinn Jackson has proven himself to be a threat more than once, and it’s clear Quinn is gunning for Harper because he blames her for being caught in the first place. That means Zander and Shawn – who are in the midst of preparing for their wedding – have to move in so everybody is safe.

It’s a full house and the stakes are high. A dead courthouse guard is their only guide, and he’s not enough.

Harper is determined to get her happily ever after, as well as Zander’s too. That means they have to grapple with Quinn before the big day arrives.

Murder is on the menu and Quinn has nothing to lose. It’s a race to the finish – and down the aisle – and winner takes all.

Strap in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Deceived by Mary KeliikoaDeceived by Mary Keliikoa:

PI Kelly Pruett finally feels like she’s coming into her own. With her personal life well on track, a gig uncovering what drove a client’s granddaughter underground could be good for business. But after her undercover operation at the homeless shelter reveals rampant drug dealing, she’s suddenly kicked off the case… just as another girl goes missing.

Vowing to expose the truth even if it means pro-bono work, Kelly is taken aback when her half-sister helps her hunt down answers in a tent city brimming with distrust. When her investigation doesn’t move quickly enough to save a second woman from a vicious murder, Kelly doubles her efforts unwilling to accept defeat.

Friday the Witchteenth by Amanda M. LeeFriday the Witchteenth by Amanda M. Lee:

Bay Winchester is newly married and happy. Things have been quiet since she returned from her honeymoon, which means trouble is just around the corner. When it comes, it takes the form of a despondent man on a bridge. Despite her best efforts, Bay and the hostage negotiator can’t save him, and death is swift.

That should’ve been the end of it, but a weird symbol on the dead man’s hand piques Bay’s interest, and when the negotiator turns up sick with the same symptoms, she knows that they have a problem on their hands.

Suicide as a contagion? It’s not the fight Bay was expecting, and it’s definitely not the one she was looking for. Still, it’s the problem that keeps on giving … especially when it spreads to Mrs. Little.

In her heart, Bay knows that she shouldn’t care about the woman who has hurt her family at every turn. Ignoring the problem isn’t an option though. If she stands back and does nothing in an attempt to end the chain, she’ll never be able to live with herself. If she gets too close, she could get infected herself.

Bay has never doubted her magic, but the current fight is out of her wheelhouse. Magic is at the core of what’s happening, but their enemy is invisible.

The Winchester witches have never met an enemy they can’t fight … until now. Will they be able to pull together and save Hemlock Cove? Or is the town doomed to fall to a curse without a name and an evil without a soul?

Strap in, because the answer is more than anybody is expecting, and if everybody is to survive, the fight will have to move to an entirely new level.

The game is on. In this one, the winner will take all.

Scavenger Hunt by Duane LindsayScavenger Hunt by Duane Lindsay:

It looked like taking candy from a baby. Until it didn’t…

For a con artist like Dani Silver, the mark’s low-hanging fruit—a recently signed basketball prodigy suddenly worth millions—and too young and naïve to know who to trust. Only one problem–so many people are already trying to scam him there’s literally no way to get to him.

Except, that is, to make a deal with the devil— aka Greville Norquist, a fixer with a reputation as the prince of darkness. The deal: Greville will arrange an intro and in return, Dani must provide him with four seemingly worthless items scammed or stolen from people Greville specifies—one of them being a snuffbox.

It’s a perfect set-up for author Lindsay to work his comic magic, deftly twisting one plot around the other like a couple of puppies in a box. But there are two obstacles— first, the snuffbox owner turns out to be nearly as hard to find as the mark.

And second, the mark turns out to be a sweet kid with an even sweeter fiancée— Leticia’s so lovely Dani’s ally, Foster Stevens the gay apy, more or less falls for her. In fact, pretty soon the whole gang balks at scamming these two. And Dani herself has taken a vow never to cheat a good guy.

So how are they supposed to turn a profit on this one?

As it turns out, it’s the least of their worries—Greville’s declared war on them.

Dog's Honest Truth by Neil S. PlakcyDog’s Honest Truth by Neil S. Plakcy:

Steve and Rochester seek the truth about a neighbor’s murder

There’s a new dog in town – a golden retriever named Luke, in training to be a seeing-eye dog. He and Rochester immediately bond, but there’s something odd about Luke’s human, Ben Ji. How can someone so young afford an expensive townhouse on Sarajevo Way? When Ben is shot, Steve begins to discover the lies he has been telling.

Steve’s also forced to tell the truth about his past, when he deals with a student plagiarist at Eastern College, a professor locked in the stone age, a climate activist with dangerous habits, an angry bartender—and a rifle-wielding assassin.

Will he and Rochester be able to dig up the clues to all these mysteries? Or will a deadly killer go unpunished?

The Exorcist's House by Nick RobertsThe Exorcist’s House by Nick Roberts:

This psychological thriller follows a family to their Appalachian farmhouse, where they encounter an unimaginable horror.

In the summer of 1994, psychologist Daniel Hill buys a rustic farmhouse nestled in the rolling hills of West Virginia.

Along with his wife and teenage daughter, the family uproots their lives in Ohio and moves south. They are initially seduced by the natural beauty of the country setting. That soon changes when they discover a hidden room in the basement with a well, boarded shut and adorned with crucifixes.

Local legends about the previous owner being an exorcist come to light, but by then, all Hell has broken loose.

This 1990s horror novel is perfect for fans of family thriller books, stories of demonic possession, exorcism fiction, the occult, or thrillers like The Exorcist, A Head Full of Ghosts, and The Amityville Horror.

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

Elusive Charity by Wayne StinnettElusive Charity by Wayne Stinnett:

Since the recent death of a wealthy but perverted businessman, Charity Styles has been hiding in plain sight, as if challenging anyone to come after her.

She’s on her own once more, living day to day on her beloved Wind Dancer, anchored near a quaint little Gulf Coast town in the Florida Panhandle. But when the son of a fishing client ends up dead, the father’s employer hires Charity to find the person responsible.

Intrigue mounts faster than the list of suspects and Charity finds new purpose and direction, and possibly a guide. But will her new outlook make her fall prey to the local crime boss? Very few know of her abilities and many have come up short in trying to take her. Will this be Charity’s final downfall from grace?

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

Murder’s a spectacle!

When Ginger Reed ~ aka Lady Gold ~ and Basil Reed’s son Scout runs away to join the circus, it’s not all fun and games. As a disgruntled teen unhappy at boarding school, Scout intends to work with his cousin Marvin, newly (and dishonourably) discharged from the navy. An animal lover at heart, Scout is tickled to assist the animal trainer and develops a particular bond with the matriarchal elephant, Tulip.

The big top event pleases the crowds, but when a performer dies under suspicious circumstances, Scout and Tulip find themselves in real, three ring trouble!

Pineapple Podcast by Amy VansantPineapple Podcast by Amy Vansant:

Pineapple Podcast is packed full of Pineapple Port surprises!

Charlotte hunts a killer with a curious cookie-cutter calling card who seems to be out to impress the local true-crime podcaster. The work keeps her from concentrating on the fact her boyfriend has been acting strange…it seems Declan is ready to make a few major life decisions.

Meanwhile, Mariska and Darla take over a local restaurant while the owner’s out of town, and can’t help but add a few things to the menu… bad idea, since the owner belongs to a true crime club that roots for the killers…

Mix in an earbud-wearing puppy, a starry-eyed deputy, and white-knuckle action and you’ll find yourself wanting to move to Pineapple Port…again!

Immersed in the View by P.D. WorkmanImmersed in the View by P.D. Workman:

A Wake Up Call

Detective “Parks” Pat is back. Now an established and accepted member of the homicide squad, she unexpectedly brings a new case to the table when she stumbles across a body as Canada Day dawns. While it was initially assumed to be an accidental drowning, the autopsy results say otherwise.

Margie is soon off and running, but the lack of witnesses has her going in circles. Meanwhile, the brass wants the investigation put to bed before the city is flooded with Calgary Stampede tourists and dignitaries.

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