Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for May 2023

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, 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, small town mysteries, historical mysteries, Victorian mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, 1940s mysteries, paranormal mysteries, humorous mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, psychological thrillers, action thrillers, suspense, noir, police officers, FBI agents, private investigators, amateur sleuths, lawyers, serial killers, the Mob, missing persons,  kidnappings, heists, crypto currencies, faked deaths, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, deadly helicopters,  murder and mayhem in London, New York, San Francisco, Florida, Ohio, Yorkshire, the Mediterranean 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:

Death Beyond Forbidding Gates by Blythe BakerDeath Beyond Forbidding Gates by Blythe Baker:

The long expected death of Victoria Sedgewick’s father-in-law draws Victoria back to the family’s Yorkshire estate one final time. But what should have been a simple funeral turns dangerous as Victoria finds herself the victim of a set of eerie circumstances. Although the locals talk of a ghost that haunts Sedgewick widows, Victoria suspects the true villain is all too human — and is targeting her infant son.

Reuniting with Branwell Keats, can Victoria protect her family through one last adventure that will finally reveal the truth behind the secrets that have cast a shadow for so long?

Call Thee Devil by Beth ByersCall Thee Devil by Beth Byers:

Smith and Bea are back in London, and Smith might well be back to his old ways. Bea’s instincts are screaming, and Smith is disappearing. Something is certainly amiss, and he doesn’t want her meddling.

He really should know better.




Without a Trace by Stacy ClaflinWithout a Trace by Stacy Claflin:

How many secrets can one gated community hide?

Ariana and Damon have just started to rebuild their lives when more bones are found in their tight-knit neighborhood. These have nothing to do with the remains found earlier.

That means one thing — another killer is roaming free.

The police are investigating, but Ariana’s friend Maya has discovered startling clues that she can’t tell them. But when Ariana’s own family is in crisis, she can’t worry about what might be unraveling all around them… until the mystery proves too much to ignore and the only way to peace is to find answers.

A neighbor is lying about something. Ariana must hurry to get to the bottom of it before another life ends up on the line. And it could be hers.

Gunslingers of the Toxic Age by Theodore GideGunslingers of the Toxic Age by Theodore Gide:

Kristen Black, PI, reluctantly agrees to investigate the murder of a young political activist. Kristen doesn’t want the job — political crimes tend to conceal other, more lethal crimes. The deeper Kristen penetrates into the dark shadows of a broken city during wartime, the more deadly the pushback against her becomes. As Kristen feared, unmasking the killer opens a pandora’s box of violence and she’s on the run from the long arm of Military Security, chemical plants around the world are being bombed and her gun is pointed dead center at the man she loves.


Against the Clock by Mark Allan Gunnels, Shane Nelson and Brandon FordAgainst the Clock by Mark Allan Gunnells, Shane Nelson and Brandon Ford:

Three suspenseful mystery novellas with a dark edge…

Septic by Mark Allan Gunnells: The year is 1988. When Carl finds himself trapped in a school bathroom with a faulty lock over Christmas break, things seem bad. When the pain in his abdomen increases and he realizes his appendix has burst, things get worse. Can he manage to free himself in time?

Subscription Due by Shane Nelson: Rupert Seville is living an idyllic life. A successful writer married to an amazing woman, everything seems to have fallen into place. But when a strange notice arrives in the mail, Rupert’s idyllic world is turned upside down. It is a “Subscription Due” notice for a magazine to which he’s never subscribed. Beneath the surface, it is far more than that and the arrival of two violent men with murder on their minds only makes it clearer. Rupert doesn’t know it, but the amount he owes is far more than he’s able to pay. The past itself has come due, and Rupert has no idea of the terror about to be unleashed. When the world he thinks he knows begins to unravel and the truth of the past catches up to him, it is up to Rupert Seville to find a way to settle old debts and escape a horror that isn’t of this world.

Pixelated by Brandon Ford: After the passing of his grandfather, Tanner returns to his hometown to clean out the property willed to him. However, what he finds holds the key to an unsolved crime decades-old and shows just how little he knew of his former father figure.

This novella anthology is perfect for fans of mystery and suspense books, thrillers, small town mysteries, unsolved crimes, and a bit of horror.

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

Imaginary Friends by Lily Harper HartImaginary Friends by Lily Harper Hart:

When it comes to magic, Rowan Gray-Davenport has always been grateful to be part of the club. She never wanted to be the leader of it, though.

All of that is about to change.

When Rowan’s friends Sally and Demarcus arrive on their new purchase, a vintage steamboat they want to refurbish so they can turn it into a floating restaurant and casino, Rowan and her husband Quinn are thrilled to reunite with them. That only lasts until their daughter Lana asks about the invisible children on the boat. It seems there are a lot of them, and they just might be dead.

It appears the new boat is haunted, and the ghosts are looking for vengeance. They seem to have their sights set on Lana as a form of protection. She just doesn’t know it yet.

Lana is a little girl who wants to be seen as special. Unfortunately, she can’t see the danger that’s directly in front of her. Rowan can, however, and it doesn’t take long for her to call on her friends Ivy, Harper, and Maddie to get her through this ordeal.

The children might have been innocent when they died, but they’re out for blood now. It’s going to take the whole gang working together to see this through to the other side.

Lana’s life is hanging in the balance, and this time the magic that’s required to save her will stem from her mother’s love. Rowan had better be up to the challenge, because otherwise her family will be lost.

Her moment is here. She has no choice but to embrace it.

Hotshot Shamus by Heather HavenHotshot Shamus by Heather Haven:


A witness says a large redheaded woman wearing a fedora had an argument with the victim. A fedora was found at the scene.

And its owner could be only one person— hotshot P.I. Persephone (Percy) Cole–because it’s 1943 and how many nearly six-foot, red-haired fedora-fancying female P.I.s could possibly prowl the streets of New York? All the cops know Percy.

She’s one of a kind, both in1940s New York, and also in all of crime fiction. For openers, she’s a single mom living with her adored son Oliver and her parents, each of whom is their own kind of hoot. Pantsuits haven’t yet been invented, so Percy wears men’s suits that her mom alters to fit her: “A seam let out, a seam taken in, and they fit the five foot eleven, one hundred- and eighty-two-pound Percy perfectly.”

(Mom’s an inventive cook too— cranberry and ketchup fish stew is one of her specialties.)

Percy finds out about the case when she sees her name in the personals column: “Persephone Cole, Hotshot Investigator. Investigate this: Wilma Markovich, fifty-eight years old, widow.”

She knows right away she’s being set up, and no sooner has she grasped the particulars than another personals ad appears:

“Still think you’re a hotshot detective, Percy Cole? I don’t think so. And soon everyone else will know you’re not. Check out Elizabeth Wallingford, age fifty-seven, Manhattan.”

Okay, this is war! And she acquires a powerful weapon to fight it—she gets hired to find the first victim’s killer and soon notices a pattern– it seems each murder has a disturbing connection to The Cloisters Museum.

Disturbing because so does Percy—her mom’s producing a fashion show there on Mother’s Day, and her whole family will be there.

Dial W for Witch by Amanda M. LeeDial W for Witch by Amanda M. Lee:

The Happy Holidays Players—a renowned acting troupe—is coming to town and Hemlock Cove is bursting with excited residents who want parts in the winter festival. That includes the three Winchester matriarchs, who are vying with one another for top billing.

Bay Winchester doesn’t care about the pageant, but she’s more than happy to sit back and watch the shenanigans. That is until her husband Landon Michaels calls with a request for her help. It seems there was a prison break twenty minutes away … and more than a handful of inmates are on the run.

Bay, Landon, and Hemlock Cove Police Chief Terry Davenport make up their own search party. What becomes apparent fairly quickly, however, is that some of the inmates are magically enhanced. By whom, though?

Each subsequent battle results in a tougher takedown, and as Bay delves deeper into the mystery of a guard who may have helped the fleeing inmates, she finds herself entrenched in a fight to the death.

Bay and Landon are looking forward to their first holiday season as a married couple. They’re desperate for some downtime and holiday cheer. To get it, they’re going to have to survive a magical onslaught that seems to be pointed at their family more and more with each passing day.

Bay might be able to call the dead to battle for her, but this is a war between the living … and both sides are going to go down fighting.

Here comes trouble. There’s no going back.

Medusa and the Devil by Simon MarloweMedusa and the Devil by Simon Marlowe:

‘The Devil plays games, that’s all I can tell you.’

Steven Mason is six feet under. The only problem? He’s not dead.

After escaping from the doom and gloom of low-life gangsterism on a rundown Essex housing estate, Steven had hoped to pursue a new life in the Mediterranean. But his former world of corruption and greed is not so easily set aside, and he is drawn into yet another nefarious job.

Now, trapped with no means of escape, he is left to ponder why he keeps being drawn closer and closer to Hell.

Too Pretty To Die by Willow RoseToo Pretty To Die by Willow Rose:

Inspired by a true story.

Four women went on a weekend of fun to Miami.
Four best friends who were inseparable.
No one returned.

The story made national headlines, and even after weeks of searching for them, they were never found.
What happened to them?

Are they still alive?

Three years later, the teenage children of those same four women decide to take a trip together, against the wishes of their families. They are followed by a TV crew doing a true crime show. They’re returning to Miami to find out what happened to their mothers.

When they unearth the body of one of their mothers, they know they are in way over their heads, and soon they realize nothing is what it seems, as this vicious killer is getting ready to chase them down.
FBI profiler Eva Rae Thomas is called in to help, bringing her old flame Matt to help.

Soon, she realizes she is hunting down a serial killer unlike any other she has encountered, who will next come after someone she loves.

Fastrope by L.T. and Fiona RyanFastrope by L.T. and Fiona Ryan:

Hatch closed a major chapter in her life. Drifting between everywhere and nowhere, she seeks to find her new path. Like any pathfinder, Hatch cuts through the pain of her past one step at a time.

A desperate call from an old friend brings her to Florida’s panhandle. Before Hatch can connect, tragedy strikes. A helicopter training accident off the shore of Naval Air Station Pensacola takes the life of her friend and seasoned operator. All she has to go on is the cryptic message, leaving her with more questions than answers.

When the pieces of the puzzle don’t fit, Hatch must satisfy her own curiosity. There are some who don’t want the truth to be exposed and will do everything in their power to stop it from coming to the surface.

As Hatch turns every stone, she slips deeper into dark territory. Surrounded by enemies. Hatch must deploy the skills that have made her legend.

Follow Hatch down the Fastrope and prepare for yourselves for the hell she brings upon those who force her to once again honor the code instilled by her father. Protect those who can’t protect themselves and punish those responsible.

Somewhere in a Dark Wood by Shane SawyerSomewhere in a Dark Wood by Shane Sawyer:

A quiet country road
A desperate search
A missing man
A promise

At an isolated farmhouse, Edie Doyle stumbles upon a gravely injured man. Suddenly she’s neck deep in trouble—again.

When the man begs for help, she can’t refuse, but how can she keep her promise when he disappears before she even learns his name?

The police don’t believe her, the surly farmer doesn’t want her help, and the only witness isn’t talking. Can she find the missing man before it’s too late, and before anyone else gets hurt?

Her search will take her beyond the sun-drenched fields into dark woods—and even darker shadows—but Edie will keep her promise.

Unless someone stops her first.

Dead Coin by Sheldon SiegelDead Coin by Sheldon Siegel:

Deal Coin is dead. So is Tyson Gore — the crypto company’s rockstar CEO.

Homeless addict Reggie Jones stands accused of his murder during a botched robbery in the heart of Salesforce Park.

San Francisco Public Defenders Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez race against time to uncover the truth.

From gleaming office towers to powerful venture capital firms on Sandhill Road to tawdry strip clubs catering to Silicon Valley’s elite, they follow a trail of betrayal, greed, and corruption.

DEAD COIN is a story of San Francisco. It’s a tale of hope and greed, innovation and speculation, progress and decline. It’s a story that’s still being written.

Murder at Madame Tussaud's by Lee StraussMurder at Madame Tussaud’s by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s a pain in the neck!

Madame Tussauds, London’s extravagant wax museum, reopens in 1928 to much fanfare. The horrific fire of ’25, which had destroyed the wax figurines of famous and sometimes infamous characters, was news of the past. Ginger Reed and her good friend Haley Higgins are intrigued and eager to visit the museum which promises new and exciting exhibits. Of particular interest is the one on Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Hailed by some as effective literary horror and by others as unnecessarily frightening, the exhibition about the book attracts all kinds. Haley Higgins, with her forensics knowledge, is the first to notice that something is amiss, and that the beautiful figurine with two bloody holes in her neck isn’t made of wax at all, but is indeed made of flesh and bone!

When a series of women are found dead in the streets of London in a similarly eerie fashion, it’s up to Scotland Yard, with Chief Inspector Basil Reed at the helm, to solve the case. Can Ginger and Haley work behind the scenes to bring this repeat killer to a stop, before one of them becomes the next victim with a deadly bite?

Full Tilt Boogie by Robb T. WhiteFull-Tilt Boogie by Robb T. White:

Something’s going on in Youngstown, Ohio—and it isn’t pretty. Newly assigned to the field office, Special Agent Jade Hui is stumped by her predecessor’s do-nothing record when there’s every indication something big is going to happen. An Aryan Brotherhood convict tells her a new designer drug from Europe is about to hit the streets of the Midwest and Youngstown will be the launching pad. Next, a female prizefighter winds up dead in a dumpster behind a bar with a shady reputation. That’s only the beginning of what turns out to be, in cop slang, a full-tilt boogie with Youngstown becoming one big crime scene.

Before it’s over, Jade will find herself in combat with some extremely disturbing characters, including a dubious former Hollywood filmmaker, his two thugs—all three employees of the most sinister character of all, one who goes by the name ”the emissary.” This someone is far deadlier than anyone she ever worked a case against in the “Little Odessa” of Brighton Beach in her last posting.

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