Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for January 2020

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 speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some December 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 cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, historical mysteries, medieval mysteries, Victorian mysteries, Jazz Age mystries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, spy thriller, historical thrillers, pulp thrillers, police procedurals, romantic suspense, private investigators, amateur sleuths, judges, FBI agents, police officers, Pinkerton agents, spies, ex-cons, serial killers, kidnappers, missing children, heists, con artists, organised crime, crime-busting witches, crime-busting writers, crime-busting cats, crime-busting ghosts, pinched Pisarros, crime and murder in New York City, Denver, East Berlin, Scotland, Snowdonia, Miami 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:

Where Missing Boys Go by Parker AvrileWhere Missing Boys Go by Parker Avrile:

A missing ex. Two missing children. And the man caught in the middle of a cartel’s proposed hostage exchange.

When his boyfriend vanished with stolen millions, Darke went to prison for his part in the heist. Another man might want revenge. All he wants is the chance to rebuild his life with a new and better man, former FBI Special Agent Flare Greene.

But everybody else– including the FBI– still wants the millions.

When a faceless organization grabs two small hostages to force Darke to lead them to the missing money, he no longer has a choice. He must find his elusive ex or die trying.

And death is not an option as long as the two boys are in the hands of kidnappers.

Meanwhile, the FBI is dangling a mysterious new assignment in front of Flare? an assignment very far away from the rescue of two small hostages. What are the higher-ups in the bureau up to?

If they think they’re going to stop Darke Davis from finding the money first and saving those boys, they’ve got the wrong guy.

Nobody and nothing is stopping Darke from saving those boys.

Not his devious ex.

Not the FBI.

Not even Flare.

Magic Lies by Fatima BaderMagic Lies by Fatima Bader:

Hunting a serial killer can be hazardous to your health.

My name’s Selena Valeron, and I’m the Supernatural Bureau of Investigation’s best undercover witch. After three years, the bureau has just handed me my biggest case: hunting the magical community’s most prolific serial killer, Xavier.

Lately the dead women on the morgue table bear an eerie resemblance to me. A shocking revelation indicates the killer is someone from my past—if I can remember it. Years ago, an accident wiped out my memory and threatened to end my career. Now my magical powers seem to be manifesting into something stronger.

Was my memory loss really an accident, or a failed murder attempt?

Time’s ticking as I dig through my past to find the killer. I need answers. If I can’t get them in time, I’ll lose friends, family—even my own life.

MAGIC LIES is a fast-paced urban fantasy mystery with plenty of thrilling twists and turns that will keep you guessing. Agent Valeron may have lost her memory, but she hasn’t lost her snarky attitude and she’s still a badass witch. Jump into this magical world and start reading the Selena Valeron series today!

Murder by Midnight by Blythe BakerMurder by Midnight by Blythe Baker:

Murder and mystery in a Scottish castle…

When Alice Beckingham boards a train for Edinburgh in 1929, she begins a journey that will test everything she thinks she knows about her past and her family. From the moment of her arrival at the rugged and remote Druiminn Castle, something sinister haunts her steps.

With the murder of her host and the revelation that one of her fellow guests at the castle is an unscrupulous jewel thief, Alice resolves to uncover secrets that someone will stop at nothing to keep hidden.

Coercing the coolly unpredictable Sherborne Sharp into assisting her, Alice follows in the footsteps of her detective cousin Rose and pursues a heartless killer through glittering dining rooms, shadowed passages, and moonlit groves. A mysterious local legend may hold the key to unraveling everything, but will Alice survive long enough to decipher it?

The Pinched Pisarro by Will BriggsThe Pinched Pisarro by Will Briggs:

Sam Powell is a down on his luck con-man on the run from a vindictive ex-con whom he has double crossed.

His luck turns when he’s given one last shot at working for a criminal organization led by an enterprising Park Avenue butler. His mission: steal an invaluable Pissarro from one of Manhattan’s richest socialites.

However, Sam’s ex-partner (who happens to be his ex-girlfriend) doesn’t want anything to do with him so he’s forced to recruit his unwitting neighbor, a struggling piano tutor named Wendell Hoyt, to help.

Sam and Wendell find themselves pitted against a psychopathic hit-man, a criminal organization, and Wendell’s authoritative aunt.

Together they could end up millionaires…if they survive.

The Heavy Hand of the Editor by Cora BuhlertThe Heavy Hand of the Editor by Cora Buhlert:

New York City, 1938: Richard Blakemore, hardworking pulp writer by day and the masked vigilante only known as the Silencer by night, has faced many a horror in his day. But few of them can match the terror of the blank page. Especially since Donald A. Stuart, the upstart young editor of an upstart young magazine called Stunning Science Stories, has already rejected Richard’s story “The Icy Cold of Space” four times.

Stuart demands changes that Richard does not want to make. Worse, he also holds Richard’s story hostage. Unless Stuart permanently rejects the story, Richard cannot sell it elsewhere.

There are a lot of shady practices in the pulp business, but Stuart’s actions are beyond the pale even for the wild west of publishing. And so the Silencer decides to pay Stuart a visit to put the fear of God into an editor who believes himself to be one.

This is a novelettes of 10800 words or approx. 38 print pages in the Silencer series, but may be read as a standalone.

Any resemblances to editors, writers and magazines living, dead or undead are entirely not coincidental.

Hijinks and Murder by Beth ByersHijinks and Murder by Beth Byers:

January 1926

Violet has received an obscure note, a strange request, and the claim of a murder. She’d like to ignore it, but the writer knows too much about her.

Has someone died? Who is the author of the note and why are they dragging Violet into this crime? Just what is going on and will Violet be able to reach the bottom of this madness?


The Vault by Mark DawsonThe Vault by Mark Dawson:

A desperate agent. A petty criminal. An audacious plot.

When Harry Mackintosh is called upon to exfiltrate a valuable asset from East to West Berlin, what could have been an intelligence coup becomes an international embarrassment. Mackintosh’s men and his lover are killed by the East German secret police in a brutal crossfire and he barely escapes with his life. He flees to the West and promises himself that he will have vengeance.

Mackintosh is the head of Berlin Station but he doesn’t have the staff to compete with the Stasi. He returns to London to plead for the resources to fight back. But instead of the seasoned operatives that he needs, Mackintosh is given a single man: Jimmy Walker, a petty criminal with a record for robbing banks.

Mackintosh takes Walker to Berlin and sets in train an audacious plan that will see them both on the other side of the Wall. Mackintosh and Walker face off against Karl-Heinz Sommer, the Stasi general known as die Spinne – the Spider – a man known for his brutality and ruthlessness.

The plan is already a longshot, and then Walker learns of the riches that Sommer stole from displaced Berliners in the days after the Wall was constructed. Will Walker follow orders or will he find the prospect of the Stasi gold in Sommer’s secret vault too tempting to ignore? Will Mackintosh have his revenge or will he become another fly caught in the Spider’s web?

With ambiguous loyalties, clashing agendas and danger beyond measure, these two men will struggle to form a team. But in a battle as unequal as this, the unexpected might be the best strategy that they have.

Ghostly Charms by Lilly Harper HartGhostly Charms by Lilly Harper Hart:

Harper Harlow thought the only thing she was going to have to worry about in the shadow of spring was planning her wedding. She was wrong.A string of break-ins in Whisper Cove have caught the attention of the cops, including her fiancé Jared Monroe. Things take a turn for the worse when one of those break-ins results in the death of a local barber. It seems what was once written off as teenage hijinks is something else entirely. In addition to the break-ins, Harper finds herself distracted by a new resident. He’s bringing an art gallery to town … as well as his troubled sister. Rain Porter doesn’t want to be in Southeastern Michigan and she’s hiding a big secret. Harper is determined to help the girl until the young woman pushes the exact wrong buttons. Things aren’t what they seem and the deeper Harper digs the more she worries that she doesn’t really want to find an answer. When a ghost from the other side of the state shows up and starts invading her dreams, things go from bad to worse. Jared wants nothing more than to protect Harper, but there are some things he can’t fight … and a ghost is one of them. It’s going to take everyone working together to find a way out of this one and even then survival is not a given. Jump on the ghost train with Harper, Jared, and Zander … because this one is going to be a wild ride.

Die in the Wool by Katherine HaytonDie in the Wool by Katherine Hayton:

A sudden death has Tash Mallory all stitched up!

Tash Mallory’s future is in the balance when her employer “Auntie Fran” (no relation) fires her from the knitting shop job she’s held for twenty years. Even worse, when Tash returns to confront her, she finds Fran’s dead body in the back room.

Luckily, the doctor soon concludes the death is from natural causes. A decision cast into doubt when Tash finds out she’s inherited Fran’s store and home.

With an aggrieved nephew determined to fight the will in court and Fran’s despondent fiancé pointing the finger of blame, Tash battles to clear her name. The police mightn’t believe the death was murder, but the good folks of Patiti are quicker to rush to judgement.

If Tash can’t manoeuvre through the undercurrent of small town politics, winning the inheritance will be a Pyrrhic victory. Worse, the doctor’s assessment might be wrong, leaving a killer on the loose.

Murder Comes Home by K.R. HillMurder Comes Home by K.R. Hill:

The body was still warm. He’d never forget that touch.

Private investigator Connor Marin butts heads with the Russian mob as he investigates the murder of his best friend.

While working the case, he discovers that his own father, a police detective, had a bloody secret. To get to the bottom of his father’s story, Connor makes enemies of the police department.

With mob thugs threatening from one direction, and angry cops coming at him from the other, Connor is trapped.

How can he protect his beautiful fiancé, learn the truth about his father, and bring down a killer?

Mooved to Murder by CeeCee JamesMooved to Murder by CeeCee James:

Chelsea Lawson is a ride-or-die friend. When her best friend Tilly asked her to stay at her place to watch her six-year-old daughter and pets for a while, Chelsea didn’t hesitate to say yes. What she didn’t realize was that “Tilly’s place” was a micro-farm and “a few pets” included a cow and two goats as well as a child who was too smart for her own good.

Chelsea was already in over her head before the dead body turned up.

When the local community, instead of offering support, tries to run her out of town, Chelsea suspects something is going on. Something big and rotten. The mayor makes it clear she’s not wanted and the townspeople give her the cold shoulder, but that only makes Chelsea more determined to uncover their secrets.

But no one expected the repercussions those secrets would have, especially Chelsea. Now life on the farm is hanging in the balance. Will Chelsea ever be able to wake up from this nightmare?

Seven Shadows by V.S. KemanisSeven Shadows by V.S. Kemanis:

A criminal prosecutor is bound to make a few enemies over a decades-long career, and Dana Hargrove is no exception. Who has it in for her?

In 2015, the former prosecutor is in her second year as a trial judge in Manhattan. It’s a new world. Dana cut her baby teeth in the DA’s office during the crack epidemic, the ’80s and early ’90s. Now, the murder rate is a fraction of what it was, and public opinion about incarceration is softening. So is Dana. As a judge, she agonizes over every sentencing decision before her.

Midlife has also hit Dana hard on a personal level. She misses her children and adjusts to the empty nest by immersing herself in work. Instead of growing closer to her husband Evan, their relationship becomes strained. What is happening to them?

Tension builds as Judge Hargrove presides over two high-stakes media cases. The defendants: a glamorous dot-com millionaire who killed her business partner, and an orthopedist who runs a deadly pill mill. In the public mail bag, the judge receives a message from an anonymous crank. Then her family starts getting letters that sound all too personal. Someone with an agenda is harassing and shadowing Dana and her loved ones.

In Seven Shadows, the judge and her pursuer are on a collision course meant to teach Dana the meaning of empathy and the value of the people she cherishes most.

Hex Type Thing by Amanda M. LeeHex Type Thing by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter is feeling on top of the world.

She’s embracing her new home on Moonstone Bay and coming into her own as a witch. Her boyfriend Galen Blackwood, who happens to be sheriff, is even involving her in his investigations.

Unfortunately, the peace on Moonstone Bay is about to be threatened.

A local millionaire and a one-hit-wonder songstress are hosting the Skyclad Festival, a paranormal beach extravaganza that features a bevy of famous faces in paranormal circles … and those who want to hobnob with them. There’s only one little problem ….

One of the local influencers, a woman whose only job is to rave about things on the internet, ends up dead. Then, in short order, the organizer himself goes missing. That means Galen is on the case … and Hadley insists on serving as his sidekick.

There are a lot of witches on the island. The question is: Is magic to blame for murder or is something more insidious happening?

It’s going to take everyone working together to find the correct answers – and keep each other safe – as the problem on the beach deteriorates.

Someone has murder on the mind and Hadley is determined to find the culprit. All she has to do is survive long enough to uncover a mystery that has roots in a past long since forgotten … well, and not step on the wrong witchy toes.

The odds of doing both seem long but where there’s a witch, there’s a way.

The Snowdoina Killings by Simon McCleaveThe Snowdonia Killings by Simon McCleave:

A small town murder. A big city detective.

DI Ruth Hunter’s dream of escaping the murderous streets of South London and settling in the rural peace of Snowdonia has come true – until a brutal killing turns it into her worst nightmare.

Detective Inspector Ruth Hunter lives with the pain of her partner’s mysterious and unsolved disappearance. About to hit fifty, the veteran police officer trades in the crime-ridden streets of London for a more peaceful life in rural North Wales. But Ruth has barely settled into her new position in North Wales Police, when the body of a brutally murdered woman is discovered…with strange symbols carved into her skin. Teaming up with an obstinate deputy, Ruth struggles to eliminate anyone from a long line of suspects. When another slain victim is discovered with the same cryptic markings, she’s forced to re-think the investigation.

Has Ruth got what it takes to solve the case before the murderer attacks again?

The Girl That Vanished by A.J. RiversThe Girl That Vanished by A.J. Rivers:


One call from her past was all it took to change everything.

A ten-year-old girl has vanished on her way home from camp.

And things took a turn for the worse when another child, a child that Emma knows, goes missing.

Disappearances, death, and tragedies have followed Emma Griffin throughout her childhood.

Her obsession with finding out the truth behind her past was what led her to join the FBI.

It’s been months since the horror of Feather Nest.

After the shocking revelation of the last case, FBI agent Emma Griffin decides to take a much-needed vacation.

But a phone call from Sheriff Sam Johnson, a man from her past, completely derails her plans.

A young girl has disappeared, and another child has gone missing.

With the number count slowly climbing.

Emma must now put her plans on hold, go back to her hometown and face some ghosts from her past.

When a mysterious package appears on her birthday.

Emma can’t shake the feeling that someone is monitoring her every movement.

Someone is getting too close for comfort.

The question is who?

In the close-knit town of Sherwood, the truth is never as it seems.

All the Good Girls by Willow RoseAll the Good Girls by Willow Rose:

Detective Harry Hunter of Miami PD’s homicide squad throws himself into a case no one asked him to solve.

Four teenagers from one of Miami’s affluent neighborhoods are murdered on a boat. Another is found in a dumpster. All five of them go to the same school and are on a list of witnesses to another crime.

Because he’s in bad standing with his boss, Harry is given the task of protecting a possible future victim, but Harry isn’t always known to follow his boss’s orders.

Soon, he’ll risk everything while racing to stop a killer who has left everyone else in the homicide squad shaking in terror.

An Agent for Pearl by Christine SterlingAn Agent for Pearl by Christine Sterling:

A quiet woman with no desire to become an agent; an agent with no intention of ever having a partner, and the case that cooks up surprises.

Pearl Bolton has enough on her plate, she doesn’t want to add anything else. She loves her job as a cook for the Pinkerton’s Denver office. At night she rushes home to help take care of her invalid father. The last thing she needs is a husband, no matter how temporary. What she didn’t count on was a case that involved her two passions: baking and Pinkerton Agent Zeke Preston.

Zeke Preston has a crush on the shy cook, and he has the extra ten pounds to prove it! He wishes he could get her to open to him, but Pearl doesn’t appear to need anyone or anything. Every time Zeke comes around, it’s as though Pearl avoids him. He knows exactly what to do to get her attention. Someone has sabotaged a national baking competition and he needs her to help solve the case. The fact he must marry her is just a bonus!

Does Pearl assist Zeke in finding the saboteur? When Pearl is the victim of a crime, will Zeke be able to protect her and solve the case? Will their marriage end at the case’s conclusion, or will they bake up something new together?

The Burned Man by Jason VailThe Burned Man by Jason Vail:

One of medieval Ludlow’s mills burns to the ground during a cold November night. Former coroner Stephen Attebrook walks down to the site out of curiosity the following morning like many of the town’s residents, where he discovers the charred corpse of the miller in the smoldering ruins. It could have been an accident, but the evidence points to murder. Mysterious deaths are no longer Attebrook’s business — or so he mistakenly supposes. The constable of Ludlow Castle, anxious to ingratiate himself with the local lord who owns the mill, pushes Attebrook into pursuing the culprit, a move that pitches him into a tapestry of murder and robbery that reaches even into his own home — for a rampaging criminal gang steals all the money he has in the world, threatening him with poverty and ruin. Pulled two ways, Attebrook must decide whether to save his fortune or seek justice for the miller’s death.

Shifters and Sabotage by Lily WebbShifters and Sabotage by Lily Webb:

All’s fair in love and roar…

Zoe Clarke’s life is changing shape. After solving a litter of paranormal mysteries, Zoe’s ready to slow down and focus on domestics with her new live-in shifter boyfriend, Beau.

But someone in Moon Grove is eaten up with jealousy about their relationship — as Zoe learns from the series of disturbing anonymous letters addressed to Beau in their mailbox. So when Zoe finds Beau trapped in his golden retriever form, it’s up to her to sniff out what happened.

From his obsessive co-workers to the secretive community of shifters surrounding him, Zoe’s convinced the attacker is someone in Beau’s pack — until another prominent shifter is found locked in their animal form.

Can Zoe track down the culprit and reverse the shifter curse? Or will the attacker take a bite out of her too?

Shifters and Sabotage is the seventh book in the Magic and Mystery series of witch cozy mysteries. If you like shady shifters, raving reporters, and magical murder mysteries, then you’ll love this lighthearted seventh entry in Lily Webb’s spellbinding series.

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