Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for February 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 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, 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, hardboiled mysteries, historical mysteries, Victorian mysteries, Jazz Age mystries, holiday mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, paranormal thrillers, police procedurals, romantic suspense, amateur sleuths, police officers, ex-spies, serial killers, domestic abuse, suspicious suicides, crime-busting witches, crime-busting tour guides, murderous Valentines, crime and murder in London, Paris, New Orleans, Miami, Los Angeles, Indiana, Wisconsin, Warsaw 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 by Baguette by Jennifer A. AldersonDeath by Baguette: A Valentine’s Day Murder in Paris by Jennifer S. Alderson:

Paris—the city of love, lights … and murder? Join tour guide Lana Hansen as she escorts five couples on an unforgettable Valentine-themed vacation to France! Unfortunately it will be the last trip for one passenger…

Lana Hansen’s future is looking bright. She has money in her bank account, a babysitter for her cat, and even a boyfriend. Regrettably she won’t get to celebrate Valentine’s Day with her new beau, Chad. Instead, she will be leading a lovers-only tour in France. Luckily for Lana, her best friend, Willow, and her partner, Jane, will be joining her.

Things go downhill when Lana’s new boyfriend shows up in Paris for her tour—with his wife. Chad is not the website developer he claimed to be, but a famous restaurant critic whose love of women rivals his passion for food.

After Chad drops dead during a picnic under the Eiffel Tower, a persistent French detective becomes convinced that he was poisoned. And the inspector’s sights are set on several members of the tour—including Lana!

While escorting her group through the cobblestone streets of Montmartre, the grand gardens of Versailles, and the historic Marché des Enfants Rouges market, Lana must figure out who really killed Chad before she has to say bonjour to prison and adieu to her freedom.

Introducing Lana Hansen, tour guide, reluctant amateur sleuth, and star of the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series. Join Lana as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that, unfortunately for Lana, often turn deadly.

The Imposter's InheritanceThe Imposter’s Inheritance by C.J. Archer:

A sordid scandal rocks the Glass household and threatens to ruin Matt’s family unless he can suppress it. But after word gets out, and a rare magical coronet is stolen, he and India find themselves scrambling to recover the heirloom and suppress the gossip before reputations are ruined.

To make matters worse, someone is sending threatening letters to the magicians of London, stirring up trouble between the artless and magicians. Tensions are rising, but India and Matt choose not to investigate – until the author of the letters is assaulted.

As if they don’t have enough on their plate, Willie is jailed. The reason for her arrest is…complicated.

What Lies Beneath by David ArcherWhat Lies Beneath by David Archer:

Fresh out of high school and off to college, Cassie thought she had the world by its tail, and then she met Mike. Tall, handsome and a police detective to boot, he swept her off her feet and into a whirlwind relationship that led to an engagement ring.

But things aren’t always as they seem, and Cassie comes to discover that Mike has a dark side. When she learns just how dark it can be, she comes face-to-face with the greatest forward she could imagine, and it leaves her burned and scarred for the rest of her life.

Cassie isn’t one to wallow in misery. She takes her experiences and a degree in psychology and sets out to help other women avoid the kind of thing that happened to her, but then one of her clients comes to her in desperation. Her abusive husband has kidnapped her daughter, and it’s up to Cassie to find the girl before it’s too late.

Of course, then the only trick is how to survive.

Berenice Jacquette by S. Ann AustinBérénice Jacquette, Part 1 by S. Ann Austin:

The Past:
She was taken from a rundown farmhouse and brought to an isolated cabin. The sounds of a little girl crying echoes across the bayou. No one can hear her. No one will rescue her.

The Present:
Twenty-seven-year-old Bérénice Jacquette survived a horrific childhood in the swamplands of Louisiana only to wind up trapped in a bitter, loveless marriage. In spite of a traumatic past still haunting her, she is determined to find her independence. Harboring ambitions to be a successful author, she attempts to pen a work of fiction.

The chef of a popular restaurant in New Orleans, she believes no one suspects her of committing murder through the use of black magic while writing a realistic crime novel.

When a handsome and charismatic homicide detective named Gary Northcutt steps into her life she doesn’t wonder if he knows her secrets. She thinks only about how he can be useful to her.

Murder by Candlelight by Blythe BakerMurder by Candlelight by Blythe Baker:

A dramatic death…

When an evening’s entertainment unexpectedly turns into a night of death, Alice Beckingham must discover the motive behind a very public murder. But with hundreds of witnesses, narrowing down her suspects isn’t easy. Worse, her investigation makes Alice a target for a killer who doesn’t want to be caught.

With the always aloof Sherborne Sharp assisting, can Alice stay alive long enough to solve the puzzle? Or will the next curtain rise on yet another murder – her own?

Illusions of Warsaw by David BradwellIllusions of Warsaw by David Bradwell:

A suspicious suicide. A vengeful girl. Connecting the dots could send a group of friends to the morgue..…

Warsaw, 1997. Fugitive journalist Clare Woodbrook refuses to ignore a colleague’s questionable death. Teaming up with a fellow reporter, she uncovers a trail of corruption that could expose the killer. But when they get too close to the truth, they’re framed for a series of bloody crimes.

London. Secretive, bright-eyed Louise arrives on Anna Burgin’s doorstep, claiming to be Clare’s long-lost niece. But her true agenda is simple and deadly: revenge for her father’s murder. And her ill-conceived plan to infiltrate a crew of con artists puts both Anna and her in a vicious gangster’s crosshairs.

As Clare discovers shadowy links between Poland and Britain, she races against time to clear her name and reveal the culprit before more body bags fill. But with Louise and Anna caught up in the mess in England, it might be too late to save everyone…

Can the unlikely team catch a sinister mastermind before they’re ruthlessly erased?

Illusions of Warsaw is the sixth book in the twisty Anna Burgin mystery-thriller series. If you like fearless characters, Nineties nostalgia, and pulse-pounding suspense, then you’ll love David Bradwell’s breathless tale.

Mystery on Valentine's Day by Beth Byers and Lee StraussMystery on Valentine’s Day by Beth Byers and Lee Strauss:

The worlds of Ginger Gold and Violet Carlyle collide in this fun Valentine Mystery short story by bestselling authors Lee Strauss and Beth Byers.

While both Ginger and Violet had plans for a romantic evening of dinner and dancing to celebrate Valentine’s Day with their husbands, something goes terribly awry. One by one, female patrons discover that they are missing jewelry.

In this closed room mystery filled with a brigade of colorful characters, Violet and Ginger join forces to put their skills of deduction to work. Can they unveil the culprit and solve the mystery in time for dessert?

Don’t miss this delectable bite-sized tale. Pairs perfectly with a box of chocolate and a comfy chair!

No Trivial Pursuit by John EllsworthNo Trivial Pursuit by John Ellsworth:

No Trivial Pursuit. Not When It’s Your Own Daughter Missing.

A front-page murder is assigned to LAPD Detective Harley Ellis and her partner. Hollywood studio head Ira Spielman has been murdered. His widow says he had no enemies. Except one, says Harley, and she must discover who that is and why. She knows he sometimes interviewed actresses alone in his Hollywood office. Harley wonders: did he make a wrong move? It’s not much, but it’s a starting point. She would know: her own daughter had a screen test with Spielman before he was killed.

Robbery-Homicide Division begins an investigation that obtains the name of Harley’s daughter. Is she a suspect? No, but she’s a person of interest. Charges get filed. The LAPD investigation is put beneath the microscope. Will Harley’s investigation of a totally different suspect be vindicated? The amazing conclusion to this thoughtful investigation culminates in a final chapter few will see coming.

Chow Down by Mike FaricyChow Down by Mike Faricy:

Life gets complicated!

Former cop, Dickie Mullins, owns the Emporium of Dance. A sleazy pick-up bar with lousy food and about to go broke.
Rae Nell, Dickie’s ex-wife, is having an affair with NFL washout, Terry Taggert.
Terry is starting a steak business. Delicious, unique steaks.
Rae Nell thinks it would be a good idea if Dickie improved his menu.
Meanwhile, Terry’s principal investor, ‘Dr.’ Craig Cullen wants out, NOW!
Terry has just the plan for the ‘Dr.’ Cullen.

The Heartless Valentine by Kacey GeneThe Heartless Valentine by Kacey Gene:

Roses are red; violets are blue
Is a lover from the dead here to kill you?

Valentine’s Day. 2020. Middlebridge, Wisconsin. When the quick-witted second grade teacher and amateur sleuth, Jennifer Hunter, receives a gift from a secret admirer on Valentine’s Day, she heartily investigates who her cupid could be. When she opens the box, though, she doesn’t find chocolates; she finds a human heart wrapped in red tissue paper.

And that’s not all. Her admirer has written a note confessing their desire to watch Jennifer die. That’s when Jennifer’s best friend and Middlebridge’s Police Lieutenant, Jake Hollow, steps in.

Jake and Jennifer put their dynamic duo focus on finding Jennifer’s deranged valentine, and that leads them to the recently deceased body of David Bird IV. He looks like an average dead guy except for one fact — his heart has been removed. Jennifer must investigate this heartless valencrime; otherwise, she fears she’ll be the next victim. Yet, her attempt to protect her own heart leads her to a set of love letters that tell the story of broken hearts from the past.

Valentine’s Day. 1910. Salem, Massachusetts. Clay Trunkett, a twenty year old hard-working journalist, is scheduled to hang for assaulting a man. His accuser? David Bird II, son of the wealthiest man in Salem. Clay’s true crime? Falling in love with Meghan White, the woman David has his heart set on marrying.

The love triangle of 1910 holds the clues Jennifer needs to find the heart snatcher of 2020, but with her own crazed valentine delivering threatening messages and bits of heart like they’re candy, Jennifer struggles to piece together this crime of passion from 1910.

And, Jennifer’s own passions get in the way when she discovers that her best friend, Jake, has a girlfriend — one that he’s been hiding from Jennifer for months. Betrayal runs high as masquerade parties, craft sales, murder mystery dinners, and a strange encounter at the local diner all distract Jennifer from her one mission: To find out who’s making her Valentine’s Day the most horrifyingly heart-filled in history. The problem is, Jennifer’s discoveries may end her friendship with Jake, and that’s a heartbreak she can’t take.

This clean cozy mystery will keep reader’s hearts pounding as they flip through love letters from the past and the alternating stories of Jennifer Hunter and Clay Trunkett. Jennifer’s down-to-earth and lovable personality plunges into new territory as she must assess her relationship with Jake and the type of love she wants in her life. She goes on crochet benders; she attends parties where she gets to be someone other than herself; and all the time she’s piecing together a crime that makes this Valentine’s Day anything but sweet.

Nest of Vipers by Natalie HamesNest of Vipers by Natalie Hames:

Seeing is deceiving.

A layer of freezing fog hovered on the ground, nipping at Andrea Rossi’s ankles as she ran along the secluded trail in Kensington Gardens. It was no ordinary day. In a few hours time, she would be facing a prolific child killer in a legal battle that would change her career, forever. But Andrea would never see the inside of a courtroom, again. Nor would she reach the end of her favourite trail. A few more paces, and Andrea Rossi would be dead.

DI Dalton and DS Nash embark on an investigation to find the killer. They do not have to look very far before they come across Mark Templeton, a man with a history of violence and the father of a murdered child. He has motive and an insurmountable rage making him highly capable of carrying out the brutal slaying. Grace and Ryan proceed with caution and question him to find he has no sympathy for the young Barrister’s death. But as they gather more information, they unearth more suspects and more motives. Initially obvious theories become increasingly blurred as details of Andrea’s private life gradually unfold. Did Mark Templeton really kill her for defending his son’s killer, or are there far deeper and darker motives at play?

Boot Scootin' Boogeyman by Lily Harper HartBoot Scootin’ Boogeyman by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok didn’t know she was a witch but now that she’s embracing her destiny, she can’t wait to learn about magic. Given the trouble that seems to find Casper Creek on a regular basis, that’s probably a good thing.

Cooper Wyatt is enjoying watching Hannah open up and learn about herself. He’s there to lend a helping hand but also eager for her to strike out on her own … until the unthinkable happens. On their first official date, Cooper and Hannah bear witness to a horrifying scene. A local woman, who had gone missing days before, jumps off a downtown building and kills herself. The question is: Why?

There’s more than one missing woman, magic sparking at every turn, and a monster on the hunt. It’s up to Hannah, Cooper, and the rest of their friends to discover exactly what’s going on … and figure out how to solve the problem. That’s easier said than done, though.

Casper Creek’s magic runs deep and Hannah is going to have to tap into it if she expects to keep her friends safe.

She’s up to the challenge.

At least she hopes she is.

Things are about to get messy as the Wild West gets wickeder and wickeder.

Valentines & Victims by Donna MuseValentines & Victims by Donna Muse:

After being snowbound for much of the winter, amateur detective duo Geneva Pomolo and Iris Reeves are looking forward to a Valentine’s Day getaway with a few older friends at Bittersweet Lodge, a ski resort in the chilly foothills of southern Indiana. Both women are looking forward to a weekend of dance contests, luaus, roasted pigs, and toboggan scavenger hunts. Tensions mount when one of their friends comes down with a sudden illness. Geneva fears the worst: someone is poisoning the lodge’s guests.

The case takes a deadly swerve when Horace Weatherspoon—millionaire head of a railroad empire—dies in a toboggan accident. The old man had been deathly afraid of toboggans and Geneva knows there is malice at work: one of their fellow guests is a murderer. As Iris and Geneva begin to investigate, they uncover a trail of secrets leading back more than thirty years, and one person will kill again to keep those secrets buried.

Be My Valencrime by Amy M. ReadeBe My Valencrime by Amy M. Reade:

It’s Valentine’s Day in Juniper Junction and love is in the air. Or is that just a dark cloud?

Lilly’s shop assistant, Harry, is about to pop the question to his girlfriend, Alice Davenport. He’s got the ring, he’s planned a romantic dinner, and he’s even thought of a gracious escape if Alice says no.

The only thing missing is…Alice.

Lilly wants to do all she can to help find Alice, even if that means interfering with a police investigation. But as she begins to learn more about Harry’s sweet, unassuming girlfriend, she discovers that Alice is hiding a shocking secret that will complicate everything.

And when Lilly suffers a lapse in judgment, the consequences are swift and painful. Can she pull herself together enough to help her daughter through a tunnel of teenage angst, deal with her mother’s dementia-related wanderings, and still help Harry find his Happily Ever After?

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

The sound of a blood curdling scream echoed through the manor.

Her pleas ignored, her screams unheard. Tomorrow would not come for Everly Zara…

What does the death of a young child, and the sudden death of the girl in the manor have in common?

Was it simply just a coincidence, or is there something far more disturbing than anyone could ever imagine?

Everly Zara, a beautiful young woman, is found dead in the bedroom of the manor. The bedroom which she shares with her new fiancé.

She is naked and hanging. Her ankles are bound. There are words written on her body.
The news is shocking and disturbing to everyone who knows her.

Could Everly no longer bear the sadness and guilt of the little boy’s death, and killed herself to escape it?

But the heartbreaking death of a beautiful young woman accused of a horrible act may not be as straightforward as everyone thought.

The further Emma dives into the case, the more she realizes, everything is not as it seems.
As secrets from Everly’s past rise to the surface and the shocking nature of it discovered.
Emma must unravel the truth before she becomes a victim herself. In the close-knit town of Sherwood, something or someone is coming for Emma Griffin.

With her past constantly haunting her, and the disturbing nature of this mystery. Nothing is what it seems, yet everything feels so familiar. Emma is left to wonder if she is really losing her mind.

How deep down the rabbit hole will Emma go to find out the truth of her past?

How far will she go to find out the truth behind Everly Zara’s death?

One thing’s for certain, Emma’s entire world will be forever changed once the truth is revealed.

Run Girl Run by Willow RoseRun Girl Run by Willow Rose:

When a mother and her child are pulled out of the harbor in their car, the case seems pretty straightforward for Miami PD and Detective Harry Hunter.

Everything points to a murder-suicide.

They were homeless, living in their car, and the mother decided to end it all for them both by driving into the water.

But the case is not what it looks like, Detective Harry Hunter soon realizes.

Harry’s daughter is carrying devastating knowledge about their deaths, and soon she becomes the killer’s next target.

As Harry races to protect her, he is betrayed by someone he thought he knew, leaving him terrified of trusting anyone in a town filled with liars.

The Paladin by T.L. SchaeferThe Paladin by T.L. Schaefer:

Redemption. Love. Betrayal. An ancient evils stirs. Unleashing… The Paladin.

James Goltree put Mariposa in his rearview mirror five years ago, escaping a past and a family he’s desperately ashamed of. But now the Air Force Office of Special Investigations agent must return after the death of his grandfather. The grandfather he helped send to prison.

Emergency room LPN Madison Campbell’s quiet life is turned upside down when her son inherits enough money from James’ grandfather to settle all their financial woes. But there are strings.

James and Madison throw sparks neither has ever felt before. But now isn’t the right time for a man unwilling to commit and woman still crippled by betrayal to fall in love.

Not when a killer has once again come to town, one with an unfathomable, unbelievable agenda.

James and Madison must embrace and overcome their pasts to defeat evil and find a love that transcends time.

Murder on Fleet Street by Lee StraussMurder on Fleet Street by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s a Deadly Secret!

Mrs. Ginger Reed—the former Lady Gold—thought her past was dead and buried, but when the mysterious death of a British secret service agent threatens to expose her own Great War secrets, she’s faced with an unimaginable dilemma: break her legal vow to the Official Secrets Act or join the agency again, something she’s loathe to do.

Because once they own your soul, there’s no getting it back.

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