Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for June 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 crime fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some May 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, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, western mysteries, international mysteries, Japanese mysteries, paranormal mysteries, children’s mysteries, crime thrillers, spy thrillers, disaster thrillers, action thrillers, police procedurals, noir, police officers, amateur sleuths, security specialists, relocation experts, Pinkerton detectives, spies, terrorists, serial killers, missing teenagers, missing nukes, missing gold bullion, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting librarians, crime-busting cats, crime-busting ghosts, time-travelling detectives, killer clowns, crime and murder in Louisiana, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Tokyo, the Wild West 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 in the Daytime by Blythe BakerMurder in the Daytime by Blythe Baker:

An elegant death…

When Alice Beckingham returns to London to see her sister and niece safely installed in the family home, she hopes for some quiet time of contemplation. But she has scarcely walked through the doors of Ashton House when she is greeted once again by mayhem and danger.

A visit from a mysterious stranger offers Alice an intriguing concept, an opportunity to turn her snooping talents into a profitable business. And who better to join in her new venture than the clever and capable Sherborne Sharp?

But a sudden death turns Alice’s plans upside down. Haunted by her failure to protect a client, Alice must discover who is behind a devious murder plot.

The Great Catsby by B.K. BaxterThe Great Catsby by B.K. Baxter:

Watch what you wish for… Some inheritances are literally death.

My life has been turned upside down by my inheritance, but my only complaint is the cat that came along with the new house.

I swear he’s judging me as I settle in and try to make new friends in my new small-town Louisiana neighborhood.

And just when I start to settle into my new job and get back to reading my classic novels, I’m pulled chapters deep into a mystery.

The Beauty Queen in the town has been offed. Someone has killed the darling.

Wouldn’t you know it? An innocent man has been framed.

I shouldn’t get involved, but somehow, my cat seems to have a way with finding clues in some of my favorite stories. Not that any of that makes sense.

Why would it?

The cat is the sleuth, I’m the amateur, and we have alligators in the backyard.

Throw in a dead body, a book club that’s filled with suspicious characters, and you have my new life.

And I thought being a librarian in Louisiana was going to be dull.

Mystery at the Edge of Madness by Beth ByersMystery at the Edge of Madness by Beth Byers:

July 1925

Severine DuNoir was twelve when she discovered the bodies of her parents, and the day after the funeral, she was sent to a convent in another country. By the time she resolves to go home, her sole focus is to reveal what happened to her parents.

Coming home, however, unveils a far more sinister plot than she could have expected. It’s clear from her first night that something is afoot. The motives are many and the target is clear: Severine herself.

Careless Whisper by Stacy ClaflinCareless Whisper by Stacy Claflin:

Someone is burying teenage girls alive.

It’s been nearly a full year since there were any local kidnappings, but now girls are going missing left and right. There are few commonalities linking them together, and the only evidence Alex Mercer has are the ransom notes left on each victim’s front door.

Tensions mount as clues point to the notorious kidnapping ring driven from town twelve months ago—the same ring that’s tormented him and his loved ones for years.

With so many young lives on the line, Alex is desperate. And he works tirelessly to solve the crimes before anyone dies. But if the ring has returned?

No one could be more determined to shut them down for good.

Cold Case in Spell by J.L. CollinsA Cold Case in Spell by J.L. Collins:

Charming Springs – Where every day is colder than a witch’s kitty!

After ditching her cheating fiancé, Indie Warren hits the road in her trusty old truck, refusing to settle for anyone or anywhere.

But all that changes after Indie gets stuck in the frozen ghost town of Charming Springs, North Carolina.

In the middle of July.

This secret magical town was struck by a curse that brought on eternal winter and cast a barrier around it with no way in or out.

And Indie knows this because the talking owl told her so, obviously.

Suddenly Indie’s thrown into a world of magic, mayhem, and murder. And when she stands accused of the deadly deed, she’ll have to use her wits to prove her innocence… if she can keep her newfound magical powers under control!

Even with the help of her feathered friend and the mysterious reaper with his own secrets, she’ll need to find her own way out of this cursed place—dead or alive.

The Monstrous Seven by Lily Harper HartThe Monstrous Seven by Lily Harper Hart:

Life is going well for Hannah Hickok. Her business – a cosplay western town in Kentucky – is thriving and she’s even interviewing bartenders so she can finally take on different duties in her new world. All that comes to a screeching halt when a guest grabs what’s supposed to be a prop gun and fires it at another guest during an altercation.

Suddenly, death is calling in Casper Creek … and it’s wearing many masks.

Hannah is thrown by the brutality of the action. She’s also confused why her boyfriend Cooper Wyatt was acting out of sorts right before it happened. The questions about exactly what happened are only compounded when the coroner comes back with a shocking report: There was no bullet found in the body and the manner of death is undetermined.

In short order, an FBI agent is put in charge of the case, Casper Creek is shut down, and Hannah and Cooper are plunged into a sundry world of magical creatures with death and destruction on the brain. Thanks to a tip from local witch Astra, Hannah soon realizes she’s grappling with something bigger than she’s ever dealt with before … and it will be seven times as deadly.

War is coming. Hannah’s magic is still a work in progress but she’s going to be put through the paces on this one. She has a new family. It will be up to her to save them when magical forces collide

Is she up to the challenge?

Kicked the Bucket by CeeCee JamesKicked the Bucket by CeeCee James:

Chelsea’s family life is pretty complicated. For starters, the family photo that she’s been carrying for her whole life has been a mystery in itself!

Before she can dig into her past, the present has taken a shocking turn… Chelsea finds a dead body in the pond and sitting on the shore is a bucket of flowers.

The more she learns about the dead man, the more she realizes he’s tied up in the knotted web of her own past. As the clues start to surface, Chelsea wonders if she’s better off leaving this one to the police.

Then a letter arrives threatening everything she ever loved. When the flowers begin to arrive, she realizes she can’t stop now or someone close to her will pay the ultimate consequence.

The Killer Clown Calamity by Amanda M. LeeThe Killer Clown Calamity by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes’ life is in turmoil. Her relationship with her boyfriend Jack is going well but Casey, the newest member of the Legacy Foundation, has dropped a bombshell and Charlie feels as if things are spinning out of control. While waiting for DNA results to prove (or disprove, for that matter) Casey’s identity, the team gets called out on a weird case.

It seems sadistic clowns with magical abilities are killing people in the suburbs surrounding Nashville, and the deaths are bloody and horrible. Upon arriving on the scene, Charlie and Jack stumble across an entire cadre of clowns hanging out at the fairgrounds and the game is afoot.

Mystic Caravan Circus isn’t what it appears to be on the surface. Poet Parker, second in command for the circus, is front and center as Jack and Charlie start digging for answers. It seems both sides are keeping secrets, though, and discovering the truth isn’t going to be easy.

Charlie has always zealously guarded her supernatural secret and it seems she’s not the only one, because the moment she crosses the threshold to the circus she senses she’s surrounded by a magical group of otherworldly individuals.

Trust takes time but that’s a precious commodity as the clowns ramp up their attacks. It’s going to take everyone working together to figure out what’s happening … and who is behind it.

Poet and Charlie make a fearsome twosome but they might not be enough to take on this particular threat. Everybody hates a clown, and when this trio declares war, the horror that follows will haunt an entire city.

Charlie is determined to deal with the clowns before focusing on her personal life. She has to survive to find answers, though, and it’s going to take every ounce of power she has to come out safely on the other side.

Fear is the name of the game, and two heroes are about to collide.

The Nuclear Option by Alan LeveroneThe Nuclear Option by Alan Leverone:

A Soviet tactical nuke has disappeared
and an American city may be targeted…

Still grieving the loss of her father, Tracie Tanner is back at work, tasked with infiltrating the home of a Russian general and acquiring intel regarding a rumored breakthrough in Soviet radar technology.

But what she finds is far more horrifying than a technological advance: a tactical nuclear device has been stolen out of a supposedly secure Soviet military base.

Together, Tracie and CIA Director Aaron Stallings determine that a shadowy group of Russian radicals – anxious for a return to the brutality of a byegone era in the Soviet Union – has acquired the bomb, intending to smuggle it into the United States and spark war by detonating it inside a major American city.

Now, racing against a ticking time bomb – literally – Tracie must get a line on the Russian radicals, desperate to learn where in the United States the bomb has been placed.

But what she finds shocks her to the core, because the group has a different plan for their prize. And Tracie Tanner may be the only one standing between the radicals and thousands of dead innocents…

Phyllis Wong and the Crumpled Stranger by Geoffrey McSkimmingPhyllis Wong and the Crumpled Man by Geoffrey McSkimming:

When Phyllis Wong, that brilliant young magician and clever sleuth, discovers a mysterious stranger who keeps appearing by the rotunda in City Park, little does she know that the Time he brings with him will lead her into a world of danger, intrigue and undiscovered threats from the past!

Will Phyllis’s magic be enough to save her from the perils that will cross her path? Will she be able to solve the riddle of the stranger and the place from which he comes?

A haunting story, swirling through the world of words and the ticking of time!

The seventh Phyllis Wong: Time Detective mystery.

Wired Ghost by Toby NealWired Ghost by Toby Neal:

Paradise is drowning in lava.

What would you do to survive during a volcanic eruption?

Security specialists Sophie and Jake take a job to rescue a teen girl shacked up with a dangerous meth cooker on the Big Island, and their wilderness destination turns out to be in the path of the biggest eruption Hawaii has seen in decades. Soon, they’re embroiled in a natural disaster too hot for anyone to handle.

Trapped underground in a lava tube, engulfed by darkness and heat, they struggle to outrun a deadly force that consumes everything in its path.

All in the Family by Tyler PorterAll in the Family by Tyler Porter:

A new case. A new monster. A city where no family is safe.

Detective Casey Norris has gotten his badge back, after coming out of retirement, and is back in charge of his team of detectives, which features a couple of new members. There is little time for introductions, however, as a new case has hit their desks featuring a monster unlike anything they have ever seen.

Helena has a new serial killer. A killer who has hit a breaking point. A killer who is hunting young families. A sadistic individual who seems to have no limits and who refuses to leave anyone in the city with a feeling of hope or safety.

Norris and his team are in a race against the clock as this new predator allows less and less time between each kill. Norris must work to understand the individual he pursues while fighting through his own personal demons which threaten to derail his case, as well as his life.

Being a part of a family is supposed to create a feeling of comfort and love, but for this killer, it only creates a new target.

Tokyo Traffic by Michael PronkoTokyo Traffic by Michael Pronko:

Running from a life she didn’t choose, in a city she doesn’t know Sukanya, a young Thai girl, loses herself in the vastness of Tokyo. With her Bangkok street smarts, and some stolen money, she stays ahead of her former captors who will do anything to recover the computer she took. After befriending Chiho, a Japanese girl living in an internet café, Sukanya makes plans to rid herself of her pursuers, and her past, forever.

In Tokyo, street smarts aren’t always enough

Meanwhile, Detective Hiroshi Shimizu leaves the safe confines of his office to investigate a porn studio where a brutal triple murder took place. The studio’s accounts point him in multiple directions at once. Together with ex-sumo wrestler Sakaguchi and old-school Takamatsu, Hiroshi tracks the killers through Tokyo’s music clubs and teen hangouts, bayside docks and byways, straight into the underbelly of the global economy.

As bodies wash up from Tokyo Bay, Hiroshi tries to find the Thai girl at the center of it all, whose name he doesn’t even know. He uncovers a human trafficking ring and cryptocurrency scammers whose connections extend to the highest levels of Tokyo’s power elite.

TOKYO TRAFFIC is the third in the Tokyo-based Detective Hiroshi series by award-winning author Michael Pronko.

Some Awful Cunning by Joe RickerSome Awful Cunning by Joe Ricker:

Ryan Carpenter is an underground relocation specialist who helps people escape the danger and traumas of their life and start over. After agreeing to help the young wife of a Texas oil baron relocate her stepson to escape criminal prosecution, Ryan learns more than he wants to about the oil baron, his wife, and the stepson.

Haunted by his own forced relocation, Ryan betrays his client and is forced to scramble for his life, which only puts him face to face with the childhood past he’s been trying to escape his entire life. His flight brings him from Albuquerque, New Mexico; back to New Orleans, Louisiana; where Ryan learned his underground trade as a relocation specialist or “travel agent.” There, Ryan seeks the help of his former mentor to escape the endless resources of the people who will stop at nothing to find Ryan and have him killed.

But first, Ryan’s mentor needs a favor, and that favor forces Ryan back to Ironwood, Maine, a small timber town where Ryan grew up, and where the one person who might figure out who Ryan really is, is an ambitious deputy will stop at nothing to become sheriff. A town where everyone remembers the tragedy that took Ryan and his family’s life.

Or so they thought…

No Man's Land by Ron SchwabNo Man’s Land by Ron Schwab:

“He told me to get the blood hounds. I knew who he wanted. That’s why I’m here.”

In the aftermath of a bloody train robbery, The Pinkerton Detective Agency enlists the newly married detectives Trace and Darby Crockett to track down the gold bullion that was stolen from the train, as well as one of the passengers who was abducted by the outlaws: the fifteen year-old daughter of a railroad executive.

Time is of the essence in bestselling author Ron Schwab’s second Blood Hounds novel, No Man’s Land, as this sprawling Western doubles down on suspense and adventure, providing Trace and Darby with their most dangerous mission yet.

Careful What You Dash For by Isaac SweeneyCareful What You Dash For by Isaac Sweeney:

A serial killer uses Door Dash to lure his prey. He’s got the local police fooled and his property booby trapped. But Sarah is his next target, and she may turn into his greatest challenge.

 

 

 

 

Pineapple Hurricane by Amy VasantPineapple Hurricane by Amy Vasant:

When a Pineapple Port resident is found dead during an approaching hurricane, Charlotte fears someone’s trying to disguise murders as storm-related accidents. The first two victims have more than the storm in common – both were hoarding valuable storm supplies like toilet paper and water.

Hm. Maybe the killer is karma!

Bringing together the area’s community leaders to spread a warning could lead to even more trouble. Last time the Five Families got together, someone ended up dead. But things could be much deadlier if Declan’s crazy ex is right and the Puzzle Killer’s broken out of prison…

And did that lamppost just explode, or is someone trying to kill Charlotte and Declan?

Charlotte vows to solve the crime before the storm hits. Mariska and Darla vow to find some toilet paper for sale, even if they have to call in help from their old neighbor, the revenge-genius, Gloria.

Buckle down for a blustery ride as the storm hits!

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