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, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, paranormal historical mysteries, crime thrillers, action thrillers, adventure thrillers, horror thrillers, detective novels, true crime, police officers, private investigators, FBI agents, amateur sleuths, bank robbers, serial killers, heists, missing girls, final girls, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting cats, crime-busting dogs, vigilante priests, murder and mayhem in London, New York City, the French Riviera, Savannah, Michigan, Florida, Hawaii 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:
The Final Women by Pardeep Aujla:
The mass murdering Phantom of Haven Cove is dead. For the one who killed him, however, life has never been the same.
How do you return to normality after facing such a monster? How do you live when consumed by guilt, anger, fear, and denial? How do you connect with others when no one understands what you’ve been through?
But there are others. Final Girls of their own Haven Cove massacres. And now, thirty years later, they must all face a new question…
What do you do when the killer returns?
The French for Murder by Verity Bright:
A grand villa, croissants for breakfast and a dead body in the wine cellar… Lady Swift can’t seem to take a vacation from murder!
Summer 1923. Lady Eleanor Swift is finally persuaded by her butler, Clifford, to take a villa in the south of France for the season. She plans to do what a glamorous lady abroad should: long lunches on the balcony followed by lazy afternoons lounging by the pool. Even Gladstone the bulldog is looking forward to a daily paddle in the ocean.
But when Clifford examines the wine cellar, he discovers there are no decent reds but there is a very dead body. The victim is famous American movie star Rex Armstrong. Poor Rex seems to have been stabbed with a sword from the film set. So how did he end up in Eleanor’s villa?
Before Eleanor even has time to change out of her travelling suit, her beloved butler is arrested for the crime. At sea without her right-hand man, Eleanor must gather her wits if she’s to outsmart a murderer and save Clifford.
Attending a glitzy party at the luxurious Hotel Azure with the film’s cast and crew so she can question her main suspects, Eleanor overhears the director having a most unsettling telephone call that throws all her theories out of the water. Can Eleanor unmask the true killer before her time abroad is cut murderously short?
The Curious Case of the Templeton-Swifts by Benjamin Brown:
A manor house full of secrets, a recluse who fears for his life, and four warring heirs out to claim their inheritance. There’s murder afoot in the country this summer.
England, 1926. When Lord Edgington receives a letter from Hugo Templeton-Swift, a famously rich magnate who believes he’s being poisoned, the renowned detective fetches his assistant, his golden retriever, and a full staff of servants and heads off to the countryside to investigate. But when the bodies start falling in the extraordinary estate of Riverside Keep, anyone could be guilty.
Though all fingers point to Hugo’s much younger wife, his three estranged children have their own reasons for wanting their father out of the picture, and even the servants are acting suspiciously. With the aid of his loyal grandson, Lord Edgington must pick through the mysterious manor in order to catch the killer and solve “The Curious Case of the Templeton-Swifts”.
It turns out that Smith’s one-time lover has returned. She’s beautiful and talented. She has big eyes and a trembling lip, and she’s turned those on Smith. Who is, in fact, unmoved.
It is Beatrice who is drawn in, and she’s the one who agrees to the case. Bea’s support doesn’t change when his lover shows her true colors.
Instead, Beatrice dives in and pulls Smith—and Vi—after. Now they’ll have to work together to help the only other woman Smith might have loved.
Murder in the Gardens by Colette Clark:
You are cordially invited to the grand opening of the Japanese Tea Gardens on the rooftop of the Grand Opal Hotel…
New York 1925
To celebrate its official opening, the Grand Opal Hotel is hosting an exclusive party for the crème de la crème of New York society, to be held in its newly completed rooftop Japanese Tea Gardens.
Jiro Ishida, the gardens’ designer is l’homme du moment. Everyone is clamoring for his services to recreate the latest trend in garden aesthetic.
Which is why it’s a surprise when he turns up dead in the koi pond.
Once again, Penelope “Pen” Banks is on the case, if only to solve a murder the owner of the hotel and several of its wealthy guests would rather see buried beneath the bonsai trees.
Rook is based on the true story of Al Nussbaum. To his unsuspecting wife, Lolly, Al is a loving, chess playing, family man. To J. Edgar Hoover, he is the most cunning fugitive alive. Al is the mastermind behind a string of east coast robberies that has stumped law enforcement. After his partner, one-eyed Bobby Wilcoxson, kills a bank guard and wounds a New York City patrolman, Al is identified as one of the robbers and lands on top of the FBI’s most wanted list. He is forced to flee his hometown of Buffalo, New York as the FBI closes in and Lolly learns of her husband’s secret life.
While Al assumes another identity and attempts to elude the police, Lolly is left alone to care for their infant daughter and adjust to her new life as ‘The Bank Robber’s Wife’. Friends, family, and federal agents all pressure Lolly to betray Al. While Lolly struggles at home financially, with unrelenting FBI agents, and her conscious, Al and Bobby continue to rob banks, even as Bobby grows more mentally unstable and dangerous.
Al has only two goals: avoid capture and steal enough money to start a new life with his family. Returning to gather his wife and baby is suicidal, but as Al said, he’d only stick his neck in the Buffalo noose for Lolly.
Ashes to Ashes by Rachel Ford:
A private eye and a vigilante priest face off to bring down a corrupt band of evildoers—by the book, or off the books. Her way, or his.
Years ago, Aubrey Blake joined the police force to make a difference. She almost lost everything in the pursuit of justice. Now she’s about to do it again.
Disillusioned with her former career, she makes a living as a private detective. A living, but not a life.
Then the killings start. The police are on it. But Blake can’t let it be. She can’t walk away. She’s not wired that way.
Then again, neither are the killers…
Die by the Sword by Rachel Ford:
‘I think they’re going to kill me…’
When Former Army intelligence analyst Owen Day gets a cryptic call from a man who used to be a brother to him, he drops everything without a second thought to head to the remote Montana wilderness.
He finds a web of lies and corruption waiting – and a bullet, with his name on it.
With no idea if his friend is still alive, no one left to trust, and a brutal storm moving in, Owen will need to act fast – or he’ll disappear too.
The Missing Girls by Elle Grey:
There are monsters among us.
They live in disguise, prowling in the shadows.
They commit unimaginable atrocities.
They target the innocent and the most vulnerable.
Regardless, the victims will eventually find peace and the evil-doers will forever be condemned to a fiery inferno…
To many that know her, FBI agent Blake Wilder is a pillar for truth and the dealer of justice.
When faced with threats and adversity, you can count on her to continue to fight for what is right. With her sister Kit clinging to life after being attacked, Blake and her team are called away to solve a case in North Dakota.
Teenage girls from prominent families are going missing and the local Sheriff is at a loss to understand who’s taking them—or why. As Blake and her team start investigating, they find themselves caught up in a power struggle between the town’s locals and a community of indigenous people.
But when the girls start turning up dead and the pressure to find the killer starts ramping up, Blake finds herself peeling back the layers of a monstrous series of murders. And the deeper they go down that rabbit hole, the more incomprehensible it gets.
As heroes are unmasked and they’re proven to be the monsters that lurk in the shadows hunting children, a small town is left horrified and shocked. It’s a case that will leave scars on everybody involved and will change them all.
Who is the monster behind the lost children?
And who is the culprit behind Kit’s attack?
Evil converges and the truth finds itself trying to escape its buried darkness to come into the light.
For a Few Witches More by Lily Harper Hart:
Casper Creek is a town in flux. Contractors are on the scene making plans for the new restaurant, owner Hannah Hickok is plotting ridiculous couple’s costumes for the Halloween party, and there’s a new demon in town.
Instead of coming after Hannah directly, the demon does an end-run around the witch and starts possessing the area children … and sending them into a frenzy. Through a fluke, Hannah manages to put an end to the first attack. Unfortunately, a wave of them are set to follow.
Hannah’s boyfriend Cooper Wyatt believes she can handle almost anything, but a threat against children puts her in a tough position … especially since the demon seems to be demanding something that’s impossible for Hannah to give him. He wants to be there for her, but this fight is one he’s not certain they can win.
Demons are nothing new for Hannah, but this one has a particular agenda, and nobody will survive if it comes to fruition. Because she has no other options, Hannah is forced to join forces with an enemy who can provide an exponential power boost. Will it be a mistake?
Hannah is determined to protect those she loves. This time, the foe might be too strong for her to defeat.
Wicked Graves by Lily Harper Hart:
Maddie Graves-Winters should be preparing for the biggest day of her life – she’s going to become a mother in three months after all – but that’s impossible without the right crib. That means an outing to nearby Shadow Lake with her husband Nick, which turns into a nightmare she wasn’t expecting when a local author is struck in the middle of the road and left for dead.
Ivy Morgan-Harker didn’t even know they had a famous author in town until she was already dead. When helping her husband Jack and his new partner search the dead woman’s house, she finds an entire wall of grievances, which seems to indicate the victim had more than one enemy.
When Maddie and Ivy cross paths, sparks fly … in a magical way. It isn’t long before the truth comes out and they join forces to solve a mystery.
Apparently, the author world is full of kooks, or at least that’s what the women manage to uncover. There are too many suspects and not enough motive. Still, they dig … but the answers they seek are elusive.
There’s a killer running around northern Lower Michigan, and Ivy and Maddie are determined to find out who it is … even if they put themselves in danger to uncover the truth. Their husbands, however frustrated, stand back to watch the show.
They say truth is stranger than fiction, and in this case, that truth will cast a pall over multiple lives.
Buckle up and enjoy the ride because some friendships are destined to become legendary. This is one of them.
Wrecks of Key Largo by Nicholas Harvey:
Hidden clues. Deadly wrecks. A ticking clock.
When AJ Bailey heads to the Florida Keys for a scuba diving conference, she’s looking forward to a relaxing trip. But when an old friend goes missing and his wife is in trouble, the holiday is over.
Amid a sea of threats and lies, AJ has 24 hours to find her friend and the mysterious package he took, before payback will be taken in lives.
With no idea where to start, and time running out, AJ soon discovers the answers may lie deep inside the infamous shipwrecks of Key Largo.
Book Twelve in this best-selling series dives into the waters of the Florida Keys with fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and a guest appearance by the marvellous Emily Durand from Nick Sullivan’s ‘The Deep Series’.
The Haunted Hotel Hoopla by Amanda M. Lee:
Charlie Rhodes is struggling. She thought finding her family would fix everything. It hasn’t, and the threat that’s cast a long shadow over her life is only getting larger. Still, when an opportunity arises to go to Savannah – one of her bucket list cities – she jumps at the chance.
Savannah was made famous by ghosts, but five missing women – and the return of only one body – seems to point to a different sort of culprit. Whatever is going on, it’s weird … and it’s only getting weirder.
Charlie’s mind keeps wandering to the friend she lost, who keeps haunting her dreams, but her determination never wavers. That’s why she hits the ground hot and hard … and the answers that start unspooling do so at a fantastic rate.
There’s just one problem: Whatever evil is haunting Savannah, it’s more than ghosts. Actually, there might be two problems, because the ghosts in Savannah are multiplying exponentially and nobody knows if it’s tied to the missing women.
Charlie has enemies coming out of the woodwork, although the big one is elusive. The answers she seeks are close, and they might just be provided by an unlikely source. It will take all of them working together, every faction in town, to beat back a terrific foe.
Don’t skip to the end in this one, because the ultimate twist is about to descend. Prepare yourself because it’s going to be a heckuva ride.
What would you do if the crime you were hired to solve tugged at your heartstrings?
Private investigator Sophie’s latest case weighs heavy: someone has desecrated the nesting grounds of the majestic Laysan Albatross on Oahu, the murder of a generation of endangered birds—and the outrageous crime appears to be spreading to other islands. Sophie teams up with Sergeant Lei Texeira on Maui to search for killer whose brutal activities outrage the public.
Meanwhile, deadly assassin grandma Pim Wat continues to threaten the fragile peace Sophie is building with her family.
Will Sophie be able to find the answers she seeks in time?
You Better Run by Willow Rose:
When 19-year-old Meg Briggs wakes up after having a crazy party with her friends, she finds a girl in the pool.
Who is this girl?
How did she end up in the pool?
Was she even at the party?
Even more strange is when they pull her out of the water, Meg realizes the girl looks very familiar. As a matter of fact, she looks just like her.
Like an identical twin.
But Meg has no twin, at least none that she knows of, and no one at the party knows this girl or can say where she is from.
What is Meg’s mom hiding from her?
FBI profiler Eva Rae Thomas is caught in distress at home with her children and between the two men in her life when she is asked to help out on the case.
Who killed Meg’s identical twin and why? And where did she come from?
As Eva Rae Thomas digs deeper into the story, she can barely believe the revealed secrets, secrets so cruel that someone is ready to go to great lengths to keep them hidden.
Game, Set and Murder
For some reason I find hard to understand, humans like to play a game called tennis. Basically it involves hitting a ball with something called a racket and inducing it to fly across a net. The person on the other side then proceeds to hit the ball back across that same net. And so on and so forth, ad infinitum. Or at least until someone strikes out, and the other person wins the set, or even the game, and eventually the match.
It’s all very complicated, and not all that interesting, not to say utterly boring, and so when Marge and Tex went on their annual tennis retreat with some of their friends from the tennis club, I mainly saw this as an opportunity to catch up on my naptime, which had suffered greatly since my humans had decided to produce a new human in the form of a baby. Unfortunately for them, before long a murder was committed, and suspicion fell on all those present—Marge and Tex included!
And then of course there was Gran acting strange—which isn’t all that exceptional, considering strange is that eccentric old lady’s middle name—and Harriet acting even stranger, with Brutus convinced she was having an affair. In other words: I had my work cut out for me, trying to unravel everyone’s secrets and their most blatant lies.
The Ghostly Tower by A.F. Stewart:
Meet Heyward and Andersen, consulting detectives in a paranormal London you never imagined…
Elspeth Heyward has never met a puzzle she didn’t want to solve, or an adventure she didn’t relish. Taking Sherlock Homes as her benchmark, she is determined to be the best detective and monster hunter in London.
Lars Andersen’s ambitions aren’t nearly as demanding. He just wants to stay alive, out of trouble, and out of jail. But when your partner likes guns and dynamite, that could be a challenge. Can he survive his new employment?
The Case: Discover if a stone tower on their client’s estate is haunted. It should be straightforward, but ghosts aren’t all they find. When they dig up a body, they also unearth a murder and a tangle of secrets. Secrets they’d better unravel quickly before someone else dies.
HE HUNTS WOMEN. SHE HUNTS HIM.
FBI Agent Meredeth Connelly tracks The Savannah Strangler by day. At night, she mimics his prey. She has little to go on. He’s crafty and smart – he dumps bodies in the Savannah River after stoning his victims to death. But he won’t escape. She won’t let him. She will do anything to make Savannah safe again. She will do anything to stop him.
The dead pile up. Pressure, a hellish headache, desperate secrets. Heat, stiletto heels, fear. She won’t let anything stop her.
Not the detective who thinks she’s a drunk.
Not the good old boys club.
Not the mystery man cyberstalking her.
She will get the killer. One way or another.
Her pounding head is going to kill her – unless he gets to her first…