Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for October 2022


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 September 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, Victorian mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, psychological thrillers, police procedurals, romantic suspense, police officers, FBI agents, lawyers, medical examiners, forensic pathologists, er-Navy SEALs, amateur sleuths, serial killers, explosions, heists, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting schoolmarms, crime-busting lords, crime-busting dogs, murderous movie sets, deadly hot air balloons, creepy hotels, cryptocurrency murders, murder and mayhem in London, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Texas, Florida, Wyoming, Vancouver, New Mexico, Dublin 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 Extra by Mal AnastasiouThe Extra by Mel Anastasiou:

The casting call is murder …

Vancouver schoolmarm Frankie Ray runs away to Silver Screen Hollywood to test her conviction that an actress who lacks glamour but has talent and an enterprising attitude can make it in the movies. But when a dissolute, womanizing matinee idol turns up dead on her sofa, Frankie’s career hopes shatter. She’ll need all her acting chops to sleuth out the murderer and clear her name.

 

Death Behind Silent Walls by Blythe BakerDeath Behind Silent Walls by Blythe Baker:

After her husband dies under suspicious circumstances, Victoria Sedgewick is drawn down a dark and spiraling path of family secrets. There, she uncovers a deception so deep it threatens to destroy everything she holds dear.

Will the private inquiry agent investigating her husband’s murder complicate matters? Or might Mr. Branwell Keats prove to be an ally, as a growing shadow of danger looms over Victoria’s household?

 

Death Under Wrathful Skies by Blythe BakerDeath Under Wrathful Skies by Blythe Baker:

A vicious killer haunts the streets of London and has selected a member of Victoria Sedgewick’s household as his next victim. Still reeling from recent revelations surrounding her late husband’s murder, can Victoria identify this new killer before he claims another life?

The inquiry agent hired by her in-laws still delves into the Sedgewick family secrets, but when violence strikes close to home, Victoria must take matters into her own hands.

 

Dead Upon Arrival by Kat BellemoreDead Upon Arrival by Kat Bellemore:

Flying high in the New Mexican sky has never been more lethal.

The biggest hot air balloon festival would have been a vacation if Maddie didn’t have to balance her apathetic teenagers, a meddling mother, and act as therapist for a desperate patient. Let alone solve a murder case!

When Maddie witnesses someone fall from a hot air balloon, it seems like a tragic accident. But as facts come to light, the police are convinced it’s foul play. And Maddie’s friend is to blame.

With the remainder of the festival canceled and all attendees required to stay for questioning, Maddie has two days to discover the truth behind the murder and free her friend from suspicion.

Dead Upon Arrival is the second book in the Maddie Swallows mystery series. If you like humor, intrigue, and, of course, hot air balloons, you’ll love this cozy mystery.

Nowhere Safe by Kate BoldNowhere Safe by Kate Bold:

FBI BAU special agent Harley Cole, as brilliant as she is at hunting serial killers, has bent the rules one too many times and, put on leave, decides to return to her small-town Southwestern roots and visit her dying father. But when a new killer strikes nearby, leaving a trail of women in abandoned desert mines, it hits close to home for Harley, eerily reminiscent of her sister’s unsolved case—and forces her to consider the local FBI field office’s desperate plea for help.

Harley, reeling from her being put on leave, from her long-term relationship falling apart, and from her father’s dying, is hardly ready to return to her hometown, to its long-buried secrets, and her tortured past. She spent her life escaping this small town—but, as she settles back in, she wonders: might she have been wrong all this time?

Yet as more bodies surface and as every clue leads to a dead end, Harley, clashing with her new partner, realizes she’s in a race against time.

Will she save the next victim in time? Or will the endless desert, and her dark past, swallow her for good?

The Crimes of Clearwell Castle by Benedict BrownThe Crimes of Clearwell Castle by Benedict Brown:

A string of murders, an ancient curse and a castle full of secrets.

England, 1926. When esteemed detective Lord Edgington and his novice grandson Christopher plan a trip to the beautiful Forest of Dean, they hope for nothing more than a relaxing weekend with old friends. What they discover among the dark halls and secret passageways of Clearwell Castle is a centuries-old injustice and a rivalry that has ripped the area apart.

After two apparently unconnected villagers are murdered, Lord Edgington must pick the killer from a parade of cheery locals, cagey aristocrats and their sworn rivals. The only certainty is that every last suspect has something to hide. With talk of a ghost walking the castle and a curse that goes back generations, it soon becomes clear that this is no ordinary murder investigation.

Lord Edgington’s most thrilling and unusual mystery yet is packed with gothic intrigue and a labyrinthine plot that will keep you guessing until the final chapter. “The Crimes of Clearwell Castle” is an Agatha-Christie-style whodunit with a cast of unique characters and a loyal golden retriever along for the ride. Will the beloved detectives solve the case before there’s anyone left in the village to bump off? Or will you spot the killer before they do?

Capital Justice by James ChandlerCapital Justice by James Chandler:

When the death of a cryptocurrency magnate shakes a small town, Sam Johnstone is thrown into a new and dangerous legal frontier.

As changes in Wyoming banking law bring an influx of crypto entrepreneurs to small-town Custer, attorney Sam Johnstone doesn’t think much of the new arrivals. But when a shocking crime throws him straight into the epicenter of the digital world, there’s no turning back.

The death of crypto exchange magnate Max Kovalenko shatters the community, sparking local outrage and a long list of suspects. With many betrayed partners, jealous competitors, and bitter family members left in his wake, Max has stepped on plenty of toes since his arrival, and finding his killer is no easy task.

When Kovalenko’s protégé is accused of killing his mentor, Sam is reluctant to represent him—but an enormous fee tendered by Kovalenko’s daughter convinces him to take the case. As he begins his client’s defense, Sam must navigate a complex web of family and business secrets in an environment he doesn’t fully understand, where nobody can be trusted to give him the truth.

In the high-stakes world of cryptocurrency, a ruthless new generation of entrepreneurs compete for control over digital assets whose value can skyrocket overnight—and some freshly minted digital fortunes are worth killing for…

The Hotel's Secret by Stacy ClaflinThe Hotel’s Secret by Stacy Claflin:

A creepy old hotel, a newly blended family, and a murderer on a rampage…

Chris and Vanessa have seven kids between them, and they can’t fit everyone into either of their homes. So they pack up and move to Recluse Island, where they’ve inherited a hotel. Locals say the building was an asylum for the criminally insane decades earlier — and that the previous residents never left. But ghosts are the least of their problems.

Before the family has time to settle in, the kids discover a mysterious death threat. All of the hotel staff is suspect… until one of them is found dead. Now nobody is safe.

Chris and Vanessa will defend their family at any cost. When the twin daughters discover one of the hotel’s most dangerous secrets, there may be nothing anyone can do to protect the girls.

The Hotel’s Secret is a suspenseful, spooky tale that will keep you turning the pages until the stunning conclusion!

Adrift by Jana DeLeonAdrift by Jana DeLeon:

Emma Turner has spent eight years running, hiding, dodging…limiting her short stays to big cities where she could easily get lost in the crowd. But when she steps onto Tempest Island, something changes. The tiny island speaks to her in ways no other place ever has, and tempts her into breaking the life rules she established long ago to keep herself safe. Instead of taking a couple days off and then moving on, as originally planned, she applies for a job at the Island Surf Shop, despite the risky fact that she’s horribly attracted to the owner.

Since his wife’s death a year ago, Mark Phillips has done the best he can to put life back together for himself and his five-year-old daughter, Lily. Now he needs to give more attention to his somewhat neglected business so that he doesn’t have to worry about their future. Emma Turner has all the job qualifications he’s looking for, and he can’t help feeling drawn to the auburn-haired beauty.

But Emma is keeping secrets, and they’re about to catch up with her.

The Heist by Mike FaricyThe Heist by Mike Faricy:

US Marshal Jack Dillon, assigned to An Garda Síochána Special Branch, is investigating an assault and attempted abduction of an American Student named Melanie Brussard. Her father happens to be a US Senator, and he wants the investigation to be conducted his way.

The more Dillon and his partner DI Paddy Suel investigate, the more they discover similar assaults. Meanwhile, the FBI arrives in Dublin hoping to recover eight paintings, valued at over 100 million dollars, that were stolen from a New Orleans Art Museum twenty years ago.

At least Dillon is enjoying his relationship with sexy Nessa. Amazingly, nothing has gone wrong . . . yet. Better check things out and see what happens.

Yesterday's Over by Becky FladeYesterday’s Over by Becky Flade:

In the rubble of a massive explosion that rocked Philadelphia, bones are discovered beneath the remains of a row house.

Assistant Chief Medical Examiner Trudy Beasley prides herself on providing answers and closure to victim’s families, but the mystery surrounding the skeletal remains is something she’s never seen before. Could whoever did this still be loose in the city? Trudy’s instincts demand she pursue the truth.

Forensic anthropologist Benjamin Roberts disagrees. Ben sees the puzzle as an academic challenge, not a legal one.

As the investigation progresses, Trudy and Ben are pulled closer together, until their professional relationship crosses the line and they find themselves in each other’s arms. Will their newfound romance survive when someone is willing to kill again in order to keep secrets buried along with the bones from being unearthed?

Guilty by Susan FleetGuilty by Susan Fleet:

Infidelity can kill you.

A sadistic man kidnaps unfaithful women in New Orleans. For days, he holds them in his secluded hideaway, berating them for their infidelity. Then he kills them and sends a gruesome photograph to their spouse: a closeup of their face with GUILTY printed on their forehead.

City leaders and terrified residents pressure NOPD to catch him. But the police have no bodies, only photographs of dead women. Homicide Detective Frank Renzi desperately tries to find the killer before he strikes again. When a photo of his boss’s daughter arrives, Renzi fears the worst. Is she already dead like the others? If she’s alive, can he find her in time?

Bad Day at Casper Creek by Lily Harper HartA Bad Day at Casper Creek by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok is looking forward to her first Christmas in Casper Creek. She has plans for cookies, cuddles with her fiancé Cooper Wyatt, and a visit from Chris Kringle. Instead, the man who visits isn’t the one Hannah was inspecting. No, it’s her former fiancé Michael…and he’s arrived with an agenda.

Michael has more attitude than brains and he’s ready to make life difficult for Hannah…right up to the point where his new fiancée is killed and her body goes missing from the morgue. When Michael is also attacked, Hannah has to use her magic to save him…and it doesn’t go as planned.

Cooper hated Michael when he was just a concept. Now that the man is staying at Casper Creek, Cooper downright loathes him. That’s not his biggest concern though. It seems there’s a new paranormal threat on the horizon…and Michael is a target.

Hannah wants to leave her past behind but she’s going to have to risk her life to save Michael before she can do it. This enemy knows her every weakness, and it’s going to be a fight to the finish to embrace the holiday season and make it to the new year.

Strap in, because it’s going to be a holiday catastrophe.

We All Scream by Amanda M. LeeWe All Scream by Amanda M. Lee:

Stormy Morgan has accepted her life as a witch, and is even looking forward to the future. That means training with the most powerful witches in the Midwest. She’s determined to follow through on her destiny. Despite her best intentions though, not everything is going to be as easy as she hoped.

When Stormy steps in and uses her magic following a bus accident, she’s almost killed in the process. Worse than that, it seems the child she risked her life to save might be an ongoing target. At the bottom of a ravine, in a spot where nobody should be, three magical children threaten one innocent child … and only Stormy stands in their way.

Surviving a perilous fall should make Stormy happy. She’s unsettled though, and the magical children that attacked are still out there. Worse than that, they seem to want her. They blame her for thwarting their plans … and they’re coming.

Stormy is brave and loyal, but she’s in over her head. Her boyfriend Hunter Ryan wants to help but he’s out of his depth. Even the Winchester witches can’t figure out what’s going on. That means they’re all going to have to work together to secure Stormy’s future.

Stormy is ready to fight the good fight. With brutal death barreling toward her, however, she might not even get the chance.

Darkness has arrived in Shadow Hills, and there may be no stopping it. Could this be the end?

Ten Years Gone by H.P. NewquistTen Years Gone by H.P. Newquist:

Every November for nearly a decade, a body has been found hanging from a tree outside the town of Kerrville. As the tenth year approaches, the killer leaves clues that indicate there will only be one more murder. A reality show and its celebrity host decide that this last murder could get the ratings they’ve always wanted–and they are determined to find the murderer before the police do. But the killer thinks that is a very, very bad idea…

 

 

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

There’s something strange about the mist…

After a night of a scary movie marathon, a cold thick fog rolls over Sherwood, bringing with it the promise of fall. And when FBI Agent Emma Griffin wakes up the next morning, she can’t help but shake the feeling that something is off.

She turns off her alarm clock, attaches her pager to her hip, and heads out to meet with the agent helping with her newest investigation.

There are rumblings through Sherwood. A camp with a sinister past has reopened.

There are many different stories about what happened at Camp Hollow twenty years ago, but Emma soon learns the truth is worse than anything told around a campfire.

Thirteen bodies then, fifteen now. And one that can’t be found.

As she unravels local legends and shifts through archives to find out what really happened that stormy night in 1964, she discovers more than just one tragedy…

Welcome to Camp Hollow, where gruesome tales come to life.

The Girl Who Lost Him by Amy VasantThe Girl Who Lost Him by Amy Vasant:

Shee McQueen lives in her father’s hotel for ex-military mercenaries. Life is never easy…and never boring.

Bounty hunter Shee and her second-chance love / ex-Navy SEAL, Mason Connolly, are sent to the middle of Florida to protect the family of a retiring small-town drug lord, only to find the man’s dead wife on her way out on a gurney. When the “accident” feels more like murder and the husband is implicated, Shee and Mason remain to protect the man’s teenage son and daughter, neither of whom has any interest in making their job easier.

When a rival gang’s psychotic son kidnaps their client’s daughter, Mason’s expert extraction skills are put to the test as the danger level in tiny Kinache, Florida notches to the boiling point.

It seems their client has more family secrets than Shee and Mason counted on…

Meanwhile, on the other side of Florida in Miami, Naval Academy graduate and Loggerhead Inn receptionist, Croix, has muscled her way into an FBI-backed art theft case alongside resident con artist, retired Army Captain, Ollie.

Secret family histories and dark obsessions twist both missions until they reach their explosive, gripping conclusions.

Not everyone will survive.

Doodled to Death by C.B. WilsonDoodled to Death by C.B. Wilson:

A CAT’S CRADLE OF CRIME, A DOODLE
TO DIE FOR, AND A GEM OF A COZY…

Two murders before lunch is a pretty bad day in anybody’s schedule, but when your sister’s a suspect, you just want to howl at the moon. Thankfully, that would hardly be noticeable in Barkview, the dog-friendliest town in America, where it’s starting to look as if humans are the endangered species.

Cat Wright (wrong name, wrong pet preference for Barkview) has barely had time to regret a good deed that just got punished when her younger sister Lani takes time out from performing mouth-to-mouth on an unconscious friend to give her an emergency call.

First murder first—Cat’s just learned she stirred up a dogfight when she nominated a distinguished female ancestor for the Aviation Hall of Fame. But here’s the rub—nominees have to be investigated and as a result, Barkview’s beloved hometown heroine now stands accused of the murder of a notorious rumrunner.

To add more intrigue, Cat’s ancestor’s also accused of stealing the Douglas Diamond, the fabled lost treasure of Barkview, to finance her flying adventures. That’s Page One news in this town and Cat feels terrible about accidentally tarnishing a hero’s legacy.

She’s just read the headline when she gets the call from Lani, who in short order is accused of killing Peter Gallardo, her friend and prof who, Cat’s starting to see, was probably Lani’s boy friend as well. And wouldn’t you know, Peter may have been one of many on a quest to find the famous gem.

A regular cat’s cradle of crime! But this is Barkview and so the co-star, as always in a Cat Wright mystery, is an irresistible pooch, in this case G-Paw, a fuzzy doofus of a golden doodle who’ll keep you laughing chapter after chapter—and who just about converts Cat to the canine side.

Add a few ancient diaries, plus Cat’s persistent investigative style, and soon author Wilson’s woven these seemingly disparate strands into a complex village puzzle mystery wrapped up (thanks mostly to G-Paw) in a comic confection inside a delicious contemporary cozy.

A Jar of Pennies by John YearwoodA Jar of Pennies by John Yearwood:

In the summer of 1979, the small town of Whitmire Texas—deep in the eastern piney woods of the state—is rocked by a series of murders None of the victims knew one another, none lived close by. A police chief floats to the surface of a lake, hooked on a trot line; a divorcing wife apparently overdoses on illegal drugs; the skeletons of a young mother and her three-year-old toddler are found near an abandoned barn; a Congressman is murdered in a shoot-out at his home, which also claims the lives of two drug pushers from Houston and a used car dealer. The sleepy private town of Whitmire is terrified and the town’s newspaper publisher is determined to bring the mystery to a resolution. BoMac—short for Beaufort Sebastian Maclean—is a young University of Virginia dropout devoted to journalism and committed to chronicling the life of the little community. He takes the publishing job at the weekly Whitmire Standard very seriously, pouring his life into a job that demands he not only write the news but also take the photos and sell the ads. In the fraught atmosphere of Whitmire where daily routines are thrown off kilter by the unknown terror, he keeps his eyes open and finally spots a jar of pennies: the evidence that clenches the death sentence for the killer.

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