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 October 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, hardboiled mysteries, small town mysteries, culinary mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, Gold Rush mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, spy thrillers, legal thrillers, noir thrillers, police procedurals, private investigators, amateur sleuths, lawyers, corporate spies, strippers, serial killers, kidnapped heiresses, missing children, missing reindeer, dark family secrets, wrongful convictions, crime-busting witches, crime-busting vampire madams, crime-busting cockroaches (yes, really), Sherlockians, artisanal bakers, opera singers in danger, murders in Hawaii, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Las Vegas, Paris, Philadelphia, Hollywood, the Jersey Shore and the Caribbean, the Deep South and the Midwest, murders in circusses, at wedding receptions, in brothels and cupcake shops, in veterinary clinics, on college campuses, aboard cruise ships and luxury trains 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 Investigating Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes Colloquium and donation of the third largest private collection of Sherlockiana in the world were supposed to produce a weekend of great publicity for tiny St. Benignus College in Erin, Ohio. But when theft and murder come to campus, college public relations director Jeff Cody finds himself knee-deep in Sherlockian suspects, besieged by an aggressive reporter he loves but no longer dates, and competing with his eccentric brother-in-law, Sebastian McCabe, to solve the crimes first. The mess worsens when Jeff and his ex-girlfriend, Lynda Teal, themselves fall under suspicion of murder – and with good reason, for they have something to hide. This satirical romp takes Sherlock Holmes seriously, but not Holmesians. A witty and engaging spoof sure to delight not only the deerstalker set but mystery fans in general.
How far would you go to get the life you’ve always dreamed of?
High up in Seattle’s most luxurious office tower, a powerful woman conceals a dangerous secret. As the CEO of a prestigious staffing firm, Dana Duke offers exquisitely trained executive assistants to the city’s business elite.
In corporate America, where the winner takes all, talent isn’t enough to guarantee a victory. That’s why Dana offers a unique set of services to her most ambitious clients: corporate espionage, psychological manipulation, and blackmail.
Meet Jessica Warne, a recent college grad determined to succeed on her own terms. Stuck in a dead-end job and drowning in student loan debt, she’s eager to climb the corporate ladder. When Dana offers her a chance at a better life, it seems her troubles might be over. But are they?
That artisan bread roll you’re having for lunch? How fresh do you think it really is?
The Food Standards Agency’s most unfortunate inspector, Emily Underwood, is finally doing okay at work. Apart from finding the odd dead customer in a kebab shop that is. When she has an expected brush with a Bishop, things start to go downhill fast.
Rupert Graves is the leader of the smallest cult in East Anglia. Although his motley crew of militant vegetarians are primarily focused on sex and drugs, they’re also determined to highlight the suffering of animals — by fair means or fowl. They’re just not very good at it.
Amateur baker Hannah’s attempts to fund her boyfriend’s cult by selling her produce start off well, and her artisan bread rolls made from organic flour are soon in demand. The only problem is that Hannah’s kitchen will need to pass a Food Standards Agency inspection or be closed down. And there’s something rather nasty in the flour…
The Christmas Season is in full swing on board the cruise ship, Siren of the Seas thanks to Andy Walker, the ship’s cruise director who is all in on his new holiday theme, “The Reindeer Games.”
Millie and her co-worker, Danielle, are tasked with taking charge of the holiday theme and everything is running smoothly until one of the reindeer comes up missing. But the missing reindeer is the least of the security staff’s worries after a string of thefts are reported.
Millie jumps in with an investigation of her own that soon turns south when a stalker surfaces, determined to make her life miserable or worse yet.
Despite escalating incidents from the deranged stalker, Millie sorts the clues and discovers a possible link between the mysterious thefts and her stalker that hits close to home.
Can Millie survive the holiday season…or even more terrifying…make it out alive?
For Blaise Runa, a job working the front desk at the local veterinary clinic is a fun but temporary diversion…a chance to spend every day with Miss Ivy, her adorable fur baby, while she continues to search for a career.
Unfortunately, the fun is soon sucked right out of the job when Blaise discovers one of the veterinary technicians poisoned in the kennel. The attack is quickly labeled the work of an activist group that resents the medical and financial resources “squandered” on pets.
But is there something less obvious…and possibly more sinister…at work?
Working alone and swimming against the tide of general opinion, Blaise soon suspects that she and her yummy fiancée, Dolfe Honeybun, might be fighting for more than justice for the vet tech. They might actually be battling to save a whole clinic full of beloved pets from someone who would be happy to see them dead. And if they’re not very careful, sweet little Miss Ivy might take her place at the top of a killer’s list.
Just past the Philadelphia city limits there are a cluster of neighborhoods no one on the outside pays much attention to. It’s a nice place to live, with ballfields and takeout joints around every corner. The people who’ve raised their families for generations in the rowhomes and brick houses teach their kids to work hard and keep out of trouble.
But some people aren’t interested in staying out of trouble. There are fortunes to be made in the backstreets and shady barrooms, if you can stay alive long enough to get your hands on it. Here are four stories about the restless souls who have struck out from the safe path and traveled down a long, dark road.
The Devil’s Run
Gaetan was one of the kids that neighborhood parents warned their children to stay away from. He and his friends hung out in the woods by the little creek that cut through town, the one they called the Devil’s Run. Away from prying eyes, they had the fun that only bad boys can know.
But Gaetan isn’t a kid anymore. He’s a veteran of a hundred shady deals, a gangster with skills you only learn from years on the streets. He should be off somewhere enjoying his easy money, but instead he’s back in the old neighborhood. Of all the dark secrets in Gaetan’s past, the one that may destroy him is the one that began when four friends went into the woods for some fun.
The Dead Pond
Sunshine Sam’s was the hottest joint on the Jersey Shore. The rich and powerful partied side by side with bus drivers and soda jerks, all of them moving to the outlaw music called “rock and roll.” To Marty, a poor kid from a farm town, Sunshine Sam’s was more than just a playground. It was the only school he would ever need.
Then one day, Sunshine Sam’s closed it’s doors. Nobody knew why.
Fifty years later, Marty has returned to the Jersey Shore. Now an old man, he is the only one left who knows the secrets of Sunshine Sam’s. The spilled blood and broken dreams follow him around like ghosts. Gorgeous women. Jealous boyfriends. Mafia bosses. The skinny kid survived them all, and today is the day Marty tells the story. (This story was originally published as a standalone.)
Tina and the Big Bad Wolf
Tina is a good stripper, but she has plans. Taking sports bets off her regulars seemed like the perfect way to make some real money. Of course, a petite young woman in a g-string just isn’t intimidating enough to make the troublesome customers cough up the cash, so Tina gets her ex-boyfriend, Joshua, to help her out. In one night, the two of them will try to collect on Tina’s debts without driving one another crazy. (This story was originally published as a standalone.)
The Tarleton Way
Alexander has noticed strange things occurring in the park near his house. Odd people are going in and out of the woods at all hours, driving big trucks and acting in ways Alexander doesn’t understand. That park is the scene of his favorite memories, when his young family had their happiest days. It is also, Alexander hopes, a gift to the future of Tarleton, his struggling hometown.
Things get stranger when Alexander gets a knock on the door from Bobby, a kid from the neighborhood who has returned from an absence of almost thirty years. Now a grown man, Bobby assures Alexander that everything is fine. It’s all being done “the Tarleton way,” under the code of conduct which Alexander and the old folks taught the kids when they were young.
But Alexander is right to worry. In fact, the old man is about to learn that the park, and the past, contain more than he could ever guess. (This story was originally published on the author’s website.)
When black cats roam, and spooks are seen,
Come celebrate, it’s Halloween.
Sinful, Louisiana, really knows how to throw a party, and it goes all out for Halloween. The weeklong celebration kicks off with a maze of horror in the park built of hay bales. And Fortune has the perfect assignment—the executioner. Her scene comes complete with a head block, a hatchet, and a fake body with removable head. It’s the perfect setup…for a crime.
When Fortune returns from break and realizes the body in her scene is a real one and not the prop, she knows trouble is coming. Before she can shake a broomstick, Celia Arceneaux has raised the alarm and the state police show up to take over the investigation. With Carter on the sidelines and Fortune the prime suspect, Swamp Team 3 sets out to catch a real monster.
John Smith has a problem. He’s a retired cop whose pension just got wiped out, and he doesn’t know why or how. Now he needs to find a roommate to help pay the bills.
Sam has a problem. He’s a six-foot-tall talking cockroach and he doesn’t know who created him, or why, or how. Now he needs a place to live.
Thrown together as roommates and amateur detectives, Mr. Smith and the Roach realize their problems might be related.
But those problems are far more complicated than they imagined, and before all is said and done, they’ll run afoul of a Russian gangster, an imprisoned Mafia don, a crooked Wall Street banker, a mad scientist and, maybe worst of all, Mr. Smith’s baby sister.
Can they get to the bottom of an unbelievable plot before someone exterminates the Roach – and Mr. Smith – for good?
Kate Williams hopes her new job as a small-town police chief will be a welcome change from the nasty internal politics she dealt with in Toronto. She should have known better. Even after a few months, she’s still dealing with a police department angry that an outsider was picked over their local candidate.
When a homeless man turns up at the department claiming he witnessed a six-year-old boy’s abduction, she has to decide if the child really is missing, or if the homeless man imagined the whole thing. But even as the evidence suggests his story may not be true, the case triggers Kate’s own nightmare past.
Then she discovers that a boy really is missing.
Now Kate must investigate the disappearance while transforming a station full of deeply resentful police officers into a solid unit. When the boy’s mother also disappears, Kate will have to put the pieces of the puzzle together—with her team—in time to save the boy and his mother.
Climb aboard the justice train and let Thaddeus keep you up all night in Flagstaff Station
An FBI chase through the streets of Phoenix leads to an epic firefight and the fatal shooting of an important member of the Vittini mob. As a result, Special Agent Donnie Francisco faces an enraged crime family bent on payback. They come for Donnie, they come for his family.
Donnie seeks out Flagstaff attorney Thaddeus Murfee. The young lawyer agrees to defend and exonerate the agent, but he runs afoul of the mob himself. The body count rises as warfare erupts in the court and in the dark streets and back alleys and small towns of Arizona.
A young Indian boy seeks out Thaddeus for help. The boy, Thaddeus and Donnie travel to reservation lands and meet with the elders of the Indian Court. Watch from the front row of the jury box as Thaddeus and Christine, his wife, tangle with Indian culture and twenty-first century technology. Then, Turquoise Murfee, Thaddeus’s police detective daughter, makes a discovery at Flagstaff Station that could trigger sudden death–but she doesn’t know what she has and could inadvertently kill hundreds of innocent men, women, and children if Thaddeus doesn’t stop her in time.
Here is the book many have clamored for. Thaddeus, Christine, Turquoise, and Henry Landers are back. Come meet the man Thaddeus calls “brother,” Donnie Francisco, the FBI agent you will never forget.
Julia and Barker’s wedding day is finally here, but will everything go to plan? There’s murder afoot once again in Peridale, and this time all fingers seem to be pointing to members of the church choir!
Who are you pretending to be?
Savannah thought that running away from her past would change her life. And for about fifteen years, she was right. Until her happy marriage goes down the drain and she’s left with no one but herself to blame. On a quest to become the world’s next best-selling author, to find her voice, Savannah makes a difficult choice.
She has to run—again.
She quits her job and packs a bag. And then she sets out to find the inspiration that she’s never had. Only she finds herself in the one place she never expected to be. Home—in the South; reminded of pain and secrecy. A sin is still a sin, even if no one knows. And a secret is still a secret even if no one told. Bonds are broken, truths are spoken, and no one around her can be trusted.
Who killed her mother?
Who is her father?
Who knows the truth about the small-town barber?
Savannah discovers that ‘Southern Charm’ is just for show. What really matters in the South are the lies you tell and the secrets you know!
Christmas at the Circus!
What if the holly berry meant more than a cozy Christmas tradition? When Trixie, billed by the Concello circus as the world’s smallest Lady Godiva, finds a large ruby on the circus grounds, she thinks she’s one of the luckiest people on earth. Until she learns the stone’s past is stained as holly-red as the jewel itself. ??
When the police get involved, suspicion is cast not just on Trixie, but on her other friends at the circus. ??The pressure is on with Trixie getting threats from an anonymous source. When the calliope player is murdered, Trixie knows the threats she has been receiving aren’t just to scare her… she’ll be the next to die if she can’t find out the truth about the stone and unmask the murderer?
In Chicago, some neighborhoods explode in gunfire and others in gentrification—but the real money built the skyline alongside sparkling blue Lake Michigan. In one such luxury high-rise, auto-parts heiress Jackie Whitney has been bludgeoned to death, her body found neatly wrapped and tucked away on a closet shelf. Jules Landau has been hired by the public defender to get her client off the hook. The police are convinced they’ve got their killer, but Jules isn’t so sure. The lawyer doesn’t care who killed Jackie Whitney. She just wants to stir up a reasonable doubt . . . but there’s nothing reasonable about this case.
While balancing a relationship with a sexy baker who keeps unholy hours—and dodging a crooked cop who wants to break his bones—Jules digs deeper into Jackie’s final days. Soon he unravels a web of friendships, affairs, and money, all connected to an unlikely site for a murderous conspiracy. How can a single building hide so many secrets? For Jules, justice isn’t only about the presumption of innocence. It’s about the truth, and stopping a killer who will no doubt strike again.
Things have been quiet in Hemlock Cove. That means the Winchesters are due to find trouble.
This time, the trouble comes in the form of a dead radio doctor who calls himself Dr. Lovelorn and fixes relationships in distress. Unfortunately for the Winchesters, if he can’t help his normal patients, he’s going to help them … whether they want it or not.
Love seems to be the topic of discussion, because in addition to searching for a murderer, Bay Winchester has her hands full dealing with another surprise. It seems Chief Terry, her favorite father figure, is dating … and he’s not opening his heart to her mother as she expected.
Bay is trying to be mature, but she always thought Terry would officially become part of her family once the barriers were lifted. To make matters worse, Terry’s new girlfriend wants to be friends … something Bay can’t quite wrap her head around.
Thankfully for Bay, she has a murder to focus on. Since Dr. Lovelorn had his fair share of enemies – and a rather unattractive habit of getting too involved with his patients – there are numerous suspects to focus on.
Her expanding magic is also an issue, because she can’t quite get a handle on the ghosts that keep popping up … mostly because they’re mouthy and prone to fighting her efforts.
Basically, it’s going to be a busy week … if everyone survives to see the end of another convoluted case, that is.
It’s all witches on deck for this one, and things are about to get weirder than normal.
THREE COLD CASES CLOSED
With the closure of the oldest cold case in Paradise Hill, and the potential closure of two more, amateur sleuth and crime reporter Tess McClintock continues to work with FBI Special Agent Michael Carter. When doubts about the killer’s identity arise, Tess and Michael to dig deeper into the cases, with help from members of The Missing – the internet sleuth group Tess belongs to.
A KILLER ENJOYING THE MAYHEM
While they get closer to the truth, Tess and Michael also grow closer, and their budding romance complicating the investigation. The real killer continues to target Tess, toying with her and Michael while he plots his next move.
NEW EVIDENCE POINTS TO A NEW SUSPECT
New evidence suggests another suspect may have been involved and police and FBI Agents rush to investigate, struggling to separate fact from fiction.
THE GIRL WHO CRIED TOO MUCH, the second book in the McClintock-Carter Crime Thriller Series, follows Tess and Michael as they fight to stop a ruthless killer before he strikes again.
Alex Booker is sixty going on sixteen. Literally. A genetic experiment de-aged his body and turned him into a teenager. Because of his wise old mind, he’s cautious and thoughtful. But adolescent hormones don’t do “cautious.”
Although he’d been an accountant in his “former life,” impetuous young Alex has chosen to become a private investigator. Bad idea. Business is slow—who would hire a detective who looks like he belongs in high school?
When heiress teen Misty Langwell disappears, the police wait for a ransom demand that never comes. Desperate, Misty’s parents turn to Booker and Associates for help. Alex is perfect for the job. He’s just the man—or kid—to go undercover.
Her disappearance turns out to be much more sinister than a simple kidnapping, and Alex soon finds himself stuck in a prison camp deep in the Amazon jungle. Is he in over his young head?
If he can’t find a good balance between wisdom and impulsiveness, Misty will never be seen again. And neither will Alex.
The Abducted Heiress may be read as a standalone book or as Book Two in the Alex Booker series.
Running a high-class brothel in 1920s Paris would be challenging enough even if Madame weren’t also a vampire. But to make matters far worse, a young man has the audacity to try to kill Melodie – one of the brothel’s ladies – and then fall over dead.
At first the police rule the death an accident, but then they find poison in the body. And Madame also finds a note that implicates a jealous wife in the attack on Melodie – but then who poisoned the attacker? It’s all very confusing… And worse yet, is Melodie still in danger?
Of course, Madame is determined to find out what has happened in her maison and set it straight – without revealing her powers or upsetting the very attractive Monsieur Inspector Thibauld Baudet who is appointed to the case.
This is the first story in Madame’s Murder Mysteries, a historical cozy series with a sense of humor, a taste of the paranormal, and a touch of romance. Perfect for fans of Posie Parker, Ginger Gold, or Lady Katherine.
Paradise is stalked by a relentless evil.
What would you do if your family was threatened?
Sophie just wants to settle down with her unusual family—but a powerful presence sweeps in to steal her joy. At her most vulnerable physically and emotionally, Sophie must rise up to hunt down those who would take what’s most precious to her. The boundaries of love and friendship are tested as the men in her life grapple with their roles, each trying to help—but in the end, it’s Sophie who must face the darkness from her past and vanquish it.
Rather be the hunter than the prey.
Inspired by a true story.
Ella Maria Chauncey walks home after a night out with her friends, hurrying to get back before her parents realize she’s been out with the boy they don’t want her to date. Living in the gated community of Lyford Cay, in one of the world’s wealthiest neighborhoods, she believes it is safe.
Ella Maria never makes it home. She is found the next day floating in her family’s pool, her tongue cut out.
Seven months later Jack Ryder is visiting the Bahamas with his adopted daughter Emily. They’re trying to find Emily’s relatives, but it turns out to be easier said than done.
The only living relative they can track down is a woman…in jail. She’s doing time for murdering Ella Maria Chauncey, but as Jack digs into the case, he starts to wonder if she was wrongfully convicted and the murderer is still out there, hunting for his next prey.
As the shocking investigation unfolds, and secrets are revealed, no one in in the lucrative Lyford Cay can be trusted.
An A-List actress murdered. An innocent boy accused. A shocking discovery that changes everything…
Emerson Justice’s topsy-turvy Los Angeles life is about to become even crazier when she’s assigned to defend Carter Dixon for the murder of Addison Wentworth. Addison was one of the top actresses in Hollywood – two Oscars, a $40 million mansion and a $20 million asking price for films. When she’s murdered, Carter is fingered for the crime, plunging him into the middle of the story of the century and turning his life into an inescapable media fishbowl. He insists he didn’t do it, yet his hair was found at the murder scene and it was discovered that he had written threatening and profane messages about Addison on an Incel community message board.
As Emerson gets into the case, she discovers many things that don’t add up, and she’s unable to put the pieces of the puzzle together in time. She’s convinced that her client is innocent, but there just is no way to prove it. Everything seems to be against Carter, and it’s inevitable that he’s going to spend the rest of his life in prison for a murder that he didn’t commit.
Then a shocking discovery changes everything and throws the entire case into a chaos that Emerson could not have anticipated.
Mayhem All Aboard!
One blustery day in October of 1924, newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. Basil Reed travel aboard the recently christened Flying Scotsman, a high-speed steam engine train that travels from London to Edinburgh, for their honeymoon. With only one short stop at York, Ginger anticipates time with her new husband will fly by.
She’s wrong. Something terrible has happened in the Royal Mail carriage, which forces the train to stop dead in its tracks. There’s been a death and Chief Inspector Reed has been asked to investigate.
It’s a uniquely disturbing murder and Ginger and Basil are eager to puzzle it out together. What do the first class passengers have to do with the dead man? With another crime shortly discovered, Ginger and Basil soon realize they’re not dealing with a run-of-the-mill killer—they’re dealing with a mastermind who’s not done playing with them yet.
Smoldering flames are still deadly.
Raina Sun is in San Francisco, preparing for her cousin’s upcoming wedding…to her ex-boyfriend. Even though she is a reluctant bridesmaid, she understands duty to her family. When the bridegroom shows an unusual interest in her fiancé, and a dead body drops in during the rehearsal dinner, Raina is drawn into another murder investigation.
She must prove the bridegroom’s innocence, or he will reveal a secret that could change her beloved fiancé’s life…and not for the better. As things heat up, she learns all families have skeletons, and some are more deadly than others. Among the hundreds of guests, could she find this heartless killer before she becomes the next victim? And will this secret stay hidden?
He’s haunted by war. She’s searching for her twin. When a mysterious murder brings them together, can solving the case heal their broken hearts?
California, 1868. Isabella Wilmington’s dream of taking center stage feels empty without her long-lost twin brother cheering her on. When a bullet cuts through the crowd, she’s convinced the murderous act is a warning shot against her search for her missing sibling. Determined to crack the case, she tags along with a rugged ex-soldier who’d rather keep her out of harm’s way than put her on the frontlines of a dangerous investigation.
Union vet Sebastian Russell longs to put the bloody memories of war far behind him. But his plan to mend his heart in sunny California goes up in gun smoke when his employer tasks him with solving a murder and guarding his feisty daughter from a second strike. Along the trail of clues, his feelings for the young actress grow stronger the closer they come to untangling the twisted truth within the shadow of dark memories.
Before the next victim falls, can Isabella and Sebastian solve the mystery of their painful pasts or will the next bullet shatter their chance at a new future?
Detectives Laura Baxter and Jack Holt are members of the elite: Las Vegas Metro PD, one of the toughest and most respected law enforcement agencies in the United States. In the middle of a city with two million residents and 43 million annual visitors, they’re searching for a missing girl and the ruthless killers who snatched her.
The girl: gone
When a teenage girl is daringly kidnapped from her school, minutes after being dropped off, a frenzied search begins, involving the entire police force of a city that never sleeps. But for Detectives Baxter and Holt this isn’t a crime like any other; it is personal.
The crimes: terrifying
A bold and merciless serial killer preys on young girls and leaves them out to die in the cold and dreadful expanse of the Mojave Desert, unable to move, to scream, to fight for their lives.
The choice: impossible
Now Detective Holt is faced with an agonizing decision: he can sacrifice all that he holds dear or jeopardize the life of an innocent girl, his own flesh and blood. The man holding all the cards in this game of life and death isn’t willing to negotiate; he’s only willing to kill.
In Las Vegas, few things end well.
Two mavericks form an intriguing team. Baxter and Holt trust each other with their lives, just not with their secret plans.