Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for December 2018

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 November 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 plenty of cozy mysteries, holiday mysteries, small town mysteries, culinary mysteries, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, Victorian mysteries, Medieval mysteries, paranormal mysteries, YA mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, spy thrillers, political thrillers, horror thrillers, police procedurals, romantic suspense, private investigators, amateur sleuths, hackers, human trafficking, serial killers, cannibals, spies, troubled boxers, suburban moms, missing children, crime-busting witches, crime-busting dogs, crime-busting bakers, crime-busting historians, murder in ski resorts and seaside towns, in coffee shops and country inns, in Russia, Denmark, Scotland and the Cotswolds 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 Season for Slaying by Hillary AvisThe Season for Slaying by Hillary Avis:

All is quiet at the Pines and Needles Christmas Tree Farm. Too quiet.

It’s Christmas Eve, and Darla Cooper is merrily preparing for a family holiday when she witnesses a shocking murder in the woods.

Luckily, her son is a police detective. The problem? He doesn’t believe her—and the body is missing.

Darla must prove that a murder occurred, but she has no body, no witnesses, and no evidence except her own memory—which, to be honest, isn’t that great these days. Plus, she didn’t have her glasses on.

Join Darla as she hunts down a killer…just in time for Christmas.

The Season for Slaying is a short holiday cozy mystery story full of suspense, snowflakes, and sleighbells.

A Merry Murder at St. Bernard Cabins by Cindy BellA Merry Murder at St. Bernard Cabins by Cindy Bell:

A pet-loving sleuth. A perplexing murder. Will the murder be solved before the clues are buried forever?

Nikki Green is taking a break from walking and pet-sitting her loyal companions. She is going to a ski resort for the holidays for some quiet time with her family. To her delight her solo journey turns into a group excursion. However, the trip doesn’t go according to plan when Nikki lands up in the middle of a snowstorm.

Then things go from bad to worse when someone is murdered, and her brother is the prime suspect. With the roads impassable, and two inexperienced officers on the case, Nikki decides to take matters into her own hands and clear her brother’s name. She plows through a mountain of clues to reveal the truth before the snow melts and the murderer disappears forever.

It’s a slippery slope of suspects and danger as she goes hurtling towards the truth.

The Best Friend by Shalini BolandThe Best Friend by Shalini Boland:
‘I can tell we’re going to be the best of friends…’

When Louisa Sullivan takes her little boy to his first playdate at a new friend’s house she doesn’t realise life is about to change for her family. Because she’s about to meet Darcy Lane.

Darcy is a woman who has everything – a dream house, a powerful husband and enviable wealth.

She’s the perfect wife.

The perfect friend.

The perfect liar.

The Secrets of Palmerston House by Philippa Nefri ClarkThe Secrets of Palmerston House by Philippa Nefri Clark:

1853. A fateful game of poker changed the fortunes of two families forever. A home was lost. But what was left behind?

2018. The wedding of Christie Ryan and Martin Blake is only weeks away and River’s End is buzzing with excitement.

But when a stranger arrives at Palmerston House, a new mystery arises. How does he know so much about the Ryan family, and what do a nineteenth century diary, a grandfather clock, and an old key have in common?

As a dangerous plot unfolds, long hidden secrets threaten to change everything held dear to the town.

The Secrets of Palmerston House will sweep you on a journey to the past and back, where enduring friendships warm the heart, a sad goodbye brings a new start, and the power of true love shines.

Jingle Bells and Deadly Smells by Amber CreweJingle Bells and Deadly Smells by Amber Crewe:

“Each of the Sandy Bay mysteries are great! I think they just keep getting better.”

Christmas is that season…that season of pleasant surprises…delicious smells…and family and friends to share the holidays with.

This Christmas, Sandy Bay’s lovable bakery owner, Meghan Truman, gets a whole lot more than she bargained for…plus a dead body at the door of her favorite restaurant. Some people would rather sweep this murder under the carpet but something smells awfully fishy about the events surrounding it.

Will Meghan join Detective Irvin to find the murderer or will this event serve to etch unpleasant memories of this most wonderful time of the year?

Shamrock by Janie CrouchShamrock by Janie Crouch:

Every mission has a price.
He never meant for her to pay it.

Aiden has never left anyone behind. Not a comrade and certainly not an innocent. But when an undercover mission goes wrong, he’s forced to abandon a woman trapped in a human trafficking ring.

Violet learned brutally that no one is promised a happy ending. She knows Aiden blames himself for his part, but she refuses to let her abduction define the rest of her life.

She won’t be a victim again. And she’s going after what she wants: Aiden.

Watching Violet transform herself into a fierce warrior is the sexiest thing Aiden has ever seen. The honorable plan would be to stay away from her—let her heal and grow without the shadow of his mistakes clouding her progress—even though every instinct tells him to claim her for his own.

But when they discover the danger they thought they’d left behind is closer than ever, they’ll have to confront their fears and fight side-by-side in order to survive.

Twelve Days by Mark DawsonTwelve Days by Mark Dawson:

John Milton hasn’t seen Elijah Warriner for three years. The last time they met, Milton’s efforts to keep the boy safe didn’t go exactly to plan. Now Elijah is a promising boxer, preparing for the bout that will take him to the big time. Milton decides that he will spend the week before Christmas in London so that he can watch the fight.

But Elijah’s burgeoning fame has brought him to the attention of old acquaintances with long memories and grudges to bear. They have noticed Elijah, too, and decide that now is the time to settle old scores.

Can Milton keep the young man and his mother safe, or will Elijah’s old running mates get to him first?

Dead in the Shop by Dahlia DonovanDead in the Shop by Dahlia Donovan:

With love, wit, and a murder to solve, Valor and Bishan really need to stop life being so bloody complicated in this sweet gay romance.

Deadly fire? Check.

Fear-induced heart attack imminent? Check.

Time running out on them? Not good.

Valor Scott wants nothing more than to enjoy life in his little cottage with his boyfriend. The shadows of a serial killer continue to haunt him, though. He only wants the living nightmare to end. He battles one catastrophic event after the other, intent on bringing his loved ones through to the other side safely.

As their killer finally comes out into the open, Valor finds himself face-to-face with an obsessed murderer intent on destroying everyone in their path.

Trepalli's Christmas by Marcelle DubéTrepalli’s Christmas by Marcelle Dubé:

It’s Christmas eve day and Constable Marco Trepalli of the Mendenhall Police Department can’t wait to be off shift. He’s planning a big surprise for his girlfriend, Amanda. Something special. Something romantic.

Then a kid doesn’t return home after sledding and Trepalli forgets all about his plans in the mad scramble to mobilize search parties and interview the kid’s friends. And as hour after hour slips by with no sign of the boy, Trepalli braces himself for what could turn into the worst Christmas ever… for him and the kid’s family.

A Strange Twist of Fate by Debra ErfertA Strange Twist of Fate by Debra Erfert:

Gutsy, grieving Julianna is determined to find who murdered her husband. Hampered by agonizing loneliness, her obsessive-compulsive mother and her over-controlling father, she defies convention and the law to investigate on her own. When she runs up against a handsome police detective who’s determined to save Julianna from herself, she has to step up her rogue search for the killer before time, and dwindling leads, run out.



AntiAmerica by T.K. FalcoAntiAmerica by T.K. Falco:

AntiAmerica stands at the center of the largest US anarchist uprising in 100 years.

When hacktivist group AntiAmerica hacks the nation’s largest banks, the financial industry is left teetering on the brink of collapse. Hacker and teen runaway Alanna Blake is forcefully recruited by the government to track down the only link to AntiAmerica, her missing ex-boyfriend Javier. She relies on every bit of her social engineering cunning to navigate a conspiracy of lies and deceit, which imperils both the lives of everyone closest to her and the secrets to a past she longs to remain locked away forever.

This book contains content surrounding drug abuse, mental illness, physical abuse, and suicide.

Spirit of the Season by Cynthia E. HurstSpirit of the Season by Cynthia E. Hurst:

In a season of peace and goodwill, it was shocking for residents of the Cotswold town to learn a stranger had been murdered in their midst. It was even more shocking that he died on the doorstep of the town’s police inspector’s home as he was entertaining guests on Christmas Eve. It appeared Daniel Keegan’s only failing had been to fall in love with the wrong person, something that sends a chilling message to two of the inspector’s guests. Newlyweds Jacob Silver and Sarah Simm are used to criticism, but does Keegan’s death mean their own lives may be in danger?

‘Spirit of the Season’ is the eighth book in the Silver and Simm Victorian Mysteries series.

Retrieval by Ethan JonesRetrieval by Ethan Jones:

Can a lethal assassin have a soft side?

After a botched operation in Geneva, Javin Pierce and his partner are offered the chance to return to the CIS if they eliminate two senior ISIS leaders hiding in Iraq. Dispatched to the lawless lands, Javin and Claudia start to gather intel, and soon find themselves immersed in a sinister corruption scheme that reaches top-level Iraqi officials. Javin isn’t about to walk away.

Now, being hunted down by ruthless ISIS fighters, the team fights to survive and navigate crooked, ever-shifting allegiances. As Javin and Claudia forge bonds with unlikely local allies from a refugee camp, Javin gets more than he bargained for. The evidence leads to Europe and an elaborate retrieval that, if successful, will tear down the entire corruption scheme and bring desperate relief to the camp workers.

Javin now realizes his ticket back into the agency might be his most dangerous but satisfying mission yet. How will Javin clean up the targets, get back into the agency, and execute the seemingly impossible retrieval, all without leaving a trace?

Kinfolk by Matt KurtzKinfolk by Matt Kurtz:

Criminal brothers Ray and Eric Kuttner pulled off what they thought was a seemingly simple score, until Ray’s innocent wife, Rachel, was brutally murdered in retaliation. Hell-bent on revenge, the brothers delivered their own merciless payback.

Three years later, something sheds new light on Rachel’s murder and it requires the brothers to drive across Texas to Oklahoma on a new mission of vengeance that’ll finally bring them closure.

After an incident forces them to take back roads to elude the cops, they get stranded along a hunting ground patrolled by a family looking for fresh meat to feed their hunger for flesh.

In a race against the clock, Ray and Eric must fight their way out of the backwoods of Texas and still make it across state lines to accomplish their plan of revenge …all before one very large—and pissed off—family secret is unleashed to stop them.

The Megalodon Mix-Up by Amanda M. LeeThe Megalodon Mix-Up by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes’ life has taken a turn.

Not only is she working her dream job, but she’s also taken on a dreamy co-worker and is officially dating the office security chief.
Yeah, she’s still trying to wrap her head around it, too.

She doesn’t have much time because a high-profile incident in Florida means the team is on the hunt, and this time the likely culprit is none other than a prehistoric shark that’s been extinct for millions of years.

For Jack Hanson, the mere thought that a Megalodon is hunting the Gulf of Mexico waters is too much to bear. He’s on edge and irritated, and that’s on top of the fact that Legacy Foundation co-workers are starting to find out about his relationship with Charlie.

For her part, Charlie is enjoying herself. Not only is she looking for a giant shark, but she’s investigating in the middle of an author conference and the victim was the one person hated by absolutely everyone. She’s learning on the job … and it’s a tangled web of lies and intrigue to wade through.

There are suspects at every turn, blood in the water, and hungry sharks looking for a meal. It’s another fun-filled adventure, and the stakes in this one are graver than anybody anticipated.

Death Over Divorce by Jerri Kay LincolnDeath Over Divorce by Jerri Kay Lincoln:

This is the second book in the Rutledge Historical Society Cozy Mystery Series.

When a dead man that she knows falls out of Lorry Lockharte’s new car right in front of the sheriff, it doesn’t look good. Still, being hauled into the sheriff’s station isn’t what Lorry had expected. After a lawyer comes out of nowhere to get her released, Lorry struggles to prove her innocence and find the real killer.


Kousins Kan't Kill by Jerri Kay LincolnKousins Kan’t Kill by Jerri Kay Lincoln:

This is the third book in the Rutledge Historical Society Cozy Mystery Series.

When Lorry Lockharte’s cousin, Kasey, is accused of murder, Lorry feels like once again she must work to find the murderer. Did Kasey do it, or is she truly innocent as she claims? Lorry isn’t so sure about this one. Not only did Kasey have the opportunity and the motive, but she picked up the murder weapon. Will Lorry find the murderer only to discover that it really is Kasey?


Iced Inn by Karen MacInerneyIced Inn by Karen MacInerney:

It’s Christmastime at the Gray Whale Inn. The inn’s kitchen smells like ginger and spice, the ground is frosted with snow, and wedding bells are about to ring out for innkeeper Natalie’s favorite niece, Gwen. It’s a joyous time… until the families of the bride and groom descend on the island, bringing nasty tempers and a wicked winter storm with them. Add a baffling rash of thefts, a dash of romantic intrigue, and an unexpected power shutdown, and Natalie’s plans for a magical season are looking more like a recipe for disaster. Can Natalie find the missing gifts before the big holiday? And will the happy couple make it to the altar… or will the wedding go up in flames?

Shame on Me by Margaret MalShame on Me by Margaret Mal:

Everything in 17-year-old Julia’s life was boring and monotonous until she came across a real corpse. Since it happened near her best friend Kate’s cabin, Julia and Kate feel the urge to find the killer, as does the dead man’s best friend Nick, for whom Julia falls as soon as they meet. At first glance, the murder seems to be connected to the victim’s business, but what if it has to do with a serial killer on the loose in the same area?

‘Shame on Me’ is the first novel in the series.
The series revolves around two young friends from Russia, Julia and Kate, who love to take on the role of amateur sleuths. The novels are written in the form of email letters to their mutual American friend. Each book is written in first person, each from the point of view of one of the girls. The first book in the series is written from Julia’s point of view, the second from Kate’s, and so on. In addition to the mysteries and love stories, the series highlights interesting cultural differences between Russians and Americans and describes the life of a girl from a poor Russian family.

The Santa Claus of Mystic Springs by Mona MarpleThe Santa Claus of Mystic Springs by Mona Marple:

What if Father Christmas is on the naughty list?

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Mystic Springs, but all is not still or calm with the department store Santa.

The amateur dramatics club is full of big egos and legends-in-their-own-heads, so their spats aren’t unusual. But when the theatre owner is shot dead during the Christmas play, it’s Santa who pulls the trigger.

With the arrival of an unwelcome ex, a petition to end Discrimination Against Spirits, and a second attack by St Nick, the chances of a quiet Christmas seem to be quickly disappearing.

Has Santa really gone bad? Or is there more to it?

Town medium Connie and her dead sister Sage are both avoiding their own festive conundrums. A mistletoe murder is just the distraction they need.

Phyllis Wong and the Vanishing Emeralds by Geoffrey McSkimmingPhyllis Wong and the Vanishing Emeralds by Geoffrey McSkimming:

When Phyllis Wong—that brilliant young magician and clever sleuth—happens upon a mystery from the past that has proved unsolvable, she knows she has to try to get to the bottom of it.

More than sixty years ago an astonishing emerald necklace owned by the famous pianist Isabella Beaufort seemingly vanished off the face of the earth! Ever since, the disappearance has stumped the police, detectives and those associated with the missing priceless jewels. How did the prized Flurtis Emeralds vanish? Where are they today? Is there any way they can be traced, after so many cobwebs have covered the case?

Another mysterious intrigue right up the alleyway of our favourite conjuring Transiter!

The sixth Phyllis Wong: Time Detective mystery.

Punitive Damages by Marti TalbottPunitive Damages by Marti Talbott:

A deathbed phone call made Private Detective Jackie Harlan’s heart skip a beat. Her agency specialized in finding missing people, yet the one person she couldn’t find was her own son, Brian, who disappeared at the age of two. Was what the caller said the truth, or was it a sinister ploy to take her off the trail of an important case she was working?




The King's Coroner by J-R- TomlinThe King’s Coroner by J.R. Tomlin:

A game of spies is afoot. The king’s new coroner, Sir Law Kintour, investigates the death of a mysterious stranger in fifteenth-century Perth, Scotland. The investigation is complicated by the civil war brewing as the king raises his army against a rebellious duke. Sir Law is pitched further into intrigue and betrayal when he discovers a hired assassin is lurking in Perth. No one knows who will be the next victim. Now Law must call on every resource he has to stop the killer.


Pineapple Gingerbread Men by Amy VansantPineapple Gingerbread Men by Amy Vansant:

Sheriff Frank asks newly-minted private detective Charlotte to help him crack the case, but she has no idea those darn gingerbread men will start showing up everywhere. What did Santa do that made them so angry? And what’s the secret in his colorful Christmas-themed bureau?

Charlotte is forced to split her time between searching for Santa’s killer and helping Declan’s crazy ex-Stephanie stop a corrupt district attorney in exchange for a book that could help solve more crimes in the future. She never thought she’d help calculating Stephanie with anything…but as this story comes to it’s shocking ending, you’ll find it could be Stephanie who’s finally bitten off more cookie than she can chew…

Tangled Destiny by Jenny WheelerTangled Destiny by Jenny Wheeler:

A promising proposal. A life-changing secret. Will she live out a lie or follow her heart?

New York, 1847. Elanora dreams of marrying her childhood sweetheart Eustace. The proposal on her 21st birthday is everything she hoped for, until her fiancé’s father dispatches him to the West Indies. After the promise of a white Christmas with the man she loves evaporates, she stumbles upon a secret that could tear Eustace’s family apart…

After a sudden death further sends Elanora reeling, she’s as vulnerable as ever until a gifted photographer comes to her rescue. With the tragic love triangle forming before her eyes and the secret burning within her, she has an impossible Christmas choice. Will Elanora obey the powerful men who want to control her or will she trigger generations of consequences by exposing the truth?

Tangled Destiny is a prequel novella to the Of Gold & Blood historical mystery series.

Songbird by Inger WolfSongbird by Inger Wolf, translated by Mark Kline:

On an early morning in May, the police find the heavily beaten body of Maja Nielsen in a public park in central Aarhus in Denmark.

She has fallen from a great height and her right arm has been cut repeatedly. Everything points to a suicide, and as the police dig deeper into the world of Maja, they discover a young woman plagued by paranoia and violent nightmares.

Something was tormenting her.

The investigation leads Daniel Trokic and his team to a distinct blood profile with traces of an unknown drug, a tattooed Colombian, and a particularly uncompromising animal rights activist who has been run over in a hit-and-run accident.

Elixirs and Elves by Astoria WrightElixirs and Elves by Astoria Wright:

The elves of Mount Vale are throwing a Christmas Party, and they’ve invited everyone! While the human residents of Moss Hill are excited to attend, many of the sidhe find the invitation beneath them. It’s no secret that they dislike mingling with non-faeries, but are they so hostile toward humans that one of them would commit murder? Carissa has never gotten along with the sidhe guard, but Varick of Vale has helped her on occasion. So, when he asks for her help after suspicion falls on him, it’s up to her to prove his innocence – if, that is, he isn’t guilty after all.

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