Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for March 2019

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 February 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 plenty of cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, culinary mysteries, traditional mysteries, historical mysteries, Victorian mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, science fiction thrillers, police procedurals, romantic suspense, private investigators, amateur sleuths, serial killers, assassins, reporters, gamblers, missing children, crime-busting witches, crime-busting ghosts, crime-busting actresses, crime-busting bakers, crime-busting watchmakers, murderous mommy bloggers, sinister going-ons in suburbia, murder in the Cotswolds, London, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Knoxville, Tennessee, 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 Cheater's Game by C.J. ArcherThe Cheater’s Game by C.J. Archer:

The arrival of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show in London brings trouble. When the sharpshooter who beats Willie at poker is murdered, Matt and India investigate. Willie is convinced the victim cheated, but no one knows how until India discovers his secret – he was a paper magician.

When their list of suspects grows to include a member of the mysterious magic Collector’s Club, they uncover a spy. But who is he working for? And what does his employer want?

As danger circles, secrets are revealed, and India struggles to keep her own secret hidden from Matt. But when her grandfather introduces her to a man who can change her life, India must decide if she wants her life to change at all.

An Invitation to Murder by A.G. BarnettAn Invitation to Murder by A.G. Barnett:

Mary Blake had it all.

Actress, icon and darling of the nation, she was the queen of TV crime drama.

Then she turned fifty.

When replaced on the show by a younger woman, she thinks her days in the limelight are over when an invitation to a murder mystery party from an old friend throws her back into the public eye. This time as a murder suspect.

After playing a detective for years, Mary must now become one as she tries to prove her innocence with the help of her puppy-like brother and her surprisingly useful friend and assistant, Dot.

Monshine & Murder by Kathleen BrooksMoonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks:

Zoey Mathers had everything going for her until one night she lost her biggest client, her job, and her reputation. Leaving her life up to fate, Zoey closed her eyes and pointed. She would serve out her career exile in the small mountain town of Moonshine Hollow where moonshine flowed as freely as a mountain stream.

Giving up the law to become a baker in Moonshine Hollow turned out to be the best thing Zoey had ever done. She was happy and enjoying life in her new small town. But Zoey should have learned the first time . . . one night can change your whole life.

After unknowingly crashing a battle between witches, Zoey accidentally becomes a witch herself. That’s all before Zoey stumbles over a murder victim and the town’s sheriff becomes involved. Now she’s trying to find a murderer, stop two old witches from playing matchmaker, and learning she’s way more than a mere accidental witch.

And that’s all before fate turns up one more sexy hunk of a twist…

Tainted Love by Stacy ClaflinTainted Love by Stacy Claflin:

A mommy blogger gone bad…

Jess McAdams dotes on her four children and gives advice and suggestions to parents all around the world. No one would ever question her love and devotion to her children, let alone suspect her of murdering one.

But Alex Mercer does.

Alex has plenty of experience investigating crimes involving missing kids. So when he senses something is wrong, he trusts his instincts. The only problem is, he’s a newly deputized officer of the law. If he’s wrong about Jess, he’ll destroy his career before it gets off the ground.

He receives a tip that Jess has suddenly stopped posting about one of her children. It’s almost as if he never existed, except her old blog posts show otherwise. The deeper Alex digs, the more twisted and sinister things look. His precinct’s resources would be invaluable to his investigation, but his commanding officer isn’t convinced the case is local and turns him down. And Alex doesn’t have the evidence to sway his captain—yet.

His only chance at finding the proof he needs is by using the resources he’s been denied. But Alex will stop at nothing until he finds the mommy blogger and saves the children he knows are in danger—even at the risk of losing his dream job—because he knows he’s right. And with young lives on the line, there’s a lot more at stake than his career.

The Perfect Neighbourhood by Jo CrowThe Perfect Neighbourhood by Jo Crow:

The perfect neighborhood, the perfect neighbors, the perfect trap…

New mother Holly has always dreamed of raising a family away from the city—and now that dream is a reality as she moves into an idyllic suburb with her husband Mike and their baby daughter Clare. The quiet, peaceful neighborhood couldn’t be more perfect.

But as the family settles into their new home, Holly can’t shrug off the feeling she’s being watched and followed on her morning walks with Clare. At first, she dismisses this as new parent jitters. But soon the unusual—and dangerous—occurrences on Holly’s tree-lined block become impossible to ignore.

As her days and nights grow more isolated and filled with paranoia, Holly struggles to convince her husband that the threat isn’t just in her imagination—and that the secrets lurking in their perfect neighborhood could ruin them all.

The Dragon and the Ghost by Mark DawsonThe Dragon and the Ghost by Mark Dawson:

Beatrix Rose has been betrayed. Her husband has been murdered and her daughter, Isabella, has been abducted.

Those who wronged her will pay, because Beatrix is the most dangerous woman you’ve ever met. She was an assassin for Group Fifteen, the beyond top secret agency that did the dirty work for the British Secret Services.

And you know what they say about payback…

Beatrix finds work in the Hong Kong underworld. But when she has a difference of opinion with her employer, the ruthless Mr. Ying, she finds herself in a fight for justice against a man with no scruples.

Alliances are formed and broken. Friends become enemies. Enemies become friends. And nothing is what it seems.

Can Beatrix save herself and her loved ones in the face of insurmountable odds?

Hello Protocol for Dead Girls by Zen DiPietroHello Protocol for Dead Girls by Zen DiPietro:

Jennika died under suspicious circumstances and her memories were uploaded for investigation. Somehow, they didn’t upload her memories alone. They uploaded her consciousness, too.

As she struggles within a perplexing computer network environment to find out how she died, she must also come to grips with the nature of her existence. Her body died, but she sure hasn’t. What does it mean to be alive, then?

She wants to talk to her friends and family, but they might not accept her. Before she can even try to reconnect with them, she has to get the people on the outside to recognize that she’s a real person, trapped inside technology.

She needs to establish a hello protocol–a way of establishing communication.

This story is like nothing you’ve read before. It’s Altered Carbon meets Gone Girl inside a digital environment. It will challenge you, then thrill you, then leave you wanting more. You’ll be on the edge of your seat as you explore this fascinating new technological existence with Jennika.

Wicked Delights by lily Harper HartWicked Delight by Lily Harper Hart:

Ivy Morgan and Jack Harker don’t have many complaints.

Things are good, life is quiet, and the only big thing on their to-do lists is picking a date for their wedding, which is exactly what they’re doing when a local celebutante approaches with an offer for Jack to be on a dating show.

He turns her down flat and goes on his way, but the next morning, she’s found dead and the list of suspects is endless thanks to the production landing smackdab in the middle of Shadow Lake.

Ivy doesn’t like having Hollywood on her doorstep. Jack is even worse, especially when he realizes the producers want Ivy to step in and take the dead heiress’s spot in the limelight. The idea of cameras following Ivy when magical things keep happening around her is enough to paralyze the couple … and then force them to run to avoid the harsh glare of the viewing public.

Jack and Ivy have a lot on their plates. They have to solve a murder, figure out what the witch in the woods is trying to tell them when it comes to the nature of the human soul, and pick a wedding date.

It’s all in a day’s work for Shadow Lake’s favorite couple. If they live to survive the dark force descending on their town, that is. They’ll have to work together to overcome imminent evil … but they’re used to that, of course.

The Ghost Who Says I Do by Bobbi HolmesThe Ghost Who Says I Do by Bobbi Holmes:

A Valentine’s Day Wedding at Marlow House?

Love is in the air—along with secrets—some are deadlier than others.

Will secrets from Clint Marlow’s past come back to haunt Walt and Danielle?

 

 

Nothing But Her Name by Cynthia E. HurstNothing But Her Name by Cynthia E. Hurst:

Clock repairer Jacob Silver usually prefers to stand on the sidelines of life, but he gets more action than expected when he agrees to replace a missing player at a village fete ‘Aunt Sally’ competition. Play comes to an unexpected end when a body is discovered and the promised prize money is snatched away. Blackmail, bribery and an old secret all play their part as Jacob and his wife Sarah help find out who in their Cotswold town is determined to win at all costs – and what the ultimate prize might be.

‘Nothing but her Name’ is the ninth book in the Silver and Simm Victorian Mysteries series.

The Last Amen by C.C. JamesonThe Last Amen by C.C. Jameson:

When he acts in the name of God, his victims’ faith could be their demise.

When a young woman is found dead on her bed, dressed in an old-fashioned nightgown with her hands clasped in a prayer position, Detective Kate Murphy is called to investigate her murder.

But before Kate and her colleagues can find the killer, another woman is found dead in the same position. Other than having blonde hair and living in Boston, the women have very little in common. But one thing is clear: the serial killer has some twisted religious beliefs.

What is his motive? Who is he? And, most importantly, can Kate stop the murderer before he strikes again?

Last Chance by libby KirschLast Chance by Libby Kirsch

A missing girl, a sleuth in training, and family secrets with deadly consequences.

Janet Black, the feisty bar owner and apprentice PI in Knoxville, Tennessee, is back, and she’s taken a job her mentor told her to run from: finding a missing teenage girl.

But with her computer-expert boyfriend, and an ear fine-tuned for gossip from her years as a bartender, she figures she’s just the right person to make a difference.

As she dives into the case, though, she finds that the mother’s not telling the whole story, setting Janet up for a dangerous discovery. And trouble never comes alone. Her bar is flagged for liquor-code violations, a construction project gets out of hand, and she uncovers weird, possibly criminal, obsessions in her new chef.

Janet refuses to acknowledge she’s out of her depth—and thinks she just needs more time to put the puzzle pieces together and find the girl. But when a dead body surfaces, her world view is shaken. Suddenly, finding the missing girl is more than just an altruistic act. Her very life depends on it. As the sinister plot twists ever closer to her own life, Janet is faced with a dilemma. When it comes to the ones you love, how many chances are too many?

Predator by Linsey LanierPredator by Linsey Lanier:

What’s wrong with Mackenzie?

PI Miranda Steele knows something has been eating away at her teenage daughter for months now. Does Mackenzie know her real father was a psychotic serial killer?

Miranda’s afraid to ask and this time, Parker has no answers.

But when her precious daughter goes missing, Miranda spirals into a tailspin. Now she’s forced to ask the most painful question of all.

Has Mackenzie’s emotional state caused her to fall victim to a sexual predator?

Above the Fold and Below the Belt by Amanda M. LeeAbove the Fold and Below the Belt by Amanda M. Lee:

Avery Shaw has taken on her fair share of jerks.

Often, she’s considered the jerk when she takes them down … a role she gladly relishes.

Now, though, she’s taking on a whole faction of jerks.

It seems a battle of the sexes is brewing in Macomb County. A local shock jock, a man who believes women should be home tending children and keeping the house clean while men bring home the bacon, is on trial for sexually harassing his underlings.

His followers believe he’s innocent. Every female empowerment group in the state – and ultimately the nation – believes he’s guilty. That means it’s a media circus, and there’s nothing Avery likes more than a circus.

She has her hands full with this one, though. She very clearly agrees with one side but there seems to be something wrong with the underlying story. When one of the radio personality’s followers is shot in the middle of a rally, ensuring he’s a martyr for the cause, Avery realizes there’s a path to follow … and it’s long and winding.

Avery knows who she wants to win. She also knows someone isn’t telling the truth. It’s her job to find out which side is lying.

It’s all hands on deck for another zany adventure, and everyone is along for the ride. Who’s left standing at the end is anyone’s guess, but Avery smells blood in the water … and she’s going to find the truth no matter who goes down in the process.

Scholarly Pursuits by M. Louisa LockeScholarly Pursuits by M. Louisa Locke:

“Something is rotten in the state of Berkeley”
–1881 Blue and Gold Yearbook, University of California: Berkeley

In Scholarly Pursuits, the sixth full-length novel in the USA Today best-selling Victorian San Francisco mystery series, Locke explores life on the University of California: Berkeley campus in 1881, where Laura and her friends face the remarkably modern problems of fraternity hazings, fraught romantic relationships, and fractious faculty politics.

While Annie and Nate Dawson and friends and family in the O’Farrell Street boardinghouse await a blessed event, Laura Dawson finds herself investigating why a young Berkeley student dropped out of school in the fall of 1880.

No one, including her friend Seth Timmons, thinks this is a good idea, since she is juggling a full course load with a part-time job, but she can’t let the question of what happened to her friend go unanswered. Not when it means that other young women might be in danger.

Murder on Lot B by London LovettsMurder on Lot B by London Lovett:

Los Angeles, 1923. The land of movie stars and perpetual sunshine has a stylish new force to be reckoned with—Poppy Starfire, Private Investigator.

Poppy recently moved out on her own and is eager for a taste of independence and to prove to her retired Uncle Sherman that she is capable of running the Starfire Detective Agency. Her brother Jasper has also joined the agency. Poppy prides herself on being a skilled investigator but so far the cases have been scarce and to say the least uninspiring. But that all changes when Anna Colton walks through the door. Anna’s brother Roger, a famous stuntman for the local movie studio has died in a well publicized accidental fall. Only Anna’s not convinced it was an accident. It’s up to Poppy and Jasper to peel away the layers and uncover the truth. Who killed Roger ‘Rowdy’ James?

Fear by John W. MeffordFear by John W. Mefford:

His heart beats. Barely.

Each thump pounds his mind deeper into oblivion.

And he wonders — How did I get here?

A father goes missing. Not just any father. But a person once worshipped for his world-class talent.

Enter the most unconventional team around: Willow Ball and Cooper Chain.

As a nurse at the community clinic, Willow has seen the painful effects of heroin addiction. But now she’s compelled to help a grieving wife and mother.

Dodging the mob at every turn, Cooper has a plan to bring them down while getting traction on his upstart career. Is he marching into a trap?

With their relationship bordering the “friends with benefits” stage, Willow and Cooper team up to find the missing person. But it’s not that simple. Nothing with them is ever simple.

The hunt corkscrews into an impossible maze of events — their lives threatened by a swarm of twisted deviants and social misfits.

Emotions run rampant, stoking one savage response after another. A spark ignites the hate, but what is the real fuel for this wave of brutal crimes?

Ultimately, can Willow and Cooper save a family from the torment before it’s too late?

Only if they can overcome their own…fear.

The Girl in Red by John NichollThe Girl in Red by John Nicholl:

She has two choices. Escape or Die…

Kathy thought she’d met her soulmate. But Police Inspector Michael Conner’s behaviour changes on the day of their wedding.

Showing his true colours for the first time, Conner becomes increasingly manipulative, controlling and cruel as the months’ pass.

When Kathy tries to escape, Conner does his best to convince everyone that she is mentally ill. But Anna, Kathy’s identical twin sister, doesn’t believe it.

After a tragic event, Kathy decides enough is enough and elicits Anna’s help to rid herself of Conner for good.

But will Conner simply let Kathy walk away or have the sisters bitten off more than they can chew?

It Ends Here by Willow RoseIt Ends Here by Willow Rose:

Every Parent’s Worst Fear!

She thought it would be okay.

She thought her son would be fine if she left him in the car.

It was after all just for a few minutes while she went to grab something at the store. It was no big deal. But when Mrs. Cunningham came back out from the store, the car was empty, and her 5-year-old boy was gone.

In a town filled with dark secrets, who will you dare to believe?

Reporter Rebekka Franck is traveling to central Florida to interview a famous author when the body of a young boy turns up inside an abandoned house.

The death of the boy leaves the small town of Webster horror-stricken.

Forty years ago, another little boy was found killed in that exact same house.

Now they are all asking themselves: Will it end here?

As Rebekka Franck digs deep into the story, she realizes this town is harboring a lot of secrets that some people will go to extremes to keep hidden.

Poison at the Bake Sale by Hollis ShilohPoison at the Bake Sale by Hollis Shiloh:

Abe has an awful premonition that something will go wrong during a local baking contest. Of course it’s his silly imagination; he’s just jumpy these days, after that murder last year. But when the day of the competition means running into his abusive ex, who later turns up dead, Abe wishes that he’d paid more attention to his anxieties, not less.

Now it’s up to Abe and Gregory to figure out who could have done in the awful man. Because the authorities are looking awfully close to home, and there’s only so much strain that even the best relationship can take.

Murder and Mockery by K.P. StaffordMurder and Mockery by K.P. Stafford:

Once again, Lexi is up to her eyeballs in murder mystery while trying to plan her wedding to Jake.
A descendent of the original town settlers is found murdered in a most heinous manner. Her death starts to uncover secrets from the past, mysteries their ancestors tried to cover up long ago.

Will the people of Cryptic Cove be able to deal with the past and what they discover?

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