Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for December 2020


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 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 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, holiday mysteries, historical mysteries, Victorian mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, police procedurals, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, psychological thrillers, science fiction thrillers, police officers, amateur sleuths, private investigators, ex-cops, lawyers, drug-dealers, assassins, organised crime, missing persons, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting seamstresses, crime-busting ghosts, crime-busting bakers, murder and mayhem in Florida, Minnesota, New Orleans, London, Australia, South America and outer space 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:

Murder at the Mayfair Hotel by C.J. ArcherMurder at the Mayfair Hotel by C.J. Archer:

It was the most fashionable place to stay in London, until murder made a reservation.

December 1899. After the death of her beloved grandmother, Cleopatra Fox moves into the luxury hotel owned by her estranged uncle in the hopes of putting hardship and loneliness behind her. But the poisoning of a guest on Christmas Eve throws her new life, and the hotel, into chaos.

Cleo quickly realizes no one can be trusted, not Scotland Yard and especially not the hotel’s charming assistant manager. With the New Year’s Eve ball approaching fast and the hotel’s reputation hanging by a thread, Cleo must find the killer before the ball, and the hotel itself, are ruined. But catching a murderer proves just as difficult as navigating the hotel’s hierarchy and the peculiarities of her family.

Can Cleo find the killer before the new century begins? Or will someone get away with murder?

A Tangle of Secrets by Blythe BakerA Tangle of Secrets by Blythe Baker:

Lily Dickinson’s discovery of a dead gamekeeper in a cottage near a country lane leads to a search for his killer. Suspects range from employees of the nearby Grangehurst estate to a number of dangerous characters much closer to home.

Before Lily can face the murderer, she needs to enlist the aid of her younger sister Iris. But with Lily still refusing to share the secret of the trunk in the attic, will Iris be willing to help when Lily needs her most?

 

The Lurid Possibility of Murder by Beth ByersThe Lurid Possibility of Murder by Beth Byers:

December 1925

Severine DuNoir has discovered who has been hunting her. Now she needs to discover why. As the foes circle each other, their friends and family get drawn into the conflict.

Just who can Severine trust? How can she stop the rogue? And what will happen to those she loves if she fails? She’s all too afraid the answer is one she won’t be able to live with.

 

Baking Magic by Melinda CraigBaking Magic by Melinda Craig:

Starry Valley has been anything but calm since Lindsey moved in. She’s tackled thieves walking through walls, and just last month, she faced down a killer. Not to mention, she had a short romance with one of the handsome police officers and an unusual friendship is blossoming with a maybe detective…she’s still trying to figure that one out. It’s all Lindsey can do to stay sane, yet these people, this town, is more home to her than any place she’s ever been.

She’s still getting used to being open with people about her ability. After all, reading memories is no cakewalk, and it’s definitely not conversation for dinner. But Starry Valley isn’t like other places. She can be real with a select few others, and that is heaven…to finally not hide.

So when Felmira asks for Lindsey’s help in finding a friend’s husband, it’s no surprise she says yes. Helping is a given; delivering is another thing. Lindsey promised Sarah she’d find her husband before Christmas…she only hopes he’s still alive.

The Happy Widow by David CrosbyThe Happy Widow by David Crosby:

MARRIED AND MURDERED—

WHAM, BAM, SCAM YOU, MA’AM…

In his sixth hard boiled action thriller, reporter Will Harper attempts to balance the beginnings of new love with a treacherous fraud investigation. While trying to unmask scammers who target vulnerable elderly Floridians, Will risks angering homicidal con artists who will stop at nothing to extort their hapless victims.

The mystery opens with an exhilarating honeymoon at sea: philanderer Alain Duvalier has whisked his new—wealthy—wife away on a honeymoon cruise. There’s trouble in paradise, though: Duvalier pushes his giddy wife off the cruise ship, then claims the death was a tragic accident. The remorseless widower packs his bags and moves into his late wife’s ritzy Florida condo, with immediate plans to sell off all her assets.

Enter semi-retired journalist Will Harper, who’s just started researching a hard-hitting series on black widows and widowers who seduce aging, wealthy single folks. This project is personal: Will’s newly exclusive girlfriend Bonnie has an elderly uncle who’s being isolated and financially controlled by a new, monstrously villainous wife—the infamous Millie Potts.

While brainstorming story ideas aboard his live-in yacht, The Wanderlust, Will gets wind of the honeymoon cruise death and immediately begins tracking Duvalier. Will attempts to juggle his dangerous investigation into Millie’s murky past with an equally risky inquiry into Duvalier’s whereabouts. These scammers are so morally bereft that they’ll swiftly, thoughtlessly kill anyone who stands between them and a bundle of cash. Which is unfortunate, considering that Will, Bonnie, and Callie—Will’s ex girlfriend and current coworker—are all standing in the way.

The Contract Lawyer by John EllsworthThe Contract Lawyer by John Ellsworth:

He went into the jungle to find his family. He came back out to find himself…

Thaddeus Murfee is an attorney in San Diego whose nephew is kidnapped to South America. The traffickers just didn’t know all the rules, but he did.

This is Thaddeus at his best, pulled away from his normal life and cast into a cruel world where the cartels run rife and anything goes. This time, they rang the wrong doorbell, took the wrong kid, and ran in the wrong direction. Because this seasoned lawyer will stop at nothing to bring back his sister’s son. And in the end, there will be a trial, inside a California courtroom, where justice is sought and crimes are punished.

But will they even be there? Or will they no longer walk the earth, buried in a South American jungle where no one cares?

Alley Katz by Mike FaricyAlley Katz by Mike Faricy:

Dev Haskell is running late for dinner at his girlfriends house when he rear ends a car in the parking lot. Small world, the car is driven by a Dev’s former high school English teacher. . In lieu of paying for damages Dev agrees to work Tuesday and Thursday evenings helping kids with homework. From there he ends up searching for an art forger with ties to local crime lord, Tubby Gustafson.

Along the way he’s beat up by a petit woman in a thong, searches for a missing boy… Oh, and he sets a homeless kid on a career path.

Another hilariously delightful Dev Haskell tale.

A wonderful read to remind you that, actually, your life is pretty good!

As always, Morton, Dev’s Golden Retriever, provides a dose of sanity.

Witch Is the New Black by Lily Harper HartWitch Is the New Black by Lily Harper Hart:

Ofelia Archer has faced demons, evil witches, and freaky zombies, but nothing could prepare her for the horror of meeting her boyfriend’s mother, Madeline Sully. She thinks she’s ready and able, but she’s really not.

For his part, Zacharias “Zach” Sully isn’t any more thrilled by his mother’s visit than his girlfriend. He’s simply better at dealing with Madeline’s brand of madness.

After one meal, a magical barrage of fire rains down on the group as they’re walking down Bourbon Street. When the flames clear, a young woman is left for dead, and the only thing they know about her is that she was part of a multi-level marketing scheme called Hexential Oils.

Before they realize what’s happening, Sully and Ofelia find themselves knee-deep in an odd world that neither of them really understand … and it leads straight to trouble, as usual. It seems New Orleans is teeming with suspects, and they have no idea which one to focus on.

Ofelia and Sully have a bond that can’t be broken. That won’t stop outsiders from trying. When the hierarchy of Hexential Oils leads to long-forgotten magic and a creature of mythical proportions, they realize they’re in over their heads.

They’ll die to protect one another … and someone desperately wants to make that a reality. It will take both of them working together to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Ghostly Graves by Lily Harper HartGhostly Graves by Lily Harper Hart:

Maddie and Nick Winters are embarking on the biggest adventure of their lives: parenthood. They’re nervous, excited, and prepared to go shopping. That leads them to a special baby boutique in Whisper Cove, where they just happen to participate in a cemetery tour run by Michigan’s most famous ghost hunter.

Maddie and the tour guide Harper Harlow recognize each other for what they are right off the bat, although they don’t initially say anything. Everything spills out in the open, though, when a ghost leads Maddie to the body of a local plastic surgeon.

The dead doctor has an interesting reputation with the women around town, and Maddie recognizes him from her days of nursing. Before anybody realizes what’s happening, the two women have formed a crime-fighting team and they’re determined to uncover answers.

Nick would prefer Maddie shop and embrace their incoming baby but he knows when her inner detective can’t be silenced. While the men bond – and discuss loving a magical woman – the women (and Zander, of course) dig deep and uncover exactly how sordid the tale of an unethical doctor can be.
Get ready for some fun. Maddie, Harper, and Zander are ready for adventure … and they’re dragging absolutely everybody along for the ride.

Church of the Assassin by Ross HarrisonChurch of the Assassin by Ross Harrison:

KILL ONE TO SAVE A HUNDRED

Alexiares spends her time killing, tinkering with a car she never drives, and wondering if she’s a sociopath. This simple life is complicated by a deadly purge of her sect and she finds herself on the run, trying to make sense of the slaughter. She’s not alone: the broken-minded assassin has inherited a baby girl. But how can hands that know only how to squeeze necks and strip engines ever nurture a child? When painful revelations, betrayals, and secrets show Alexiares that her life can only cause Baby pain and suffering, she’ll have to make a difficult choice.

Across the galaxy, one seemingly natural death puts rookie Intelligence officer Ryan Blake on a collision course with Alexiares. His journey into desperation and madness will reveal a world he’ll wish had stayed hidden. One full of mysteries and death. As his mentor says, there are cases to make your career and there are cases to make you look over your shoulder for the rest of your life, right up until it ends abruptly and violently.

KILL A HUNDRED TO SAVE ONE

Relentless hunters want both her and Baby, and they will tear worlds apart to get them. They are bigger, stronger, and more resourceful. But Baby is more than a newfound vulnerability to Alexiares: she is a reason to live. A reason to kill.

When you take a shot at an apex predator, do not miss.

Foxtrot Hotel by Simon HayneFoxtrot Hotel by Simon Haynes:

First a dead body shows up on Harriet’s favourite beach.

Then she discovers the whole place is going to be bulldozed for an apartment complex.

She’s convinced the two are connected, but she’ll have to untangle a web of lies and corruption to reach the truth.

Meanwhile, someone has decided that the best way to avoid discovery is to silence Harriet… for good!

 

Watch Her by Edwin HillWatch Her by Edwin Hill:

While attending a gala at Prescott University’s lavish new campus, Hester Thursby and fellow guest, Detective Angela White, are called to the home of the college’s owners, Tucker and Jennifer Matson. Jennifer claims that someone broke into Pinebank, their secluded mansion on the banks of Jamaica Pond. The more Hester and Angela investigate, the less they believe Jennifer’s story, leaving Hester to wonder why she would lie.

When Hester is asked by the college’s general manager to locate some missing alumni, she employs her research skills on the family and their for-profit university. Between financial transgressions, a long-ago tragedy, and rumors of infidelity, it’s clear that the Matsons aren’t immune to scandal or mishap. But when one of the missing students turns up dead, the mystery takes on new urgency.

Hester is edging closer to the truth, but as a decades-old secret collides with new lies, a killer grows more determined to keep the past buried with the dead…

The Banshee Brouhaha by Amanda M. LeeThe Banshee Brouhaha by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes has spent her entire life wondering who her birth parents were, why they abandoned her, and where the magic she’s been learning to hone came from.

She’s finally going to get some answers.

With proof that the new member of the Legacy Foundation is really her brother, Charlie sets off to visit Salem with him and her boyfriend Jack Hanson. She’s never been to the city before and finds that the history swirling is only one of the things that has her excited.

Not long after landing, a body is strung up in Salem Common, and witnesses say it was ghosts doing the dirty work. Jack is intrigued enough to call in the rest of the team. Since Charlie’s parents are supposedly taking refuge within the city limits, the investigation makes for a nice cover.

It’s not long before Charlie realizes that there’s more going on in Salem than witches and white magic. Something dark is festering under the surface, and whatever it is seems to be taking aim at her.

Charlie wants answers. She’s also afraid to get them. During the search for what she’s lost, though, she becomes more determined than ever to hold onto what she has.

There’s evil afoot, and a woman who looks like an older version of Charlie is stalking the group. Could the two things be connected? Charlie won’t leave until she knows for certain.

Salem’s history might be coming back to haunt those who venture into the city and it’s up to the Legacy Foundation to figure out why … that is if they survive long enough to uncover the answers.

Hold onto your broomsticks, because it’s going to be a witchy ride.

The Lost Letters of Playfair Street by Michelle MontebelloThe Lost Letters of Playfair Street by Michelle Montebello:

A lover’s game. A chest of clues.
Come find me. I’ll be waiting…

1929: On the night of her engagement to austere banker Floyd Clark, Charlotte Greene meets enigmatic Sydney Harbour Bridge engineer, Alexander Young. Their encounter is brief, but their attraction instant.

Alex invites Charlotte to play a game with him, one of daring clues and secret meeting places. She accepts and they embark on a thrilling lover’s chase across the city.

But with her arranged marriage to Floyd looming, will she have the strength to let Alex go?

Present Day: Paige Westwood is helping her boss establish a publishing company in his newly-purchased Playfair Street house in The Rocks, Sydney. In the attic, she discovers a chest of old clues that lead the reader on a journey across the city.

Paige contacts the former owner, Ryan Greene, who explains the clues belonged to his great-aunt Charlotte, who once lived in the house, but who mysteriously disappeared in 1929.

Together, they follow Charlotte and Alex’s clues to unravel a fascinating tale of lies and intrigue, of two lovers bound by hope, but also by deceit. Can they solve the mystery of Charlotte’s disappearance or has all hope been lost to the past?

Should Grace Fail by Priscilla PatonShould Grace Fail by Priscilla Paton:

When a disgraced policeman who rescues addicts and trafficking victims is murdered, Detectives Erik Jansson and Deb Metzger have their skills put to the test as killers target a vulnerable girl, an empathetic pianist, and a man generous to a fault.

 

 

 

Better To Be Lucky by Ben RehderBetter To Be Lucky by Ben Rehder:

The trouble at the Conlees’ lakeside estate begins when vandals topple and destroy an expensive Italian fountain. Then they slash the tires and damage the paint job on a Jaguar. That’s when Roy Ballard’s client, the insurance company, asks him to catch the vandal in the act and prevent future claims. Surprisingly, the homeowner, Norman Conlee, opposes the idea. He intends to address the problem himself by fencing the property and keeping his revolver handy. Eventually, though, he gives in, and Roy goes to work. It’s not long before the case escalates in a way nobody saw coming. Roy will need some luck to close this case before he winds up a victim himself.

Murder on a Midnight Clear by Sara RosettMurder on a Midnight Clear by Sara Rosett:

A snowbound country mansion, a missing butler, and a Christmas case…

Olive and Jasper have never been closer—except in one area. Jasper is still reticent about his frequent disappearances from polite society. With the holidays approaching and no paying client on the books, Olive decides to shadow Jasper when he’s unexpectedly called away. Her search brings her to Holly Hill Lodge where an eclectic group has gathered to celebrate an old-fashioned English Christmas.

The guest list includes a celebrated lawn tennis champion, a fussy scientist studying snowflakes, a persuasive luggage salesman, a famous lady explorer, and the family’s eccentric aunt who has a fondness for the newfangled drinks called cocktails.

When the butler goes missing, Olive and Jasper must work together to solve the Christmas crime—as well as the secret Jasper hides.

Rising Moon by Wayne StinnettRising Moon by Wayne Stinnett:

On Grassy Key, things aren’t as idyllic as they seem. The quiet, sleepy community has been awakened. A young woman with strong ties to the community is missing.

A local craftsman, the last person to see the girl, is questioned and released. The girl’s friends are interviewed. Nobody knows what happened to Cobie, except that she left for work one day and didn’t arrive. The only lead is the girl’s car, parked where she worked. But it provides no clues and nobody saw anything.

Days go by. Then weeks. The case grows cold.

The employer of the girl’s mother knows Jesse McDermitt, a retired Marine and reputed government spook. Jesse leans on people the way only he can and soon finds there is a lot more to the abduction than anyone knew.

Does he find the missing girl? Does he survive what he uncovers? Find out in this 19th novel in Wayne Stinnett’s wildly popular Jesse McDermitt Caribbean Adventure Series.

Murder in Hyde Park by Lee StraussMurder in Hyde Park by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s a fashion faux pas. . .

The summer of 1926 brings high fashion to Hyde Park. Ginger’s Regent Street dress shop, Feathers & Flair, is a major sponsor, and when top designer Coco Chanel makes an appearance, the London fashion scene lights up.

Until a model drops dead and Miss Chanel is suspected of murder. The fashion icon hires Lady Gold Investigations to clear her name, but can Ginger discover the murderer before becoming a lifeless mannequin herself?

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