Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for October 2021


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, holiday mysteries, humorous mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, action thrillers, historical thrillers, revenge thrillers, noir, romantic suspense, police officers, amateur sleuths, FBI agents, CIA agents, reporters, assassins, human traffickers, vigilantes, serial killers, severed heads, Puritan witch hunters, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting journalists, crime-busting skeletons, murder and mayhem in London, Galveston, Silicon Valley, Massachusetts, Hong Kong, Colombia, at a science fiction convention 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 Witchfinder's Apprentice by Cora BuhlertThe Witchfinder’s Apprentice by Cora Buhlert:

Massachusetts in the Year of the Lord 1695: Matthew Goodson, eighteen years of age, is apprenticed to a team of experienced witchfinders, who travel from village to village and town to town to uncover witchcraft, examine the evidence, interrogate suspects and stamp out evil.

When a wave of mysterious illnesses and deaths hits the town of Redemption, the witchfinders are called in and quickly arrest a suspect, a teenaged girl named Grace Pankhurst.

Matthew has long been having his doubts about the witchfinders and the righteousness of their mission. The interrogation of Grace brings those doubts to a flashpoint. But is Grace truly innocent or has Matthew fallen under the spell of a comely witch?

This is a historical suspense story of 5500 words or approximately 20 print pages by two-time Hugo finalist Cora Buhlert.

Murder on a Girl's Night Out by Beth ByersMurder on a Girl’s Night Out by Beth Byers:

Vi is one of those women lucky enough to have good friends. In fact, Kate, Rita, and Lila are closer to Vi than her own sister. With children arriving and what feels like an endless cycle of trouble, their friendship has been pushed to it’s limit. It’s long past time to get together–just the girls.

Is it even surprising when things go sideways? Or when they find themselves looking over their shoulders? Or when they find, one again, that they’re stronger together?

 

1414° by Paul Bradley Carr1414° by Paul Bradley Carr:

The billionaire predators of Silicon Valley always get what they want.
Now someone is giving them what they deserve.

Journalist Lou McCarthy has spent her career exposing powerful predators in Silicon Valley. Her crusade has cost her everything: Her apartment, friends, relationships, and any hope of promotion. And for what? Readers don’t care, her boss and workmates pity her, and the billionaire bro-ciopaths she writes about continue to fail upwards.

But when two of her highest profile subjects are killed on the same night, their deaths staged as gruesome public suicides, Lou’s work is suddenly and violently thrust into the spotlight. Blamed for the deaths, fired from her job, and pursued by vengeful trolls who have already attacked her mother, Lou has only one chance of survival: To find the killer obsessed with her work, and stop them before anyone else dies.

Or perhaps not. Because the more Lou discovers about the ingenious killer’s past, and their methods, the more she becomes determined to help them succeed.

Tight-Lipped by Erik CarterTight-Lipped by Eric Carter:

THE MURDERS BEGIN SUDDENLY…
BUT THE SECRET HAS BEEN KEPT FOR YEARS.

Vigilante assassin Silence Jones is accustomed to hunting people who escaped justice. But nothing can prepare him for the depths of deceit he’s about to face.

People are being murdered across the United States, and law enforcement is powerless to stop it. The victims’ only connection: they’re all survivors of a military training disaster years earlier.

As Silence feverishly chases the killer around the country, he uncovers a sinister coverup and the dark forces willing to do anything to maintain the secret. If Silence is going to stop the slaughter, he’ll have to tear down a web of lies that powerful people have held in place for years.

The next standalone action thriller in the pulse-pounding new series. Enter the world of Silence Jones. Hold on tight…

Wake the Dead by Stacy Claflin and Nolon KingWake the Dead by Stacy Claflin and Nolon King:

There’s no cross like a double-cross. Except maybe a double-double-cross.

Assassin Brad Morris has finally been arrested for murder, but not for a murder he actually committed. Now he’s cooling his heels in jail — his lawyer seems to have forgotten him, and his boss might have betrayed him.

Just as he’s starting to lose hope, he gets a visit from the CIA. Agent June Bancroft has an offer for Brad: full immunity, if he’s willing to spy on his boss and fellow assassins for her. Worse, Bancroft wants his daughter Hadley’s help, too.

Brad agrees, but soon finds out how hard it is to answer to two bosses while pursuing an agenda of his own.

Can Brad keep his family safe while operating as both a CIA asset and an assassin? Or will his double life destroy everyone he loves?

No Bones About It by Rachel FordNo Bones About It by Rachel Ford:

He’s a skeleton who used to be a cop. I’m a Freak who used to be a detective. Together, we’re going to find the woman I love.

Technically, the PD hasn’t fired me yet. But when my girlfriend, the star witness in the biggest embezzlement case in a century, went missing, I stepped on some toes. And maybe busted a senior detective’s nose.

He had it coming. He’s hiding something. I’m going to find out what, and I’m going to find my fiancée. But I can’t do it alone.

In a world of magic and undead beings, Normies avoid Freaks like me like the plague. Our magic terrifies them.

But there’s one place I know I can turn to find the help I need: the undead. So here I am, trusting the fate of my career and the love of my life to the bony hands of a 150 year old undead investigator.

And that’s a recipe for disaster. No bones about it.

The Ghoul, the Bad and the Ugly by Lily Harper HartThe Ghoul, the Bad and the Ugly by Lily Harper Hart:

Zombies in Casper Creek? Say it ain’t so. Unfortunately, it looks to be true … and Hannah Hickok and her motley crew of helpers have a mess on their hands.

As Cooper Wyatt struggles with the perfect way to propose, his girlfriend is buried in zombie lore … and seemingly having a good time digging up solutions.

The bodies are rising from two different cemeteries, one so old it hasn’t seen a new resident in thirty years. Why, though?

Needing help, Lindy suggests her brother David join the team. He’s a paranormal investigator, and he has an interesting set of skills. He also seems to be sparking with animal wrangler Tyler James, which has all the women in a tizzy in an effort to help him make the ultimate connection.
Love is in the air. Zombies are on the streets. Trouble is afoot.

It’s a normal day in Casper Creek, but the stakes are ratcheting up. Hannah’s magic is off the charts, but this time the monsters she’s facing are like nothing she’s ever seen.

Death may be stalking Hannah but she’s not afraid to stand her ground. Survival isn’t a given, but if she makes it through to the end, Cooper has a surprise for both of them.

Poisonous Paws by CeeCee JamesPoisonous Paws by CeeCee James:

Murder can reach out and touch you when you least expect it.

The mysterious death of a town founder rocks the Thornberry Estate. Miss Janice is the main suspect and everyone is up at arms. How was she to know the truce she formed with her neighbor put the target squarely on her? Coupled with a strange box that shows up out of nowhere and filled with bizarre things beyond imagination, and strange footsteps at night has everyone anxious.

…then there’s the bit of the skeleton in the closet. Literally.

The book club group is determined to discover who the real culprit is, and who is sending them disturbing messages. Especially since no one is supposed to know the club exists.

Little do they know, that’s only the beginning of their problems.

If you like cozy mysteries with all the feels, good friendships, giggles and snorts, you’ll love this heartwarming series.

Murder at the Galvez by Kathleen KaskaMurder at the Galvez by Kathleen Kaska:

Eighteen years after discovering the murdered body of her grandfather in the foyer of the historic Galvez Hotel, reporter Sydney Lockhart returns to Galveston, Texas to cover a story. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery.

Something fishy is going on in Galveston, Texas, and Sydney is smack dab in the middle of it when she checks into the historic Galvez Hotel, a place that stirs her most uncomfortable memories. She’s there to cover the controversial Pelican Island Development Project conference, but soon after her arrival, the conference is canceled, the keynote speaker is missing, and a body turns up in the truck of Sydney’s car. Next, Sydney’s hauled to the police station for questioning.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, just a few blocks from the hotel at her parents’ home, people are gathering, sparks are flying, another controversial event is in the planning, one that just might rival the Great Storm of 1900.

Sydney is helped and obstructed by her cousins, Ruth and Marcela, and Dixon, her beloved partner-in-solving-crime. But ultimately it’s up to Sydney, armed with wit and bravado (and Dixon’s .45), who must discover who killed the man in the trunk and why her father’s new friend is floating face-down in a fish tank with a bullet in his head. Her father’s odd behavior and the anonymous threatening notes delivered to her hotel room lead Sydney to suspect that her grandfather’s unsolved murder and the present murders might be connected.

Follow the Crumbs by Amanda M. LeeFollow the Crumbs by Amanda M. Lee:

There’s a prominent threat on the block … and he might just be sharing Stormy Morgan’s roof.

She’s a new witch but she has a big problem … and it talks. Her new roommate Krankle may look cute but he’s a huge pain in her posterior. He’s also hiding something. Before she can focus on that, however, the unthinkable happens.

On the highway leading out of town, three vehicles are involved in an accident. One belongs to Harold Lautner, the former head of the senior center who went missing months before. He was presumed dead in a hunting accident, but now the truck he was driving at the time he fell off the face of the earth is front and center … and emergency crews say there’s nobody to save inside.

Hunter Ryan, Stormy’s boyfriend and a police officer in Shadow Hills, is chasing lead after lead but they’re going nowhere … and then things get worse.

A magical shadow, the type Stormy isn’t ready to fight, is taking over the town. The Winchester witches, who are eager to help, can’t offer much in the way of aid because their magic is being affected by the shadow. That leaves Stormy to solve things, and she has no idea how to do it.

Stormy is eager to learn but the curve is steep. Alone, she knows she will fail. That means her new friends have to pitch in and help … including Krankle.

Someone is lying. Someone is playing games. The answer to the question might be closer than it seems.

Stormy has a fight on her hands. Will she survive long enough to answer all the questions, or is she doomed to disappointment … and death?

The Last Days of Hong Kong by G.D. PenmanThe Last Days of Hong Kong by G.D. Penman:

Book 3 in the Witch of Empire series

In the aftermath of the war, Iona “Sully” Sullivan has lost everything; her job, her friends, her fiancé and even her magic. But when an old friend shows up on her doorstep, offering her the chance to undo one of her long litany of mistakes, there is still enough of the old Sully left to get her on the first boat to Hong Kong. A stranger in a strange land, Sully must navigate alien customs, werebear chefs, the blossoming criminal underworld, religious extremists, Mongol agents, vampire separatists, and every other freak, maniac or cosmic leftover with an iota of power as they all compete for a chance at the most valuable prize in all the world; a little sailor doll named Eugene, and the last wish on earth.

The Heist and Crimes of Shackleton Manor by Daniel J. ReevesThe Heist and Crimes of Shackleton Manor by Daniel J. Reeves:

Sitting fully clothed in his tepid shower and busily dwelling on his romantic misfortune, Seamus is not ready for much of anything. Above all, he is certainly not ready to find the severed, bloody head of an old industry magnate stuffed inside of his university backpack. Seamus has his vices, but a severed head enthusiast he is not.

Chuck, a new acquaintance of his, reacts with perplexing enthusiasm to this turn of events, and together they plunge into a twenty-five year old mystery of love and betrayal at the decadent Shackleton Manor. Will Seamus solve the crime, accidentally implicate himself in it, or simply drink himself to sleep whilst hiding in the basement?

Oy Vey, Maria! by Mark ReutlingerOy Vey, Maria! by Mark Reutlinger:

Rose Kaplan and her sidekick Ida are at it again. It’s the holiday of Purim, and almost everyone at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors is in costume for the Purim play. All except one, who will instead have to be fitted for a shroud. Once again, “Mrs. K” and Ida are called upon to solve the puzzle of a mysterious death at the Home. Described by Chanticleer Book Reviews as “at times more Lucy and Ethel than Holmes and Watson, with a soupcon of Miss Jane Marple,” these geriatric amateur sleuths will keep you laughing, guessing, and maybe even learning a bissel Yiddish!

So We Lie by Willow RoseSo We Lie by Willow Rose:

What do we do when the truth hurts too much?

Fresh out of the national academy – mother of two – FBI profiler Eva Rae Thomas is in over her head on her first assignment in multi-million-copy bestselling author Willow Rose’s breath-taking mystery.

When the mother of two, Arlene Wood, crashes her car against a tree at four in the morning, the case seems pretty straightforward.

But evidence found in the remains of the car soon raises the question of whether this was really an accident.

Shortly after, her husband is taken in and later convicted of having murdered his wife.

But many questions remain unanswered.

Why was Arlene driving in the middle of the night?
Why did she leave the house, her husband, and her sleeping children, get into her car, and drive away?
Was she meeting someone?

A friend?

A lover?

A killer?

Six years later, Special Agent Eva Rae Thomas is new on the job when she stumbles upon something that suddenly blows this case wide open.

But can she persuade anyone to reopen the case even when the husband has admitted that he is guilty?

And will she be able to do it in time before this killer strikes again?

My Emerald Jungle by Adler StevensMy Emerald Jungle by Adler Stevens:

Having my daughter, Haley, and her old high school sweetheart, Steve, kidnapped is the right thing to do. If anybody deserves a second chance at romance, it’s those two. And there’s nothing like a frightening adventure to bring two people together.

But something terrible has happened. Haley and Steve never arrived on the secluded island near Puerto Rico. Instead, they’re somewhere in Colombia, in the jungle, being held by human traffickers.

I’m afraid for the safety of my lovely little girl, but I know Haley is in Steve’s very strong and capable hands.

Or is it the other way around?

Framed in Blood by Ed TejaFrame in Blood by Ed Teja:

It’s a messy, bloody, crime. It’s a proper crime.

A pimp and drug dealer is found tortured and shot. That makes for a messy scene, but not a striking crime. Discovering that someone is trying to make it seem that the prostitute who tortured him also killed him — that grabs Sherry Proper’s attention, makes it a proper crime.

Anytime a crime is textured, layered, and fascinating, it provides glimpses into the dark underbelly where people from all social strata, as well as their money, ambition, and greed can intersect. Sherry calls these Proper Crimes.

It’s a passion. A passion with only dark sides, and one that can take her up to her neck in danger and trouble in a heartbeat.

A Conventional Murder by Nathaniel WebbA Conventional Murder by Nathaniel Webb:

It’s a Daylight Savings Crime!

Kit Morrison just wants to enjoy her hometown sci-fi convention, but things keep getting in the way: con drama, annoying fans, murder… Sci-fi/fantasy author Nathaniel Webb takes on the cozy in his mystery debut, featuring a hilarious amateur sleuth and a tricky, twisty mystery worthy of the classics.

Art teacher, single mom, and geek girl Kit Morrison hasn’t been to her hometown sci-fi con in a decade. All she wants is to sell some art and catch up with old friends. But when a legendary fantasy author is murdered, Kit’s detective brother makes her his nerd sherpa. Kit’s happy to guide him through the weird world of con life—until he makes her favorite student his prime suspect. And then there are the threatening notes that keep appearing in her hotel room…

Kit will confront crazy fans, navigate major drama, wait for the elevator, learn about industrial laundry machines, and try her best to get a croissant—and with luck, prove her student’s innocence before the convention ends!

You’ll laugh—you’ll cheer—you’ll stay up late and fall asleep in a work meeting the next day. Come meet Kit, a sleuth like no other.

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