Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for December 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 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 hardboiled mysteries, cozy mysteries, holiday mysteries, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, psychological mysteries, crime thrillers, adventure thrillers, historical thrillers, police procedurals, police officers, amateur sleuths, spies, FBI agents, police psychologists, con artists, vigilantes, serial killers, heists, prison breaks, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, murder and mayhem aboard ocean liners and in New York City, London, New Orleans, Maine, Texas, Arizona, Delaware, Washington state, Cuba, the Caribbean 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 Above the Silver Waves by Blythe BakerMurder Above the Silver Waves by Blythe Baker:

In the summer of 1923, danger crosses the Atlantic, as Lillian Crawford sets out on a voyage to England…

Banishment from New York aboard a magnificent luxury liner should have been the wealthy socialite’s ideal escape from disgrace, but everything changes when a moonlit stroll leaves Lillian the only witness to a shocking murder.

Could a hot tempered American millionaire be behind the killing? Or perhaps a certain handsome, blind pianist who guards a secret? And what does the victim’s bitter wife have to hide?

Determined to answer questions no one else is asking, Lillian enlists the aid of her twin brother Felix – as often as she can drag him away from the card tables. The Crawford siblings’ idyllic voyage becomes a fight for their lives, as they race to uncover the identity of a killer…before they become the next victims.

A Frosty Little Murder by Beth ByersA Frosty Little Murder by Beth Byers:

Vi and friends are ready to dive into anything but London. The days have turned dreary, and these days they’re proactive about avoiding the blues. So, they pack their bags and head to the country where they’re hoping to find clear skies and cheery days.

They aren’t surprised, however, when a storm rolls in. They’re even excited when they’re invited to a local contest for the best snow sculpture. They find their way to the meadow, and they play in the snow. They drink an excess of cocoa. Except during the celebration, a body is found. A body with something they recognize. Maybe it was an accident? Evidence seems to suggest otherwise and–once again–the murderous hand of fate has struck.

Death under the Perseids by Teresa DovalpageDeath Under the Perseids by Teresa Dovalpage:

There’s no such thing as a free cruise in Cuban American author Teresa Dovalpage’s addictively clever new Havana mystery.

Cuban-born Mercedes Spivey and her American husband, Nolan, win a five-day cruise to Cuba. Although the circumstances surrounding the prize seem a little suspicious to Mercedes, Nolan’s current unemployment and their need to spice up their marriage make the decision a no-brainer. Once aboard, Mercedes is surprised to see two people she met through her ex-boyfriend Lorenzo: former University of Havana professor Selfa Segarra and down-on-his-luck Spanish writer Javier Jurado. Even stranger: they also received a free cruise.

When Selfa disappears on their first day at sea, Mercedes and Javier begin to wonder if their presence on the cruise is more than coincidence. Mercedes confides her worries to her husband, but he convinces her that it’s all in her head.

However, when Javier dies under mysterious circumstances after disembarking in Havana, and Nolan is nowhere to be found, Mercedes scrambles through the city looking for him, fearing her suspicions were correct all along.

Winter Solstice Murders by C. FarrenWinter Solstice Murders by C. Farren:

Investigating your own death can be murder.

Bea Goldfrapp runs her own magical greetings card business in the small town of Magpie Cove, Maine. She lives with her demon familiar, Widdershins, a cat that can change its breed on a daily basis, and a talking magpie that’s lived for a thousand years. She likes her life and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Then someone poisons her tea and she dies.

Luckily for Bea her father is a powerful sorcerer, and he brings her back to life, losing his own soul in the process. Bea is understandably miffed that someone wanted to kill her, and decides to find out who did it. This only brings more complications to her life, mainly because she never realised she had so many enemies. Can she find out who killed her before the killer strikes again?

Night at the Asylum by Elle GrayNight at the Asylum by Elle Gray:

You better watch your back. You better do your best to hide.
Because at Whitehorn there are strange forces at play.
Someone or something is watching.
And the bizarre death within a secured room is only the beginning…

Within a short period of time FBI agent Blake Wilder has had to overcome many life altering events. From the relief of discovering the truth of her past and having the reunion she had always dreamed of.
To becoming suffocated by the feelings of grief and failure, feelings that nearly resulted in her death.
Safe to say, Blake Wilder is far from looking forward to the festivities to come.

Blake and her team are summoned to a small town in northern Washington to investigate the mysterious death of a patient at Whitehorn.
A case with no prints and no evidence that anyone had entered the victim’s room the night of her death.
A strangely perplexing and unfathomable death. And the patients and staff at Whitehorn believe that it was the spirit of the woman’s boyfriend—a man she’d killed—coming back from the grave to have his revenge.

When Blake discovers that the victim is not what she appears to be and the case takes a more shocking turn. Blake finds herself in an inescapable fight, a fight of the ghosts of the girl’s past and Blake’s very own ghosts of present and future to come.

You better watch out. You better hide.
Because a night at The Asylum could bring forth a darkness that may lead to an untimely demise.

Once in a Brew Moon by Lily Harper HartOnce in a Brew Moon by Lily Harper Hart:

Ofelia Archer has a lot on her plate. Between building renovations for her new business endeavor and plans to move in with her boyfriend for the duration of the construction, she doesn’t have time for anything else. All that changes when a teenage girl is almost abducted in front of her bar.

Ofelia and her boyfriend Zacharias “Zach” Sully intervene, save the girl, and believe they have the kidnapper caged in … only to find that he’s somehow escaped in plain sight. When digging further, they find there have been a string of disappearances from the outer parishes, something someone is working hard to keep under wraps.

Ofelia and Sully are on the case, but the harder they look, the more trouble they find. It seems the girls that are being targeted are from poorer areas. The only girl from an opulent family to be targeted is the one they managed to save. But why?

Ofelia may be comfortable in the French Quarter but Bywater is where she’s needed. Unfortunately, the people there aren’t open to trusting newcomers. As she tries to ingratiate herself, she befriends a local artist … who may just be a target herself.

Ofelia lives in a magical world, a world where she’s often the queen. This time, she may be in over her head. The stakes are too high to abandon the mission, though, and she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth … even if it will leave a scar on the city she loves so much.

Buckle up, because it’s going to be a bumpy – and magical – ride.

Friends in Low Places by Lily Harper HartFriends in Low Places by Lily Harper Hart:

The Morgan family is taking their first family vacation, and since they let their youngest member pick the place, that means Mammoth Cave National Park is on the menu. Ivy Morgan-Harker and her husband Jack aren’t exactly excited about exploring caves, but they’re committed to making sure the vacation is a success.

The first stop on their trip is Casper Creek, a cosplay western town perched atop a mountain. There Hannah Hickok, a witch like Ivy, runs things. The Casper Creek workers have their hands full. It seems local kids are going missing – three in only a few weeks – and the cause of their disappearances might be supernatural in nature.

Ivy’s nephew JJ is the one who uncovers the biggest clue when he inadvertently stumbles over one of the missing kids. Unfortunately, the child who returned isn’t the one who disappeared. There’s something off about him, although nobody can ascertain exactly what.

Hannah and Ivy recognize each other for what they are on first meeting, and it’s a good thing, because they’re going to have to work together to solve a huge mystery … and keep JJ safe in the process.

There are more than witches and demons haunting the hills surrounding Casper Creek. Ivy and Hannah are going to find out exactly what sort of horrors are being hidden in one small community.

They’re determined to make things right. They just have to survive to do it.

Murder and the Mermaid by L.B. HathawayMurder and the Mermaid by L.B. Hathaway:

Sometimes the truth is as slippery and hard to grasp as a mermaid…

December, 1925

A dark, smog-filled London doesn’t seem very Christmassy, or exciting, but then Posie Parker, London’s premier female Private Detective receives an urgent call from one of her oldest friends; Rufus, Earl of Cardigeon.

Summoned to ‘The Mermaid’, an ancient hotel in Rye, on the Sussex Coast, in the heart of smuggling country, Posie, together with her husband, Richard, finds her friend in a real state.

Rufus has been promised answers about his missing wife, Dolly, but instead there’s simply a bizarre string of events: a priceless car mysteriously driven off a cliff; a missing Frenchman, and telegrams from men who simply don’t exist. While Richard Lovelace, Chief Commissioner of New Scotland Yard tries to work out if Rufus himself is the target of a complicated plot, Posie has her own investigations to make.

The local tragedy of a missing dancer has been dealt with by local police as an open-and-shut case. But Posie soon discovers it is anything but. And she suspects foul play.

And as the snow falls, and Christmas lights go up, secrets are revealed, and Posie becomes involved in perhaps her most personal case so far. She becomes aware that danger lurks at ‘The Mermaid’, and not just for Rufus.

A murderer is on the loose.

The Answer to His Prayers by Ellen KirschmanThe Answer to His Prayers by Ellen Kirschman:

WHO READS PEOPLE BETTER—A COP, A CON, OR A VERY SHREWD SHRINK?

A down-and-out, wheelchair-bound lonely man calls 911 from a trailer that’s just burst into flames. The tragic fire claims the man’s life. It seems like an accident until the cops find a few arguments against that theory. And another puzzler — the dispatcher seems to be keeping some dangerous secrets…

Police psychologist Dot Meyerhoff, on call to counsel police station employees, soon finds herself trying to help the traumatized dispatcher. But as the action-packed investigation accelerates, Dot can’t help but get drawn into an ever-expanding series of crimes seemingly orchestrated by the scariest prison mastermind this side of Hannibal Lecter.

As Dot helps track down the possible arsonist, she proves herself a sensitive yet doggedly persistent sleuth — even when ordered to mind her own business. The gripping case drags her through the seedy underbelly of her small town, and finally to the local prison. During a couple of risky trips to the lockup, she becomes reacquainted with the imprisoned puppetmaster, who also happens — coincidentally? — to be a menacing old friend…

Colleagues and friends keep warning her away from the ruthless and powerful criminal, which is excellent advice, right? If only good advice were easy to take…

The Wendigo Whoop-De-Doo by Amanda M. LeeThe Wendigo Whoop-De-Doo by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes has the one thing she always wanted but was afraid to admit. The parents who gave her up for adoption are back in her life, but the transition from orphan to adult child isn’t going to be an easy one. Before she can commit to the process, however, a new job pops up for the Legacy Foundation and she’s whisked away to upstate Washington.

A group of teens celebrating graduation and preparing for college have gone missing in Nighthawk, a former boomtown that has exactly one resident, a crazy old bootlegger who wanders the area dropping ominous warnings before disappearing into the darkness.

The Legacy Foundation is called out when several bodies are found, all with the sort of injuries that can’t be easily explained, and local law enforcement officials find themselves stumped. From the first day at the town, Charlie knows they’re in trouble as the memories of one of the missing teens threaten to overwhelm her. Is the girl still alive? Did she fall with the others and simply hasn’t been found? More importantly, what are they dealing with?

The specter of an evil witch hangs over Charlie and she’s eager for something else to focus on. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done when it becomes apparent that Sybil knows exactly where they are.

There’s more than one killer in the Washington woods, and both serve as a significant threat to Charlie. She’ll need to overcome two threats to keep her team safe … and figure out the one thing that’s so far evaded her.

What does Sybil want? You’re about to find out, and the answer might shake the foundation of everything Charlie believes she knows.

The Truth Lies by Duane LindsayThe Truth Lies by Duane Lindsay:

FIRST FIRE ALL THE LAWYERS — THEN PLAN A PRISON BREAK

While unwinding from her most recent criminal masterwork, one-of-a-kind con artist Dani Silver receives some harsh news: her much beloved brother has gone missing. Dani immediately uses her ample resources to dig up his whereabouts: it turns out he’s stuck in prison after being framed as a drug dealer. After being railroaded, the poor guy got doomed to a life sentence in solitary confinement.

Dani won’t stand for this—he’s her favorite brother, after all, and and not only that, just about everybody’s favorite person. A great guy who’s the exact opposite of Dani and her infamous grifter father—an honest man.

And sure enough, it turns out he not only saw something he shouldn’t have–he has proof. Hence the infinite jailtime.

Easy peasy, then—all Dani has to do is assemble a crack team to perform the most unthinkable of cons: a jailbreak. And then clear her brother of his alleged crimes. And incidentally somehow make some cash while doing it—because crack jailbreak teams don’t come cheap.

A recipe for a truly rollicking ride.

Slow Burn by Terrence McCauleySlow Burn by Terrence McCauley:

New York City – August 1932

Caught between the Great Depression and a massive heatwave, New York is a city on the edge. Businesses close up shop, breadlines grow longer, and riots are almost a daily occurrence.

When corrupt NYPD Detective Charlie Doherty is assigned to investigate a dead body in a flophouse, he knows there’s more here than meets the eye. He quickly discovers that the girl’s death is tied to one of the most powerful families in New York, and a kidnapping case that could tear the city apart.

In a chase that takes Doherty from the mansions of Fifth Avenue, to the slums of the Lower East Side, all the way to City Hall itself, Doherty is in a race against time to find the people responsible for putting his city on a slow burn.

Dusk Corners by Dan PadavonaDusk Corners by Dan Padavona:

It takes a killer to catch a killer.

Logan Wolf was the Behavioral Analysis Unit’s most-respected profiler. Then a serial killer murdered his wife and tore his life apart. Now he’s a vigilante fugitive, hiding from the FBI while he hunts the nation’s deadliest criminals.

When a college student and her boyfriend vanish in West Texas, Wolf suspects the Devil’s Rock killer. But the FBI hasn’t captured the murderer, and after a decade of terror, the trail is turning cold.

Posing as the missing girl’s uncle, Wolf investigates the tiny town of Dusk Corners, the last place anyone saw the students alive. But the local sheriff doesn’t trust Wolf, and it’s just a matter of time before he learns Wolf’s true identity.

To solve the mystery, Wolf must dodge the FBI and power-hungry sheriff. But a killer deadlier than any he’s encountered lies in wait.

In Dusk Corners, danger lurks in every shadow.

Dog's Waiting Room by Neil S. PlakcyDog’s Waiting Room by Neil S. Plakcy:

Two parents die and two families mourn, in very different ways.

Amateur sleuth Steve Levitan and his clue-sniffing golden retriever Rochester face two deaths in the 12th full-length novel in this long-running series. An Alzheimer’s patient slips away from home on his own and tumbles into the Delaware River. And then Steve’s love Lili suffers the crushing loss of her mother in a Miami Beach hospital.

Eckhardt Lalor left behind a fortune in real estate, a fractured family, and a bitter legacy as a city slumlord. Does that add up to murder? There’s no question of what killed Benita Weinstock—a dodgy heart—but her death rocks her daughter’s world, and Steve’s.

It will be up to Rochester to solve the crime and heal his humans in this new mystery with heart — and fur!

Jingle Spells by Christine PopeJingle Spells by Christine Pope:

Sweet baby Jesus, someone’s stolen a lot of Christmas dough!

All is calm and bright as Globe, Arizona’s holiday celebrations approach. Selena Marx should have known it wouldn’t stay that way. The painted snowflakes on her shop window are barely dry when her best friend, Josie Woodrow, bursts in with news that the baby Jesus is missing from the crèche in front of St. Ignatius.

Selena has enough on her mind without having to use her psychic powers to suss out the culprit. Her boyfriend Calvin Standingbear’s parents are still on the snow-covered fence about accepting her, which throws a dimmer on the town’s highly anticipated Festival of Lights. And when Calvin springs a surprise on the solstice, Selena realizes she has some work to do to reconcile the two men in her life: Calvin, and her cursed cat, Archie.

The last thing she needs is a spontaneous vision that indicates the baby Jesus theft was more than just a prank. And if someone doesn’t spill the beans soon, someone’s getting away with…well, not murder (this time), but a whole lot of dough — and we’re not talking cookies.

All Ahead Full by Wayne StinnettAll Ahead Full by Wayne Stinnett:

Jesse McDermitt discovers an environmental nightmare of deception and greed taking place in Central America. A cartel is branching into smuggling things other than drugs. And they’re doing it quite effectively.

The Honduran rain forests and its inhabitants are at peril. The cartel needs hidden places to grow coca, used in the manufacture of cocaine. The exotic and endangered hardwood trees are cut and sold on the black market, along with any creature found dwelling deep in the humid jungle.

Environmental activists in the area who try to intercede are swiftly dealt with in the manner the cartel deals with anyone who stands between them and the almighty dollar—with a sharp machete.

Having so many moving parts and numerous smuggling routes, can Jesse and the crew of Ambrosia, on a dive vacation in the Bay Islands of Honduras, be able to make a difference? Or will the beautiful reef surrounding the island of Utila be Ambrosia’s grave?

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