Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for July 2021

http://corabuhlert.com/2021/07/30/indie-crime-fiction-of-the-month-for-july-2021/

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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 June 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, historical mysteries, retro mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, 1960s mysteries, humorous mysteries, paranormal mysteries, science fiction mysteries, steampunk mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, horror thrillers, police procedurals, police officers, private investigators, amateur sleuths, lawyers, burglars, assassins, FBI agents, organised crime, serial killers, murdered wives, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting realtors, crime-busting single moms, murder and mayhem in Bloomington, Indiana, New York City, San Francisco, Hawaii, London, 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:

The Glass Alibi by John BurnsThe Glass Alibi by John Burns:

There is no mystery on this journey to hell. You are witness the to the crimes dealing the death sentences, each justified by liberal application of the seven deadly sins.

Enter the glamorous but insidious world of San Francisco’s ultra-wealthy socialites and dive into an immersing character study, filled with envy, greed, and cold blooded murder.

Sinister • Hard Boiled • Relentlessly Paced • Savagely Funny

Stealing Murder byx Beth ByersStealing Murder by Beth Byers:

April 1961

Cat Clarke tends towards the naughty. You know…a little vengeful pickpocketing. A smidgeon of well-aimed fraud. A dabbling of burglary from the deserving.

She’s a woman with her eye on the prize, and with her unexpected team, she might have planned her greatest heist yet. Only while she’s in the act of cutting the painting from the frame, she hears a murder.

If Cat doesn’t catch the killer first, the feds may never stop chasing her. Time for her team to accomplish their greatest feat yet: find the killer, leave him gift-wrapped for the feds, and disappear into the night.

Book ONE in the Cat Clarke 1960s Adventures. It’s time for a new adventure, and you’re going to love Cat Clarke and her family.

One-time orphans turned family, Cat might be fiendish, but her mother, Louisa, is all-good. Then there is the pragmatic Albert and the loyal Thea. This family sticks together no matter what hijinks Cat drags them into. Prepare yourself for a series of mysteries and heists and grab onto something, because it isn’t just her family that Cat will charm.

The Unexpected Flavor of Forever by Beth ByersThe Unexpected Flavor of Forever by Beth Byers:

Severine and friends have arrived in a new village once again, and they’re ready for nothing more than a place to call home. With large forests to walk in, a beach to stroll by, locals who are friendly, it is everything that they could have ever wanted.

On one of Severine’s long walks, however, she stumbles over a grisly scene. Now it’s up to her friends to clear her name before their chance of a home that fits them perfectly is ruined.

 

Dead For Good by Stacy Claflin and Nolon KingDead For Good by Stacy Claflin and Nolon King:

When your only alibi is a dead man, you don’t have much of a defense.

Brad Morris likes to think of himself as one of the best: an assassin at the top of his game. For years, he’s juggled work and family — attentive husband and loving father by day, cold-blooded killer by night.

But when the charismatic neighbor that Brad openly despises turns up dead on the same night he was out on a hit, Brad suddenly finds himself a prime suspect. His wife lies to the police but her lie only lands him deeper in trouble, and it’s clear she thinks he might be guilty too.

Brad’s being framed and he knows it, but it’s nearly impossible for him to prove his innocence without admitting he’s an assassin.

Can he catch the killer without endangering his family — or blowing his own cover?

RICO Rocky by John EllsworthRICO Rocky by John Ellsworth:

The police are after…the police. An outsider is needed to hunt down the bad ones. Call up Thaddeus Murfee.

Thaddeus Murfee gets the call from the Los Angeles District Attorney, a crime-buster nicknamed RICO Rocky. There’s a ring of police on the take…and worse. The DA is known for his RICO criminal cases, RICO for Racketeer Influenced Criminal Organizations. RICO Rocky enlists Thaddeus to file a RICO indictment and take them down. Only problem is, it’s going to be very dangerous. Will be necessary to go undercover. Yes, bring your investigator, Marcel. He’ll need to go undercover, too. Thaddeus takes on the assignment. Can he take down the bad apples? Or, will he find that it isn’t the police who are dirty, but the District Attorney’s Office itself?

War breaks out: a battle of psychology, lawyers, and of dark deeds. And a hanging.

Dublin Moon by Mike FaricyDublin Moon by Mike Faricy:

US Marshal Jack Dillon, assigned to An Garda Síochána, Special Branch is just about to settle into an enjoyable evening with his neighbor Tara when his phone rings. Against his better judgment, he answers… Good thing he does. It’s his boss, Detective Chief Inspector McCabe. There’s been a shooting in Dublin and it’s all hands on deck. Turns out two police officers have been murdered. US Marshal Jack Dillon and Detective Inspector Paddy Suel begin an investigation that seems to be going nowhere— and yet… It’s bad enough two officers have been murdered, but apparently, that’s just the beginning. The bodies begin to pile up and Dillon and Suel can’t seem to get ahead of the game or find out who is responsible.

The Jack Dillon Dublin Tales series is written by Mike Faricy and was originally released under the pseudonym, Patrick Emmett. Faricy also writes The award-winning Dev Haskell series, the award-winning Corridor Man series, and the Hotshot series.

Without Sin by Rachel FordWithout Sin by Rachel Ford:

A city in fear. A serial killer who crossed the line.

The Nursery Rhyme Killer took his brother. Now Owen Day will stop at absolutely nothing to find him.

A brutal killer haunts the streets of Kennington, leaving dead bodies in his wake – dead bodies, gruesome murder scenes, and nursery rhymes. The media dubs him NRK, the Nursery Rhyme Killer.

When NRK targets his brother, ex-military intelligence analyst Owen Day taps into the skills he developed in the Army to bring the killer to justice – before he strikes again.

‘He that is without sin, let him first cast a stone…’

Owen’s own hands are far from clean. But to wrest the city from the death grip of a madman, Owen will need to confront the demons of his past.

Sometimes, a man with blood on his hands is the only one who can stop a killer.

Sibyl Sue Blue by Rosel George BrownSibyl Sue Blue by Rosel George Brown:

Stop a murder, save two planets!

Who she is: Sibyl Sue Blue, single mom, undercover detective, and damn good at her job.

What she wants: to solve the mysterious benzale murders, prevent more teenage deaths, and maybe find her long-lost husband.

How she’ll get it: seduce a millionaire, catch a ride on his spaceship, and crack the case at the edge of the known galaxy.

A thrilling, ground breaking story of mystery, crime, action and romance!

Wicked Whispers by Lily Harper HartWicked Whispers by Lily Harper Hart:

Jack Harker says the honeymoon will never be over, but it’s back to reality for him and his wife Ivy. Unfortunately for them, that means murder is on the menu … and this newest body is dropped in Ivy’s nursery parking lot.

Jack is a mess when he realizes a sniper took out a local woman. Ivy, although shocked because it happened right in front of her eyes, is also intrigued. When the duo starts digging, they find themselves drawn into an ugly underworld that’s happening right under their noses.

Shadow Lake might be a quiet town but it has an ugly side … and apparently there are a group of people looking to profit. The harder Jack and Ivy look, the more ugliness they uncover.

Ivy’s abilities are growing by leaps and bounds but even she can’t fight off a bullet. When her busybody nature makes her a target, it’s going to take everything she has in her arsenal to fight off the inevitable.

Jack loves his wife. Ivy will do whatever it takes to protect her husband. Will one of them have to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the other in the end?

It’s a hot race to the finish, and Ivy’s magic will have a say in the outcome.

Beach Front Hunt by CeeCee JamesBeach Front Hunt by CeeCee James:

Life is good for Stella O’Neil. She’s found her mother at last and is finally getting a chance to get to know her after 20 years apart. She’s also just landed the listing of a lifetime!

Trouble always seems to find Stella though and this time it feels personal. When she goes with her client to visit the beautiful remote mansion, her client is brutally murdered. No one else is around for miles. Stella becomes the prime suspect. It’s up to Stella to clear her name and find the killer.

She has no clues to follow until files start disappearing from her computer. Soon a threat follows. Stella is sure if she can find the person responsible, the hacker can lead her to the killer. But she doesn’t have much time until she herself is arrested and tried- will she go to prison after her mother was just released?

Absolute Unit by Nick KolakowskiAbsolute Unit by Nick Kolakowski:

Absolute Unit is a dark carnival ride through the underside of the American Dream, where hustlers and parasites fight to survive against gun-toting furries, sarcastic drug kingpins, old ladies who are startlingly good with knives, and angry ex-girlfriends. It’s a hardboiled slice of modern American horror that asks the deepest question of all: Is the human race worth saving?

Bill is a nobody, a health inspector who’s not above taking a few dollars to overlook a restaurant’s mouse problem, and hated by nearly everyone except his long-suffering girlfriend. His nephew, Trent, isn’t much better: sexually and morally confused, he’s probably the worst teenage con artist on the East Coast. But today, these two losers are going to become the most important people in the world.

That’s because Bill and Trent harbor a sentient parasite with a sarcastic sense of humor and a ravenous appetite. As the parasite figures out how to control its new human hosts, the focus of its desires grows from delicious cheeseburgers and beer to something much darker and more dangerous.

The apocalypse might come from within us…

Great Hexpectations by Amanda M. LeeGreat Hexpectations by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter thought she was getting a grip on the paranormal world she never knew existed until recently. She was wrong. In the shadow of a massive shifter retreat, she finds she knew absolutely nothing.

Her live-in love Galen Blackwood has his hands full with the conference. Not only is his mother pressuring him to make his presence known but it’s also up to him to keep the not-so-friendly factions from going to war. Things only get stickier when a member of the Michigan wolf contingent ends up dead on the docks.

Hadley wants to help Galen, as does his cousin Aric Winters, who has brought his magical mage wife Zoe and their daughter to the island at the behest of his father. Aric prefers distance when it comes to shifter politics but he’s happy to see his cousin, and be introduced to Hadley for the first time.

Because they’re not shifters, Hadley and Zoe are considered outsiders. That allows them to join together to track down a murderer.

Hadley is out of her element but she’s determined to help Galen by any means necessary. Unfortunately for her, the other wolves don’t like it … and decide to make it an issue worth dying for.

A wolf war is brewing and Hadley is at the center of it. Not only that but she’s a target. It’s going to take all of her witchy energy – plus a little help from a new friend – to make it through to the other side.

Somebody else has different plans … and they’re deadly. It might be the wolves warring, but Hadley is the one who might die on the battlefield.

The Sightless City by Noah LemelsonThe Sightless City by Noah Lemelson:

Kidnapping.
Enslavement.
Murder.

Those are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to actions some will take to protect their interests in æther-oil, the coveted substance that fuels the city of Huile.

As both veteran and private investigator, Marcel Talwar knows this firsthand, and he likes to think he’d never participate in such things. However, that naïve idea comes to a crashing end when he takes on a new case that quickly shatters his world view. A trail of evidence points to someone in Marcel’s inner circle who’s using him as a pawn to conduct grisly experiments-experiments that could lead to genocide.

Now, Marcel is more determined than ever to discover who’s pulling the strings to this sinister plot. But the further he gets, the larger the target on his back becomes, and it’s not long before Marcel has to ask himself how much and how many he’s willing to sacrifice to get to the truth.

Killer Surprise by Sonia ParinKiller Surprise by Sonia Parin:

After several delays, postponements and reschedules, Eve’s parents are finally coming for a belated Christmas lunch and Eve is determined to give them a perfect Christmas feast. Everything is set for the family reunion at Eve’s Seabreeze Inn and she has everyone organized. Or, so she thinks.

When Detective Jack Bradford knocks on her door, Eve immediately goes into denial. There’s been a death on the island and she might be indirectly involved. Despite her reluctance to snoop around, Jack trusts her instincts. The more she learns, the more she realizes the truth could be staring her in the face.

The Labyrinth by Owen ParrThe Labyrinth by Owen Parr:

SHE WAS THE PERFECT WIFE…

SO WHO KILLED HER?

The widower says his wife was killed by gangs— but now he’s running for Mayor of New York City. Just to be sure (or else to portray himself as a properly mourning husband), he hires P.I.s Joey Mancuso and Father Dom to solve the murder. Only they can’t help noticing he’s pushing them to come to the gang conclusion as well. Hey, is something fishy here?

Joey Mancuso, his priest half-brother–Father Dom–and their crack team have got their work cut out for them. A year ago, a Brooklyn politician’s wife was brutally murdered, seemingly in a terrible burglary gone wrong. But no one really knows: the case remains unsolved. The mourning politician hires Mancuso to solve the cold case–right before announcing his plan to run for mayor of New York City. Oh, and in that same speech, the politician blames his wife’s death on gang violence. And the politician tries to convince Mancuso to come to the same conclusion.

Well….none of the gangs in Brooklyn seem to have it out for the politician’s family. Plus, the politician may have a straying eye–there are rumors of the affair. It’s a labyrinthine puzzle, the kind Joey (forever inspired by his hero, Holmes) delights in. Mancuso and Co. take to their office–which doubles as a bustling, Lower Manhattan cigar bar–and delve into Joey’s strangest mystery yet.

Joey Mancuso’s latest adventure is a gritty tour of a side of Brooklyn that’s rarely seen anymore; any fan of The Wire will find a lot to love in the gripping gang politics. Plus, author Parr weaves in the ritzy drama of upper class New Yorkers, all of whom have sordid secrets…

The Girl and the Dragon's Island by A.J. RiversThe Girl and the Dragon’s Island by A.J. Rivers:

A lifeless body, brought onto shore by the shifting tides.
A tranquil setting disguising the darkness behind a puzzling death.

While the nature of the world seems undisturbed.
And billions continue living.
There is one that carries with her the memory of the dead.
She has no choice but to replay the very beginning.
A beginning and ending that leads her back to Dragon’s Island…

For FBI Agent Emma Griffin, making the unsettling link among several cases has propelled her forward to finding the elusive truth.

The murder of her ex-boyfriend Greg has haunted her for years and as she spirals closer toward the final answer, she realizes it is more disturbing and painful than she could have ever imagined.

Her investigation brings her deep into what he went through during his disappearance. Forcing her to face questions about moments in her past and her future.

Now, the answers that have plagued her nightmares are finally revealing themselves.

But they just might be ones she never wanted.

Every ending gives birth to a new beginning…

Ring. Ring.
“I’m back.”

Cold Consequences by David RohlfingCold Consequences by David Rohlfing:

Deadly Dealings in Bloomington, Illinois

Ashley Cummins, the granddaughter of a powerful judge, is unexpectedly shot while buying drugs from her dealer late one night on a city street. As detective Sasha Frank investigates her murder, all of his possible suspects start showing up dead or missing. Who is behind the killings? As pressure builds on Sasha to solve the case, he uncovers new information that begins to unravel a complicated web of evidence. Will Sasha be able to prove who the killer is and take down the person responsible for the murders?

Cold Consequences is the exciting second book in David Rohlfing’s Detective Sasha Frank Mystery Series, serving as a prequel to Deliberate Duplicity. In this gripping new tale, full of exciting twists and turns, Sasha pursues every lead to find the killer. You won’t be able to put it down until the final thread is unraveled.

Not Like Us by Ava StrongNot Like Us by Ava Strong:

She barely escaped a serial killer in the Pacific Northwest—and now, he is hunting her again. Or is he? Ilse Beck, a niche expert in serial killer survivors, has faced many monsters, and seen shocking cases—but this one may be the worst of all.

In this bestselling mystery series, FBI Special Agent Ilse Beck, victim of a traumatic childhood in Germany, moved to the U.S. to become a renowned psychologist specializing in PTSD, and the world’s leading expert in the unique trauma of serial-killer survivors. By studying the psychology of their survivors, Ilse has a unique and unparalleled expertise in the true psychology of serial killers. Ilse never expected, though, to become an FBI agent herself.

Nothing can prepare Ilse for her new patient, a survivor from a near murder by a serial killer. The patient, paranoid, believes she is still being watched by the killer. And when the killer claims a new victim, the FBI needs Ilse’s help to solve it.

This case and this killer, though, strike too close to home for Ilse’s comfort. When she realizes that she herself is being targeted, the trauma of her own past comes full circle.

Can Ilse use her brilliant instincts to enter the mind of this killer and stop him before he strikes again?

And will she save herself?

Aloha Alibi by Jasmine WebbAloha Alibi by Jasmine Webb:

Most people flee to Hawaii for gorgeous weather, white-sand beaches, and cocktails at sunset. Charlotte Gibson, however, is fleeing for her life after a vengeful mobster leaves a severed finger on her doorstep as a warning. Message very much received.

That’s how Charlotte—Charlie to everyone except her mom— finds herself on Maui with six dollars to her name, living with a mother who can’t stop giving her advice on how to land herself a husband. But when a businessman is murdered and his company offers a reward to whoever finds the killer, Charlie sees an opportunity: with that kind of cash, she could afford her own place and start a new life here away from the people who want her dead. After all, how hard can hunting down a murderer be?

Teaming up with a couple of old ladies with more spunk than Betty White, Charlie is sure she’s on the right track to snag the reward money. However, the infuriating-but-smoldering-hot cop trying to keep her away from his case has other ideas. Throw in a day job at an ice cream shop, corrupt local politicians, and a best friend trying to act as the voice of reason, and Charlie has her work cut out for her.

Will she be able to find the killer, or is Charlie’s time in paradise going to go straight to hell in a handbasket?

Listen to Cora rambling on about Isaac Asimov and Foundation at the Stars End Podcast

http://corabuhlert.com/2021/07/22/listen-to-cora-rambling-on-about-isaac-asimov-and-foundation-at-the-stars-end-podcast/

http://corabuhlert.com/?p=42800

I’m still busy with this year’s July Short Story Challenge (you can follow along here), so I almost forgot to mention that I’ve been interviewed on the Stars End Podcast, a great new podcast dedicated to the works of Isaac Asimov in general and Foundation in particular. As you may know, I was a huge Isaac Asimov and Foundation fan in my teens and still have a soft spot for the good doctor in spite of all his flaws, so it was a pleasure to geek out with likeminded folks.

I’ll also be interviewing the guys behind Stars End for my Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight soon. We truly have an embarrassment of great SFF related podcasts out there.

You can listen to the episode here. And if you want to watch the trailer for the upcoming Foundation streaming series, you can watch it here. The visuals look great and I think Jared Harris will make an excellent Hari Seldon, though I’m a bit doubtful about the focus on the Emperor (who’s only a strictly peripheral figure in the stories) and the clone dynasty plot, which seems to be taken from Ancillary Justice rather than Foundation. Still, I’ll be watching and reviewing Foundation, when it hits the airwaves in September.