About half of the books I read in 2012 were by traditional authors and the other half by indies. Originally, I was going to list my favorites in both realms, but opted to feature the indies since most publicity is already skewed toward those with large advertising budgets. Following, in no particular order, are the best of the indie novels I read in 2012 along with their descriptions and Amazon links.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide – Geoffrey West
Action packed thriller/mystery filled with murders and twists. Whilst researching the suicide of rock queen Maggi O’Kane in 1980, ex-criminal profiler Dr Jack Lockwood discovers evidence suggesting that she and her band were murdered to suppress facts she found out about John Lennon’s assassination. First of a series of Jack Lockwood mysteries.
An Indecent Death – David Anderson
When sexy, seventh grade teacher Paula Noonan is found murdered in a nearby park, Detective Sergeant Nicholas Drumm of the York Police Services is called in. Drumm’s previous experience as an elementary teacher comes in handy when the investigation leads him to Paula’s school, and a host of suspects, including the school’s creepy janitor, an abusive spouse, the principal, a moody and leering fifth grade teacher and the angry and aggressive father of one of her students. It soon becomes obvious that Paula Noonan’s provocative dress and unconventional behavior are contributing factors in her death. Wrestling with his health, an emotional ex-girlfriend who wants to get back together with him and a self-destructive colleague, Drumm works through the lies and misdirections that are set before him to uncover the surprising truth. An exciting and intriguing story, An Indecent Death will keep you guessing until the end.
A Lethal Time – Peggy Edelheit
I was beginning to question a lot, including my sanity for trying to find something I didn’t know anyone would steal in the first place. How did I end up in another complicated mystery involving a motorcycle rally, horses, a hidden collection, antique books, unexpected alliances, extortion, and threats upon my life? And how did I become a target? It was “A Lethal Time” and my time was running out. What secrets were they all afraid of me discovering?
Dream On – Terry Tyler
Dave Bentley was born to be a rock star. He’s a reincarnated Viking warrior, too. When Dave forms his new band, Thor, there are plenty of sleepless nights for Janice, his on-off girlfriend and mother of his son. Not only must she deal with the thrills and spills of life as a hardworking single mum, but also the imminent return of singer-songwriter Ariel Swan, Dave’s one true love. Poor Janice. Dave is still the love of her life. Ariel Swan returns to small town life – and Dave’s heart. She and her friend Melodie (whose ambition is to be “a celebrity”) enter a TV talent competition, so Dave and the rest of Thor decide to make the most of the opportunity for possible fame and fortune, too. This adventure brings about big changes in the lives of all of them – none of which Dave could have anticipated. One member of Thor even ends up on The Jeremy Kyle Show…
Where There Were No Innocents – Thomas Drinkard
Mack Brinson is a Green Beret Captain in Vietnam at the height of the war, 1967. He’s been selected to serve on the staff of MACV-SOG, the premier covert operations unit in Southeast Asia. He is a lonely man, and his wife’s lawyer serves him with a divorce notice. His assignments so far, have proven less than exhilarating and he has just been handed one more mundane chore. The conclusion of his tedious task is anything but boring. He fights for his life in a Viet Cong attack on a bloody runway. His loneliness soon comes to an end. Brinson meets a stunning Eurasian woman, Song. He finds love in an unexpected place. After Brinson’s first combat experience, his command begins sending him on Top Secret missions. He works with a SOG Recon Team on a wiretap mission along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. He earns the nickname Blade when he escapes from a lethal situation by using his fighting knife. As a result of his expertise in clandestine surveillance, Brinson is a marked man. The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong put out orders to kill him. Song also becomes a target. He has to find a way to protect her while still carrying out his duties. Mack’s war includes fighting in the streets of Saigon during the infamous Tet offensive. He and a buddy organize a rescue attempt for a wounded fellow soldier. Will they get there soon enough to save him? Where There Were No Innocents is a true-to-life story of the Vietnam War written by a former Green Beret, who served with MACV-SOG.
Hide and Seek – Jenny Hilborne
A celebration turns into a complex mystery when a guest disappears and a large pool of blood is discovered on the grounds of a mansion. Abducted? Murdered? Or did Abby McCabe fake her own disappearance? San Francisco homicide inspector, Mac Jackson, is called out to investigate. As Jackson questions the guests, he uncovers old hostilities, secretive pasts, and the victim’s ties to another unusual death. At the center of it all is the lingerie bar, where the victim once worked. His best chance at solving the case hinges on an uncooperative source and Jackson must work fast, before it’s too late and his source disappears.
Sydney’s Story – Eileen Granfors
A romp through historical 18th century England and France during the formative years of Sydney Carton, adult hero of the Dickens’ classic, “A Tale of Two Cities.” How did this brilliant, compassionate man become a dissolute drunk, willing to die for love?
King Solomon’s Journey – Sammy Sutton
Unaware of the existence of the other, Anthropologist, Antonio Dominguez and Spiritualist, Amanda Messenger have inadvertently lived parallel lives.
They have studied the mysteries and history of the ancient people of the earth, the ties that bind past and present, and have sought to understand mankind’s deepest meanings, now they have been led onto a path that will take them into the past, present and future. Drawn together by fate, they have uncovered 3,000 year old scrolls, which have lain protected since King Solomon first sent them up the Rio Grande, within the confines of the mysterious Hidden Mountain. Ancient and valuable in their own right, the scrolls hold the key to unlocking the gates that will save humanity from approaching catastrophe. Hunted by evil forces —who will stop at nothing to keep them from revealing the answers—Antonio and Amanda find themselves on the run and up to their necks in trouble as they race against time to solve the King’s mysteries. In an adventure full of high-octane action and sensual mysteries as old as time, Sammy Sutton tackles all the issues your mother warned you never to discuss: sex, politics, and faith. With a complexity of depth and vivid characterization that is rarely seen within its genre, King Solomon’s Journey is the story of a sultry race on track to save the world.
Dirty Work – Michael Lamendola
Bloody basement poker games. Midnight street races. A small Mexican crime family. Stuck in the middle: two men who have no clue how to drive fast or shoot first. Sal and his buddy didn’t mean to piss off the mob, and they didn’t have any intention of stealing from an illegal gambling kingpin. Stumbling face first into a world of organized crime, they realize that staying alive means learning who to trust and how to kill. A handshake deal with the Mexicans who want them dead takes more than guts, and to survive they’ll need all the booze-fueled courage they can swallow, quick and dirty lessons in semi-automatics, and a rust-bucket Buick with a leaky trunk full of luck. DIRTY WORK is a fast and funny crime thriller set in San Diego’s grimy underbelly where the hustlers, hit men, and crooks have no patience for a couple of guys who find themselves in a wrong place that never had a right time. Full of slick wit and gritty action, it will appeal to anyone with an appreciation for fast talking, cynical underdogs who fight like hell to beat the odds.
Second Chances – Maria Savva
Set in London, in the noughties, sometime after the smoking ban, and before the great 21st century recession… James has always believed in happy ever after, and he plans to get there one day. He is doing okay. At the age of thirty-three, he has a top job, dream house, two healthy children, and a wife who always stands by him. These things, James can rely on, until one day, when everything changes, and he realises that he has spent so long looking towards the future, that he has neglected the present. Feeling unloved, his wife, Pamela, has left him, leaving nothing but a brief note. She has taken their two children. How far will James go to save his marriage? What can Pamela do to stop the past haunting her life? Will it be enough?
Darker By Degree – Keri Knutson
A missing girl. A mysterious break-in. A brutal murder. Struggling actress Maddie Pryce is looking for her big break and a way out of her day job at a crumbling movie palace from Hollywood’s heyday, but finds herself at the center of a series of seemingly unrelated crimes. Soon she’s tangled up with a persistent detective, a driven director, a playboy producer, and an unstable ingenue. Can Maddie unravel the clues before her next role is as a serial killer’s victim?
Willowtree – Mike Bove
In this cozy mystery Bruce DelReno, retired mailman and avid golfer finds a body near the golf course. He attempts to link this to other murders, which he sees connected to the entanglements and secrets of a group of locoweed smoking locals. His friend, an Apache Indian, becomes involved and supplies much of the dry humor. Much of the story takes place at the golf course, a favorite restaurant, and a nearby ranch, in the fictitious town of Willowtree, AZ.
Metallic Dreams – Mark Rice
Long-haired Scottish rock singer Spark MacDubh drops dead on a snow-covered street of his native Bronzehall, only to be jolted back to life by what he calls ‘lightning from Heaven’. Following his resurrection, Spark’s sanity is stretched thin: during waking hours, he receives instructions from deities known as the Metal Gods; at night he is haunted by visions of a Devil who wields ultimate power over the music industry. Employing behaviour that swings between messianic and infernal, Spark gets his old band back together with a view to steering them towards greatness. The Devil, however, only grants success in exchange for souls. Unwilling to use his bandmates’ eternal souls as bargaining tools, MacDubh comes up with a preferable route to stardom: put the Devil out of business. A simple idea but questionable in terms of practicality. For starters, it requires a trip to Hell, and only the right music can open the gateway to that dimension. Catch-22? More like Catch-666.
Sink or Swim – Stacy Juba
Personal trainer Cassidy Novak has gained fame for starring on a hit reality show, but not only does she lose, she discovers she is being stalked. She’s also being shadowed by Zach Gallagher, a hunky photographer assigned to capture her personal moments for the local newspaper. As her former competitors get killed off one by one, Cassidy refuses to play by the stalker’s bizarre rules. When the stalker forces a showdown, Cassidy must play to win.