When my brother and I started celebrating awesome indies, we planned to do it once a month. But now – due to novel writing (both of us), yard work (me) and grandkid minding (him) – I notice the last time we posted was in APRIL!! Oh well… Pete’s been reading fantasy (as usual!) and I’ve been reading crime thrillers (mostly), but we’ve both been reading Awesome Indies!!! Fear not, we’re very discriminating. At least, I am.
Assaph Mehr’s two Felix the Fox novels: Murder in Absentia and In Numina, Take some place very like classical Rome, throw in a judicious dash of very Roman magic (curse tablets and priesthoods) and let Felix the Fox, investigator, stalk the streets, from the patrician estates on the heights to the crowded harbourside tenements, gathering gossip from gladiators and fish-sauce sellers. If you threw Lindsey Davis’ Falso series into a kaleidoscope and gave it a slight twist you would have Assaph Mehr’s two Egretia novels, where Felix solves the crimes of the upper crust without – he hopes – being too badly beaten (or worse). An engaging mix of urban fantasy, faithful classical background and detective noir. Pick it up here.
Ben Galley’s Chasing Graves. It’s a good start to a story where the narrator is killed in the first chapter. And that’s only the beginning of his troubles. In Araxes, wealth and power are measured in how many ghost-slaves one can command, and nobody is too picky about how you end up on the auction block, wringing your hands over your demise. You can not just poison your annoying spouse but set them to doing the dishes for eternity. Skilled safe-breaker Castro Basalt is one such unfortunate, and death does not improve his lot. Grippingly written dark fantasy, with the dead and the living conniving away from palace to hovel. First in a trilogy. Pick it up here.
Holly Magill’s The Becoming of Lady Flambe. Alright, it’s poetry, not crime (although there may be some crime in there). It’s a small book of poetry centred on the story of a single character, a circus performer called Lady Flambe, whose right foot is stepped on by an elephant. It’s the most varied, gorgeously worded, witty stuff…no single excerpt can do it justice, because each poem is so different, but here’s one I loved, anyway. ‘Things I learn…Avoid reversing elephants…Always smile at Social Workers. It’s not their fault…’ Oh, and it has the most beautiful cover i think I’ve EVER seen on any book. EVER. Pick it up here (paperback only).
W. Glenn Duncan’s Fatal Sisters. The only flaw in this brilliantly written, witty, compassionate detective novel (from the ‘Rafferty’ mystery series) is that I still haven’t worked out what the title has to do with anything. Apart from that…PI Rafferty is approached one fine morning by Patty Akister, whose husband Sherm has mysteriously disappeared while on a ‘mission’ for an unnamed spy agency. A mission, huh, thinks Rafferty – that’s what they all say. A little more digging reveals that Shermie wasn’t (duh) a spy, neither has he nicked off with another dame… and then things begin to get complicated. Hero’s deeply likeable, repartee’s witty, minor characters are quirky and memorable. Find it here.
Curtis Bausse’s Truffle Trouble. The book (the first of a series, yet to be written) is set in a gorgeous Provencal village, and centres on the Case of the Missing Truffle-Hunting Dog. Sophie’s mother in law (an established PI) gives her a relatively easy job; to find a local truffle farmer’s missing one-of-a-kind purebred truffle hunting hound, Zizou. Gladly abandoning her two year daughter to the care of her husband (I like this marriage!) she sets out to locate the missing pooch. Naturally, it turns out there’s more to the local truffle market than meets the eye… Sophie’s a charming heroine, the book’s a page turner, and the ending has you hanging on the edge of your seat. Find it here.
Well, that’s it for now. For the next week or so, I’ll be turning over my blog to my friends, who’ll post shit I’d NEVER normally allow to cross my blogging threshhold…but that’s ok (because it’s guaranteed to be more interesting than the stuff I normally write).
Read (or written) any good indie fiction lately? Don’t hesitate to let me know, and I’ll consider it for inclusion in July’s issue (I mean…December’s? 2025? Just kidding).