by Elizabeth Wilkerson
An ad hawking Christmas present ideas just popped up in my email. It’s barely October, and yet marketeers are already ratcheting up holiday gift-buying stress.
It’d be different if I were one of Those People. You know the ones—they’ve purchased and wrapped their holiday presents before the Fourth of July. Laser-focused and meticulous, they could lecture Marie Kondo on organization. You won’t catch them panic-shopping on Black Friday or hyperventilating on Cyber Monday.
Are you one of Those People, or are you like me? I wait until the last minute to come up with gift inspiration. But I never worry about not finding the perfect present because I’ve got a foolproof system: everybody gets books.
In particular, ebooks and audiobooks. Gentle on the planet, they require no wasteful wrapping and are delivered faster than FedEx. And for those old-school purists who prefer the heft of a paperback and the smell of bookbinding glue, they get a gift card to their favorite bookstore.
Whether you’re one of Those People, or you buy gifts in-the-moment, the authors of Crime Writers of Color have exciting new releases for your gifting needs. And don’t forget to include a little something for yourself. Maybe even a paperback.
Festive Mayhem 2 by Paige Sleuth, Francelia Belton, Angela Henry, Rhoda Berlin, Carolyn Marie Wilkins, Barbara Howard, Stella Oni
Seven crime writers of color have teamed up for the second year running to offer you the gift of escape this holiday season. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, Halloween to New Year’s, cozy mystery fans are bound to find a favorite holiday represented in this limited-time collection of exclusive, never-before-published seasonal short stories.
Pretty Evil New York by Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
Female criminals are often portrayed as caricatures: Black Widows, Queenpins, Mob Molls, or Femme Fatales. But the real stories are much more fascinating and complex. In Pretty Evil New York, author Elizabeth Kerri Mahon takes you on a journey through a rogue’s gallery of some of New York’s most notable female criminals.
All That Is Secret by Patricia Raybon
It’s the winter of 1923 and Professor Annalee Spain?a clever but overworked theologian at a small Chicago Bible college?receives a cryptic telegram calling her home to Denver to solve the murder of her beloved but estranged father. For a young Black woman, searching for answers in a city ruled by the KKK could mean real danger. Still, with her literary hero Sherlock Holmes as inspiration, Annalee launches her hunt for clues.
How to Craft a Killer Cozy Mystery by Andrea J. Johnson
A roadmap for starting and finishing the manuscript of your dreams, this comprehensive guide will help you create compelling characters, vivid settings, and clever storylines.
Her Name Is Knight by Yasmin Angoe
Stolen from her Ghanaian village as a child, Nena Knight has plenty of motives to kill. Now an elite assassin for a powerful business syndicate called the Tribe, she gets plenty of chances. But while on assignment in Miami, Nena ends up saving a life, not taking one. She emerges from the experience a changed woman. Now tasked with killing a man she’s come to respect, Nena struggles to reconcile her loyalty to the Tribe with her new purpose.
Midnight Hour by Abby L. Vandiver, Jennifer J. Chow, Tracy Clark, H. C. Chan, Christopher Chambers, Richie Narvaez, Frankie Y. Bailey, E. A. Aymar, Faye Snowden, Tina Kashian, Rhonda Crowder, V. M. Burns, Raquel V. Reyes, Callie Browning, Elizabeth Wilkerson, David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Stella Oni, Gigi Pandian, Delia C. Pitts, Marla Bradeen
A chilling anthology of crime fiction by twenty acclaimed authors of color. From a simple robbery gone horribly wrong to a grisly murder in a secret love dungeon, this stellar collection of crime fiction short stories showcases some of today’s finest voices.
Killer Words by V. M. Burns
Sam and Nana Jo are back in sleepy North Harbor, Michigan, where Sam is eagerly awaiting the publication of her first book. In search of more immediate excitement, Nana Jo hits the casino with her fellow Shady Acres Retirement Village gal pals, but they get more than they bargained for when they witness Detective Bradley Pitt decking mayoral candidate John Cloverton. And when Cloverton turns up dead, Pitt is arrested for a crime he may not have committed.
Mimi Lee Cracks the Code by Jennifer J. Chow
Mimi Lee just found an extra perk to being a pet groomer at Hollywoof. Pixie St. James, one of Mimi’s clients and the investor behind Hollywoof, has offered her and her boyfriend, Josh, a getaway at her vacation home, nestled on beautiful Catalina Island. With the island just far enough from busy Los Angeles, Mimi, Josh, and their cat Marshmallow are excited for their relaxing stay. That is, until Pixie’s last renter, Davis D. Argo, turns up dead.
They Can’t Take Your Name by Robert Justice
Inspired by the atmospheric poetry of Langston Hughes and set in the heart of Denver’s Black community, this gripping crime novel pits three characters in a race against time to thwart a gross miscarriage of justice—and a crooked detective who wreaks havoc…with deadly consequences.
Agent Red: Fatal Enemy – Teagan Stone Book 5 by Ava S. King
Enemies come in all forms and Teagan Stone is ready for battle, not thinking of the consequences for going to war with her ultimate rival. Can she turn back the clock or will this lead her to finally leave the Firm before it destroys her from within?
Blue Religion by Alverne Ball
In the sequel to 2016’s Only The Holy Remain, Detective Frank Calhoun springs back into action after a social worker and a rookie police officer are murdered in Chicago’s East Garfield Park.
All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris
In this fast-paced thriller, a Black lawyer is caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous conspiracy after her boss mysteriously dies and she is thrust into an unscrupulous executive circle.
White Lightning by Melissa Yi
Hope Sze escapes for a romantic weekend away at the Rumrunner’s Rest, a Roaring Twenties inn once celebrated both for Prohibition’s best alcohol and the smoothest jazz bands north of the Detroit River. Then a convention of fictional villains overrun the tavern, her friend glimpses a ghost, and Hope uncovers a grisly, Al Capone-related surprise in the fireplace. Tonight, unless Hope unravels a century of clues, murder will prevail.
The Alchemist of Fire and Fortune by Gigi Pandian
The Goonies meets Charade in the fifth novel in the Anthony Award-winning Accidental Alchemist mystery series. A blackmailer obsessed with gold, a boyfriend who’s more than he seems, and a treasure hidden on the Oregon coast lead Zoe Faust and Dorian Robert-Houdin on an adventure that could leave their found family changed forever.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up this week.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases.