5 Christmas Crime Novels to Tense Your Holidays

A crime story at Christmastime adds a layer of angst to what is always celebrated as a joyous time of year. These novels can make for dangerous reading. Go ahead and turn a few pages and see what dilemmas you’ll encounter.

Tom Stone Nitty Gritty Cover
A crime story that involves little-known neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

 Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas 

A puzzling, drug-smuggling caper written by Don Simkovich and Lon Casler Bixby. Since this is our blog, we just had to list it first.

 

 

 

 

Published in 1933, this story delves into the psychological side of murder. Take a peek at Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith.

Cheery, hmm?

Adrian Gray meets a terrible fate from one of his children.

 

 

 

The Secret of Annexe 3 — for Endeavour fans everywhere, featuring Chief Inspector Morse who normally steers clear of New Year’s Eve celebrations.

For a related blog post, see this one we wrote on Endeavour Series V.

 

 

 

christmas classic crime

A stalled train forces passengers to take refuge in a house where they become trapped. Chills and thrills for the holidays. Mystery in White.

 

 

 

 

The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries by Otto Penzler “offers yuletide fun and crimes” according to a 2013 review from The Washington Post.

The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries

So many Christmas crime books are from British authors, which is not surprising since Christmas traditions are strong and it’s a place where so many crime fiction novels have been written.

You might think that Sir Author Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame was the reason for crime fiction, but it’s actually American-born Edgar Allen Poe who is considered the father of the detective story.

By the way, if you’re new to this blog that’s based on our Tom Stone detective stories, Lon and I want to extend a warm welcome to you. We do feature other authors in the thriller and crime fiction genre as well as excerpts from our own stories.

Here’s a good place to start if you want to check out the blog in more detail. Read this post “If you’re new to our crime thriller blog.”

It contains links to other posts including interviews with Don and Lon.

Enjoy it and we hope you have a wonderful Christmas holiday season and New Year’s celebration.

Also, take a few moments to look at our Crime Fiction Books page.

We’re working on Book 4 of the Tom Stone series and are quite excited about it. Stay tuned for discounts, deals and announcements about it by clicking here to join our reader’s group.

When you do, you can get a free chapter four of Tom Stone: Day of the Dead and a free copy of our short story A Deadly Path.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Child with No Family in Our Thriller Novel

Tom Stone Nitty Gritty Cover
A crime story that involves little-known neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

Christmas is a bittersweet at the group home in our thriller novel and story, Book 1 Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas (only 99 cents Dec 21 – 25 on Amazon). Sure, the kids love getting presents but in our story there was one boy who acts up and realizes something is missing.

The story opens with Detective Tom Stone going with his partner Jake Sharpe to take presents to the kids and when Stone steps inside the group home, he notices a familiar setting:

Inside, there were a dozen or so long tables with a food service area in the back. A few women and men in hairnets were serving up hamburgers, hot dogs, plates of cookies and hot chocolate. It reminded Stone of the prisons he had seen when he had to interrogate inmates, but perhaps it was just a variation on an institutional theme.

He notices a boy who can’t sit still at a table packed with candy and who is creating a disturbance. The staff can’t figure out what to do with him.

“Sit down for Santa, Andy. Come on, man, be good.”

“I don’t want Santa. I want to go home.” Andrew grabbed the candy bar, ripped open the wrapping and stuffed it in his mouth.

A boy sitting across the table spoke matter-of-factly, “This is our home.”

Ivy Acres in the story is a clean place and the staff are friendly. But it’s not home and Stone recognizes this, nor can the boys go home.

Andrew is loosely based on a real life boy that I, Don, know — the oldest brother of my youngest adopted daughter. He grew up in a group home facility and his life after being emancipated has been one of moving in and out of adult group homes, hitting the streets, having a girlfriend and baby, then getting busted for drugs and armed robbery.

He’s gone into county jail, state prison, and now back in county jail but is really wanting to change. The abuse he suffered in his first few years of life and then lack of family has had a permanent impact on the choices he’s made.

He’s impulsive and his path through foster care and into an institutional setting has been his path to incarceration as a man.

The relationship with Andrew deepens in the next two Tom Stone novels and our short story, A Deadly Path.

During Christmas, getting presents from Santa isn’t a substitute for a family. And Detective Tom Stone sees this and makes a decision himself.

We hope you enjoy reading it and enjoy Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights and Tom Stone: Day of the Dead.

We’re currently writing Book 4 so stay tuned for updates.

 

Real life inmates and our Tom Stone thriller stories

In our crime fiction novels and short story, we bring in many real life elements including foster care and interracial romance.

In our first three novels, our criminal on the run, Anthony Angelino, was a realistic person. Part of our writing comes from Don’s relationship with an inmate, a young man who grew up in a group home and then spent almost two years living with Don’s family.

CRIMINAL REALITIES: EXPENSIVE CARE PACKAGES

One of the realistic elements of having an inmate relative in custody is that sending approved care packages through the available services is incredibly expensive.

Look at this below: would you pay $55 for this collection?

Item 1 of 1

Winter Wishlist

Christmas Cookies (1)
Yogurt Dipped Holiday Pretzels (2)
Mint Dipped Oreos (2)
Holiday Card (1)
Hawaiian Punch – Juicy Red (1)
Ramen – Chili (2)
Ramen – Cajun Chicken (2)
Ramen – Picante Beef (2)
Hot Chocolate (2)
Maxwell House (1)
Vanilla Cappuccino (1)
Mocha Cappuccino (1)
Creamer (10)
Reeses Peanut Butter Cup (1)
Snack Crackers (1)
Big Haus Summer Sausage (1)
Hot Pepper Cheese Bar (1)
Jalapeno Cheetos (2)
Nacho Doritos (2)
White Cheddar Popcorn (2)
$55.99
REFORM SHOULD REDUCE THE COST OF INMATE CARE PACKAGES
We’ve not checked to see if some of the legislation for justice reform impacts the cost of gifts like this or the lack of hygiene products available.
In a state like California, which boasts the seventh or eighth largest economy in the world, inmates in county jails and state prisons have a tough time getting basic hygiene products like soap, toothbrushes, and toothpaste unless their friends or relatives pay for it.
Well, more reality to work into our future stories. 
Covers for action thriller Tom Stone Detective Stories on Amazon
Racing through the streets of Los Angeles neighborhoods in pursuit of justice.
UPDATE ON OUR TOM STONE STORIES

 

We are mid-way through Book 4 and we’ll reveal the title soon. Stay tuned. It promises to be an epic novel of drug dealing and battling in Los Angeles, bringing together the story lines of the previous novels.
Now, enjoy this excerpt from Book 3 Tom Stone: Day of the Dead, Chapter 2

 

EXCERPT: TOM STONE: DAY OF THE DEAD

 

Anthony Angelino’s prison-issued jumpsuit did more than mark him as an inmate in California’s state prison system. It seemed like a shield that protected him from his visitor ….
…. Prison inmates were responsible for requesting visitors and then applications were sent to the prospective friend or relative. Angelino let weeks and then months pass before taking action. In his mind, Amman was a foe and not a friend, so he had no problem waiting and making Amman write multiple letters asking about the visitation status ….
…. Angelino’s hatred for Amman had been reinforced during the visit. He sauntered back to the cell block and tried once again to shut out thoughts of the bustling dispensary he had owned in East Hollywood.
He reached his bunk where his cellmate, Calvin, lay with an arm covering his face. His chest heaved and Angelino could tell that the man was crying.
“You didn’t see nothing.” Calvin was doing time for holding up a check cashing store and his wife told him during their visit that she was divorcing him.
“No problem, man,” Angelino responded. Showing weakness wasn’t a good idea in lockup. It made a man vulnerable to predators and Angelino had no business ratting on people who didn’t cause him any trouble.
He stretched on his mattress and wondered what Sara was doing at the moment and if she was thinking about him. Tension built as he pictured her going to nursing school, taking classes, graduating, and leaving him.
Shit. He hated Amman and he hated Stone for getting him tossed into the system. And he hated his attorney for taking so damned long to do something, anything that would get him out.
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Discover a new author and thriller stories.
Read about our books on our Crime Books page or click on this link to Amazon.

Missing the Bad Guy in Our Book 4 Thriller Novel

We did it and I’ve felt the sting of loss for some time. So has Lon, even though he has nerves of steel and is more hardened by life’s experiences than me.

Writing and Editing Manual Typewriter

Loss is hard but at least in our Tom Stone Book 4 we’re referring back to the life of Anthony Angelino.

Killing off a bad guy that you kind of like isn’t an easy decision. He had likable qualities as noted by this reviewer:

I know that Anthony Angelino was a bad guy, BUT he was misunderstood most of the book. He was the sort of character that can open this marijuana dispensary to help the medical needs of sick people and then get caught up inside a nasty world. I loved him and even though he was walking a fine line, I found him very endearing! — Reading Renee, review of Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights

We saw some growth in this wanna-be drug lord from Book 1 Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas where he appeared a silent man, slipping in and out of the scene, escaping from problems.

But in Book 2 Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights, he decided to take a stand in his career and open a legal marijuana dispensary in East Hollywood. The mob couldn’t scare him and neither could Detective Stone who was in pursuit of justice and suspected Angelino wasn’t just selling pot, especially after Stone caught his teenage daughter inside the store:

[Stone] rocked on his heels. “You only got legal pot in here?”

“Medicinal cannabis.” Angelino spit the words in an effort to control his temper. 

“Bullshit.” Stone opened two desk drawers and spotted a bag of organic dog food. 

“Where’s the search warrant, Detective?” growled Angelino.

Stone didn’t listen. “You did it with candy. What else can you do it with?” He turned inside the tight space and knocked papers off the desk. He then headed to the back of the store. “What’s all this shit?” He swiped his hands along the counter and a few jars of products crashed to the floor. 

Angelino yelled out. “What the hell, asshole?” He wanted to punch Stone but held his fury in check. “I’ll bill the city for this.”

Angelino was one of those people who had ideas and big dreams but he couldn’t make things turn out the way he wanted them to. Something always went wrong as we finally saw in Book 3 Tom Stone: Day of the Dead.

We tip our hats to quite a character that we created and enjoyed, glad that future readers will find him and hopefully find him as endearing as we did.

Stay up to date as we work on our 4th novel –we haven’t released the title just yet. But will. 

When you join our readers group, you’ll get a free chapter from Tom Stone: Day of the Dead and our short story for free.

Click here and stay up to date. You never know what you might hear. 

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday Thriller Book Deals

Treat yourself, friends, and family to these holiday shopping book deals — thrilling crime fiction novels and a thriller short story in the Tom Stone Detective Stories series:

Four Thriller Books — only Four Bucks!

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Four titles only 99 cents each from Thanksgiving and Black Friday through Cyber Monday to kick off your holiday shopping. 

Discover new authors and these Los Angeles crime novels — winding from Van Nuys and Highland Park to Boyle Heights, Long Beach, Marina del Rey and even far off El Centro.

Book 1 Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas

The chase begins as Detective Tom Stone pursues Anthony Angelino when a child dies from eating cocaine stuffed in a chocolate bar.

Book 2 Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights

Anthony Angelino sees legit profits in a legal marijuana dispensary, although Tom Stone suspects his suspect is up to something else as the mob elbows its way in for a piece of the action.

Stone gets sidetracked — only slightly — by noticing Alisha Davidson, the woman who is Angelino’s defense attorney.

Book 3 Tom Stone: Day of the Dead

An explosive battle set in a Santa Monica warehouse is the next stage in the on-going drama between Stone and Angelino. Will the mob get the shipment it had been waiting for or will Angelino make a clean getaway? Can Stone bring justice to the streets of Los Angeles?

Can Stone and Alisha survive the controversy of chasing Angelino and keep their budding relationship intact?

And, yes, Book 4 is a Work-in-Progress!

The Tom Stone Detective series features the themes of:

  • the lure of drug smuggling
  • interracial romance
  • a divorced dad caring for his girls
  • healing in foster care
  • father and son tensions and heroics

These are fast-paced stories with gripping themes and compelling characters.

Read the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

Join the Tom Stone reading group and get updates on excerpts, specials, and more!

Want to read new authors? Learn more about co-authors Don Simkovich and Lon Casler Bixby:

 

Lon Caster Bixby.jpgInterview with Lon Casler Bixby

 

 

 

 

Are you new to our crime fiction blog?

Read this post to get acquainted: If You’re New to Our Crime Thriller Blog

We’re glad you stopped by and hope that we become more than just authors on your To Be Read list — but writers whose works you’ll anticipate.

Thanks for visiting, come back often, and have a wonderful Holiday and Christmas Season reading thrillers and crime fiction or whatever genre you enjoy!

 

 

Our Thriller Work-in-Progress: Novel #4

Hiking trails running above Hollywood and West Hollywood inspired a setting for our fourth Tom Stone thriller novel. We’re working with a title in mind that we’ve chosen and will mention it soon.

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Pic by Don Simkovich, Runyon Canyon

The trail off Mulholland Drive is one thing that fascinates me (Don) about Los Angeles. It’s a mix of urban and forest, even within several miles of downtown. This is part of the Santa Monica Mountains and a setting for a … crime scene. Trails carved into the sides of the hills are quite a contrast to the crowded streets and densely packed neighborhoods of apartments and homes.

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Pic by Don Simkovich, Runyon Canyon

Just imagine, hiding in the brush and waiting … patiently … for — well, you’ll have to read the novel which will be out in a few months.

The First 3 Tom Stone Books

In the meantime, get in on the Tom Stone action with the first 3 books in the series:

Book 1 Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas

Book 2 Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights

Book 3 Tom Stone: Day of the Dead

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Check them out online at major outlets and of course on Amazon where you can read free previews.

Check them out also on our Crime Books page.

And we have a short story Tom Stone: A Deadly Path.

If you’re in Los Angeles, take a tour along Mulholland Drive. It’s fascinating as it gives views of the LA Basin to the south and the San Fernando Valley to the north.

I can’t think of another major metro area like LA where urban living clashes so much with the forest and remnants of what was once wild.

But today, there’s another form of wildlife — the people that Detective Tom Stone and his partner Jake Sharpe hunt down.

The first three books are meeting with good reviews and we feel proud of our work so far in Book 4. Again, stay tuned and come back to stay up-to-date on our thriller in-progress.

Get a Free Chapter and Free Short Story: A Deadly Path

Click here on our Intro Site to get a free chapter from Tom Stone: Day of the Dead and a free short story Tom Stone: A Deadly Path.

 

If you’re new to our crime thriller blog …

then welcome. Lon and I are glad to have you as we work on our 4th novel in the Tom Stone Detective series, which is really a crime thriller series. We’ve also created a thriller short story, A Deadly Path.

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A bit about this site: we’d like to encompass a wider range of crime fiction entertainment from classic authors like we did on Edgar Allen Poe, to brief write-ups on TV shows that include the British drama Endeavour, plus the legendary Jack Webb and Dragnet and — from the late 1950s — Have Gun will Travel.

Stay tuned for contemporary authors like C.J. Box and more author interviews from today’s indie authors, plus crime updates on cocaine smuggling and other wild stuff.

So this site is a way to get to know our style and take in a wider view of thriller news and crime dramas.

 

 

If you’re not aware of it, our books are on our Crime Books page where you can read summaries and get a load of the fun covers.

Writing and Editing Manual Typewriter

If you like watching video, here I am discussing our crime novels on a San Gabriel Valley, California talk show on the Crown City Network.

 

Lon Sungalsses and HatAnd if you want to learn about my co-author, Lon Casler Bixby, here’s a brief interview with him: Author Interview: Lon Casler Bixby.

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the independent authors we’ve featured include:

PHOTO S.N. BronsteinS.N. Bronstein who writes about Miami prominently;

 

 

 

 

Meghan Holloway
Follow Meghan online and learn more about her exciting projects.

Meghan Holloway who has a fluid style in her storytelling;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stewart Giles Author PhotoSouth African novelist Stewart Giles,

 

 

 

 

 

Author photoMurder at Midnight author Faith Martin.

 

 

 

 

 

Colleen M. Story CroppedAnd if you enjoy reading about the writing process here is a blog post from Colleen Story, wellness writer: Why Writing Crime Fiction, or Any Genre, Doesn’t have to Kill You.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy browsing our site. If you want to contribute a post as a guest author, please contact Don Simkovich at dsimkovich@gmail.com. Make sure you put “guest author post” in the subject line.