2021 Indie/Small Press Reads & Top 3 Picks

Above are the 18 indie and small press books I read in 2021. Browse through them and see what picks you fancy.

Previous Mentions

I started reading and highlighting indie/small press authors properly from July 2021. So I will mention some of the books I read before although I don’t remember if I read them in 2021 or before.

I will not be including any book from these in my top 3 picks for 2021 but if I had to pick my favourite three from them it would be The Rising Saga Series (Child of Destiny & Betrayal of Destiny) by M. K. Adams, Bang Bang You’re Dead by Evan Baldock and Stay Mad Sweetheart by Heleen Kist.

Top 3 Indie Reads – 2021

Even though I liked all of them in their own way, I am going to pick 3 as my favourite indie reads for 2021.

In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree – Michael A. McLellan

Born into slavery, Henry’s young life is spent working in tobacco drying sheds on Missouri plantations. Freed at the onset of the Civil War, he’s alone, starving, and on the run from Confederate militiamen.

Five years later, Clara Hanfield, the daughter of a powerful New York shipping magnate, escapes her tyrannical father and travels west in pursuit of John Elliot, the man she loves. John, a U.S. Army lieutenant, was sent to the Dakota Territory where he discovers a government conspiracy to incite an all-out war with the Indians; a war meant to finally eliminate them as an obstacle to the westward expansion.

Henry finds himself caught in the middle.

Aided by Clara, John, and his Cheyenne ally, Standing Elk, Henry must battle hatred, greed, and the ghosts of his past during this turbulent and troubling time in American history.

Behind Blue Eyes – Anna Mocikat

As a powerful, cybernetically enhanced elite soldier her job is to do all the dirty work for the mega-corporation she belongs to. She and her elite cyborg squad are deployed on the most dangerous missions – to protect Olympias from threats outside and inside at any cost.

One day, a malfunction in her implants separates her from the all-controlling grid. For the first time in her life, Nephilim is free.

She learns that everything she has believed in all her life is a lie and decides to defend her newfound freedom.

But Metatron, the leader of her unit, has very special plans for her future and won’t let her get away.

Soon, Nephilim finds herself hunted by the killer squads she once belonged to. She’s the best of them but will her skills be enough to survive? To find freedom and expose the oppressive system of lies?

And Then We Vanish – D. H. Schleicher

Eleven twisting tales curated from nearly a decade of work, And Then We Vanish features five new stories and six previously published stories from acclaimed independent author D. H. Schleicher.

In these stories we encounter characters who are victims of their own poor decisions and of chance, like a young boy under the threat of a local kidnapping scare who starts to realize the truth about himself and his father one fateful Halloween, a woman in the midst of a midlife crisis whose dog keeps running away from her, a disgraced college professor who becomes entangled with his down-and-out neighbors outside of Atlantic City, and a lonely person who wanders Niagara Falls at night imagining their escape with a mysterious stranger.

These characters might be longing to disappear or left behind by those who already have, and their stories challenge us to connect with them while they navigate the waves of mystery, violence, and the absurd that filter into their everyday lives.