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THE FMAM MOSTLY MYSTERY REVIEW is the place to come to find out what to read next. Want to know what readers are saying (as opposed to critics) about the books you see around you? You’ve come to the right place! And, if you appreciate a critical review we’ll have those, too. Come in, sit down and see what’s write with the world! (Or, right in the world of write!)

New reviews will be posted on FMAM the 1st day of each month. Reviews will be kept on the FMAM website for 12 months.

New reviews this month from:

. Dr. Cynthia Clark . Harriet Klausner .

July 2011

Book CoverA Well Dressed Corpse
Jo A. Hiestand
2011, L &  L Dreamspell, $16.95, 302 pages
ISBN: 978-1-60318-396-3

A WELL DRESSED CORPSE is a Taylor and Graham mystery.  The town is getting ready for their annual Well Dressed festival when old bones are found.  Could they be that of a young lady who went missing 23 years earlier?  Vera Howarth just disappeared into thin air.  Now there was a good chance the bones are Vera.  What does it mean?  How did Vera die and wind up in that field?  In the meantime, Reed FItzgerald, the festival organizer is found dead.  He has been murdered following a meeting of the festival committee.  Who wanted Reed dead? 

As Detective Sergeant Brenna Taylor and her new partner Mark Salt seek answers to both deaths, Brenna struggles with her fiancée and his families wedding desires.  Chief Inspector Geoffrey Graham allows Brenna and Mark to seek their own answers but wrangles them in every so often, 

Stuffed in the Reed's mouth are pieces of daisies.  What could it mean?  Brenna is convinced it is specific to the killer when Mark isn't so sure.  Are the two murders 23 years apart connected? 

As Brenna and Mark seek answers they find more questions.  They find lies, deceit, and betrayal.  Some of the town folk are not at all what they seemed.

Jo A. Hiestand takes us on a picturesque journey through the English countryside.  She writes in such a way that she can smell the countryside, feel the night air, you are in the Pub with them.  Jo paints a beautiful picture with her words.  There is a new television series on AMC right now called the KILLING.  I really like it, and while I was reading A WELL DRESSED CORPSE, I could see it play out in a KILLING manner.  Excellent!  I read visually.  And when an author makes me feel like I am along for the walk, I am thrilled.  A WELL DRESSED CORPSE would make a charming movie like AMC's the KILLING. 

A WELL DRESSED CORPSE was not only fun to read but informative - I learned many new things in the "English" arena.  Just charming.  I was so engrossed in the story and sub stories that I was sad to see it come to an end.  But be that, it was a wonderful read.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 4.9.

Reviewed by Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D. MHt.


Book CoverThe DEAD MAN: The Blood Mesa
Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin
Written by James Reasoner
Book 5 in the series
2011 E book, Adventures in Television, Inc. 

THE BLOOD MESA is the fifth in the DEAD MAN series.  If you like horror with a dash of suspense then you should read the DEAD MAN series. They are not only fun but addictive!

Each of the novellas follows Matt on a journey to stop the Mr. Dark.

In the BLOOD MESA, Matt finds himself in his biggest battle with Mr. Dark.  In his quest to find and destroy Mr. Dark, we find Matt has hitchhiked along a New Mexico highway.  Matt follows intuition as well as clues (signs that point to where he should go) to find where he is supposed to be for his quest.  After he parts with the truck that picked him up he continues to walk the road where he sees another truck in trouble.  A woman is fiddling with the truck, so Matt offers to help.  But she is not traveling alone.  A male, Andrew is with her.  Matt immediately sees the sores on his face that he has come to know as Mr. Dark’s doing.  He knows his journey has led him here.  He knows that Andrew will at some point do something bad, something evil – he will harm another or many. 

Will this be the journey that allows Matt to stop Mr. Dark?  An archeological dig unearths a special altar which seems to give Mr. Dark even more power.  Who can Matt trust?  Just because he doesn’t see the sores, rotting flesh does not mean the person is untainted…so who?  Will he always be one step behind Mr. Dark?

This series is a delightful journey in good versus evil.  There is a mixture of fantasy, horror, with a sprinkle of suspense. 

All of the “books” in the series are great and THE BLOOD MESA is no exception.  As Mr. Reasoner takes on the journey with Matt, we are thrown around with evil.  We experience the pains Matt feels.  Mr. Reasoner and all the books in the series are exceptionally well written in that through their writing we are right there.  We can see the sores, feel heat, and feel pain as Matt does!  The BLOOD MESA is excellent as is all the books in the DEAD MAN series.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 5!

Reviewed by Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D. MHt.


Book CoverThe Valley of Shadows
Mark Terry
June 7, 2011, Oceanview Publishing, 292 pages, $25.95
ISBN: 978-1-933515-94-6

Derek Stillwater works as a troubleshooter for Homeland Security.  When an Al-Qaeda raid goes awry but yields a couple of lap tops, Derek is called in.    He is assigned to START – Special Terrorism Activity Response Team to locate the potential suitcase bomb and stop the attack.  Target – Los Angeles.    Time frame is two days.   

Derek is also a maverick – he likes to do things his way.  This can be great for obtaining info but he doesn’t always play well with the other children.  His reputation has preceded him.  As he and the other team members get closer to their goal, Derek begins to suspect that their goal is a red herring, that Al-Qaeda has something else in mind.    Derek breaks ranks and follows a different path.

Who is involved in this plot?  Who can Derek trust? 

THE VALLEY OF SHADOWS is one in a series of books featuring Derek Stillwater.  Although this book starts a little slow it gains momentum and joins the ranks of too fascinating to put down.  The ancillary characters are interesting and bring many shades to the book.  All in all, THE VALLEY OF SHADOWS is a good read.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 4.2.

Reviewed by Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D. MHt.

Book CoverRemaindered
A film by Lee Goldberg
Based on the short story by Lee Goldberg
Available on Kindle and Nook

Kevin Dangler wrote a great first novel.  It was so successful he bought a huge house, fancy cars, and lived the high life.  But his second, third, etc. novels could not live up to his first and only masterpiece.  He lost everything and was relegated to planning his on book signings in the most out of the way markets and stores.  He sells the fifth edition of that highly successful first novel out of the trunk of his car in an attempt to make some money. 

Then one day when everything was as sad as a writer could imagine Kevin meets a woman who states that she is his biggest fan.  She is pretty and sexy and says that she made her boyfriend read from Kevin’s book before they would have sex.  She drops that he wasn’t much of a reader so he is an ex.  This perfect fan collects signed first editions of the best of the best writers from Michael Connelly to Janet Evanovich.  She invites Kevin to her home to see where his book has a special place of honor – her bedroom.  What could be more perfect?  A sexy fan.  Sex. Beer.   But nothing is perfect….not sexy fans, not a has been writer, and not murder.

What a charming, fun film true to the short story.  I reviewed the short story a couple of months ago when I reviewed TOP SUSPENSE a collection of short stories.  I love it!  I read in pictures and this film is fairly close to the movie reel in my head!  Excellent.  It is a cute look at what can go wrong especially when you think you have it all covered! 

Mr. Goldberg shows is that he is not only a talented writer but also a talented director/filmmaker.  I look forward to more from Mr. Goldberg whether it is in print or on the big screen.

If you purchase the short story on Kindle or Nook you will be provided a private password to view this delightful visualization of the short story.  A two for one deal – can’t beat it!   Fun to read and watch!  How many times haven’t we said this would make a good movie?  Well this does!  A short film of about 20 minutes, REMAINDERED is making the film festivals with success!  The only problem – I want to see more from Mr. Goldberg….

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it two 5s, one for the short story and one for the film!

Reviewed by Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D. MHt.


Book CoverWatch Me Die
By Lee Goldberg

Harvey Mapes is a dreamer.  He is also a reader of detective novels and he watches TV detective series.   Harvey is a security guard.  He works the night shift in a fancy estate community, where he dreams of being something he is not.  He does not carry a gun or a badge.  The best he has is a patch.  But then one day one of the community home owners, Mr. Parkus approaches Harvey to hire him to follow his wife.  He suspects that his wife, Lauren is having an affair and he wants Harvey to confirm or deny it.

Harvey is excited – a chance to be like Mannix, or Travis McGee, Rockford!  The chicks will flock to him, the cases will practically solve themselves – they do for these detectives, so this will be a breeze.  Quoting $150 a day plus expenses, Harvey is off on his dream job.  After reading some more – Harvey goes shopping for the perfect PI kit – a camera, snickers, and a paperback book. But real life isn’t like a book or TV or a movie and Harvey learns the hard way that things are not what they seem and what seems easy isn’t.

At first, as he follows Laruen she shops.  But then she goes into a pawn store and comes out missing some of her jewelry.  Why?  As he continues to follow her he is positive that he will catch her in an affair but no it is not an affair but a payoff. Oh she is being blackmailed.  Thinking fast he takes a picture of the culprit.  Who is he and why is he blackmailing her?  He must decide follow the bad guy or Lauren.  He decides to follow the bad guy.  But he isn’t as suave as he thinks and before long the blackmailer corners him and beats the tar out of him.  But even in pain, probably with broken ribs he hobbles to the parking structures exit to try to capture a picture of the car’s license plate – maybe he can get the name of the culprit – from a police contact he doesn’t have.  He knows he has to get one, all the famous detectives have one they can count on.  He is able to take the picture.  Yea!  And through deep pain struggles to drop the film off at Thrifty for processing.  He also picks up some first aid supplies to tend to his wounds.  He lays down to rest for a quick nap and zonks out.  He has to wait until morning to pick up the pictures where he sees a logo on the bumper indicating a rental car.  He is getting good at this!  Through attempts at obtaining info he discovers the car was rented in the Universal City area – with this in mind, figuring he is a hotel in the area – that’s what his mentor’s would do, he cruises the hotel parking lots in the area and lo and behold finds the car.  He searches it, finds the rental contract giving him the name of the black mailer.  Harvey is so proud of himself he can’t wait for his meeting with Mr. Parkus.  But when he shows Mr. Parkus the pictures and tells him she is not having an affair but is being blackmailed, Parkus clearly lies about knowing him, pays Harvey two days plus a bonus and tells him the case is over.

Harvey made really good money but the case is not over and then the real trouble begins.  Tragedy occurs.  Did Harvey cause it or was he just a witness to it?  What is really going on?  Can Harvey solve the case?

WATCH ME DIE is a delightful fun novel with all the charm of Rockford, Mannix, McGee and even Magnum (who is not listed in the story).  Harvey isn’t the brightest bulb but he learns quickly and we learn with him.  Harvey grows on you to become smart and charming to grow from a security guard to be a caring person who must finish what he started.  He does the right thing. 

If you enjoy detective series you will love this.  If you enjoy the finding of one ’s self – the kind of story where one taps into his inner strength and becomes a better person you will love this book.  If you enjoy witty, charming, delightful, edgy writing you will love this.  Lee Goldberg has yet again written a winner.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 5!

Reviewed by Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D. MHt.

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