Reviews - August 2017

What They Say

“Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life.”
—Hunter S. Thompson


Review Coordinator
Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D., MHt:

Cynthia Lee Clark

Former Miss Chicago (Miss USA), Cynthia Lea Clark continued school, graduating from Northwestern University (multiple degreed), attended nursing school, and became a Firefighter Paramedic. After working as an actress in Chicago, she moved to Los Angeles where she worked on many television shows, such as DAYS OF OUR LIVES and STAT, while continuing her education with a Masters in Psychology and then a Doctorate of Psychology. While working on STAT, she was stalked which led her to work in Forensic Psychopathology. She has over 70 interviews with serial killers, mass murderers, etc. Today she mixes Forensics with writing and acting.  She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Kiss of Death Chapter of RWA, International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, and the American College of Forensic Examiners International.


Aaron Paul Lazar:

Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. A bestselling Kindle author of 22 books, including three addictive mystery series, writing books, and a new love story, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at and watch for his upcoming release, UNDER THE ICE. Aaron has won over 18 book awards for his novels and finds writing to be his form of "cheap therapy." Feel free to connect with him on Facebook or his website; he loves to connect with readers.


Virginia Lo Monaco:

Virginia Lo Monaco

Virginia Lo Monaco lived in Sicily, Italy for 16 years and recently returned to California. She was trained as an operatic soprano, and has worked for numerous Opera Companies in America and was director of the Schola Cantorum for the Church of Sant'Anna in the town where she lived with her two dogs (including Tim, the overgrown Fox Terrier that co-stars in the Terry Strong, P.I., series) and three canaries. In order to pay for the years of vocal study, she worked for five years as a Fingerprint Technician for a sheriff's department and five years as a Group Counselor for juvenile offenders.

She started writing fiction in November, 1998. She started her first Terry Strong, P.I., novel, "Lethal Relations," in January, 2013.

She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the Private Eye Writers of America, the Short Mystery Fiction Society and Sisters In Crime-Los Angeles Chapter.

The first Luigi Mancuso story, "Oil in a Day's Work," was published in the Oct/Nov/Dec 2002 issue of Futures MYSTERY Anthology Magazine. 

The second Luigi Mancuso story, "Hearts and Diamonds," was published in the April/May/June 2004 issue of Futures MYSTERY Anthology Magazine.

Among other short stories originally published in Futures MYSTERY Anthology Magazine were: "A Man of Honor," Feb/Mar 2001 and, "Saturday Night Reruns," April/May 2001.

She is a former editor of FMAM.

In July, 2001, "A Man of Honor" (translated into Italian), won SECOND PLACE in the Akery National Literary Competition in Acerra, Italy (V Edizione Concorso Letterario Nazionale di Narrativa "Akery"). In November, 2001, it was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Her Science Fiction short story, "Intermezzo a Cappella," won an HONORABLE MENTION in the Writer's Digest 2001 Writing Competition. It ranked 22 in a field of more than 1,600 genre short stories.


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 . Aaron Lazar

book cover

  • Echoes of Terror by Maris Soule
    Five Star Publishing, 318 pages, $25.95
    ISBN:  978-1432832810


Katherine Ward is an officer in an Alaskan small-town police force.   The town, Skagway is mostly crime free – a stolen bike here a drunken driver there but the town is rocked when a teenager goes missing.  Katherine is assigned the case and quickly she sees parallels to her own kidnapping seventeen years earlier.  To complicate matters the missing teenage is the daughter of a billionaire, who is stuck in China on business.  He sends old friend Vince Nanini, a former Marine to find his daughter as well as another victim. 

Katherine puts the clues together and surmises that this kidnapper/raper is the same man that did it to her.  Now she is even more motivated to find the missing girls.  She and Vince join forces to track him down and save them before it is to late. 

Maris Soule writes in a gritty, dark, wonderful thriller way that is gripping.  She takes us on a roller coaster of thrills and twists and turns as we search with Katherine and Vince for the missing girls.  Highly enjoyable.  A true page turner. A great escape.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 5.0.

Psychologist Lori Jacobs decides to attend her class reunion with her budding relationship partner Jack Marston.  The reunion is marred by murder and Lori and Jack and dragged into searching for the murderer and in doing so they become targets.  The quiet town of Riverview turns out to be quite a den of passion, corruption, and secrets as Lori and Jack discover.

REUNION is a clever, fun, reunion.  What would you do if there was a murder at your reunion?  Maybe the same things!  Cute, entertaining, easy to read.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 4.6.

Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D., Ph.D., MHt., Diplomate Homeland Security


book cover

  • The Prom Dress Killer by George A. Bernstein
    GnD Publishing, LLC, 337 pages, $14.95, July 18, 2017
    ISBN: 978-0989468169



Young auburn-haired women are killed and left in a frilly prom dress.  There is no sign of trauma. Al Warner is the detective assigned to the case.  With few clues, he must profile this killer.  Why red heads?  Why this age?  Why pose them? Why put them in prom dresses?  Etc. 

Working alongside the FBI, Al works hard to capture the serial killer who eventually messes up.  But that leaves Al with a decision that will affect his entire life.  What will he do?

THE PROM DRESS KILLER is look at how a serial killer is evaluated and then hunted.  It is an intriguing and fascinating read.  Enjoyable.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 4.5.

Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D., Ph.D., MHt., Diplomate Homeland Security


book cover

  • Little Girl Gone by Margaret Fenton
     $10.10, e book, $5.00, 268 pages
    ISBN: 978-1523266999



Clare Conover works for the Jefferson County Department of Human Services Child Welfare Division.  It’s September. It’s hot. Report of abuse are skyrocketing.  Neglect is increasing.  This means Clare’s work increases. 

Clare takes custody of young teenager she finds sleeping in a grocery store.  Later, the child’s mother is found murdered.  Then the girl disappears.  Who murdered her mother?  Where is the girl? Upon investigation, her mother was involved in illegal gambling.  Is this what led to her murder?  Claire must find the girl – either she murdered her mother or she is in danger.

LITTLE GONE GIRL is a charming series dealing with mystery and social services.  Clever and engaging.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 4.5.

Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D., Ph.D., MHt, Diplomat Homeland Security


book cover
  • Title: Unmaking Atoms
    Author: Magdalena Ball
    eBook: $6.00

Unmaking Atoms is a gorgeous collection of poetry by acclaimed writer Magdalena Ball, owner of the Compulsive Reader website. I have to admit, I don't read poetry often enough. You'll usually catch me reading or listening to a mystery. But this book, Unmaking Atoms, has grabbed me by the heartstrings, and I couldn’t put it down. 

The authors poems are deep and poignant, and they really make you think. I sensed great loss as I was savoring every piece, so skillfully did Ms. Ball relay her emotions through her lovely tapestry of words. Here are just a few snippets to give you a feel for the collection.

In the poem named “Luminous Air,” one passage struck me as especially beautiful:

The rain was full of ghosts
that night
the air luminous
with immortality

In “The Last Report of the Day,” it seems possible that the author endured hurtful childhood traumas.

I was a little girl then
all my unspoken need
pulsing like a lighthouse
your untranslatable language
transmitted through my pores
a scent you recognised.

In “Atomic Mess” the pain of loss soars off the page and reverberates with anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one in their lives. See what I mean here:

When your last
fractured breath came
condensation of
a lifetime, I wasn’t ready
but you were

pulled in constricting circles
battened the hatches
bolted the door

I felt the cut at thirty thousand feet
watched the cord slacken
lost the sonic heartbeat
before I arrived

after that
there was more silence
than I knew existed


and here:

in all this quiet
how will I hear that song
your breath exhaled into cold air
gypsy lullaby
on my lips

How one writer can pack so much emotion into such few words amazes me. These poems will stay with me for a long time, and I will come back to often re-read them. Thank you, Ms. Ball, for a wonderful, heartfelt collection.

Highly recommended