Reviews - December 2017

What They Say

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


Reviewers

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 http://www.lazarbooks.com 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 . Virginia Lo Monaco

 



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  • Lethal Relations
    Virginia Lo Monaco
    Kindle, 216 pages, October 15, 2017, paperback $7.93
    ISBN-10: 1978297041
    ISBN-13: 978-1978297043

Terry Strong is a PI.  She has a blackbelt in Taekwondo and boundless determination.  When she sets her mind to something or a case – she does not give up!

Barbara Metcalf, girlfriend of recently murdered Fred Greene is in need of help.  Fred was murdered in his own home while he watched TV.  Of course, the significant other is always the first one suspected.  But did Barbara do it?  Her brother, Donald is sure she did not.  He hires Terry to prove his case (he is also an attorney.)

But the evidence seems to point in every direction directly to Barbara.  Maybe a bit too much?  Or is she just that sloppy? Fred’s one, Robert campaigns for her conviction as he claims he is positive she shot his dad. But does he have anything to gain by Barbara’s being a victim of rush to judgment?

To complicate Terry’s job she finds, like all other relationships, it just wasn’t black or white. In fact, it is downright confusing. What exactly was the nature of their relationship?

And to further complicate things, Terry’s own “relationship” is complicating life for her.  Carl Black is not a smooth ride.

As Terry works at solving this puzzle, characters come join her with red herrings as well as real clues.  But which is which? It is a thousand piece puzzle of all white for Terry to figure out – and she does but not without wild roller coaster of a ride.

LETHAL RELATIONS is a highly enjoyable, fast paced, fun read.  There are twists and turns that keeps the reader on their toes!  Want a good escape?  Jump into LETHAL RELATIONS to be swept away.

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

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

 

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  • Written Off
    Shelia Lowe
    Suspense Publishing, November 7, 2017, 266 pages, $12.99  ebook $3.99
    ISBN: 978-1976507915

Claudia Rose is a forensic handwriting epxert.  Claudia travels to Maine to obtain a manuscript written by a vicitm of the notorious serial killer Roxanne Becker.  But Claudia has to search for the manuscript written by the later Professon Maynard, one of the brutalzied vicitms of Becker.  In her serach, Claudia discovers a group of grad students known as “Maynard”s Maniacs.”  This group were specifically selected and may be mentally unstable.  What exactly was the Professor’s research?  Was she tyring to understand it ot perpetuate it?  Did she cause any loss of life?

As Claudia sets out to answer these questions, she finds more questions!  And she finds more suspects.  Is it possible that the notorius serial killer did not kill the professor?  The University benefits from her death, does that mean anything?  And what about her nephew that miraculously finds a new will?  So, now Claudia is asked to exmine the new will for authenticity.

The weather is not on Claudia’s side and a blizzard traps her in the Professor’s house where she has been staying.  And she is not alone.  Who want Caludia dead and why?

What a fun, exciting, intriguiing book!  A great escape into both forensic handwriting and suspense.  Grab this book, sit before a fire or the beach and enjoy!  Shelia Lowe with excite and tantilize you with her twists and turns.  Excellent!

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

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

 

 

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  • Marriage before Death: WWII Spy Thriller, (Book 5 in the Still Life with Memories series).
    Author:  Uvi Poznansky
    Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    Page count: 189
    Published date: August 2017
    Price: $2.99 Kindle, $13.97 print
    ASIN: B0746NW5CD, ISBN: 978-1974001736

  • Ms. Poznansky has done it again, but this time—and I don’t say this lightly—she has written my favorite book to date in her stable of literary gems.

Marriage before Death continues in the Still Life with Memories series, which paints stories of the lives of Lenny and Natasha. (Book 1: My Own Voice, Book 2: The White Piano, Book 3: The Music of Us, Book 4: Dancing with Air)

In this story, Ms. Poznansky eloquently shifts from her previous genre of literary stories full of romance, to a wartime suspense story, still, however, continuing with the love story of our beloved couple.

I have always adored Ms. Poznansky's evocative writing, but this time she whisked me into the era of WWII French Resistance Fighters. And what an adventure it was! I trembled in my virtual boots beside Lenny when he was captured by Nazi soldiers, “this close” to being executed. He stood in a line of captured soldiers and resistance fighters, waiting to be sent to one group or the other. One group would be immediately hung in the gallows that loomed nearby, the other would be used in some fashion to help the Nazi cause. The tension was riveting.

I listened to the audiobook version of this fascinating story, told by the talented Mr. Don Warrick. His male character voices are outstanding, and his accents—whether it be British, French, German, Jewish, or American, the rendering is brilliant and on target. The female voices aren’t quite as effective, in my humble opinion, but honestly, one can’t fault a deep, stentorian narrator for not being able to completely sound like a woman. ;o)

Thank you, Ms. Poznansky, for allowing us to continue to believe that America still produces great writers who judiciously craft each sentence, and who can tell a great story at the same time. 

- Highly recommended by Aaron Lazar, multi award-winning author.

Aaron Paul Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com

 

 

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  • NIGHTLIFE: Hazardous Material
    Author: Matthew Quinn Martin
    Publisher: Pocket Star Ebooks
    Release Date: May 11, 2015
    77 Pages
    Ebook price: $0.99
    ISBN: 978-1501108860

From the first page of this small 80-page book, or novella, confusion as to which genre it belongs sets in. The quotations to introduce the book seem to put it in a type of war story (“To those who will never settle” and “If you want to play soldiers, you’d better expect a war”).

But then on the next page before the body of the story, there is a news announcement about a Times Square gunman. Maybe this is a crime novella.

Reading further: “Jarrod asked, staring at the bombed-out Greenpoint strip mall…”; seems to put it, again, in a type of war story.

Throughout the book, there are various announcements and excerpts from articles to add to the confusion. There is a copy of a transcript involving a Federal Agency investigation. All of which, to me, just seem to compound the insecure typing of the genre of this book.

The main story involves Jarrod Foster and his boss, Ben Ludwig, who are involved together in an “…under-the-radar removal service…” or unlicensed hazmat crew. They are commissioned to tear down an abandoned strip mall where they discover an old arcade filled with dilapidated video games. Jarrod becomes fascinated by one particular game called “Polybius.” Strange things begin to happen to Jarrod when he plays this game. Things get even more bizarre when he begins finding himself in strange locations with no memory of how he got there.

Ben Ludwig, his boss, begins fooling with the Polybius game and ends up dead. More and more bizarre things start happening to Jarrod until he begins exhibiting symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. He sees demons and other other-worldly beings that haunt him. Eventually he is cornered by the police and taken to a secret location where he is questioned by Federal Agents.

The ending has a slight twist, but not one that would rock my world.

Virginia Lo Monaco