Reviews - June 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

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  • Reunion
    Carl Brookins
    Brookins Books, $13.95, November 1, 2016
    ISBN: 978-0985390693


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


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  • The 5 Manners of Death
    Darden North
    WordCraft Press, 272 pages, $32.99, trade book. $17.99, e book $6.99
    ISBN:  978-0998395999, 978-0998941608


Diana Bratton is a surgeon whose life is thrown into turmoil when not only a skeleton is discovered at the University but she also finds a note from her Aunt Phoebe that detail five manners of death.  Being a doctor, death surrounds Diana, but as she investigates the note – the five manners.  She checks off the list – accident -check, natural causes – check, suicide – check, undetermined death – check, which leaves homicide.  But the death she thinks is homicide the police say no.  So…

Then two locals die.  And some think Diana’s aunt is guilty in the death of the skeletal remains.  Is her Aunt guilty?  Diana sets out to clear her aunt’s name.  As she investigates she begins to suspect someone in her family is indeed a murderer. 

As Diana investigates we are treated to a roller coaster of ups and downs of a thrill ride.  THE 5 MANNERS OF DEATH is fun journey into 5 manners of death and whodunit! 

Highly enjoyable, thrill ride of a story.  A great escape.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 4.7.

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


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  • The Bronx Kill
    Philip Gioffari
    Livingston Press, 254 pages, $16.95, March 30, 2017
    ISBN: 978-1604891867


Five years previously, a group of young men went swimming.  One did not return and his body was never found.  The surviving teens agree to never talk about it. Now they teens, older find themselves under scrutiny of their missing friend by his brother, a police officer.  The cop is convinced they did something to his brother and is out to prove it.  Danny, on the kids fights to save himself as well as the other boys. 

What did happen that day?  Why wasn’t the body ever found?  Was there foul play?  Does his brother more than he pretends?  For the answers read THE BRONX KILL. 

THE BRONX KILL is an enjoyable read about secrets, suspense, and loyalty.  Enjoyable read.


On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 4. 

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


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  • Title: Eden Rising
    Author:  Andrew Cunningham
    Publisher: Amazon Digital Service
    Genre: Mystery Thriller
    Kindle eBook: $3.99
    ASIN: B00DEJZZK4  
    Trade Paperback: $14.95
    ISBN-10: 1490463658
    ISBN-13: 978-1490463650
    Author’s website:

I have to admit, I have never read a post-apocalyptic science fiction thriller before. But I have read other books by Andrew Cunningham and absolutely loved them, so I had to try book one in his Eden Rising trilogy.

I opened the book in an airport on a day of full travel, and I finished it two days later when flying home from my business trip. I couldn’t get this story out of my mind, and kept thinking about it constantly. I was almost angry when my flight was on time, because I needed to finish the story before I got home and life took over the way it does.

I was hooked on page one when Ben and Lila were sent into an ice cream freezer to do inventory by a jerky boss. When the “event” hit, they were the only ones who survived in their town and soon realized that they’d lost everyone they loved – parents, siblings, friends, teachers…they were all gone.

The amazing odyssey these kids went on made me constantly think, “How would I react in this situation?” “Could I survive like they did?” “Could I kill if I had to, to survive or protect an innocent life?” And it didn’t bother me that they grew up so fast. When life changes around you, I suspect that you would change, too. And these kids went through hell.

The author never lets you relax. There are frequent scenes where our heroes’ lives are threatened and when they are separated. I practically held my breath until they were reunited.

Well written, easy-to-read, and a great adventure, I highly recommend Eden Rising to anyone who loves great suspense, deeply developed characters, and to those who love to imagine the impossible, as the author has done so splendidly in this story.

Aaron Paul Lazar