Reviews - June 2016

What They Say

“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.”
—Allen Ginsberg


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.


Please welcome our NEW REVIEWER Barry Gill:

Barry Gill

I love a good mystery and always have. While other 9 year olds were playing in the yard I was spending my time plunked down in a plastic backed chair at our local library becoming, at least in my mind, Sherlock Holmes using Baritsu, the system of Japanese wrestling, to throw Moriarty to his death at the bottom of the Reichenbach Falls, or imagining myself to be Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin solving the diabolical double murders in the Rue Morgue.

Compared to the lives of my paperback and kindle hero's mine has been rather dull but very rewarding. Recently retired from a successful sales career I can fondly look back on forty-three years of marriage to a wonderful woman while raising three beautiful daughters. But throughout all of these years some of my most memorable experiences have been when I've had the opportunity to temporarily inhabit the colorful Florida climes of a John D. MacDonald, the working class Boston of Dennis Lehane or the quick witted PI world of Robert Crais.



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:

Aaron Paul Lazar . Barry Gill

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  • Book Title: Waterkill (Dave Henson series)
    Author Name: Mark Donovan
    Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    Page count: 303 pages
    Published date: November 17, 2015
    Price: $ 0.99 Kindle, $13.99 print
    ASIN: B017Q9593K
    Rating: 4 stars


Waterkill by Mark Donovan is a well-researched, face-paced international thriller dealing with the horrifying topic of biological weapons in the hands of fanatical terrorists.

(I don’t rehash plots in my reviews because everyone else does, and one can simply read the synopsis above.)

Waterkill moves fast from one continent to another, with plenty of details for those who enjoy military weaponry and tactics, the science of nanoparticles, aircraft, and more. The book also explores the twisted mindset of terrorists, which was very well done and deeply explored. I enjoyed learning about the backstory of the primary villain and the reasons that drove him to his fanatical behavior.

I also liked the main characters, Dave and his wife, Dana, and was on the edge of my seat when Dana was pulled into terrible danger by another of the world’s worst villains, who was, by the way, well-depicted and very creepy.

The world threat was quite palpable, and all-too real.

The main reason I gave this book four stars is because I feel the dialog could use some work and there were sections of  ‘information dumping.’ (too much narrative telling details in one section) The dialog seemed a bit wooden and unnatural at times to me, sounded more like a writer telling us “what someone said,” rather than the person actually speaking. But that aspect of the work didn’t really subtract from the overall enjoyment of the high-speed ride, which was very good.

I was most impressed with the author’s knowledge of science, geography, international customs, terrorists and their habitats and characteristics, and the very real possibilities of what could happen in this all-too realistic thriller. Kudos for doing such thorough research!

Recommended for those who enjoyed books like The DaVinci Code.

Note: I was given a free copy of this book to review, but that did not in any way impact my rating or comments. Thanks for the opportunity to read this, Mr. Donovan.

 Aaron Paul Lazar


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  • Book Title: Absence of Light
    Author:  Zoë Sharp
    Publisher: Felony & Mayhem
    Page Count: 222
    Release Date: 2013
    Price: $14.95
    ISBN: 978-1-63194-081-1


How is it possible that I did not discover Zoë Sharp’s Charlie Fox until now? If I was in deadly peril and needed protection I would make a call ASAP to Meyer and Parker and beg that they send Charlie Fox, ex- military special forces, and now the world’s coolest bodyguard for hire, to save the day.

In Absence of Light Charlie Fox is hired to protect the members of a R & R, a disaster relief and rescue organization, whose mission (supposedly) is to rescue or remove victims buried in the wreckage and debris of an earthquake. Charlie Fox is taking the place of the previous bodyguard who died under mysterious circumstances and Charlie soon finds out that she may be the next to die.

There is usually a box full of question marks left over after starting a series in the middle or towards the end of the sequence and since this novella is number ten in the series I have to admit there are a few unanswered questions in Absence of Light. But because Absence of Light is more of a stand-alone rather than a pure continuation of the series these unanswered issues do not detract from the pleasure of reading this book. Even with the unanswered questions Absence of Light is a fast paced and fun way to spend a long evening.  

On the scale of poor, good or great Zoë Sharp’s Absence of Light is a great read. 

Barry Gill


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  • Book Title: Monday’s Lie
    Author: Jamie Mason
    Publisher: Gallery Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
    Page Count: 283
    Release Date: February 2015
    Price: $24.99
    ISBN: 978-1-4767-7445-9


All Dee Aldrich wants is a normal life with a husband, job, house in the suburbs and (she thinks) children. She craves the routine but because of her background normalcy is difficult to obtain and harder to hold. Raised along with her younger brother Simon by, Annette Vess, their covert agent mother they are plied with exciting tales of intrigue while being given by their mother a not so subtle education in the spying arts.

Most people mark important events in their lives, such as marriage or birth, by date, month and year but Dee Aldrich is different. She tags the significant with the day of the week on which they occur. When Dee was thirteen her mother mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the night on a Friday and died years later on the same day of the week, her future husband Patrick proposed to her on a Wednesday and then years later, on a Monday, he tells Dee the LIE which would change her life forever.

We all know the saying, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” But this is a novel where the individual parts or chapters are greater than the whole. Some sections of the book are exciting and move the action along while other parts slow the story down and you are tempted to skip pages. In some chapters the characters are quirky and interesting but in others these same people don’t always ring true in their actions.

On the scale of poor, good or great, this novel for all of its flaws, shines in parts, so Monday’s Lie a still a good read.

Barry Gill


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  • Book Title: One of Us
    Author: Tawni O’Dell
    Publisher: Gallery Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
    Page Count: 295
    Release Date: August 2014
    Price: $25.00
    ISBN: 978-1-4767-5587-8


Dr. Sheridan (Danny) Doyle is a celebrity Forensic Psychologist whose dreams are haunted by the menacing shadows of his childhood. Danny decides it is time to return home to Lost Creek, a poor Pennsylvania mining town with ghosts of its own. Danny has a double mission in Lost Creek. The first, to visit one last time, Tommy his ailing grandfather, and the second to confront the nightmares of his past.

Some of the ghosts which inhabit his dreams include a father who abused him as a child, a mother who spent twenty years behind bars convicted of the murder of his infant sister, and a town full of people who have always thought of Danny as an outsider and just not one of them.

Danny is soon forced to come to grips with his past while at the same time being pushed to his limit by a new nightmare, whose name is Scarlet Dawes, a wealthy and unrelenting psychopath. We learn by increments that the two share a dark secret which in the end may cost Danny Doyle his life.  

One of Us is a story told to us in the first person, the telling alternating between Danny Doyle and Scarlet Dawes. The author, Tawni O’Dell, has written a richly textured character driven novel which will stay with you long after you close the book or set aside your kindle.

On the scale of poor, good or great One of Us by Tawni O’Dell is a great read.

Barry Gill