Reviews - March 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 . Harriet Klausner

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  • A Fatal Twist
    Tracy Weber
    312 pages, $19.99, January, 8, 2017
    ISBN: 978-0738748788


Kate Davidson is a yoga instructor who decides to do some “good deeds”, but nothing works out as they should. Kate agrees to be the Doula for her best friend who is pregnant. Then she agrees to foster parent two sweet little puppies, that are terrorists in disguise. And if that isn’t stressful or bad enough, Kate not only stumbles on the body of philandering fertility specialist but she sees, Rachel, one of her yoga students running from the scene. Kate is positive that Rachel is innocent and sets out to prove it before she must testify to seeing her run from the scene. As Kate digs into the good doctor, she finds that there is no shortage of people who disliked him, even hated him. Many wanted him dead enough to kill him – a jilted mistress, Rachel’s daughter, a patient – and more, so many possibilities. Then to complicate the so called good doctor is a large number of lawsuits against him. Just shows you, what looks good on the outside may be pure bad on the inside.

A FATAL TWIST is a charming cozy. Reading is easy and fun. The mixture of yoga and detecting is clever and delightful. After reading it, I felt like I had had a work out! J A cure, fun escape! Highly enjoyable!

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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  • Mania
    Craig Larsen
    Kensington Publishing, 373pages
    I SBN: 978-0786021543


Nick Wilder is a newspaper photographer in Seattle. He frequently works the crime beat and has seen quite the horrid scenes until the Street Butcher arrives. The Street Butcher takes his kills deeper and more vicious. The scenes are so depraved they challenge the seasoned cops, crime scene techs, and photographers. Nick and his younger brother are out and about when a street person attacks them killing his brother. The story reverts to time prior to murder and jumps back and forth. We “walk” with Nick through memories and time as he seeks to get answers to who is the Street Butcher and who killed his brother. Do the kills intercept?

The story is told in a slightly cheap way of this happened now, and now let’s go back in time to bring you to this point. Sometimes that is fine other times it is not as exciting nor does it build in the suspense. Here, since we know the brother is murdered, the suspense is not and sustained and it could but that being said, it is an interestingly woven story and worth the read.

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

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


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  • Nantucket Five-Spot
    Steven Axelrod
    Poisoned Pen Press, 282 pages, $24.95, January 2015
    ISBN: 978-1464203428


Henry Kennis is not your typical police chief. He writes poetry. As the Chief of Nantucket Island, he ready for action when he hears of the threat of a bomb at the Boston Pops Concert. This could destroy tourism and their economics. Department of Homeland Security arrives to investigate bringing a former lover with it. But there are many kinds of terrorism and not all “bomb threats” are terrorism as such. As Henry investigates, all fingers point to locals. As he investigates he finds frame after frame after frame. Someone has crafter evidence in such a way that he or she is not only a few steps ahead, but the red herrings, the misdirects are abundant. Henry is chasing quite the master.

NANTUCKET FIVE-SOPT is a charming, colorful, flavorful, well-crafted story. The well woven frames is like a chess match. Very enjoyable!

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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  • Kittens Can Kill
    Clea Simon
    Poisoned Pen Press, 294 pages, $14.95
    ISBN: 978-1464203589


Pru Marlowe is an animal behaviorist. She receives a call to retrieve a kitten but is surprised to find the kitten curled in a ball next to a dead body – his former owner, attorney David Canaday. David has 3 daughters but none of them want the kitten, they just want to fight over the will. The kitten goes to the local vet who has a series of his own problems. So, the kitten reaches out to Pru as Pru is an animal psychic. The kitten did not murder David, and needs Pru to save her. Pru needs to figure a way to save the kitten without anyone finding out she is an animal psychic.

KITTENS CAN KILL is a charming, fun cozy. It is a “feel good” read. And uf you love cats, you can’t help but smile while reading this book. A great fun escape, while keeping pet animal friendly! Delightful.

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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  • Title:  Two Tocks Before Midnight
    Author:  Clay Boutwell
    Publisher: Kotoba Books
    Genre: Mystery (short story)
    Kindle eBook: $0.99
    ASIN: B006U2OVHA
    Author’s website:

Two Tocks Before Midnight by Clay Boutwell, book 1 in the Agora series, is a delightful mystery set in the era of Sherlock Holmes. Anyone who loves mysteries set in Victorian America will thoroughly enjoy this clever story beautifully depicted in the elegant lifestyle of the last century. The dialog is authentic to the era and the writing is smooth and flawless.
A charismatic group of gentlemen form a club, the Agora Society, aspiring to bring good to the world. But one of their members is quite mysterious, coming and going without explanation throughout their club sessions. Thus starts the mystery which, by the way, is an excellent one, supported by extremely clever machinations of the most diabolical kind.  With the wonderful details of customs, clothing, community, etc., I felt as if I were transported to this era in the 19th century.
I highly recommend this short story to all mystery lovers and can't wait to read the next book in the Agora series, The Penitent Thief.

Aaron Paul Lazar