Reviews - November 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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  • Murder in the Art Gallery: A Pet Portraits Cozy Mystery
    Sandi Scott
    Kindle, 151 pages, October 11, 2017, paperback $8.99
    ISBN: 978-0981956282   ASIN: B075YB86ZC


I’m going to reverse my review for this book because I love it.  First, we have a mature heroine!  Yea!  And her twin sister!  Georgie Kaye has been through a lot in her 66 years including beating cancer.  Now she paints incredible pictures of pets.  Her sister, Aleta helps “push” her art work to galleries, etc.  When they come to one gallery, a showing looks promising, a meeting is set for the next day when a drunk guest becomes belligerent and screams at the owner that he will burn down the gallery. Everyone goes about their business after that.  The next morning the “girls” return to the gallery for the meeting.  However, they find the door open the co-owner of the gallery dead on the floor.

My first thought, smiley would be there goes my show – and so does Georgie,  She thinks if she can solve this murder maybe she can keep that showing.  She enlists the help of her ex-husband Stan Toon she sets out to do just that! 

MURDER AT THE ART GALLERY is a delightful cozy.  It is cute, clever, and fun.  Recipes are included as well as a charming furry dog!  The use of the animals work and it adds a charm to the story.  MURDER AT THE ART GALLERY is the first in the series of A Pet’s Portrait Cozy Mystery Series.  I look forward to more.

If you to escape with just pure fun, read MURDER IN THE ART GALLERY!               

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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  • Title Vegas Lies ("Lies" Mystery Thriller Series Book 3)
    Author:  Andrew Cunningham
    Publisher: Amazon Digital Service
    Genre: Mystery Thriller
    Kindle eBook pre-order: $0.99
    ASIN: B075VBCBX6
    Trade Paperback: $13.95
    ISBN-10: 1976389380
    ISBN-13: 978-1976389382
    Author’s website:

I must admit, I read All Lies and Fatal Lies and had already fallen in love with this writer’s style and his characters. So naturally, I was prepared to absolutely devour book three in the LIES series. Rarely does a follow-on book surpass the first, but I’m here to tell you today that much as I loved books 1 and 2, book 3 is my current LIES favorite to date.

Vegas Lies grabbed me from page one and didn’t let go. I read it in one day in airports and on planes. I loved getting back into the lives of Sabrina Spencer and Del Honeycutt. (don’t you love that name?) Their relationship is refreshing and real, and when you throw their friend Mo into the mix—a feisty 2nd grade teacher whose karate skills fly off the charts—the chemistry and danger explode.

I won’t recap the story, because everyone else does that, and you can just read the description, above, right? No, I’d rather tell you how the book made me feel.

The most exciting scenes occurred inside the back of a van (believe it or not!) and in the scorching desert. The book opens with the kidnapping of five young girls. Thrown into a van and spirited away from everything they’ve ever known, they’re treated roughly and suffer horrible indignities. But there is always hope, and Emma, one of the girls, evolves as a strong, heroic figure, and quickly begins planning her escape.

I’ve never been to Vegas or to the hot, sandy desert, but I feel as though I experienced it fully after reading Vegas Lies. My throat was parched, my skin burned, and I was utterly exhausted…it was painful! Well, I should clarify that it is painful for Del, because when he’s dumped in the brutally hot desert and left or dead, his fate seems sealed. And when he meets up with Emma, who’s just escaped the clutches of serious madmen out to sell her into the sex slave trade, they trudge together toward their hoped-for salvation.

I particularly love the way Del is not your typical, boring, I’m-a-He-man hero. His girlfriend—imprisoned for six years for killing her abusive husband—survived the worst possible jail experiences, but came out with fighting skills worthy of any soldier. Combine that with Mo’s karate expertise, and Del is quite well protected in all situations!

But Del honestly gets a chance to prove his courage and endurance in this book. He does it with great honor, much to the relief of this reader who almost didn’t want to get off the plane because he hadn’t finished the last chapter. ;o)

Kudos to Mr. Andrew Cunningham for another gutsy, thrilling, beautifully written thriller! Keep ‘em coming! Highly recommended by Aaron Paul Lazar.

Aaron Paul Lazar