Reviews - October 2016

What They Say

“A book is simply the container of an idea—like a bottle; what is inside the book is what matters.”
—Angela Carter


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:

Dr. Cynthia Clark . Aaron Lazar

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  • Write to Die
    Charles Rosenberg
    Thomas Mercer,469 pages, $15.95
    ISBN: 978-1503937611


Hollywood is the land of dreams but also odd disappointments.  Just as a predicted blockbuster is about to be released, a former major actor steps forward claiming she wrote the story and it was stolen from her.  Rory Calburton, a new partner at the studio’s law firm is excited to make his reputation on this win!  After all, it is a simple civil case isn’t?  But is anything in Hollywood simple?

As the civil case gets going nothing is simple.  Rory discovers the body of the studio’s general counsel.   What is his or was his connection to this case? Rory suspects that the murder and the murder are somehow connected.

Sarah Gold is a new associate who is assigned to the case.  She previously clerked the Chief Justice, who also wants to know who really wrote the script.

Discovering who wrote the script is one part of the mystery, as is who killed the counsel? 

WRITE TO DIE is a legal thriller as exciting as the best of them.  Charles Rosenberg takes on the roller coaster that the legal system can be, but this coaster goes upside down on several loops and treats us to one great ride.  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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  • The Skeleton in the Closet
    Angie Fox
    Moose Island Books, 231 pages, $11.99
    ISBN: 13: 978-1-939661-29-6


THE SKELTON IN THE CLOSET is the second in the series “The Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries.:  The series as well as this installment is charming, delightful and fun to read.

Verity Long sees and talks to ghosts.  Frankie is one such ghost and her sidekick.  He “protects” and tries to keep her from getting into trouble – a daunting task! 

In this book, Verity find a dead body in the library – the haunted library!  She sets out to interview witness alive or dead!  Someone on this planet or in the spirit land knows something!  But then there is the extremely good looking deputy, Ellis Wydell who without meaning to, puts her directly in danger.  But Verity plods on meeting new ghosts, learning secrets, and eventually meeting the killer.

THE SKELETON IN THE CLOSET is a fun, easy to read cozy.  For a ”supernatural” escape that seems natural – this is a great read.  I highly recommend it!

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

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


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  • Reckoning and Ruin
    Tina Whittle
    Poisoned Pen Press, 288 pages, $26.95, April 12, 2016
    ISBN: 9 781464 205491


The past year has been quite challenging for Tai Randolph.  She inherited a gun store which came complete with re-enactments, her “lover”, former SWAT member Trey, was injured and suffered a severe brain injury, and then there is her wayward cousin, Jaspar, who can’t stay out of trouble. Tai wanted a “normal” life to help Trey recover and not miss what he was.  But nothing ever works out the way one plans!  Jasper is in trouble again.  Trouble that needs a high price, fancy attorney.  That spells more trouble for Tai.  Then some of those set to testify against Jasper begin to die.  Tai has no choice but to step in an “investigate.”

But the investigation has a deep price, Trey for one – is their relationship in danger of ending? Two – she must reunite with Uncle Boone which is more than uncomfortable.  Secrets.  Secrets can destroy.

RECKONING AND RUIN is an engrossing read.  Well written and pithy, I recommend it.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 4.9.

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


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  • Butterfly Kills
    Brenda Chapman
    Dundurn, Toronto, 371 pages, $14.99, February 24, 2015
    ISBN: 978-1-4597-2314-6


Jacques Rouleau takes the job as the new head of Criminal Investigations Division in Kingston where he can also take care of his father.  Jacques is barely there when a university student is murdered in her home, followed by the rape of Della Munroe, by her husband clear across town.  Two different crimes, two different areas but could they somehow be connected? There are too many similarities in the two women’s past. 

Jacques is surprised and pleased when Kala Stonechild, an officer from Ottawa “visits.”  Kala is deciding whether she wants to live in Kingston, hence the visit.  Jacques takes advantage of any time in Kingston and enlists her to help him.  She agrees to but on the basis that when she ready to return to Ottawa she will.  Kala has her own issues but rallies to work with Jacques to discover connections between the two women.

But what do these connections mean?  How many secrets were/are they keeping?  Can Jacques and Kala keep Della from being murdered too?

BUTTERLFY KILLS is a wonderfully knitted suspense filled with secrets, life, crime, and working hard to solve cases.  Excellent read.  Enjoyable and hard to put down!

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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  • Dating Death
    Randy Rawls
    White Bird Publications, 310 pages, $18.99, April 5, 2016
    ISBN: 978-1-63363-151-9


Roger Adamson is a crooked politician.  The chief of police in Coral Lakes is conflicted between getting rid of a bad politician or by flipping the bad politician to bring down a drug lord.  The Chief decides to “flip” him and asks local PI Beth Bowman to act as the politician’s body guard during the sting.  Beth thinks piece of cake but instead she is met with murders, kidnapping, and even worse the loss of the love of her life.  At least Beth has her homeless friends that help her keep her sanity.

Will the politician be the death of Beth?  Read DATING DEATH a fascinating suspense that looks at the world of flipping one criminal for a bigger one.  Who is the biggest criminal?  Sometimes things are not as they seem.  Enjoyable.

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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  • Bullet in the Chamber
    John DeDakis
    Strategic Media Books, 351 pages, $18.95, October 1, 2016
    ISBN: 13-978-1-939521-63-7


Lark Chadwick is a White House correspondent.  She has a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, such as when the executive mansion is attacked.  To make matters worse the president is missing and Lark’s lover is nowhere to be found. 

Lark must seek the answer as a reporter but she must personally find out where her lover is.  As she ask questions she finds herself deeper and deeper in deceit and murder.  Will her stick-to-itness get her answers or killed?  And how far will lark go to get the answers?  Is there a two far when it comes to beating out the completion or finding a loved one?

BULLET IN THE CHAMBER is a high caliber romp through politics, drugs, journalism, murder and more.  An excellent political thriller.  Highly 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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  • Title:  Crescendo
    Author:  Deborah Ledford
    Publisher: Second Wind Publishing
    Genre: Thriller
    Kindle eBook: $4.99
    ASIN: B00BHJC9O8
    Trade Paperback: $14.36
    ISBN-10: 1938101340
    ISBN-13: 978-1938101342
    Author’s website:


Crescendo, book three in the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela psychological suspense thriller series, follows in the fast-paced and mesmerizing tradition of Staccato and Snare, the first and second books in the series.

I’m not going to rehash the plot here, because there are already a plethora of summaries in reviews previously posted. What I do enjoy writing about, however, is the reaction I have to novels, and how the characters or plot affected me personally. I know, it’s a bit narcissistic, but those are the types of reviews I like to read, not just plot rehashes. ;o)

Since I read the first book in the series, Staccato, I’ve loved the character Inola, a Native American cop who’s constantly having to prove herself to her police department colleagues in the relatively backwoods town of the Bryson City, North Carolina. In spite of her stubborn nature, her inability to communicate with those she truly loves (Steven and her grandmother, Elisi), and her insistence on going out on her own despite obvious dangers that threaten – you can’t help but love her. Tough, focused, and smart, she’s everything you’d want in a heroine.

I particularly enjoyed her vulnerability in this book re. the evil villain’s charms. When she is told her bullet most likely killed her best friend and partner, Cody, she is understandably traumatized. She’s removed from her job, believes she is responsible for Cody’s death, and is obsessed over the mention of a missing child at the scene of the accident that opens the story. These three items weaken her confidence and resolve, and she’s inexplicably drawn to a fellow sympathetic listener, Preston, who happens to be a delicious villain. Preston—a wonderful actor—charms her into his arms. Problem is, Inola’s currently living with and involved in a relationship with the rugged black Sheriff, Steven Hawk.

There were many memorable scenes, including Inola’s visit to the villain’s hotel room, the shivery cold chase scenes through the woods, and the amusing scenes with the IT jailbird who is released to help out the cops. My favorites, however, were those showcasing Inola’s grandmother Elisi and the young abandoned boy they rescue from a hotel room. Her loving attention to this boy broke my heart, and I felt instantly moved. Although it seems Elisi didn’t connect with Inola when she was delivered to her to be raised, she apparently has grown and changed over time, and has a great deal of love to share.

I have recently learned that Ms. Ledford is planning a fourth book in the series – hurray!

Recommended by Aaron Paul Lazar,