About me

coffee drinker, dog mom, occasional nomad

It’s a pleasure to meet you

I’m Carmen Amato, mystery author.

Actually, I write both romantic thrillers and the Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Mexico. I’m originally from New York, went to college there as well as in Paris, France, and ended up with a Masters in International Relations from the University of Virginia. Once upon a time I spoke French well enough to crash a Givenchy fashion show. It came in handy later, too, because I could substitute French for Spanish when I didn’t know the word for, say, vacuum cleaner, when I was married and my husband’s job took the family to Mexico.

A few odd facts: My family tree includes a mayor, a Mensa genius, and the first homicide in the state of Connecticut with an automatic weapon. The perpetrator, my great-grandfather, eluded a state-wide manhunt after killing two people–one of whom was his wife–and was never brought to justice. 

At last count, I’ve travelled to over 30 countries. I’ve survived 3 earthquakes (Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Nicaragua) and one train derailment (France). I got my scuba certification in Guam. My favorite pen is a Pilot Precise with black ink. 

How this fiction gig got started

Historian by training and observer by habit, when we moved to Mexico I found myself wondering at the varied lives we saw there. Mexico showed me extreme contrasts. Arrogant wealth and abject poverty. Corruption and kind hearts. 

But above all, I was entranced by the country’s rich culture. Art, food, architecture. Mexico has much to offer, yet drug cartel violence has the power to erode these cultural gems.

Mexico’s contrasts, history, structural tensions, fragility of the country’s civil sector, create scenarios that are made for the mystery author. Not all my books take place in Mexico, but the lessons I learned there of what motivates people–greed and power–are themes that run through everything I write. Yet at the same time, I hope my stories appreciate the country’s cultural heritage.and give hope for better times ahead.

You’re invited to walk this writing journey with me via the Mystery Ahead newsletter. As a bonus, I’ll also send you a copy of the Detective Emilia Cruz Starter Library.

Confession time

When I’m not writing, drinking coffee, or otherwise getting into trouble as a mystery author, I am a reluctantly recovering Furla handbag addict. Evidence of this situation can be found in this page’s photos of my favorite Furla handbag, purchased in the Rome airport because there are no seats and so travelers are forced to shop in designer boutiques while jazzed on coffee from the standup trattoria. I have similar valid excuses for how the other Furlas came to live in the closet as well.

If you’ve read this far, here’s a bit more about my background and where I come from:

Don’t forget! Sign up for the monthly Mystery Ahead and claim your free copy of the Detective Emilia Cruz Starter Library!

Spa baby Furla

Spa baby Furla

Lost in Furla

Lost in Furla

No Diving

No Diving

Bus stop Furla

Furla bag

Furla goes to Casco Viejo

© 2017 Carmen Amato.


I'm author Carmen Amato. I write mystery and suspense, including the Detective Emilia Cruz police series set in Acapulco. Expect risk, power, corruption. And relationships with heat.  More

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