It’s a pleasure to meet you
I’m Carmen Amato, mystery author.
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 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.
The turning point
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. When a drug addict disrupted our Christmas Eve church service, I saw the impact of drug cartel violence. I wanted to write about what was happening to Mexico’s society and culture, but make it gripping enough to stand out. Read THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY Chapters 1-2
Mexico’s contrasts, history, seemed ready-made for mystery. My first novel, THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY, was a labor of love, with all of Mexico’s contrasts, structural tensions, and fragility of the country’s civil sector, combined into a political thriller with a thick streak of romantic suspense.
The Detective Emilia Cruz series
The Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series is the chronicles of the fictional first female police detective in Acapulco. Emilia’s challenges are pulled right from the headlines in Mexico. There’s no need for me to make up bizarre serial killers when cartel violence and corrupt politicians provide more than enough inspiration. For example, Emilia’s perpetual hunt for women who have gone missing—referred to as Las Perdidas or the Lost Ones–was inspired by the hundreds of women missing from the Juarez area.
Acapulco is almost another character in the Detective Emilia Cruz series. Once one of the most glamorous tourist destinations in the world, the city has fallen on hard times, thanks to the drug trade. Acapulco is a prize being fought over by rival drug cartels. Tourism continues to be the city’s lifeblood but Acapulco has two faces; one of luxury and one of poverty. Both claw at Emilia and force her to survive between them.
As a female and a cop in Mexico, Emilia lives in a pressure cooker. It’s hard to know who she can trust and harder still to have a normal relationship when she’s immersed for so much of the time in a stew of paranoia and danger. My goal is to bring the reader shoulder-to-shoulder with Emilia, hearing her heart pound and helping her calculate the odds of survival.
For more about my books and writing, see the FAQs.
The famous Furla bag
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.
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