Resources for media interviewers, blog and podcast hosts, including bios and downloadable images.

Carmen Amato


Following a career with the Central Intelligence Agency, Carmen Amato writes the award-winning Detective Emilia Cruz series set in Acapulco, the Galliano Club historical thrillers, and standalone thrillers. Emilia Cruz is the first female police detective in Acapulco, confronting cartels, corruption and social inequality.

Carmen’s books have been optioned for television. Her essays have appeared in Medium, Huffpost, Criminal Element, Publishers Weekly, and other notable publications. You can find her on Facebook, Medium, and Instagram @authorcarmenamato.

mystery author Carmen Amato


Carmen Amato turns lessons from a 30-year career with the Central Intelligence Agency into crime fiction loaded with danger and deception. Carmen is a recipient of both the National Intelligence Award and the Career Intelligence Medal.

Beginning with Cliff Diver, her award-winning Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series pits the first female police detective in Acapulco against Mexico’s drug cartels, government corruption, and social inequality. Named “A thrilling series” by National Public Radio, the series was awarded the Poison Cup for Outstanding Series from CrimeMasters of America in both 2019 and 2020, the 2019 Silver Falchion award for Best Story/Collection, and has been optioned for television.

Called “Riveting political drama,” by Literary Fiction Review, political thriller The Hidden Light of Mexico City was longlisted for the 2020 Millennium Book Award.

Carmen’s new Galliano Club historical thriller series was inspired by the stories told by her grandfather who was a deputy sheriff during Prohibition.

Originally from upstate New York, Carmen’s experiences in Mexico and Central America launched her fiction career. She holds a BA (cum laude) in history and political science from LeMoyne College and a Masters in International Relations from the University of Virginia, as well as certificates of completion from Institut Catholique in Paris, France, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

She currently resides in Tennessee with two large dogs and her husband, who is also a retired intelligence officer. They have two grown children.

You can find her on Facebook, Medium, and Instagram @authorcarmenamato.


What can you tell us about your career with the Central Intelligence Agency?

How did you come up with the character of Detective Emilia Cruz?

Why write about corruption and social inequality?

Are any of the scenes in your books based on things that really happened to you?

Are the characters in your books based on people you met during your CIA career?

Your Galliano Club series was inspired by your grandfather who was a deputy sheriff during Prohibition. Tell us more.


media resources
media resources
Carmen Amato



“Cruz, a junior detective in the Mexican tourist town, spends her days responding to dispatch calls and navigating the corrupt, sexist world of the Mexican police force . . . The author has a good sense of when to pause the action to let the reader take in the scenic beauty of Acapulco . . . special attention to authentic Mexican food and fashion [add] an enjoyable layer to the fast-moving plot . . . Consistently exciting.” – Kirkus Reviews


“The story is full of non-stop action and suspense, but what really got to me in this book is the wide range of strong emotions I’ve felt while reading it . . . Carmen Amato knows how to bring Acapulco to life . . . Emilia is a character who is definitly close to my heart. She is a real gem with human feelings, a strong personality that doesn’t bend even with all the crap she’s dished every day from every corner.” – Mystery Sequels


“Amato weaves an intricate assortment of themes into a vivid tapestry that depicts both the beauty and ugliness of Acapulco. Her attention to clothing, food, and other details of the cityscape brings life to her characters . . . There’s as much dialogue and pondering as there is action in this novel, but the investigative pace holds steady, with danger and betrayal never more than a few pages away.” – Kirkus Reviews


“Astounding . . . a haunting page-turner . . .Taut writing ramps up the tension in 43 Missing as Amato deals with the issues plaguing any two countries battling the drug trade and human trafficking along their borders. The tragedy of decent members of society caught in the crossfire stayed with me long after I finished the book.” – Nightstand Reviews


“A darkly thrilling and accomplished story of crime and punishment . . . Mexico is a country in which bribery and corruption are systemic, violence is unexceptional, and women are viewed as commodities but few authors capture this as well as Amato. Shocking and perceptive, she evokes a strong sense of place, moral choices, immoral certainties and human nature.” – BookViral


“Amato masterfully depicts life and society in Mexico City: the undercurrent of danger in a crowd, the bureaucratic entanglements of visa applications or license renewal, the highly stratified society made visible and reinforced . . . A multilayered novel of love and drama set against the intriguing backdrop of Mexico City.” – Literary Fiction Review


“With the élan of E. L. Doctorow, Carmen Amato seamlessly merges historical characters with fictional creations . . . The Roaring Twenties in their uninhibited violence and excitement come alive . . . A sure hit with loyal fans and new readers alike.” – Michael Hogan, author of Women of the Irish Rising


“Murder, blackmail, rum-running, intrigue and double-crossing treachery introduce a cascade of characters . . Splicing this all together is Amato’s knowing eye for detail and intuitive feel for the temper of the times, the class divisions and the clannishness of immigrant communities struggling to make it in America.” – Jim Nesbitt, author of the Ed Earl Birch series



media resources
media resources
media resources
media resources
media resources
media resources
Russian Mojito cover
Narco Noir by Carmen Amato
Road to the Galliano Club cover
The Artist
Blackmail at the Galliano Club
Revenge at the Galliano Club
The Artist
Awakening Macbeth paranormal thriller
Galliano Club historical fiction series
2nd edition CLIFF DIVER a Detective Emilia Cruz novel
Mystery author newsletter

I think we have something in common.

We both love a great mystery!

Join the Mystery Ahead newsletter.

2 x month | book news & must-read mystery reviews

Check your email for a warm welcome and your Bonus gift! All the best, Carmen

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This