Welcome to the website edition of the Mystery Ahead newsletter, with fresh #booknews, thrilling #excerpts, and #reviews of must-read mysteries.
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1. Polar odyssey

For those sick and tired of A) pandemic, and B) cold weather, meet Lt. Victor Campbell, a personal hero. In 1912, he kept his team alive through an unendurable winter on Antarctica’s Inexpressible Island.

I wrote about it here:



2. 300+

A giant thanks to all who rated CLIFF DIVER, the first Detective Emilia Cruz mystery, on Amazon. It’s great to kick off a series with a rating of 4.5/5 with over 300 readers weighing in. Thank you very much!

Find CLIFF DIVER on Amazon.


3. And the winner is . . .

More thanks to all who answered my question in the last edition of Mystery Ahead! A prequel to the GALLIANO CLUB series won with 92% of the vote.

How’s this for a working title?




In the upcoming GALLIANO CLUB series, the Galliano Club’s jack-of-all-trades Luca Lombardo is at his cousin Enzo’s farm outside Lido, New York, when the unexpected happens.

“Pa! Pa!” The back door slammed. Matilda and Rocco jostled each other as they ran into the dining room.

“Pa, you should see this,” Rocco said. “The pumpkin patch is fizzing.”

“Fizzing?” Enzo stood up and threw his napkin on the table. “What are you talking about?”

“Fourth of July sparklers,” Matilda said excitedly.

“Sparklers? We don’t have any sparklers.” Enzo pushed the girl toward Rosaria. “Stay with your mother.”

Luca and Enzo ran out the back door. In the murky twilight, they followed Rocco around the side of the barn and into the field ridged with frozen furrows. A cow lowed from inside the barn, informing the universe that she was ready for the evening milking. A second cow took up the refrain.
Despite the cows, Luca heard the sizzle before he saw the line of sparks racing across the ground. It was travelling straight toward the hay silo by the barn.

“Look, Pa!” Rocco knelt in the dirt. “It’s a great big firecracker.”

Enzo began shouting, but Luca shot forward on wings of fear. He snatched Rocco around the waist and pulled him off his feet. The next second, the silo exploded with a deafening roar, the ground rose like an angry ocean, and Luca was lofted backwards, both arms still wrapped around the boy.

They slammed into the ground. Luca rolled on top of Rocco as debris rained down. Clumps of hay, shards of tin, and scraps of lumber battered his back and shoulders. Roiling echoes like the booming beat of a drum battered his ears. Luca’s mouth filled with frozen grass and the taste of bile.


More about the forthcoming GALLIANO CLUB series here: https://carmenamato.net/galliano-club-series






We all know and love Ian Rankin’s iconic and irascible, not to mention irreverent, Edinburgh detective John Rebus. He’s a heavy drinker, perpetually on the outs with higher authority, and has a murky sense of professional ethics.

Rankin practically invented the tartan noir genre with this character. The Rebus plots are complex, motivations are every shade of gray, and the streets and skyline of Edinburgh are on full display. If you haven’t read a John Rebus novel, you have my condolences.

But this isn’t a Rebus novel.

THE COMPLAINTS introduces a new character into Rankin’s familiar Edinburgh crime fiction landscape. Malcolm Fox is a well-respected inspector in the Complaints department, which in the US we’d call Internal Affairs. In short, he investigates crimes committed by other cops, which doesn’t necessarily make him a popular guy outside of his tight-knit team.

Unlike Rebus, Fox isn’t a drinker but a recovering alcoholic. Divorced, a bit stiff, wears a suit and suspenders every day. Drives a Volvo.

As the book opens, Fox is wrapping up a case against a cop who is taking kickbacks. The cop has powerful allies but Fox has prevailed. Now, Fox is asked to look into another cop. Jamie Breck is on the career fast track but might be part of an online child porn ring.

But before Fox can start the new probe, his sister’s abusive partner is murdered. Breck is assigned as lead detective. Fox’s bosses say to ignore the obvious conflict of interest and stay on the child porn ring investigation by tagging along with Breck as he investigates the murder.

What happens next is the careful wrapping of multiple streams of mystery into single strand to snare the real culprits. And there are many. Fox and Breck begin swapping details about the murder victim and his associates, which in turn tracks back to . . . which in turn leads to . . .

Sorry, no spoilers apart from saying the climax is superb.

Complicated, but believable, Rankin gives Fox layers and layers of deception to peel away. Along the way we grow to like Fox. He’s starchy, but clever. Honest, but able to deceive.

Fox appears in the most recent John Rebus novels, including IN A HOUSE OF LIES but he’s best met in THE COMPLAINTS. Highly recommended.




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