Authors Showcase: The thrillers of Rachel Abbott and Carmen Amato

The Book: The Back Road

The Author: Rachel Abbott

51xKsgEx+BL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_The Story: In a quiet country village, secrets abound. When a young girl, Abbie Campbell, is knocked over and left for dead on the back road of the village of Little Melham, waves of shock ripple through the small community and a chain of events, which threatens to expose long-kept secrets, is triggered.

For Ellie Saunders, the truth about that night puts both her marriage and the safety of her children in jeopardy–she has to protect her family, no matter what the cost. And Ellie isn’t the only one with something to hide. She and her sister Leo believe they have put their troubled childhood behind them, but Leo’s quest for the truth reveals a terrible secret that has lain hidden for years.

Ellie’s neighbour, former detective Tom Douglas, has escaped to Little Melham in search of a quiet life, but finds himself drawn into the web of deceit as his every instinct tells him that what happened to young Abbie was far more than a tragic accident.

In this gripping novel, the peaceful English countryside belies the horrible truths that lurk beneath the trimmed hedgerows, behind the closed doors of smart sitting rooms and within unspoken conversations.

About the Author: Rachel published Only the Innocent in November 2011. It raced up the UK charts to reach the top 100 within 12 weeks and quickly hit the #1 spot in the Amazon Kindle chart (all categories) and remained there for four weeks.

Originally Only the Innocent was a self-published title, but since the success of the early version, the novel has been completely re-edited and the new version was launched in the US by Thomas and Mercer in paperback, audio and Kindle versions on 5th February 2013.

Rachel Abbott was born just outside Manchester, England. She spent most of her working life as the Managing Director of an interactive media company, developing software and websites for the education market. The sale of that business enabled her to fulfil one of her lifelong ambitions – to buy and restore a property in Italy.
Rachel lives full time in the completed property with her husband and two dogs, and is now able to devote time to her other ambition – to write fiction.

Review by Ignite: Rachel Abbott’s second thriller tells us the story of two half-sisters, Ellie and Leo, who have survived a difficult childhood. Ellie and her husband have restored the family home, inherited by Ellie and scene of childhood fears for Leo. Ellie is receiving phone calls and is being `stalked’ and subjected to blackmail. A young girl has been the victim of a hit and run driver on the Back Road and Ellie is one of the nursing team looking after her. Several couples and individuals who come together for a housewarming at the newly renovated house are bound together in the aftermath of the accident.

The story is an exciting and complex one, where past and present echo and reflect one another. Here and there a mis-direct made me feel I knew what was happening but in a Rachel Abbott story there’s more there than immediately obvious. This is a tightly written psychological thriller, very nicely paced, and I enjoyed it very much.

My attention was caught and kept by the intrigues of the people in the village. I wasn’t able to guess the full implications until close to the end. It seems to me that some of these characters might appear again in further works by Rachel Abbott, as their story and their possibilities haven’t been exhausted. Here’s hoping!

The Book: Hat Dance

The Author: Carman Amato

51aqmAssbYL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-65,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_The Story: Emilia Cruz, Acapulco’s first and only female police detective, will risk a dance with the devil to catch an arsonist and find a missing girl. But the music comes with a price no honest cop can afford to pay.

By coincidence at the same restaurant as Acapulco’s popular mayor, Emilia’s date with hotel manager Kurt Rucker is cut short by an explosive fire that kills half of the mayor’s security detail. Emilia is assigned to investigate what quickly is dubbed an assassination attempt on the politician.

Frightened by the fire and the raw emotion it has sparked not only inside herself but across the city, Emilia isn’t helped by a boss who is more concerned with his own demons than hers, and a new partner who comes with a bad attitude. Moreover, Kurt Rucker could leave Acapulco for a lucrative new job in Belize.

When the involvement of the Mexican Army seems likely and would-be vigilantes post threatening videos on YouTube, Acapulco erupts with a wave of violent demonstrations. But even as pressure mounts for a fast arrest, Emilia remains bound by a promise to look for a girl who has disappeared from her own neighborhood. It doesn’t take long before Emilia uncovers some nasty family secrets and turns to the city’s most notorious hooker for answers, only to end up on the wrong side of a dirty Vice cop.

About the Author: International mystery author Carmen Amato combines complex plots with characters and settings drawn from her experiences living in Mexico and Central America. If you like Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbo, Leighton Gage, and Donna Leon, you’ll love Carmen Amato.

Carmen was born in New York and educated there as well as Virginia and Paris, France. Her family tree includes a mayor, a Mensa genius, and the first homicide in the state of Connecticut with an automatic weapon. The perpetrator, her great-grandfather, eluded a state-wide manhunt after killing two people-one of whom was his wife-and was never brought to justice.

Carmen currently divides her time between the United States and Central America. Visit her website at and connect with her at and on Twitter @CarmenConnects. Her boards illustrate her books at

Review by Grady Harp: Carmen Amato is that kind of writer that would be a terrific coffee partner in a sidewalk café, discussing world events and hearing how she can make even the most mundane of events electric. She has style, she’s smart, and she can weave a hell of a story. HAT DANCE is the second installment in her series The Emilia Cruz mysteries, and reading one will likely turn the reader to add the others of the collection to the self. From her own words found on her website she states, `I’m originally from New York but love to travel. 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 statewide manhunt after killing two people-one of whom was his wife-and was never brought to justice. When I’m not writing, drinking coffee, or otherwise getting into trouble as a mystery author, I am a reluctantly recovering Furla handbag addict. I was educated in New York as well as Paris, France, and Virginia. I married the smartest man I could find and together we’ve lived in some unexpected places. Mexico and Central America provided the impetus for my writing career. I don’t flinch from issues like corruption, cartels, and the region’s social inequalities. I write about risk, power, and corruption. Don’t read my books unless you like exotic locations, relationships with heat, and action torn from today’s headlines.’

Jumping into HAT DANCE without the luxury of having read her first Emma Cruz mystery may seem like missing some needed information, but by the time the reader finishes the first chapter the speed of the adventure takes off on a solo flight and no background other than what has been provided is necessary. And as condensed on her site the story proceeds as follows: `Detective Emilia Cruz (Acapulco’s first and only female police detective) will risk a dance with the devil to catch a violent arsonist and find a missing girl from her own neighborhood. But when the music stops, the consequences could be fatal. Together with hotel manager Kurt Rucker, Emilia survives a deadly arson attack. When the fire is labeled an assassination attempt against Acapulco’s popular mayor, Emilia’s investigation is turned into a political maneuver against both the local army presence and an old political rival. Meanwhile, disturbed by what she finds out about the missing girl, whose dark family secrets may be the key to her disappearance, Emilia soon finds herself on the wrong side of a shady Vice cop and walking dark streets in search of answers. Haunted by her fear of the fire and dismayed by Kurt’s consideration of a new job in Belize, Emilia’s professional skills and personal life start to unravel. She’s got information to trade, however, and making deals might be a way to survive both investigations. But every honest cop knows you don’t deal with the devil . . . and survive.’

For pure entertainment and a gripping story likely resulting is nail biting, read Carmen Amato’s addictive prose. She knows this territory like a jaguar


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