Author: Carmen Amato

Carmen Amato . . . Books about risk, power, corruption. Relationships with heat.

If you like novels by Jo Nesbo, Ian Rankin, Martin Cruz Smith, and Michael Stanley, you'll want to read Carmen Amato.

Originally from New York, Carmen Amato's experiences living in Mexico and Central America drive the authenticity and drama of her thriller and mystery novels. Her Emilia Cruz series pits the first and only female detective on the Acapulco police force against Mexico's drug war and culture of machismo.

See why Amazon Hall of Fame reviewer Grady Harp wrote: "For pure entertainment and a gripping story likely resulting in nail biting, read Carmen Amato's addictive prose. She knows this territory like a jaguar!"


Awakening Macbeth

Awakening Macbeth
  • Number: B01N2SHGJ6
  • Release: 2016-12-09
  • Author: Carmen Amato
  • Genre: Romance
  • Tags: * Romance: Speculative / PNR
  • Publisher: Laurel & Croton
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Can you inherit a secret your soul doesn’t know?

She’ll find out the hard way.

After her father’s shocking suicide, University of Virginia professor Brodie Macbeth inherits a strange legacy, including a library of British history books. Soon she’s having nightmares stolen from the pages of what she is reading that send her travelling through time and place.

In her sleep, people will kill for a secret Brodie doesn’t know.

Is this grief? Or something more sinister?

When Brodie falls for Joe Birnam, an Iraq War vet with his own demons, she’s finally able to put the past behind her. But a stunning revelation comes from a colleague who isn’t what he claims to be.

The nightmares are a real and deadly game.

The prize? Joe’s immortal soul.

But Brodie doesn’t know how to play, let alone win.

Would you?

From Virginia's most famous university to the Scottish highlands to a dusty road in Iraq, not even Shakespeare could have predicted the secret that will keep you up tonight.

Diablo Nights - Detective Emilia Cruz, #3

Diablo Nights
  • Number: B00LCPG8PI
  • Release: 2014-06-27
  • Author: Carmen Amato
  • Genre: Suspense
  • Tags: Diverse Books, Suspense: Mystery
  • Publisher: Carmen Amato
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A religious relic lures Emilia Cruz, Acapulco's first and only female police detective, into a labyrinth of drug cartel smuggling and revenge killings in DIABLO NIGHTS, the third novel in the explosive Emilia Cruz Mexico mystery series.

A RELIC AND A SECRETThe relic, from Mexico's Cristero War, also surfaces a long-hidden personal secret that Emilia cannot share with the man in her life, hotel manager Kurt Rucker.

The relic's authenticity is in doubt, however, as Emilia and her partner, senior detective Franco Silvio, find a murder victim aboard a cruise ship. The victim's pockets are lined with Ora Ciega, a rare heroin strain from Colombia that promises more drug war violence for Acapulco's already bloody streets.

TRAILS AND STALKERSThe Ora Ciega trail leads Emilia to a second body; that of Yolanda Lata, the mother of a girl for whom Emilia has been searching; as well as to a dead Customs official who had valuable information about the cruise ship murder. When stalkers shadow Emilia, the only conclusion is that she's getting close to the Ora Ciega smugglers. Meanwhile, she's assigned to train a rookie detective with friends in high places.


The destinies of Ora Ciega, the religious relic, the rookie, and the missing girl merge into a fateful trip into the hills above Mexico's Costa Chica coast south of Acapulco. In a lonely place where vigilante groups have replaced civil authority and the crash of surf competes with gunshots, Emilia will face the biggest challenge of her police detective career. But it's nothing compared to the shocking climax waiting for her back in Acapulco.

Carmen Amato's fans have been impatient for DIABLO NIGHTS, the third novel in the Emilia Cruz mystery series that goes inside Mexico's drug war with a fearless style and a woman who is hard to forget.It follows HAT DANCE, and CLIFF DIVER, the novel that Kirkus Reviews called "Consistently exciting . . . A clever Mexican detective tale that will leave readers eager for the series' next installment." Readers agree that Acapulco police detective Emilia Cruz joins John Rebus, Harry Hole, Arkady Renko, and Guido Brunetti as the international mystery genre's most memorable crime fighters.

Made in Acapulco - The Emilia Cruz Stories

Made in Acapulco
  • Number: B00GANWA9A
  • Release: 2013-10-29
  • Author: Carmen Amato
  • Genre: Suspense
  • Tags: Collections & Anthologies, Suspense: Mystery
  • Publisher: Carmen Amato
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MADE IN ACAPULCO is a collection of 5 Emilia Cruz stories that chronicle her first experiences as the first and only female detective on the Acapulco police force.

The stories in MADE IN ACAPULCO take place before the action in the full-length Emilia Cruz mystery novels, including CLIFF DIVER and HAT DANCE. They have the same fast and dangerous vibe that caused Kirkus Reviews to say this about CLIFF DIVER: “Consistently exciting . . . A clever Mexican detective tale that will leave readers eager for the series’ next installment.”

MADE IN ACAPULCO contains 5 stories:

The Beast captures Emilia’s struggle to become the first female police detective in Acapulco. It previously appeared in The Huffington Post’s Huff/Post 50 Featured Fiction showcase.

The Disappeared sees Emilia search for a friend who goes missing. Those who have gone missing amid Mexico’s drug war violence is a continuing theme throughout the mystery series.

The Artist was inspired by Mexican poet Javier Sicilia’s efforts to bring awareness to the plight of families impacted by the drug war violence and references photos of some of the rallies held in Mexico in recent years.

The Date explores the downside of a job that pits Emilia against Mexico’s enduring culture of machismo, while also drawing on real events that occurred in a nightclub in Mexico in 2006.

The Cliff is the original Emilia Cruz story. Written for a literary critique group, the story was initially entitled So Far From God and introduces hotel manager Kurt Rucker. The story became the basis for CLIFF DIVER, the first Emilia Cruz novel.

Note: this edition updates the 2012 edition of MADE IN ACAPULCO with additional original content. The 2012 edition is no longer in print.

Hat Dance - Detective Emilia Cruz, #2

Hat Dance
  • Number: B00EO5DCT8
  • Release: 2013-08-19
  • Author: Carmen Amato
  • Genre: Suspense
  • Tags: Suspense: Mystery
  • Publisher: Carmen Amato
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HAT DANCE is the second book in the EMILIA CRUZ mystery series set in Acapulco.

Detective Emilia Cruz 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 labelled 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.

Cliff Diver - Detective Emilia Cruz, #1

Cliff Diver
  • Number: B00B76XSUK
  • Release: 2013-01-27
  • Author: Carmen Amato
  • Genre: Suspense
  • Tags: Suspense: Mystery
  • Publisher: Carmen Amato
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CLIFF DIVER is the 1st novel in the Emilia Cruz mystery series.

When Detective Emilia Cruz dives into the death of a dirty cop she might just hit the rocks instead of the water.

Acapulco police detective Emilia Cruz is in charge of a murder investigation into the death of her shady lieutenant. With a violent crime scene, no witnesses, and the shadow of counterfeit money, it’s a high profile case that she’s reluctant to handle.

Book Cover of Cliff DiverAs Emilia pieces together the lieutenant’s last hours, she finds that he led a double life full of sexual encounters and shady deals. Soon she becomes a pawn in an ugly game of official corruption and grasping self-interest. Hotel manager Kurt Rucker might be able to help, but the heat between them quickly becomes a complicating factor.

Emilia dives into the case, ready to follow her instincts, but will she hit the rocks or the water?

The Hidden Light of Mexico City

The Hidden Light of Mexico City
  • Number: B007S1LGUC
  • Release: 2012-04-05
  • Author: Carmen Amato
  • Genre: Suspense
  • Tags: Diverse Books, Suspense: Action / Thriller
  • Publisher: Carmen Amato
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He’s fighting for his country’s survival.

She’s fighting for her own.

Will the darkness of Mexico’s drug war destroy them both?

"Dramatic tale of politics and corruption, and a man and woman from opposite ends of the social spectrum who call in love . . . An enthralling political drama." -- Literary Fiction Review

On the eve of Mexico’s presidential elections, attorney and ex-cop Eddo Cortez Castillo uncovers a deal between the country’s powerful Minister of Public Security and a notorious drug cartel leader. It’s the first clue to a shocking pay-to-play scheme to buy the presidency with drug money.

Soon targeted by the cartel and his own government, Eddo’s only salvation may be a woman whose name means Light of Mary.

Supporting her family as a maid in Mexico City, Luz de Maria Alba Mora is trapped on the lowest rung of Mexico's social ladder. She knows her only chance for a real life may be in the United States.

Sparks fly when Luz de Maria and Eddo meet in a deliberate case of mistaken identity in front of Mexico City's famed Tamayo Museum.

Neither can afford to share the truth about themselves.

But someone is watching who will.

From official corruption at the highest levels, to the families weaving the social fabric of Mexican life, to the harsh realities of the US-Mexican border and drug cartel money laundering, THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY is ripped from today’s headlines.

Written with gripping action, brutal authenticity, and political candor, it pulls you into Mexico's drug war to walk in the footsteps of those living through it.

It's a riveting ride through the darkness of Mexico's drug war, where violence buys loyalty, votes are for sale, and the odds are against survival.

Book Library

  • Awakening Macbeth Awakening Macbeth
  • Diablo Nights Diablo Nights
  • Made in Acapulco Made in Acapulco
  • Hat Dance Hat Dance
  • Cliff Diver Cliff Diver
  • The Hidden Light of Mexico City The Hidden Light of Mexico City