Friday, March 2, 2018

Book Review: 'Melting Steele' by Kimberly Amato

New York author Kimberly Amato uses her multifaceted skills from her degree in Psychology from Hofstra University followed by a Master's Degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice to aid in her role interpretation as an actress, and as a freelance writer. Now she turns her attention to writing a novel and from all indications it seems she is as successful in this new direction as she is lauded for her gifts as an actress. MELTING STEELE is her second book, following her success with STEELE RESOLVE.

For starters Kimberly's choice of a cover for her book sets the tone very well. And then she tightens our anticipation in a terse, well-scribed Foreword: `We all deal with some kind of obsession. Some so much so, they have issues living their daily lives. Some end up in prison for their obsession. The rest of us have the thoughts permeate our brains consistently. We sit in basements and stare at string tied from one case to another in varying color. We try to connect the dots from things that may or may not be related. We have lives. We have the ability to intermittently turn the obsession on and off depending on the time of the day, week or month. We simply function within the confines of our world. Sitting in a coffee shop, waiting for my shift to start, I can see all the obsessions oozing out of people's bodies. They want a large half-caf-iced-no whip-two cups-not too hot, and the barista obsesses to ensure the drink is perfect so the customer comes back. Someone sitting behind their plethora of devices all with the newest chips, name branded and all on display - that person obsesses about filling their void within. It's easy to spot all of these things if you just take a moment to watch. It's the greater loss of mankind. We hide behind these devices, these needs and desires to fill and we effectively give in so much to our natural obsessions that we lose sight of the real world in front of us. How many people can you pass by before you look up from your phone? The person waiting for the half-caf has yet to acknowledge anyone, he's obsessed with whatever he is posting on his social media sites. I do it all the time, but only on one topic. Maybe it's the job and the inability to see the good in mankind I always thought was there. Maybe it's the fear of what is or isn't next. As I stand in the shower, running my hand along my scars, crying in fear - I realize... I am obsessed with death.'

To be brief, the synopsis supplied by the author follows: ' We live in a digital age where everything you do, say and are, appears online. Nothing is ever really gone when you upload those photos, leave a bullying comment or surf mature websites. Detective Jasmine Steele is faced with a series of murders all tied to technology and the ever-expanding Dark Web. Out of her element she needs to trust others in order to fully understand what she is faced with. In order to solve these cases, Steele has to put aside her obsession with those that killed her brother and tried to kill her. How can she do that when breadcrumbs all lead back to a powerful man who is connected to both prior cases? She has to find her focus before she loses herself to her own desire for revenge. Past obsessions can easily become crippling addictions.' For those how have yet to read Book 1, Kimberly outlines that backstory in a Prologue (an excellent one at that!). She then proceeds into the further adventures of her inimitable Jasmine Steele.

There are few writers who are as facile at finding that keen sense of presences - making the reader feel involved on very page with every act and every word as Kimberly Amato. She makes Detective Steele a winning female character, embellishing her well-established character from Book 1 with fresh adjuncts, and yet despite all the terror and trauma she introduces comic relief at just the right moments. This is very fine writing by a lady who knows the idiom! Grady Harp, June 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.