Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review: Gumbo Justice by Holli Castillo

About The Book:
(from Amazon)

New Orleans prosecutor Ryan Murphy likes her Tequila cold and her cops hot. Battling demons from her past and checking her self-destructive streak take a back seat to her ambition, and she's not above skating the line just a little to get what she wants. If she snags a detective in the process, well, that's just a little lagniappe for her trouble. Life should be good. Enter a demented psycho, with a plan to ruin Ryan's life before he ultimately kills her. Set against the backdrop of pre-Katrina New Orleans, Gumbo Justice is the first in a series that follows the tumultuous life of prosecutor Ryan Murphy.

What I Thought:

So we know that I like books based in Louisiana; what about a mystery/thriller? Well, of course!

Holli Castillo writes a great mystery with awesome characters as she throws you into that seedy underbelly of New orleans that tourists don't get or want to see. The author is a descriptive writer but in a good way. You kind of feel like you get to know these characters.

This one is based in pre-Katrina New Orleans. (Yes, there is a difference STILL between pre and post Katrina N.O.)

Overall, I found it to be a good read and I'm happy to have had the opportunity to review it!

About The Author:

Holli Castillo was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She attended public elementary school and graduated from an all-girl's Catholic High School. She was a gymnast throughout high school, and performed with her gymnastics team, Westbank Gymnastics, at the 1984 New Orleans World's Fair.

In 1990, she received a BA in Drama/Communications from the University of New Orleans. She earned her degree working nights at the now defunct Can Can Cabaret on Bourbon and Conti in the French Quarter, doing everything from Sound and Light technician to performing as a Can Can girl. She also stage managed and did technical work for many UNO Mainstage productions, and wrote and directed plays for UNO Lab productions.
After graduating from UNO, she attended Loyola Law School at night and worked full-time during the day at the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office as a child support collector. After being hired, she was advised that the only reason she was called in to interview for the collection position was because the Hiring Assistant--a man-- wanted to see what a Can Can girl looked like.

In 1996, she received her JD, and immediately began working as a New Orleans prosecutor She quit the D.A.'s Office when she had her first child, and is now an appellate public defender.
Her first novel, Gumbo Justice, was published by Oak Tree Press in June, 2009; the second in the Crescent City Mystery Series, Jambalaya Justice, is scheduled for release by Oak Tree late summer 2010.

The publication of Gumbo Justice was initially delayed for a year when she was hit head-on by a drunk driver in June, 2008, and rendered immobile for six months with two broken legs and a shattered elbow.

She took advantage of the downtime to write a screenplay, Angel Trap, which won first runner-up in the 2009 Acclaim Screenplay Awards, a Silver Screen Award at the 2009 Las Vegas Film Festival, and made the 2009 finals of the Page Awards, Exposurama, Script Showcase, Screenplay Search, and Spring WildSound. She also placed third in the 2009 Biz of Screenwriting Contest, and won the six month online Pro Series screenwriting course through ScreenwritingU, and is now a Pro Series Alumni.

In addition to being a lawyer and a writer, she is also a junk heiress, mother of two, and the owner of a bar. After spending a year in litigation fighting the antiquated and highly political Department of Code Enforcement of Jefferson Parish over parking zoning, she won at trial and finally opened her bar, The Last Stand, on the westbank of New Orleans. She has also been involved in litigation with the politically motivated Jefferson Parish School Board over "side of the river" discrimination in the magnet school system, which ultimately resulted in a Federal Court allowing magnet school students to attend the magnet school of their choice.

Holli lives with her family, dog, and deaf cat in the metropolitan New Orleans area, although the high crime rate, crooked politics, deadly hurricanes, and now devastating oil spills, cause her to constantly reevaluate her decision. She spends her evacuation time with her extended family in the tranquil hills of north Alabama, where she also does some of her best writing.
**Review copy provided by author. All opinions are my own.


  1. I'm a South Louisianian and can so relate to Jefferson Parish shindigs. Holli is amazing! I've put Gumbo Justice on my list. Love that title. Thanks for a great review!!

  2. Thanks so much for the great review, and Kittie, thanks for the kind words. Sometimes I think the lunatics are running the asylum in Jefferson Parish, but I guess it all works out in the end.

    Holli Castillo