Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review: Jambalaya Jutice by Holli Castillo

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Oak Mysteries (July 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610090209
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610090209

Product Description


The murder of a hooker in a New Orleans crackhouse is destined to become another unsolved homicide until prosecutor Ryan Murphy takes an interest in the case.  Ryan has a connection to the victim and won’t back down until the murder is solved, even if it means she has to go undercover as a hooker herself and keep her fingers crossed that her detective boyfriend, Shep, won’t find out.  She’s also juggling her Strike Force cases, including the prosecution of a mobster murderer, a nasty domestic violence, and the armed robbery of Big Who’s strip club.  Not to mention a home invader she prosecuted is off of probation and might be following her. Being an outspoken pit bull of a prosecutor makes life dangerous enough for Ryan; trying to find a killer and hiding it from the one person who can protect her may end up being deadly.

Shep is on a secret quest of his own, investigating the identity theft of Ryan’s former best friend, Edie, who is presumed dead.  As he delves further into the case, he begins to question whether Edie may still be alive and out to harm Ryan.  Ordered by his captain, Ryan's father, to keep the investigation quiet, Shep not only has to lie to Ryan, but find a way to protect her from harm she doesn’t know exists.  He'll also have to figure out what to do if Ryan ends up discovering the truth, because secrets have a way of getting out.

Set against the backdrop of pre-Katrina New Orleans, Jambalaya Justice is the second in the Crescent City Mystery Series, which eventually follows Ryan through Hurricane Katrina and into the strange new world of post-Katrina New Orleans.

The third in the series, Chocolate City Justice, is in progress.

About The Author

Holli Castillo is a Louisiana appellate public defender and former New Orleans prosecutor.  She has a JD from Loyola University School of Law and a Bachelor in Drama/Communications from the University of New Orleans.  She worked her way through law school as a child support collector and undergrad at the now-defunct Can-Can Cabaret in the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street. She has also held jobs as a stage manager, acrobat teacher, and of course, being from New Orleans, a waitress.

She lives in the metro New Orleans area with her husband, two children, dog, and deaf cat.  Her husband was the model for Big Who in her novels, and her deaf cat has a co-starring role in Jambalaya Justice.  When not working, writing or evacuating from hurricanes, she serves as the president of the PTA association at a magnet elementary school, and she and her husband own and operate a bar on the westbank of New Orleans, The Last Stand.

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My Review

This is the second book in the Crescent City Mystery Series by Holli Castillo.  This is an entirely new mystery series to me.  You don't need to have read the first book to read this one.

Our heroine,  Ryan Murphy, is a New Orleans prosecutor whose father is a police captain and her four brothers are all members of the New Orleans Police Department.  Her boyfriend Shep is a member of NOPD as well.  Ryan has deep roots and many connections in New Orleans.  She is feisty and brave and sometimes a little naive.  And she is working hard at funneling a love of alcohol into a love of shoes....Jimmy Choo's of course.  This novel is set in pre-Katrina New Orleans.  I have only seen New Orleans post Katrina so it is good to be able to feel the pulse of the city through these pages.

Ryan has a heavy caseload and the story kicks off with the murder of a prostitute who had been an informer of Ryan's.  She becomes personally involved in the case and puts herself in danger as she strives to find the prostitute Cherry's murderer.  She also is haunted by the loss of a dear friend, Edie, whose story unfolds throughout the book.  I love the setting of New Orleans...I have always found that city incredibly fascinating.  There are great characters in this book who are completely fleshed out by the author.  Ryan's relationships are very realistic.  Twists and turns in the book kept the killer a mystery to me until close to the end.  In total, a very enjoyable read. 

I am looking forward to reading more of the Ryan Murphy adventures.  The author is planning to follow Ryan through Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath in upcoming volumes of the series.  Definitely looking forward to that.


  1. Thank you so much for reviewing Holli's Book. It is a wonderful review and I will be sure to let you know when her next one is released !

    Jeana Thompson
    Public relations
    Oak Tree Press

  2. Thanks for the great review! I'm glad you enjoyed the book.

    Holli Castillo