SPOTLIGHT and REVIEW: Charlotte LaRue Mysteries by Barbara Colley

Review by Ryer Islington, Author of ULTIMATE JUSTICE, A Trey Fontaine Mystery

If you love cozies, check out this great series by Barbara Colley.


The first book is MAID FOR MURDER, in which the lovely Charlotte LaRue is introduced. Charlotte lives in and owns a Victorian double, in New Orleans, Louisiana. She runs her own business, providing housecleaning for the upper crust. Or maybe the middle crust, depending on your point of view. This book is all about the murder of one of Barbara’s clients and ends with a…ahm…bang.









Book two of the series is DEATH TIDIES UP, in which Charlotte finds a body in a newly renovated apartment she has been hired to clean. There’s a deep mystery here, with Charlotte’s niece, as well as the tenant in the other half of her double, Detective Louis Thibodeaux–quite a handsome and very friendly single man, constantly hovering over Charlotte.  Another good mystery.









Biography of Barbara Colley

Barbara Colley is an award-winning, best-selling author whose books have been published in over
seventeen foreign languages.
A native of Louisiana, Barbara has lived there all of her life. She was born in the town of Ringgold
and grew up in Minden where she worked on her high school newspaper staff, and later, on the staff of the
Minden Press and Herald. At that time though, she never really dreamed of becoming a writer. In fact,
she attended Louisiana Tech University and Nicholls State University as a music education major. Her
dream then was to become a band director. Instead, she fell in love, married, and moved with her
husband, David, to a small suburb of New Orleans. Over thirty years later, three children, and six precious
grandchildren, Barbara and her husband still live there.
“I truly love living near New Orleans,” Barbara says. “With its Creole French and Spanish
influence, it’s such a unique and interesting city. Strolling through the historical French Quarter or through
the lush Garden District is one of my favorite things to do. The city is well over 200 years old, but each
time that I visit, I find something new and fascinating.”

I hope that everyone who loves cozies will check out this great series, as well as Ms. Colley’s other books. All can be found online, as well as at fine brick-and-mortar stores around the world.

BOOK REVIEW: The Car Bomb by T.V. LoCicero

Review by Ryder Islington, Author of ULTIMATE JUSTICE A Trey Fontaine Mystery

A good mystery with a not so perfect hero and not your typical bad guys, The Car Bomb is a great read for the mystery/suspense reader who is looking for characters who are human, and a story that is believable. The good guy is Frank DeFauw is a Detroit native who has made a success of himself and anchors the local news. He’s married, with children, and chasing every female in town.

When a car explodes, killing a mother and two children, Frank is interested in the story. But the more he digs, the more trouble he gets into. With his wife threatening to divorce him, his boss unsure of his mental stability, and the bad guys trying to stop his nosiness, Frank has his hands full.

I found this book well written, with a strong plot, well rounded characters, and a good string of sub-plots to keep everything interesting. I’d recommend it for lovers of mystery and/or suspense, as well as those who just love Detroit.

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Detroit’s top TV anchor Frank DeFauw hunts down the story of a judge who may be corrupt—and is one of his best friends. Booze, drugs, womanizing and a passion for the news are all part of what makes this brilliant, erratic newsman a major player in this deeply troubled city. Finally, Frank decides if digging out the truth about his pal the judge is worth risking his own career, family and life.

“A compelling and wonderfully written piece of urban crime fiction, The Car Bomb is a pleasure from start to finish. With its economical and supple prose, brilliant dialogue, sharply-drawn characters and plot that keeps the pages turning, LoCicero has produced a gripping tale of corruption and redemption in Detroit. A classy and fast-paced read.” –Victoria Best, Tales from the Reading Room

“TV anchor Frank Defauw is a wonderful mixture of cynicism, vanity, self-doubt, weariness and wit. A kind of local princeling, his boozy, womanizing path illuminates everyone he encounters in this tight and vibrant thriller, as well as the dark city in which it is set. With The Car Bomb, a promising trilogy begins.” –Patrick, Amazon Reviewer  

“a brilliantly composed and complex thriller… fast moving and gripping” –Christoph Fischer, author of The Luck of the Weissensteiners


 Author Bio: 

T.V. LoCicero has been writing both fiction and non-fiction across five decades. He’s the author of the true crime books Murder in the Synagogue (Prentice-Hall), on the assassination of Rabbi Morris Adler, and Squelched: The Suppression of Murder in the Synagogue. His novels include The Car Bomb and Admission of Guilt, the first two books in The Detroit im dyin Trilogy, and The Obsession and The Disappearance, the first two in The Truth Beauty Trilogy. Seven of his shorter works are now available as ebooks. These are among the stories and essays he has published in various periodicals, including Commentary, Ms. and The University Review, and in the hard-cover collections Best Magazine Articles, The Norton Reader and The Third Coast.

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For more information, or to read excerpts of his books, you can find Mr. LoCicero at and at, and his books are available at and other online booksellers.  And don’t forget that The Car Bomb is book one of a trilogy, and book two, Admission of Guilt is also available. Look at the great cover below!

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A 12-year-old girl is the desperate focus of three men: John, a dedicated young teacher; Charlie, a small-time private detective; and Steven, a major narcotics importer. Their lives collide when John makes a shocking move to save his students from the city’s drug wars, Steven’s young daughter goes missing, and Charlie—hired to find her—confronts a moral dilemma that will change all their lives.

“If you like Elmore Leonard, you’ll love these books. Fast-paced action with lots of short chapters and sharp, punchy dialogue, and the writing is crisp and contemporary. Tom LoCicero is wonderful at setting up several threads of plot that plait into one another and end up inter-related, and there’s a real pleasure in the moment when they finally combine and the landscape of the book is laid out before the reader.” –Victoria Best, Tales from the Reading Room

“…a surprising and highly suspenseful turnabout…as tightly plotted and action packed as was the first work of the trilogy…LoCicero’s knowledge of his city and the people that live there are remarkable. The dying city in Michigan is alive on the pages of his evolving trilogy.” –Patrick, Amazon Reviewer

“This is a powerful read that handles sensitive and important issues very well without letting down those readers who came for a good crime story. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.” –Christoph Fischer, author of The Luck of the Weissensteiners

Seeing Things In A New Light

Okay, this may be a little too much information, but here goes:

I live in a small house. The property is nice, but the house is a hundred years old, and built with rather small rooms and in the old, closed style. We have a formal dining room that is oddly shaped and really too small for a formal gathering. It’s situated between the kitchen and my bedroom. When this house was built, closets weren’t really popular, so my room has none, and so when I bought the house, I bought two beautiful wardrobes and a huge dresser.

I’ve always wanted a walk-in closet. And the kitchen doesn’t have enough cupboard space. So…yes I did. The dining room is now half walk-in closet and half pantry!  Who needs a formal dining room? I mean, really, we haven’t had more than ten guests in the last ten years. And mostly, they were people who love us and understand that I’m a little crazy. If I weren’t, would I try to make a living as an author?

So, some bookshelves for pantry shelves, the wardrobes and dressers behind the pantry shelves to provide a U-shaped dressing area, a voila! A magical walk-in closet, with privacy, and comfort, and plenty of space. And now my bedroom has lots more space.

I wonder, does this kind of vision come from being an author? Or is it just an offshoot of being…well…off. I’d love to hear from others as to this wacky but useful use of space. Do you have a space in your home that is never used? Have you always wanted something in your house that there was no room for? Any opinions out there?