Meet the Author
I met Laura DiSilverio, aka Ella Barrick, at the Left Coast Crime conference in March. She had been so impressive on the panel discussions that I thought she would be too busy to talk with a total stranger for more than a second. But I was wrong. We met in the hall between sessions and I had the feeling no one else mattered to her during the time we chatted.
Laura lives in Colorado and writes four mystery series. Four!
- Ballroom Dance Mysteries
- Charlie Swift Mysteries
- Mall Cop Mysteries
- Southern Beauty Shop Mysteries
My goodness, this person is organized and impressive. I asked her about her mystery series on ballroom dancing because I enjoy dancing with Colorado DanceSport so much. Perhaps she dances?
She smiled and said no, but yes, she does write under the name Ella Barrick with a ballroom dance series that has dance instructor Stacy Graysin double as an amateur sleuth. I asked where I could buy a copy, and Laura generously said she’d send me a couple of these books, as they weren’t carried in the conference bookstore.
I never thought this would happen. If you’ve ever been at a trade show or conference, you know that cards and contact information are lost more than found at the end, and all the best intentions of following up are forgotten in the shuffle of getting back to work when the event is over.
Imagine my delight then, when a few days after the conference, I received a bulky envelope from Laura and inside was not one, but two novels! I dove right in to the first, Quickstep to Murder.
Stacy Graysin, co-owner of Graysin Motion dance studio is furious with her ex-fiance and other half of the Graysin Motion ownership team. Not only did Rafe Acosta sleep with another dancer, but now the slime ball wants to add hip-hop and children’s lessons to the studio curriculum. Horrors! Stacy is angry enough to declare that these changes will occur over her dead body. Only it is Rafe who is found with his skull mashed in on the studio dance floor, and the police are convinced that Stacy is the prime suspect in the case.
Soon Rafe’s half-brother from Argentina shows up and things get even more complicated. Apparently, Rafe had changed his will in the weeks before his death, and Stacy no longer inherits his half of the studio. But Octavio (Tav) Acosta, Rafe’s half-brother and inheritor has no interest in ballroom dance and so he will be selling his portion of the studio, with or without Stacy’s interest in mind.
Now, you should know that this story takes place in Washington D.C. where intrigue and rumor abounds, so you can only imagine the tangles that Stacy finds herself snared in going forward.
If you’re a mystery lover, this is a story to go for, definitely.
Writing Plus Points
What I liked about this novel was the way Ella kept the murder forefront of the story, even while delving into the world of ballroom dance. I was also impressed with the accuracy with which she portrayed that world–dress costs and materials, dance steps, major competitions, and how studios tend to be funded, how dancers behave.
Lastly, Ella took her time as a writer, in describing the murder scene itself. This is something a lot of newer writers miss. When the tension of the action rises, you add in the visceral experience of the point-of-view character, and the reader jumps deeply into the story. New writers will add a lot of details, but miss that physical reaction the POV character experiences, and will bog down the story as a result. Ella balanced between detail and story progress very well.
I think the story worked very well for me as a reader. Stacy’s main physical experience of her world seemed to be in the scents she experienced, which drew me out of the story occasionally, but not enough to detract from the plot itself.
In short, you go and enjoy Quickstep to Murder. I’m going to dive into Dead Man Waltzing. Have a fun reading day.