One of Us By Lorie Lewis Ham: Review/Giveaway

Sep 11, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze, Reedley News

by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of One of Us, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and other places.

One of Us Earns 5/5 Excaliburs…Engaging Mystery & Rich Characters!

When it rains, it pours: roommate moves, mortgage too expensive, animal rescue defunct, podcast not lucrative, and publisher says goodbye. This forces Roxi Carlucci to take cover and pack up her belongings along with her Excalibur replica sword, her well-worn copy of The Once and Future King, and her blue dumbo rat named Merlin and move to Fresno, California. She at least has an open invitation from her cousin and private investigator Stephen Carlucci along with a job if she wants, but to her this is ten steps backwards with an uncertain future and heat that would literally fry an egg in the shell. “Life sucked.” However, things are looking up since Stephen’s house is within a nice walk to the art center of Fresno, christened the Tower District, and she meets some friendly business owners and residents of the area; her cousin has even suggested she accompany him to the local theater and seriously consider getting involved with their new production. She isn’t new to the theater, but “involved” takes on criminal overtones when she discovers the dead body of one of the crew in a locked-room style mystery, and due to the preliminary evidence pointing to the handsome playwright, she joins her cousin in the official investigation…business cards and all. This valley town has a big city dark side.

Thumbs Up! Lorie Lewis Ham has rejoined the world of authors with the first book in her Tower District Mystery series using the common advice given to authors to “write what you know.” This does not necessarily mean criminal behavior, but setting, characters, and sidekicks are all areas one should have some familiarity. Lorie has set her edgy cozy in the Central Valley city of Fresno, near where she herself lives, with its diverse culture, its big city vibe and small town surprises, and in the summer, its extreme temperatures. All of this she describes well giving the reader an intriguing place in which to explore small businesses, family dynamics, mental health issues, social media, and murder. Roxi Carlucci is a delight with a clever perspective and an inspiring background of reinventing or relocating herself, but maintaining her true sense. She has endearing relationships with her cousin, her quirky friend Lucas Shum, and her new theater friends, and her passion with all things King Arthur is unique and sent me off to google the lore of Camelot. However, she has some issues that make her realistic from a family with criminal connections she wishes to avoid to the death of her parents at an early age and the suicide of her brother still raw even with years since his passing. She’s quirky in her own right with a pet rat Merlin, something else Lorie has familiarity, and the fascinating details about the domesticated blue dumbo rat also sent me to explore more about the breed and, although Merlin doesn’t hold true “sidekick” status, he is definitely fun! Lorie’s first book is a well-written, first-person narrative with entertaining twist and turns and a nail biting conclusion to keep readers engaged in the drama. Complex characters. Rich environment. Well-worth reading.

One of Us can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and for local readers you can find signed copies at the Book Barn in Clovis.

You can follow Lorie on Twitter @mysteryrat and learn more on her website. Lorie has done several recent guest posts where you can learn more about her writing and about One of Us. Sign up for her newsletter and keep up with upcoming books in the series and events.

Here are some of the places she has been in the past month if you would like to check out her guest posts:

Learn more about the setting of One of Us on Kaye George’s blog

Learn more about the pet rat in the book on Clea Simon’s blog

Read the first chapter of One of Us on Kevin Tipple’s blog

Find out the inspiration for some of the characters in the book on Miss Demeanors!

On In Reference to Murder, Lorie talks about writing and research

Lorie will be doing a blog tour starting September 15-we hope you will check it out!

You can listen to an excerpt from One of Us on a recent episode of Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast by clicking here or listening on the player below:

To enter to win an ebook copy of One of Us, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “one,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 18, 2021. US only, and must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode goes up next week

You can use this link to purchase this book from Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  2. Sounds like a great read. Looking forward to reading the book.

  3. We have a winner!


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