About the Author

Moving from the linear world of practicing law into the creative realm of storytelling has been a revealing transition.

Lawyer turned author, Cynthia is inspired by life's trials and the growing desire to discover what's next.

CL Tolbert grew up on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, a culturally rich, beachy stretch of land with some of the best sunsets in the country. Early in her career she taught children with learning disabilities before moving on to law school. She spent most of her legal career working as defense counsel to large corporations and traveled throughout the country as regional and national counsel. She also had the unique opportunity of teaching third-year law students in a clinical program at a law school in New Orleans where she ran the Homelessness Law Clinic and learned, first hand, about poverty in that city. The experiences and impressions she has collected from the past forty years contribute to the stories she writes today.

After winning the Georgia State Bar Association’s fiction writing contest in 2010 for a short story entitled Out From Silence, she devoted more time to writing. Retiring after thirty years of practicing law she developed the winning short story into a full scale novel by the same name. A new manuscript entitled The Redemption is currently in development. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and schnauzer Yoda, and visits her two children and three grandchildren as often as possible.

Out From Silence and The Redemption are the first two mysteries in the Emma Thornton series. 


Featured Books

"A budding storyteller with curated characters waiting to be revealed in narratives yet to be told, Cynthia’s early recognition is setting the stage for what’s next. Future accolades expected."

Winner, Georgia Bar Journal Fiction Writing Contest | 2010

Fiction Writing Contest Scholarship, Il Chiostro Writing Workshop | Italy 2010

The Redemption Book Cover CL Tolbert
Out From Silence Book Cover CL Tolbert

Out From Silence

C.L. Tolbert's Debut Book in the Thornton Mystery Series. Set in the fictional town of Jonesburg, GA, Emma Thornton, law student and clerk for a local attorney is asked to help defend Adam, a young deaf man accused of killing his girlfriend. The investigation sets her on a dangerous path which nearly costs her her life and forces Adam out of his world of silence.  

The Redemption

Emma Thornton is back in The Redemption, C.L. Tolbert’s second novel in the Thornton Mystery Series.  When two men are murdered one muggy September night in a New Orleans housing project, an eye witness identifies only one suspect - Louis Bishop- a homeless sixteen-year old.  When they take on the case, Emma and her students discover a tangle of corruption, intrigue, and more.


“Out From Silence is a solid debut loaded with menace, memorable characters, and dangerous secrets––a brooding mystery rooted deep in the Southern tradition. C L Tolbert is a talented newcomer to the crime fiction tribe.”

Roger Johns, award-winning author of the Wallace Hartman Mysteries


"Cynthia Tolbert follows in the footsteps of legendary southern author Margaret Maron with her haunting debut, OUT FROM SILENCE, a beautifully drawn mystery that explores the duality of evil and kindness in a small Georgia town." 
Ellen Byron, Agatha Winner, Best Contemporary Novel, Cajun Country Mysteries, USA Today Bestselling Series, Humorous Lefty Awards, The Catering Hall   Mysteries 


"Sometimes, authors of mysteries and thrillers let relationships suffer as they focus on plot. Not here. The care taken to draw a clear picture of the homeless teen and his relationship with the lead protagonist really pays off. Even without the strong plot line, I would have kept reading just to see where the two characters landed. An interesting, clever book."

 Louise Gray, NetGalley Reviewer


“Mystery, murder, and mayhem in The Big Easy; C.L. Tolbert’s The Redemption is a page-turner guaranteed to keep you guessing until the very end.” Bruce Robert Coffin, award-winning author of the Detective Byron Mysteries


 “With The Redemption, Cynthia Tolbert delivers another beautifully written and compelling read in her Thornton Mystery series, as law professor Emma Thornton’s fight to save a teen wrongly accused of murder endangers her own life in this gripping tale of corruption and crime in the 1990s Big Easy.”  Ellen Byron, Agatha Award winning author of the Cajun Mysteries