Julie Smith's New Orleans is not a city, it's a world--exotic, sweetly perverse, dangerously seductive. Nowhere else does politics make stranger bedfellows; and the approaching mayoral election is stranger than most, pitting the usual thugs and vipers against a seeming breath of fresh air--Errol Jacomine, a liberal-minded, civic-spirited preacher. The only problem is, in the opinion of Police Detective Skip Langdon, Jacomine is a psychopath and dangerous as hell.
On leave of absence from the police force, Skip becomes obsessed with exposing the frightening figure beneath Jacomine's good-guy image. Immediately, an anonymous army of spies and hatchet men go to work on her, and Skip begins to understand that in opposing Jacomine, she is risking not only her livelihood but her sanity and possibly the lives of people she loves.
Skip's instincts seem confirmed when the only witness to Jacomine's crimes turns up dead. Skip thinks there are more bodies buried in Jacomine's past, but it's the present she's worried about. And protecting one of her own against the preacher's evil sends Skip to the dark center of bayou country, where even the elements are her enemy. A deadly chase through the swamp during a fierce hurricane forces Skip to rely not on the kindness of strangers but on her own inner strength to survive.
No other novelist so brilliantly sustains the mood of ominous tension or raises the heat index as Julie Smith does in her Skip Langdon novels. Of them all, The Kindness of Strangers tears most fiercely at the heart.
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Julie Smith, a former reporter for the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the San Francisco Chronicle, has written seven novels featuring Skip Langdon. The first book in the series, New Orleans Mourning, won the Edgar Award for Best Novel. Other Skip Langdon titles include Crescent City Kill, The Kindness of Strangers, The Axeman's Jazz, House of Blues, New Orleans Beat, and Jazz Funeral. Smith recently married and moved back to New Orleans where she lives in a 1830s Creole Town House with its very own ghost and serial murder story.
From the Paperback edition.
Dogged by depression, Skip Langdon takes a leave of absence from the New Orleans PD, but?Skip being Skip?the dramatic finale of the supposed rest cure nearly costs her life. To keep busy, she investigates mayoral candidate Errol Jacomine, minister of a multicultural church who is seen as an honest champion of society's underdogs. Skip, however, has long thought him to be a manipulative psychopath. She tries to contact a disaffected ex-member of Jacomine's church but learns that the woman is already dead. Soon, the police station is flooded with calls complaining of Skip's persecution of the good reverend. Skip's oldest friend calls, endorsing Jacomine, and Boo Leydecker, her new therapist, terminates their sessions because her husband is Jacomine's press agent. Skip begins to feel as though the man is everywhere, controlling reality. Nor is there much comfort on the home front, as Sheila Ritter, ward of Skip's best friend, is drawn into a worrying friendship that, like all roads in this story, eventually leads back to Jacomine. Although that aspect of the plotting does occasionally strain credibility, its claustrophobic impact effectively reflects Skip's frame of mind. Even more intriguing is Smith's (House of Blues) exploration of how difficult it is to hang on to reality, especially when surrounded by others who construct their realities (personal and public) out of comforting fictions.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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