The Kindness of Strangers (Skip Langdon Series #6)

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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 enemies. 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.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Dogged by depression, Skip Langdon takes a leave of absence from the New Orleans PD, butSkip being Skipthe 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. (July)
Library Journal
Smith began her tour of the mystery beat with such novels as The Sourdough Wars (1984) before catching her stride with the Edgar Award-winning series featuring New Orleans detective Skip Langdon. Now Langdon must prevent a psychopathic New Orleans mayoral candidate from coming to power.
Emily Melton
Smith makes another strong showing in her latest Skip Langdon novel. This time, the cunning New Orleans detective takes on the Big Easy's corrupt political machine, as three "pick the best of the worst" candidates line up for the mayoral race. New Orleans voters, tired of years of corruption and scandal, are leaning toward Errol Jacomine, a Christian right-winger who appears to have the right stuff. But Skip senses evil lurking behind Jacomine's jovial facade, and she figures to discredit him before he gains control of the city. Her search for evidence against Jacomine takes her from the dangerous back alleys of the French Quarter to the pews of the city's respected religious institutions and into the literal eye of a hurricane. As usual, Smith serves up a gritty, gripping story along with a big helping of action and a pinch of humor, all appropriately seasoned by the wonderfully steamy seaminess of New Orleans.
Kirkus Reviews
Depressed and shaky after shooting the druglord who killed her partner (House of Blues, 1995), Skip Langdon's put on leave from the New Orleans Police Department. But enforced idleness is the last thing she needs, especially since she's convinced that mayoral candidate Rev. Errol Jacomine, the saint of skid row, is major bad news, and can't think of anything but getting the goods on him. Without a shield to back her up, Skip makes a few tentative inquiries about Jacomine's ties to Nikki Pigeon, who was killed before she could testify about Jacomine's abuse—and gets crushed by the juggernaut of Jacomine's disinformation campaign. Even her new therapist, Boo Leydecker, quits on her, now that her husband Noel Treadaway's gone to work as Jacomine's press secretary. But Boo's got troubles of her own: Noel's in love with their 15-year-old babysitter, Torian Gernhard, whose shattered family—her divorced parents' hopeless self-absorption detailed in the strongest scenes in the book—inevitably takes refuge with her inaccessible lover's boss just as Hurricane Hannah comes sweeping into town.

The hurricane, as you'd expect, pretty much levels Smith's finer nuances. She ends up with two thirds of a masterpiece: a telling group portrait of family and city almost Dickensian in its wealth of probing detail.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804112734
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/1997
  • Series: Skip Langdon Series , #6
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 358
  • Product dimensions: 4.21 (w) x 6.86 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

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.
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Table of Contents

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