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The Kindness of Strangers (Skip Langdon Series #6)
     

The Kindness of Strangers (Skip Langdon Series #6)

by Julie Smith
 

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"A BREATHLESS THRILLER . . . Smith pushes her protagonist to the breaking point and the series to a new high water mark of suspense."
—Los Angeles Times

On temporary leave of absence from the force, Police Detective Skip Langdon becomes obsessed with exposing the frightening figure beneath the good-guy image of Errol Jacomine—a liberal-minded,

Overview

"A BREATHLESS THRILLER . . . Smith pushes her protagonist to the breaking point and the series to a new high water mark of suspense."
—Los Angeles Times

On temporary leave of absence from the force, Police Detective Skip Langdon becomes obsessed with exposing the frightening figure beneath the good-guy image of Errol Jacomine—a liberal-minded, civic-spirited preacher who is running for mayor of New Orleans.

Immediately, an anonymous army of hatchet men go to work on Skip, who learns that opposing Jacomine is dangerous business. And when the only witness to the preachers crimes turns up dead, Skip follows her instincts to the dark center of bayou country . . . where dead cops tell no tales.

"Displays the writing skills of one of the genres leading exponents . . . The climax, a frantic rescue effort in the teeth of Hurricane Hannah, will stay with you."
—The Cleveland Plain Dealer

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804112734
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/28/1997
Series:
Skip Langdon Series , #6
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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