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Axeman's Jazz: A Female Cop, an Obsessed Killer, an Offbeat New Orleans Setting; Skip Langdon Mystery #2 (The Skip Langdon Series) [Kindle Edition]

Julie Smith
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (310 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

The SECOND book in the Edgar Award-winning Skip Langdon mystery series by Julie Smith.

"A multilayered masterpiece ... I read this one on the E train at 5:15 a.m. and didn't look up once. . . . Julie Smith's New Orleans is a subterranean Mardi Gras where the masks cover smiling sociopaths and even Deadly Nightshade comes sheathed in silk." -Andrew Vachss

Gritty, witty, & mesmerizing! Langdon is a splendid female heroine.” –People Magazine

WHAT’S THE PERFECT KILLING FIELD FOR A MURDERER?

A place where he (or maybe she) can learn your secrets from your own mouth and then make friends over coffee. A supposedly "safe" place where anonymity is the norm. The horror who calls himself The Axeman has figured it out and claimed his territory—he's cherry-picking his murder victims in the 12-Step programs of New Orleans.

And he's had the gall to name himself after a historical serial killer. He just needs to go down, and fast, because this is New Aw'lins, dawlin'—half the town is either alcoholic or co-dependent!

Who better to take him out than tall, funny, social-misfit Skip Langdon, now a homicide detective on the Axeman team, a gig that takes her into the 12-Step groups to meet the suspects (giving the author a chance for gentle satire). As Skip threads her fascinated way from one self-help group to another, she finds she has more in common with the twelve-steppers than just the murder—her mother, for one thing, whom she encounters at Overeaters Anonymous! And she knows what they do not: that among their anonymous numbers is a murderous, and dangerously attractive psychopath…

"Smashing . . . New Orleans Mourning was a tough act to follow. The Axeman’s Jazz is a wonderful, completely satisfying encore." -The Denver Post

"Julie Smith not only firmly establishes her claim to the New Orleans crime scene, but she explores an intriguing new franchise for the serial killer." –Sue Grafton

"Marvelous!" –Chicago Tribune

An action-packed crime thriller for fans of Showtime's DEXTER (and all serial killer stories), hard-boiled detective writers like Ace Atkins, Laura Lippman, Sue Grafton, Linda Barnes, Nevada Barr, J.A. Jance, and Marcia Muller, lovers of female sleuths and the deeper, more psychological police procedurals, like those of Tana French; and, of course, anyone who's ever been to New Orleans, or wanted to!

Excerpt:
"Langdon! In here!" Joe sounded furious.

"What is it? Did somebody leak the scarlet A's?"

"Worse. I swear to God it's worse."

With a pair of tweezers, he handed Skip a letter, typed on plain white paper. "Look at this."

It said:

Dear Broadcaster:
You probably remember me. The first time, I wrote to the print media, but there was no television then. I also used an axe. That, of course, would be messy in this day and age and I have two perfectly good hands to strangle with. So forget the axe, but I'm still who I am. My signature is awritten in blood. I kill whom I need to kill, both women and men.

As I mentioned before, they never caught me and they never will. I am not a human being, but an extraterrestrial. (Or perhaps that is the best way you can understand it.) I am what you Orleanians used to call the Axeman—make no mistake, I'm back.
It's me.

I'm baaaaaack.

Here's the deal: It's the same as before. Jazz is the lifeblood of this great city of ours—it was then and it is now. It's the only constant, the only universal. My spaceship lands Tuesday, and I'll be out for blood. (Did you know we extraterrestrials are vampires?) But I have an endless supply of infinite mercy and I will show it to anyone in whose home a jazz band is playing between the hours of 7 p.m. and daylight. Take heed—you will be spared!

But no matter if you aren't, my infinite mercy extends to my victims. I am quick and I am painless. Ask Linda Lee and Tom.

THE AXEMAN.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Appealing heroine Skip Langdon is assigned to the team tracking a serial killer who preys on Alcoholics Anonymous members.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

New Orleans social-misfit Skip Langdon (New Orleans Mourning, 1990) postpones her vacation from homicide when the ``Axeman'' writes the police and taunts them about two murders he has committed. Both victims belonged to several 12-step recovery programs, so Skip and her fellow officers attend meetings, swipe membership phone lists, and finally concentrate on two group participants--Di, once up on charges for child abuse, and Alex, a randy psychiatrist once accused of assault. Another murder occurs before Skip and sharp-tongued police-shrink Cindy Lou realize that Di is being framed. By then, however, Axeman has taken Alex hostage, and the two women must talk the killer into giving himself up. Cruel swipes at 12-step concepts and an unlikely meeting between Skip and her mother at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting undercut Smith's deft skewering of southern mannerisms and standards for womanhood. Still, this is a more polished work than Mourning, and Cindy Lou a more interesting heroine than Skip. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1063 KB
  • Print Length: 372 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: booksBnimble (January 16, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007YCEW10
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,304 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skip Langdon is my kind of woman! May 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I LOVE this series! Julie Smith has created perhaps the most credible yet fantastic protagonist in homicide in her powerful, vulnerable, fearless, and wonderfully tall female detective, Skip Langdon. In Axeman's Jazz Skip is battling a serial killer who resurrects the never-apprehended Axeman, a true criminal from New Orleans' history. Smith weaves her story around 12-step programs, where anonymity makes for good cover. She not only produces some serious suspense, but some deep psychological insights. Skip, who made her debut in Smith's Edgar Winning New Orleans Mourning, grows in her own psychological makeup, and we get more glimpses into her complex personality. Skip is a real original, and I am hooked on her and the series. Axeman's Jazz is mystery writing at its very best.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Orleans in August... hot! July 15, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Hot and hotter!
This was my first Skip Langdon novel and I loved it. Now to go back, and buy the others. Great characters you can immediately get in to. Skip is a self-deprecating delight. Strong when she needs to be, but all too human throughout the Axeman. Having mistakenly vacationed in New Orleans in August (what was I thinking?) I can say with sweaty memories, Smith puts her readers in the hot seat. And the suspects! I was sorting through them and pointing a suspicious finger at everyone. The ending was a neat little surprise package. Gritty, but not turn-off gritty. Violence only as needed. Very enjoyable.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Skip takes on the 12 step programs October 3, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The debut novel in the Skip Langdon series, New Orleans Mourning, won the Edgar Award. That's a hard act to follow and Smith sure tries. Many of the good parts of the first book are still present -- Skip's wonderful observations of Southern manners first among them. Got a killer holding a hostage outside? The Police are meeting at your house for a strategy session. Of course you serve coffee and cookies -- Cream anyone?
Unfortunately, the Edgar also seems to have given Smith the clout to ignore her editors and this book is easily 25% longer than necessary. The fact that the killer must be among the 12 step crowd (Codependents Anonymous) and in the six assigned to Skip is determined early. We then go through endless pages without moving the mystery forward.
Bottom-line: Still a nice sense of New Orleans but slow pacing make this an optional read. Reading of New Orleans Mourning helpful but not required.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Series September 16, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
In 20th century New Orleans, the Axeman was the name given to a serial killer. The historical murderer claimed in his letters that he would not kill anyone playing Jazz music when he came by. The Axeman was never caught.

In Axeman's Jazz, two people are found strangled within a few days of each other, and a red "A" is drawn on their wall. Then the New Orleans media outlets receive a letter from someone claiming to be the Axeman. He gives the same disclaimer of sparing anyone playing jazz music.

Skip Langdon, returning from the novel New Orleans Mourning, finds herself in the middle of the investigation wading through the anonymity of self-help groups to find the serial killer.

An excellent return to New Orleans and a strong character. A definite read for Skip Langdon fans.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Like the first title in this series, "New Orleans Mourning," this one positively drips with atmospheric authenticity. The author sets her mystery in New Orleans in the 90s (when she wrote the book). Her cast of characters includes a Junoesque detective, exiled from an "Uptown" family, methodically sifting through clues; a film producer boyfriend; a gay landlord/lawyer; a misogynistic supervisor; and the city itself. Toss in fluid, naturalistic writing, and you'd expect a sterling read. However, the editing broke the flow enough to spoil the experience. I don't know how the print version presented itself, but the Kindle version contained multiple misspellings (which I attributed to faulty scanning) and no breaks except for chapters. Time breaks, perspective switches, and location changes did occur within chapters, but, with no extra spaces between paragraphs or wingdings, the reader often finds the narrative hard to follow until he or she realizes something has changed and backs up to find where the break should have occurred. At one of these non-breaks, someone (an editor?) actually inserted, "Shouldn't something go here?" In summary, "The Axeman's Jazz" is an excellent novel spoiled by sloppy Kindle editing. But that did not prevent me from reading the next book in the series, "Jazz Funeral."
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skip Langdon, ex-debutante, makes a good cop June 12, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Opening lines:
"New Orleans could wreck your liver and poison your blood. It could destroy you financially. It could shun you or embrace you, teach you tricks of the heart you thought Tennessee Williams was just kidding about. And in August it could break your spirit."

So much for any romantic visions of New Orleans a reader might have. The "voice" belongs to Skip Langdon, ex-debutante, newly-minted homicide detective, packing for a vacation in California when a phone call sends her to a murder scene.

The call pulls Skip in three directions. A high profile murder case is good for her career. However, she must delay her trip to Los Angeles and a romantic tryst with a documentary film maker named Steve. Also, this is the night of her brother's engagement party.

Cutting short her appearance at the engagement party suits her fine. She has been at odds with her family ever since she became a cop. This novel is a police procedural but it's also about the cultural rift between generations -- the sharing, co-dependent, "recovering" generation of baby boomers, and the emotionally cruel, "pull up your socks" generation of their parents. The latter may have won a world war but they seem to know zip about raising well-adjusted families.

The murder victim is a quiet girl, a newcomer to the city. She has been strangled and the murderer used lipstick to draw a big "A" on the wall. It's an ordinary apartment, nothing fancy, and most of the books are self-help books on relationships.

Why an A" and why lipstick? Skip begins the routine questioning - landlord, neighbors, employers, ex-husbands. She works alongside her friend Joe Tarantino, now a lieutenant and head of Homicide, and Sgt. Capello, her supervisor.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A good quick read.
Published 4 days ago by Brenda Dunigan
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
This was my first book by this author and I am having a hard time getting through it.
Published 5 days ago by Dorothy Breslin
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
love Skip Langdon thrillers, love NOLA, good light reading and mystery
Published 5 days ago by Margaret Drake
4.0 out of 5 stars You feel the New Orleans heat
This psychological thriller taps into the emotional trauma that comes with a complicated life. What's normal? What's the tipping point? Read more
Published 7 days ago by Royaldogliness
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read
Published 9 days ago by Jeanne McNairy
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
so so
Published 13 days ago by Richard L Perry
5.0 out of 5 stars Power of a love/.Hate
This is an impressive story about the parent/child,love/hate relationships. The characters are strong, goofy,young,old and pitiful/admirable. Plus it is an excellent mystery. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Mary Ellen Dryden
5.0 out of 5 stars lushly entertaining & fun
I read a lot and mysteries are my favorites. Ergo, I'm a tough audience when it comes to this genre. Smith totally delighted me with Axeman's Jazz. Read more
Published 23 days ago by PAMA
4.0 out of 5 stars For NOLA Fans, Smith's Axeman's Jazz Is Better Than A Beignet
This well-written book with a competent and capable heroine will keep you guessing to the end. And the last few chapters are "can't put down" good!
Published 25 days ago by Anne L. Holmes
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Nice read
Published 26 days ago by Hallie Greenberg
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More About the Author

I first knew I wanted to be a writer at seven, knew it was mysteries I'd write at 12, was desperate to win the Edgar at 13, but became a journalist to...well...keep from starving till I had the courage to actually try it. I had a great time and learned more than ten colleges could have taught as a reporter for first the New Orleans Times-Picayune and later the San Francisco Chronicle. Finally, I wrote six or seven mysteries (I've lost count!) over a period of eight years, to absolutely no avail, and was about to give up when I made my first sale. DEATH TURNS A TRICK was my first published book, and the Rebecca Schwartz series was born. I later added a second San Francisco series, plus two in New Orleans, and guess what? My first New Orleans book, NEW ORLEANS MOURNING, won the Edgar for Best Novel.

So some dreams come true! Boy, it was hard, and it took forever, but mine actually did. I'm still pinching myself. After wanting something so much and finally getting it, who would have thought I'd turn to something else after twenty-one books? (That's right, twenty-one not counting a non-fiction one on writing itself. So, twenty-two, really.) My whole identity was writing. But along came ebooks! Suddenly a gigantic opportunity opened up. I realized I could be a publisher myself---I could help other people achieve their own dreams. I couldn't help it, I got the publishing bug. Bad.

In 2010, I founded www.booksBnimble.com, a digital publishing company that focused at first on video-enhanced ebooks, but now not so much enhanced as just great quality---and, as you might imagine, with an emphasis on mysteries. So far, we've published eight authors (including me). It's been a treat to learn to function in another whole world and it's been incredibly rewarding to be able to help other writers, to bring back people's backlists, and to discover new, exciting talent.

Check out some of our terrific authors--Patty Friedmann, Marika Christian, Tony Dunbar, Anneke Campbell, Whitney Stewart, and Lee Pryor. Coming soon: mystery authors Greg Herren, Liz Zelvin, Shelley Singer, and Mickey Friedman.



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