This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Everybody loved easygoing Hamson Brocato, producer of the successful New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, but even so he ended up stabbed to death in his kitchen the night of his own JazzFest party. NOPD detective Skip Langdon, Smith's spunky heroine last seen in New Orleans Mourning, gets a ready-made suspect list from the victim's live-in lover, singing star Ti-Belle Thiebaud. Included are Ariel Bruge, Ham's assistant, apparently a woman scorned; his father George, enmeshed with family members in a bitter disagreement over the family's fast food ("Poor Boy's Po' Boys") chain; and Patty, the stepmother Ham was cool about. Skip notes the list's omissions: Ti-Belle herself (often heard arguing with Ham at the top of her powerful voice) and Melody, Ham's teenaged half-sister who vanished the same day Ham died. Skip doesn't miss much as she probes the victim's tangled relationships, remaining all the while a consistently convincing character herself, grumbling about her boss and anxious about her long-distance significant other. Smith's Big Easy setting is a lively blend of big city and gossipy small town. Author tour. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
This sequel to The Axeman's Jazz (Thomas Dunne, 1991) also takes place in a recognizably atmospheric setting and calls upon a similar theme. On the eve of the New Orleans Jazz Fest, series heroine Detective Skip Langdon discovers the dead body of one of its staunchest supporters, the part-owner of a restaurant chain and the lover of a fast-rising black blues singer. To make matters worse, the victim's teenage half-sister, who may hold the key to the case, has disappeared. A super protagonist, well-defined characters, and musical highlights make this essential. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/93. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
I have read other books by Julie Smith and they were great. This book, not so much. Don't judge her on the basis of this book alone. This one needed better editing; it was long and boring. I gave up about a quarter of the way through and read the ending.
This is not the intelligent, smooth, compelling storytelling of Julie Smith. The blunt cookie cutter characters trudge through this disaster of a story line with oblique secret motivations that, frankly, I ceased to care about at around the halfway point. Many times I had to backtrack to try to determine the juvenile character's location in her agonized dashing around the city. What happened with her big singing debut? And WHY was she constantly fainting? The rock star and the Cajun story line was dropped in mid-drama, presumably to appear in another book. Skip Langdon was missing from much of the story, but when she did appear, she was such a weepy ineffective clod I didn't recognize her. This digital version was packed with wrong words and misspellings that could be attributed to faulty scanning, but which the REAL Julie Smith would have had corrected before publishing. I will still read the Rebecca Schwartz and Talba Wallis stories, but will give Skipper a long time out.
I enjoyed the story, but there was a a lot of sex and violence involving teenagers. So, I can't recommend it as a Young Adult novel. The New Orleans setting and the rich and famous characters were intriguing, and the main character, Angeline, the teenage runaway sister of Ham, the famous murdered N.O. chef is smart, elusive and a mystery in her own right. Did she kill her brother? Did she witness his death and run away? Or did his uber famous singer wife decide to get rid of him? If she was a witness, is she now a target? The female police investigator has her hands full trying to track it all down in the midst of music festivals and the New Orleans French Quarter runaway underground. It's obvious that TiBelle, the temperamental jazz/blues star has plenty of secrets and could well be the murderer.It's complex and entertaining and sad, a good mystery. Book 3 in the Skip Langdon Series by Julie Smith. If you're looking for a good read, N.O. always fill the bill.
It is really hard to write a book set in New Orleans that I won't like. In truth, I like the New Orleans of the 1970s, rather than the somewhat hard-bitten, crime-ridden entity the city has become. But this rarely keeps me from reading fiction set in my favorite USA city.
So this is not the first Julie Smith novel I've read, nor will it be the last -- even though I have had to pay for all the others.
I enjoy Skip Langdon and her colorful friends. I especially liked the ending, which signaled some big changes coming up in Langdon's personal life. These will, I think, keep the series fresh.
The plot kept me reading, and I did not guess the ending. I prefer a mystery that I cannot figure out long before the detective does!
There was too much emphasis on inner monologue of a teenage runaway whose story is both a subplot and an important element of the mystery. I am long past my years of adolescent angst and, while I can remember all that insecurity and raging hormones, I have little wish to revisit it at more than passing me mention. Been there, done that, as the saying goes.
Julie Smith is a pro, and the writing is polished and taut. Descriptions and character portrayals are effectively written. Just enough New Orleans color is added to make sense of place a key element.
This is a reliable mystery writer who can provide pleasant escapist reading.
Great storyline that kept my interest from beginning to end. The characters were so wonderfully and, in some cases, tragically flawed! I found myself wanting to know some of them, rooting for some and hoping that there was hope for some of them. The only reason I gave it 4 stars is because of the language. It was terrible. A great story like this just doesn't need to be soiled by that much swearing. I'm fine with some cussing but this was extreme. It didn't start out that way but once it started it seemed to get progressively worse. I'd love to read more by this author but just don't know at this point.