Edgar Award Winner Julie Smith mysteries are funny and witty, with clever and outspoken characters. Her cozy mysteries show an Agatha Christie-like capacity for making much ado about clues, concocting hypotheses, and surprising us in the end. Enjoy!
House of Blues: An Action-Packed New Orleans Thriller; Skip Langdon #5 (The Skip Langdon Series)
Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
House of Blues is the FIFTH book in the Edgar Award-winning Skip Langdon Series by Julie Smith.
DISTURBING FAMILY SECRETS, A CURIOUS KIDNAPPING, AND COLD-BLOODED MURDER HAUNT THIS GRITTY AND MYSTERIOUS SOUTHERN DRAMA.
Sugar Hebert arrives home from a ten-minute errand to find her husband shot to death and the rest of her family missing–including her daughter Reed, heir apparent to the Hebert restaurant dynasty, and Reed’s eleven-month-old daughter.
Detective Skip Langdon’s hunt for a murderer and the missing Hebert heirs embraces worlds within worlds–splendid but dangerous Garden District digs, Faubourg Marigny drug dens, broken-down projects, lowdown bars, an elegant hangout for crooked politicos, and a dealer’s crib masquerading as a sultan’s palace, harem and all. A palm reader warns Langdon of danger, but it comes when she’s least prepared for it. Before long, the mob’s involved (maybe there’s a reason Hebert’s Restaurant won the lucrative casino contract), and so are family secrets so ugly they’d make Tennessee Williams wince. Everyone has them–the Heberts, the mob princess, even the crooked cop.
And Langdon finds she should have listened to the damned palm reader.
Finally, arriving slightly out of breath, she remembered she hadn’t brought her purse, had simply picked up Reed’s key and hurried out.
Feeling silly, she rang her own doorbell and waited. It was probably a full two minutes before she realized no one was coming. Glancing around for Reed’s car, she didn’t notice it at first, wondered if Dennis and Reed had gotten so mad they’d stalked out.
But in that case why hadn’t they come home?
She marched to the side of the house and turned over the rock under which she kept an extra key. Letting herself in, she felt for the first time a slight sense of foreboding; the lock didn’t give at first, not until she’d turned the key a few times. Could it be the door hadn’t been locked? Had she unwittingly locked it herself, then had to fiddle to unlock it?
“Arthur?” she called. Getting no answer, she turned from the hall into the dining room, where her family should have been.
Instead there was blood.
Red on the cream walls, splashed as if a kid had filled a balloon with blood and fanned his arm in a great and joyous arc to empty it. But it was as if he’d done it sitting on the floor. The blood was low on the wall, and above the splashes, there was a bloody handprint. Blood was also pooled on the floor.
Blood. Like something in a movie. Or on television; an event in someone else’s life.
The heavy mahogany table had been upended. China, silver, and beans had spilled every which way, and chairs were overturned, though not Sally’s high chair, which was empty.
Arthur lay on the floor, face-up, eyes open, white shirt soaked red. There was blood on his pants too, at the groin.
The house was so still Sugar’s breath sounded like screaming.
COVER PHOTO BY PAUL RICO, COURTESY OF THE
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Mean Woman Blues: An Action-Packed New Orleans Thriller; Skip Langdon Mystery #9 (The Skip Langdon Series)
Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Mean Woman Blues is the NINTH book in Edgar-winner Julie Smith’s Skip Langdon mystery series.
THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN THE WORLD IS TRYING TO KILL HER…
That would be the Rev. Errol Jacomine, crazy as a fox that just ate a loon, and more dangerous than a cell full of serial killers. She’s Detective Skip Langdon, the New Orleans cop who’s twice smashed his criminal endeavors, yet each time he’s managed to slip away. Now he’s mad. In both senses of the word. And he has the connections to have her killed–or worse, those she loves.
After one near-miss and several nasty threats, Skip is driven by fear that she’ll lose the people dearest to her. Despite finding herself disgraced in her own home town (seems Jacomine knows how to frame as well as kill), she goes on the hunt for the kind of maniac with a gift for conning people and the extreme makeover to make it work.
THREE ANGRY WOMEN, EACH ONE DISSED, SCORNED, AND HELL-BENT…
But by now Jacomine’s madness has escalated to the point that he’s finally gone too far with too many people. Before it’s over, more than one person’s stalking him, and some are women feeling as mean as their quarry. If Langdon doesn’t get there first, there’ll be a bloodbath. If she does, only one person will walk away–and Jacomine’s as lucky as he’s ruthless.
AUTHOR’S WARNING: To my chagrin, I see that one reader was offended by a particular very short and, honestly, not particularly graphic scene in this book and has (rather rightly, I think) talked a number of others out of buying it. Many people who don’t flinch at terrible violence against humans are extremely sensitive at the thought of something bad happening to an animal. Even if the meaner-than-Satan animal-murderer gets much worse treatment than the animal! (Well, so am I, but this is fiction.) If you are one of those people, DON’T download this book–instead write me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a different free book. I want you to be happy! Julie smith
Nearly two years ago, Errol Jacomine had disappeared, but he would not stay gone. She knew this; she had destroyed two of his careers, twice thwarted his attempts to win control over his fellow human beings, to gain a following, and to dominate. He would be back, and he would try to kill her. To forget it for a day in the woods, for an evening in her courtyard, for a moment, for a millisecond, was dangerous and possibly deadly.
Jacomine’s son, Daniel, had been arrested, charged with half a dozen crimes, and eventually convicted of murder as the result of one of Jacomine’s schemes. He was due to be sentenced in a couple of days.
How that would affect his father Skip couldn’t know, but it had probably precipitated the dream. Jacomine might not even notice, perhaps having written Daniel off.
She left for work feeling hunted and resentful of her psyche for rubbing her nose in it. She knew all that, and what could she do about it? Exactly what? she asked herself angrily. Later, the dream seemed more a premonition than a warning.
* * *
That morning, as always, she walked the few blocks to the garage where she kept her car, pointed the remote at the automatic door (a process that never failed to give her childlike pleasure), and waited for the door to raise itself high enough to allow her ingress. Instead of the familiar rumble, an explosion ripped through the quiet morning, followed by a loud ping, like a beer can hitting a metal drum
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Sourdough Wars (The Rebecca Schwartz Series, Book 2)
Genre: World Literature | Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
The SECOND book in Edgar-winning author Julie Smith’s Rebecca Schwartz series.
A tasty treat of a San Francisco mystery–a crisp, tangy story you’re sure to get a rise out of.
To you, it’s just a frozen lump of dough; but to some, it’s life and death…
Especially to handsome Peter Martinelli, who wants to auction off the fabled sourdough starter from his family’s famous bakery. But who’d buy a frozen hunk of flour and water? Only, it turns out, every bakery in San Francisco, a national food conglomerate, and an upstart ringer with a mysterious backer.
Someone would even kill for it. And does.
Enter lawyer sleuth Rebecca Schwartz, whose client is her own partner, glamorous Chris Nicholson, Martinelli’s main squeeze before the ill-starred auction.
Rebecca noshes her way through the case in hilariously unorthodox style, tasting some great bread along the way, but also uncovering so many ancient jealousies, long-simmering feuds, and seething resentments that she barely escapes death by doughball.
NOTE: THIS STORY IS COMPLETELY REALITY-BASED! A SAN FRANCISCO BAKERY MADE PAGE ONE NEWS BY FREEZING THEIR STARTER –ONLY WITHOUT THE BLOODSHED.
The slapstick style, over-the-top action, and witty dialogue make Rebecca Schwartz an easy choice for fans of Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Bond, Dorothy Cannell, Elizabeth Peters, Sarah Strohmeyer, and Jennifer Crusie.
At 12:45, Bob Tosi stretched, looked at his watch, and said he had a lunch date. “I expect the rest of you do, too,” he said. “Why don’t we leave together and set another date for the auction? I’m sure Mr. Martinelli must have gotten tied up or he’d have been here by now.”
“May as well,” said Thompson, rising and straightening his tie.
Tony rose without a word.
Only Sally seemed reluctant. She continued to sit a bit longer, looking as if she were trying to think of something to say. After a moment, she got up and left with the others.
Chris was dialing Peter’s number before they were out the door. She put down the receiver, sighing. “No answer.”
“Look,” I said, “I’ll go out and get sandwiches.” She nodded.
“I’ll go with you,” said Rob. It was obvious Chris needed to be alone.
We came back with three pastramis on rye and three Cokes. Rob ate all of his, I managed half of mine, and Chris stared into space while we ate. Every now and then she’d pick up half her sandwich and stare at it instead of the horizon, but she never got as far as biting into it.
She called Peter’s again. No answer. “I’m going over there.”
“Chris, you can’t–”
“Rebecca, this is no time to be cool.”
Rob looked baffled, but I had to give Chris credit. She’d put her finger on the very thing I was thinking–when your boyfriend stands you up, you shouldn’t go spying on him or he might get the idea you like him. Maybe I’d never grow up.
“I guess not,” I said. “I think we should all go.”
She didn’t protest.
Peter didn’t answer his doorbell, and the manager didn’t answer hers. But just as we were about to give up, a woman who recognized Chris came in from walking her dog and let us in. We climbed the two flights of smelly stairs to Peter’s apartment and knocked. He didn’t answer. Chris tried the door–and jumped back when it opened.
Rob pushed it wide enough to see what police call “signs of a struggle.” A lamp was knocked over, and one of Peter’s charcoal drawings hung askew, as if someone had fallen against the wall. The furniture was like that, too–sort of pushed around and out of place. Peter was sitting on the couch, staring at us. He was wearing a white terrycloth robe with a number of bullet holes in it. Peter’s blood had run out of his chest and
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Bad Girl School
Genre: Teen & Young Adult
TEEN BURGLAR REENO SEEMS LIKE A SERIOUS BADASS–
–with her raspberry hair, her snake tattoos, and her well-developed crime skills…
No one would guess she’s hiding a tragic secret: her sister Haley’s dying of an illness no one can diagnose, andReeno’s stealing to help out with a little extra money. But poof, one tiny screw-up and the most accomplished teen burglar in California is sentenced to Bad Girl School.
It turns out maybe that’s the place to be–Reeno quickly discovers a secret about herself–she’s psychic. To her amazement, her fellow school psychics have found each other and formed their own club, the Ozone Rangers. With the help of the Rangers, Reeno finds out Haley’s disease is the result of an ancient Mayan curse. And A.B., the group’s magical, cuddly, but extremely sinister non-faculty adviser, claims he knows how to break it.
All Reeno has to do is time-travel to an ancient Mayan city and steal a little item A.B. needs to save the world. Since she’s an ace thief, he has complete confidence she can do it before the outraged Mayans can chop off her head and use it for a soccer ball. Plenty of thrills and chills along the way in this action-packedgirls’ adventure! Along with first love, some fascinating new friends, and a cat so bad you can’t help but love him.
But the real star is Reeno herself, at first a sad but brave girl who sees no way out of a horrible tragedy until she’s called upon by fate–and her love for her sister– to develop skills she didn’t know she had in an adventure of–we might as well say it–real life magic that will take every ounce of her courage and ability. She’ll make you laugh at her plucky wit, delight you with her quick thinking, and she may even move you to tears with her deep feelings for her friends and family. (Not to mention a certain really cute guy.)
EVER WONDER WHY THE WORLD DIDN’T END IN 2012? YOU CAN THANK REENO DIMOND, TEEN BURGLAR
(FORMERLY TITLED CURSEBUSTERS)
WHO WILL LIKE IT: Anyone 12 and up who likes psychics, time-travel, magic, boarding school adventures, cats, and bad girls. Also books like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls and Heist Society series, C.L. Stone’s The Academy series, Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and of course time travel adventures like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children., the classic A Wrinkle In Time, and the irresistible Back to the Future trilogy.
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