House of Blues by Julie Smith
An Action-Packed New Orleans Thriller; Skip Langdon #5 (The Skip Langdon Series 5)

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Synopsis

House of Blues is the FIFTH book in the Edgar Award-winning Skip Langdon Series by Julie Smith.

"...plenty of two-fisted action, tender romance, and nail-biting suspense..." -The Jackson Clarion Ledger

"One of the best of the Skip Langdon series. . . In the fast-growing field of fictional female police officers, New Orleans Homicide Detective Skip Langdon stands tall." -St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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.

"The real star of this superb effort is New Orleans, which has never seemed more dangerous or alluring—or less easy." -Publishers Weekly

"Smith brings the city strikingly alive." -Boston Sunday Globe

“...proves once again that Julie smith is one of our most talented mystery writers and that Skip Langdon is one of the most engaging modern detectives to have appeared on the American scene in the last two decades." -The Clarion Ledger

Fans of Ace Atkins, Tana French, and Marcia Muller will love cop-protagonist Skip Langdon’s pluck in this murder mystery of unusual emotional depth.

Excerpt:
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
 

About Julie Smith

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Mystery author Julie Smith was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1944. She graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in journalism. After graduation, she moved to New Orleans and wrote features for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. After a year, she moved to San Francisco and got a job at the San Francisco Chronicle. Fourteen years later, she left to form a freelance writing firm called Invisible Ink with two other women. In 1982, her first novel, Death Turns a Trick, was published. Since becoming a full-time author, she has written over twenty novels including the ones in the Rebecca Schwartz Mystery series, the Paul McDonald Mystery series, the Skip Langdon Mystery series, and the Talba Wallis series. Her novel, New Orleans Mourning, won the 1991 Edgar Allen Poe Award for best novel. She currently lives in New Orleans with her husband.
 
Published November 10, 2013 by booksBnimble. 352 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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