Neon Smile by Dick Lochte

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When Terry Manion, the New Orleans private investigator introduced in Blue Bayou, agrees to work for Pierre Reynaldo, the king of exploitation TV, he doesn't have a clue about what he's getting into. Reynaldo wants to reopen a case the police slammed shut thirty years ago -- the racially motivated murder of Tyrone Pano, a black militant leader. But the more Manion learns about the case, the more personal it becomes. Both Manion's father and his revered mentor, J.J. Legendre, had ties to Pano that might have been better left buried.

The Neon Smile takes the reader back to 1965, a fateful year for J. J. Legendre. It is then that Legendre, a young and cynical homicide detective, tackles both the Pano case and a series of brutal murders committed by a killer as clever as he is cold-blooded. Each victim is found with a voodoo doll, the signature previously employed by a nineteenth-century murderer known as the Meddler. Legendre connects past and present to end the Meddler's new reign of terror.

But things are never what they seem in the Big Easy, and three decades later Manion must make a couple of connections his mentor missed -- between the Meddler killings and the Pano case, between the violent unrest of the sixties and today's more subtle racial politics.

The Chicago Tribune thought Blue Bayou possessed "the same kind of energy and imagination as prime Elmore Leonard and even vintage Richard Condon." This time that energy and imagination combine for a fast-paced thriller that spans three decades of fear, corruption, and violence.


About Dick Lochte

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Dick Lochte is the author of the prize-winning Sleeping Dog, as well as the recent highly praised Terry Manion mystery Blue Bayou. A former book columnist for the Los Angeles Times, he is drama critic for Los Angeles Magazine and is a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, and The Armchair Detective. Born and raised in New Orleans, Lochte currently resides in Southern California with his wife, son, and a seventy-five-pound Bouvier with the body of a bear and the soul of a poet.
Published June 28, 2012 by Perfect Crime Books. 281 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

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Exploitation TV has finally caught up with Tyrone Pano--the ``Panther Man'' of New Orleans civil rights who, 30 years ago, killed himself after being jailed for shooting Lillian Davis, his follower in the League for Black Advancement.

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Publishers Weekly

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is seen embroiled in the ramifications of Pano's arrest for the murder of an FBI plant, while supposedly solving the serial murder case of the Meddler, an imitator of a Marie Laveau voodoo-era killer.

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