The Axeman's Jazz by Julie Smith
A Skip Langdon Novel (Skip Langdon Novels)

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Synopsis

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.
 

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 January 16, 2014 by booksBnimble. 372 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Axeman's Jazz

Kirkus Reviews

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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.

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Publishers Weekly

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Appealing heroine Skip Langdon is assigned to the team tracking a serial killer who preys on Alcoholics Anonymous members.

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Publishers Weekly

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It's a steamy August in New Orleans and a murderer has borrowed the name of the Axeman, a serial killer who roamed the city in 1919.

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