New Orleans Beat

Julie Smith, Author
Julie Smith, Author Ballantine Books $21.5 (359p) ISBN 978-0-449-90743-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 368 pages - 978-0-8041-1336-6
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Edgar-winning Smith's latest Detective Skip Langdon story, (following Jazz Funeral ) falters as the New Orleans homicide cop's inattention to detail and normal police procedure needlessly prolong a complex case. Geoff Kavanagh's fatal fall from a ladder at home draws little attention until Skip's routine investigation raises suspicions. The 31-year-old man, who was still living with his mother and his stepfather, was by all accounts shy and immature. Skip learns, however, that he had had an active virtual life on TOWN, the computer bulletin board whose members suspect their friend was murdered. Geoff had recently talked online about having strange flashbacks to his father's death 25 years earlier, a scene that his mother insists he did not witness. Suspecting a TOWN member may have murdered both Geoff and his father, Skip delves into the network. In the process she puts off questioning other key figures. At the same time, her personal life nearly overshadows her work as her lover, Steve, remains in California and she meets a new man, teacher and bartender Darryl Boucree. Readers eager for an update of Skip's biography may be pleased with this installment, which will sorely disappoint those expecting a solid procedural. Author tour. (July)
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