Crescent City Kill

Julie Smith, Author
Julie Smith, Author Ballantine Books $23.5 (326p) ISBN 978-0-449-91000-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 368 pages - 978-0-8041-1397-7
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New Orleans policewoman Skip Langdon gets a return engagement with her evil nemesis Errol Jacomine, who appeared in last year's The Kindness of Strangers. This time, Jacomine is heading an ominous group known only as the Jury, whose intent is to rectify perceived failures of justice by the simple expedient of assassination. Their first target shares many similarities with O.J. Simpson. Their second is a bit surprising. After the newly appointed, much-respected New Orleans police chief is shot by a white supremacist, Skip is one of the cops in on the quick arrest. But their prisoner is snatched from them by an assassin's bullet. The Jury has struck again. While Skip targets the megalomaniac Jacomine with the aid of the FBI, Jacomine is also targeting Skip--who not only ruined his previous plans but continues to obstruct his present ones. Smith adroitly weaves a number of subplots around the children and grandchildren (in particular, a granddaughter) of the twisted Jacomine. With a bloody kidnapping and a tense hostage situation reminiscent of Waco, Skip has to put her life on the line to save an innocent child. The New Orleans ambiance is less pronounced than in most Skip Langdon mysteries, but Smith's colorful characterizations and the showdown with Jacomine make this an excellent addition to the series. (Aug.)
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