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. The modern-day Axeman has strangled a young woman and stabbed an elderly man, beside whose body a teddy bear is found. The letter ``A'' is scrawled near both corpses in lipstick and in blood. Both victims, it develops, were members of 12-point recovery programs modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous; the killer may be using the groups' anonymity as a shield. A most appealing heroine, Skip Langdon, first encountered in 1990 Edgar nominee New Orleans Mourning , is now a homicide detective assigned to the Axeman team. Risking her life, Skip must get close to suspects, among them beautiful but ditzy Di, a New Era devotee; the very angry Alex, ``a walking testosterone bomb'' who writes self-help books; Sonny Gerard, a stressed-out second-year medical student; and Missy, Sonny's overmothering girlfriend. With an acute ear for New Orleans speech and a sharp eye for the city's social stratification, Smith keeps the reader's heart palpitating to the end of this mystery of unusual depth, which leaves Skip in love, confident she's a good cop and triumphant over social-climbing, tradition-bound parents. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991 Release date: 09/01/1991 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.