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by Julie Smith
Forge Books, August 2003
304 pages
ISBN: 0765305526

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

It's May in New Orleans and the flying Formosan termites are feasting on the house that Steve Steinman has just finished renovating. Skip Langdon is trying to keep him from learning the full meaning of this attack, but she is glad that he has moved from Los Angeles to be near her. Skip is generally happy. Her landlord, Jimmy Dee Scoggin has allowed Layne Bilderbeck, his partner, to move in. Jimmy Dee's niece and nephew are now living with him and have accepted Layne and Skip as members of the family. The New Orleans police department have no more than the usual number of crimes to handle, so Skip doesn't feel overworked, so except for the Asian water hyacinths choking the bayou and the Formosan flying termites, things seem to be better than usual.

Then there is a near miss. A sniper tries to get Skip, but she escapes. Her nemesis the white trash preacher, Errol Jacomine, is back in her life. Skip is not allowed to try and locate Jacomine, but instead is made head of the Cemetery Theft division, a high profile job. She chafes at trying to find the missing angels, urns, and other pieces of artwork stolen from the above-ground cemeteries of New Orleans, and spends her spare time trying to track down Errol, who has remade himself, again. Then Steve's dog is poisoned and Skip goes after Jacomine in earnest.

The action moves between the Mean Woman, Detective Skip Langdon, and Dallas, where Jacomine, remade into a new image, but really the same evil person, now lives. Skip and her friends have been gone for too long. The last Langdon book was 82 DESIRE in 1998. I, for one, am glad she's back.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, July 2003

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