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

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

There are certain things that you can count on--death, taxes and that the Formosan termites will return to New Orleans every May to feast on that city's structures. And in Homicide Detective Skip Langford's life, there's one other given--that her enemy and nemesis, Errol Jacomine, oh so clever and oh so evil, will some day return and when he does, he will be out to kill Skip. She's thwarted his plans more than once; but she knows that she cannot underestimate the man and his clever ways.

Jacomine's eldest son, Daniel, has just been convicted of murder and Skip is on red alert as she feels that Jacomine will be out to avenge his son. In spite of the peril in her professional realm, her personal life is going remarkably well. Her lover, Steve Steinman, has moved from LA and settled in to a new home; and their relationship only seems to grow stronger. Little does she know that Jacomine is going to jeopardize their alliance, forcing her to lie to the man that she adores and robbing him of a loved one.

Jacomine has been living under another identity in Texas. Despite the fact that he has altered his physical appearance dramatically, he is recognized. And once that happens, there's hell to pay for everyone that has had any connection to him--his younger son, Isaac; Isaac's girlfriend, Terri; Jacomine's first wife, his second wife, various business associates, Skip Langdon and so on. Basically, Jacomine sheds his false protections and leads everyone else on to a trail of tears.

Jacomine's delusions are interestingly conceived, and the book is well plotted with several interrelated threads. I didn't get much of a sense of New Orleans, but part of the reason for that is a portion of the book is set in Texas. The story is more about Jacomine than Skip. I found it difficult to see why she was so intimidated by him since she is essentially a strong character.

Smith does an excellent job of portraying the more vulnerable side of Skip as well as showcasing her strengths. The one character that I really felt was well done was Jacomine's second wife, Karen. At first she seems like a trophy wife, but there's a lot more substance to her than one would first suspect. She was much more richly developed as a character than Jacomine, who was more of the central focus of the book.

Reviewed by Maddy Van Hertbruggen, September 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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