MURDER ON MAGAZINE picks up in New Orleans, putting Skip back onto her old familiar beat -- but with a very modern twist: the killing she's investigating took place via an "AirBnBad" short-term rental, and it's quickly clear that not only is the trend for these rentals ruining residential areas of the city; it's making it way, way too easy for pimps and prostitutes to operate under false ID in those spare-cash bedrooms.
Told from two viewpoints -- Skip's, and that of Cody, a half-child victim of sex trafficking who may also be a killer -- the action is quick and intense. After all, valuable prostitutes aren't readily released by the people who've "owned" them, and Cody's quick and cute but with those pink tips to her hair, sort of memorable; the hard-core criminals know how and where to find her. Of more concern, so might her last client, the "Whale." But with some tech support, Skip too is a force to reckon with. And Julie Smith allows time to get inside Skip's mind, as well as her dog-loving heart:
First Miguel's death and Lloyd's arrest, then, barely a day later, during her nice January "barbecue," Abasolo's phone call. Sometimes it seemed like one step backward for every step forward. The Whale was on the move.
Skip couldn't believe what she was looking at. Or rather, she didn't want to. She didn't even want to be a cop today. She wanted to walk time back and arrange to be out of the country so she wouldn't have to see this. Because it was ugly and terrifying and heralded so many more bad things she felt her throat close and nausea roil her stomach. ... It was obvious to both of them: the wannabe serial killer who'd first attacked the dog and then the pink-haired girl -- and probably killed Benjamin Solo -- had now achieved his goal. He'd embarked on a killing spree that wasn't going to stop until they got him.If you've been longing for a new book from this seasoned New Orleans writer, here's a chance to get back to Skip Langdon -- and if you've never happened to read Smith's mysteries, well, as of the moment of writing this, two Skip Langdon stories were on the author's website as a free ebook. What a chance! Have fun, and enjoy the nostalgia.
PS: Looking for more mystery reviews, from cozy to very dark? Browse the Kingdom Books mysteries review blog here.