Sunday, August 17, 2014

New Orleans Requiem: Review

Astor + Blue Editions is proud to release New Orleans Requiem (ISBN: 978-1-938231-36-0; Fiction / Mystery & Suspense; $5.99 E-Book) the latest Broussard mystery by DJ Donaldson.

Synopsis (provided in review request):

Andy Broussard, the “Plump and Proud” New Orleans medical examiner, obviously loves food.  Less apparent to the casual observer is his hatred of murderers. Together with his gorgeous sidekick, psychologist Kit Franklyn, Broussard forms a powerful, although improbable, mystery solving duo.

 It’s a bizarre case for Andy and Kit.  A man is found in Jackson Square, stabbed, one eyelid removed and four Scrabble tiles with the letters KOJE on his chest. Soon, there’s a second victim, also stabbed and missing one eyelid, but this time with only three letters on his chest, KOJ.  The pattern is unmistakable, but does it mean there will be two more victims and then the killer will go away, or is he leading up to something bigger and deadlier?

Broussard and Kit use their disciplines to profile the killer, but it soon becomes clear that the clues and objects they’ve found are part of a sick game that the killer is playing with Broussard; a game most likely engineered by one of the hundreds of attendees at the annual forensics meeting being held in New Orleans.  Has Broussard finally met his match?

My Take:  New Orleans Requiem is one of several re-releases of Donaldson's books by Astor + Blue Editions. Originally published in the late 80s and early 90s, the heroes of Donaldson's stories have no cell phones, only beepers, and the presenters at the forensics meeting use actual slide shows instead of Power Point presentations. So, we all get to go for a short time travel trip to a time when one cut phone line can mean life or death for one of the characters. The story itself, however, doesn't feel dated at all.

Serial killers and high-suspense thrillers are, generally speaking, not my cup of tea. But the description of Broussard and Kit put me in mind of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin and the scrabble tile clues made for a nice hook to draw me in. It also helps that this is more a blend of police procedural/forensic investigation than a straight-up serial killer fest. I thoroughly enjoyed Broussard and Kit and the way their skills complement each other. Kit regards Broussard as a mentor as well as a colleague and so often feels like she isn't quite measuring up, but without her skills and input there is little chance that he would arrive at the correct solution. 

A fast-paced thriller with much of the classic whodunnit. There is a really nice twist at the end and the final reveal came as a big surprise. Enjoyable read for thriller, police procedural, and whodunnit fans alike.  ★★★★

[Disclaimer: My review policy is posted on my blog, but just to reiterate....The book was offered to me for impartial review and I have received no payment of any kind. All comments are entirely my own honest opinion.]


fredamans said...

You had me at fast-paced thriller. :-) Great review!

Peggy Ann said...

This book is up next on my list! And the scrabble tiles got me too. Looking forward to it now!

Anonymous said...

Never read any of these Bev - thanks, sounds really good.

Ryan said...

I got all the review requests for this one, but I passed on it. I wonder if I should have gone for it now.

Bev Hankins said...

Ryan: I think you'd like it.

Yvette said...

Ooooh, this sounds good, Bev. Never heard of this author or these books before. I'm adding this to my list immnediately if not sooner.

P.S. I don't like 'serial killer fests' either. :)