Book: The Neon Smile

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Book:

The Neon Smile: A Novel

Author: Dick Lochte
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Publisher: Simon & Schuster

When Terry Manion, the New Orleans private investigator introduced in Blue Bayou, agrees to work for Pierre Reynaldo, the king of exploitation TV, he doesn’t have a clue about what he’s getting into. Reynaldo wants to reopen a case the police slammed shut thirty years ago—the racially motivated murder of Tyrone Pano, a black militant leader. But the more Manion learns about the case, the more personal it becomes. Both Manion’s father and his revered mentor, J.J. Legendre, had ties to Pano that might have been better left buried.

The Neon Smile takes the reader back to 1965, a fateful year for J. J. Legendre. It is then that Legendre, a young and cynical homicide detective, tackles both the Pano case and a series of brutal murders committed by a killer as clever as he is cold-blooded. Each victim is found with a voodoo doll, the signature previously employed by a nineteenth-century murderer known as the Meddler. Legendre connects past and present to end the Meddler’s new reign of terror.

But things are never what they seem in the Big Easy, and three decades later Manion must make a couple of connections his mentor missed—between the Meddler killings and the Pano case, between the violent unrest of the sixties and today’s more subtle racial politics.

The Chicago Tribune thought Blue Bayou possessed “the same kind of energy and imagination as prime Elmore Leonard and even vintage Richard Condon.” This time that energy and imagination combine for a fast-paced thriller that spans three decades of fear, corruption, and violence.

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