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New Orleans Requiem (An Andy Broussard/Kit Franklyn Mystery)

New Orleans Requiem by D.J. Donaldson is an older book that is being re-released by Astor+Blue and I am glad I got the opportunity to check it out. It follows portly New Orleans Medical Examiner Andy Broussard and Kit Franklyn, his lovely profiler. This time, a series of murders occurs during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, for which Broussard is a scheduled speaker. It's almost like a reunion as he gets to see old friends like Hugh Greenwood, Leo Fleming, and Crandall "Brookie" Brooks, whose wife Susan was a dear friend to Broussard and who recently died of cancer. Broussard also runs into a few enemies, or at least rivals in his field, like Jason Harvey, and former employee Zin Fanelli.

The bodies are peculiar because the murderer is toying with the cops, namely Phil Gatlin, Broussard's longtime friend, Broussard himself, and Kit. He leaves clues on the bodies such as Scrabble tiles, a newspaper and strategically-placed hairs, and even removes an eyelid post-mortem. With each successive body, one less Scrabble tile is left, forcing the crime-solvers to catch him before the body count hits 4 and the murderer could be gone forever. As Broussard works the hair and fiber angle, Kit follows the Scrabble tiles, with a little helpful hint from her boyfriend Teddy Labiche and her favorite restaurant proprietor, Grandma O. These clues lead her to a band from the 80's called The Heartbeats, and since the victims were all stabbed in the heart, she could be on the right track. But what happens when Broussard and Kit discover the killer could be someone in their own profession of forensics and worse yet, could be coming after them? Chaos, that's what.

While New Orleans Requiem is a good book and Broussard and Kit are delightful characters, any reader will have to take the age of this book and its unaltered state with a grain of salt. Fortunately, author Donaldson chose not to modernize the story because that would have taken away from it, but it's hard to read this story and not want to shout at the characters to simply pick up their cell phones or Google the info they are looking for, instead of walking or driving to people's offices and the library. Oh, how times have changed. Regardless, it's still a good mystery and a fun read, just be aware that it does date itself a bit with the lack of technology.

D.J. Donaldson always spins a clever yarn with his lovable characters Andy Broussard and Kit Franklyn, and New Orleans Requiem is no exception. If you like your mysteries with a side of Cajun spice, check it out.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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