Julie Smith

EDGAR-Winning author

USA TODAY best selling author

Detective Skip Langdon

She's possibly the most striking looking cop in New Orleans--six feet tall, tumbling brown curly hair, green eyes, and overweight. And she has one of the most curious backgrounds: former debutante and Carnival queen, Tulane flunkout, boozer, doper, all around screw-up. and daughter of one of the City's most prominent doctors. She just never felt at home in the Garden District with all those little bird-like women and heavy curtains, pushy parents who used her for their own social advantage, and the mass of Southern manners and mores she was expected to know without being taught.

So she rebelled. Big-time. But one day she stopped a purse snatcher, and it occurred to her there was one job where her size might come in handy, and which would have a further advantage--it would really scandalize her parents. She marched right down and became a New Orleans police officer, then proceeded to do her best to prove the old adage that cops and criminals are two sides of a coin--she still doesn't care much for rules, and she still takes the occasional toke. Her private life? It gets increasingly complicated with each book. For openers, her best friend is her gay landlord, Jimmy Dee Scoggin, and he hates her boy friend, documentary filmmaker Steve Steinman. There's a lot more going on among Skip, Jimmy Dee, police psychologist Cindy LouWootten, and a handsome musician named Darryl Boucree, who also happens to be Talba Wallis' boy friend, but that could fill volumes--and does.

In some ways, Skip is my alter ego--the main way, I think, being the feeling we both have of being an alien in our hometowns. Then, too, I can't really deny having outlaw tendencies. I've tried to build on her character with each book, enriching her relationships and watching her grow from rookie to smart cookie. In the first book, NEW ORLEANS MOURNING she's about as green as they come. Three or four books later, she's a department superstar (which has its own attendant problems).

You can pick up any one of the series and get what's going on, but I think its more fun to start with the first and watch her life unfold.