Chicago homicide detective Kate Delaney fiercely defends victims. Which is why -- despite death threats -- she's testifying to a federal grand jury about local police corruption. It's also why she's infuriated by the New Orleans police department's blase attitude toward her estranged sister's death. But pursuing an investigation in a strange city means allying with someone who knows the territory. And the players. Someone with a total disregard for the rules.
As an ex-cop from a police family, New Orleans PI Nick Broussard knows that cops live by their own code. You don't rat out a fellow officer. The last thing he needs is some smart-mouthed, by-the-book outsider unknowingly injecting herself into his undercover search for the truth. Even worse is the way she conjures up visions of tangled sheets....
Nick and Kate's chase pits them against the criminal underworld of the sultry southern city. And as they peel away layers of deadly deception, they discover a dark secret too many are willing to kill to keep.
Ross's return to the bayous of Louisiana sizzles with the sensuality and danger fans of her romantic thrillers have come to expect, as Chicago detective Kate Delaney travels to post-Katrina New Orleans to investigate the supposed suicide of her estranged twin sister. Once there, Kate finds she can't trust the NOPD, so joins forces with bad-boy private investigator Nick Broussard, a former New Orleans police officer recently thrown off the force. Their investigation turns up a killer, a plague of corruption and a mystery assailant whose target is unclear; is Kate the next victim of a serial killer, or are Nick's crime world contacts looking to silence him? Though Nick and Kate's instant attraction might seem predictable and precipitous-yes, she's a "no-nonsense, Joe Friday, Yankee police detective" and he's "the most frustrating man she'd ever met"-the scintillating love scenes it yields shouldn't disappoint. Though new readers will find Ross's casual, chatty prose style a love-it-or-hate-it affair, it pairs well with the Big Easy backdrop, and her deliberate pace pays off in the powerful, action-packed conclusion. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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February 26, 2007
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Excerpt from No Safe Place by JoAnn Ross
They came for Nick Broussard in the dark, guns drawn, harsh shouts shattering the night.
It was 0430 hours, a time in the morning that the navy referred to as "oh-dark thirty," when all but the most determined party animals or chronic drunks were asleep -- or at least passed out -- in bed.
As he'd been. Until they'd stormed onto his ketch, dressed all in black like ninjas, pistols drawn.
"On your knees!" one of them screamed, his voice cracking with the same nervous adrenaline that slammed into Nick's bloodstream like a Stinger missile. "Hands on top of your head."
"Hey, stay cool, cher. I know the drill."
Hadn't he been on the other end of it enough times? Both as a Navy SEAL and, more recently, before he'd been thrown off the force, an NOPD cop.
Nick's head nearly exploded as he crawled out of bed, laced his fingers together on top of his pounding skull, and refused to flinch when the metal barrel pressed against his temple.
The kid on the other end of the pistol had a shiny, beardless face that made him look as if he hadn't made it out of adolescence.
Had he ever been that freaking young?
Nah. When your father was Antoine Broussard, an angry, brawling man with an explosive, white-hot temper, you grew up real fast.
A storm had boiled in from the Gulf; the torrential rain hammering on the deck of The Hoo-yah created a thick, slanting curtain of white noise that must've been why he hadn't heard them coming.
It had to have been the rain. Or all the damn Jack Daniel's he'd drunk last night. Because the only other possibility was that he was losing his edge. Which would suggest he might be getting old.
And wasn't that a fun thought?
Nah. Couldn't be. Six months ago he'd been running black op missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Sure, he'd been wounded, but a little shrapnel in the thigh and chest couldn't make a guy go downhill that fast.
Hell, no. Still, getting older was definitely preferable to an up close and personal meeting with the Grim Reaper. Which could well be in his future if these thugs decided to take a little drive out into the swamp.
There were four of them, and one of him. Which might present a problem for some Delta Force dog-face, but if you were a SEAL, well, hey, that just meant the odds were in your favor.
His problem was, he had to keep his eye on the mission. Which meant if he took the bad guys out, he might fail to infiltrate Leon LeBlanc's organization. Which wasn't an option.
"Y'all cops?" The easy conversational tone wasn't easy given that his mouth was dry as Death Valley and tasted like he'd sucked up every last bit of mud in the Mississippi delta. "Or maybe LeBlanc sent you?"
Getting the attention of the guy who ran the South Louisiana rackets was what had put him in that Algiers bar last night. And that, in turn, was responsible for what he suspected was going to end up being the mother of all hangovers. The trouble with going undercover was that you had to act like the bad guys. Who last night had appeared to be trying to drink the state of Louisiana dry.
"Shut the hell up!" A big ugly thug, built like a refrigerator, slammed a steel-toed boot into his back.
A shock of fiery pain tore up Nick's back. Hell, he'd be pissing blood for a week.
If he stayed alive that long.
Nick wasn't afraid of death. Back when he'd been providing rapid response in hot spots all over the world, he'd faced it down more than once. Besides, any guy afraid to die was a guy who was afraid to live. And the one thing Nick had always had in common with his brawling, alcoholic old man was that he believed in living life to the fullest.
"Let's go, Broussard." The refrigerator jerked Nick to his feet.