Death Before Facebook (Skip Langdon #4) (Skip Langdon Mystery) (The Skip Langdon Series)

Written by Julie Smith

Death Before Facebook, formerly entitled New Orleans Beat, is the FOURTH book in the Edgar Award-winning Skip Langdon series by Julie Smith.
Reader-friendly from log-on to log-off.” –The Orlando Sentinel
“A peek into the sometimes dangerous world of the computer-obsessed, set in the sultry heat of New Orleans and tempered with just the right dose of Southern humor.” —USA Today


It’s a chilly November in 1994, and thirty-one-year-old Geoff Kavanagh surreptitiously splits his time between science fiction novels and cyberspace in his parents’ dilapidated, overgrown, uptown New Orleans mansion. Until his mother finds him dead from a suspicious fall off a ladder. Maybe he should never have posted about seeing his father murdered … because way too many people on the TOWN, a pre-Facebook virtual community, knew things about his family he didn’t even suspect. Decades-old skeletons start falling out of closets after Geoff’s untimely death, thanks to New Orleans Detective Skip Langdon. Langdon finds Geoff’s gorgeous mom strangely uninterested in her son’s fatal fall, but Mom’s apparently the only one. It seems the post has gone viral. Suddenly all the TOWNSpeople have theories—and ambition as cyberdetectives. What’s a murderer to do but kill his way out?

Calling the windup “a virtuoso spin on Rashomon,” Kirkus noted that, along the way, “Smith worms her way deeply and painfully into her cast’s layers and layers of past relations, getting deeper than ever into Skip as well.”

Written in the mid-90s, Death Before Facebook is a suspenseful online murder mystery blast from the past: THE NET meets Prime Suspect.

“If you haven’t discovered Smith yet, now is the time to do so . . . Move over, Sara Paretsky.” —KPFA-FM (Berkeley, CA)

“A poisonous bouquet from a still-rising star.” –Kirkus

“When Geoff was four years old, he and his mother came home one night to find his father dead on the bedroom floor. Shot with his own revolver—he was a cop.”

“A cop!”

“In your very own department. Geoff thought he could remember coming home—climbing the stairs with his mother, going into the bedroom, and finding the body. But once he’d asked her, and she said it wasn’t like that at all. She said Geoff ran right up the stairs and went to the bathroom; meanwhile Marguerite—that’s his mother—went into the bedroom and turned on the light. It was all she could do to keep from screaming, but she didn’t want little Geoffrey to know what was going on, so she turned out the light, closed the door, and went downstairs to call the cops.”

“Pretty damn cool.”

“Well, who knows what really happened? That’s just what she told Geoff. Anyway, it got him to thinking his own memory was bogus—or might be. And after he had that dream, he kept getting these weird flashbacks, if you want to call them that, like incest survivors are supposed to have—little half-memories. Like being in bed and hearing an argument. Running down the hall. His mother’s face. His dad on the floor… actually, he had that one all the time, from before his mother told him he’d never seen that. Do you see what I’m getting at?”

“He posted this stuff?’


“Under his own name?”

“You can’t hide your identity on the TOWN—you have a user ID, but anyone can check you out in about two seconds. Geoff was Vidkid.”

“So if it was true, if he really had witnessed the murder, or had even been in the house when one was committed, he was putting it out there for the world to know. Is that what you’re saying?”

“That was our reasoning, yes. When we found out about the ‘accident’.”

Skip could see why this was the talk of the TOWN.


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