Book Review: The Axeman’s Jazz


Book Review

I’m a rookie reader when it comes to the crime genre. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say I’m not its biggest fan. My preferred stories tend to be more upbeat, and somewhat magical.

I am, however, also a reader who likes to be surprised. I also love a good novel title and an eye-catching cover. Ray Celestin’s crime thriller, “The Axeman’s Jazz”, delivers on both counts.

“The Axeman’s Jazz” is set in 1919 New Orleans, and as music fills the city, a serial killer strikes . . .

OK, I figured out early on that “upbeat” wasn’t quite what this book would deliver!

While Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot tries to solve the mystery of the Axeman, other characters are intent on the same purpose. These include a former detective with Mob ties, Luca D’Andrea, and Pinkerton Detective Agency employee Ida Davis.

Throw into the mix a young, upcoming trumpeter by the name of Louis Armstrong, and you have a novel with a set of absorbing characters determined to unearth a killer’s identity.

Celestin’s writing evocatively brings “The Big Easy” location to life; you can hear the faint sound of jazz emanating from dimly-lit bars as the rain drums its tinny beat against window panes.

The characters’ sense of duty, amid Mob influence and voodoo superstitions, makes you care for each of them in an impartial way. And the plot definitely had me guessing all the way through, as the hunt for the Axeman intensified.

So, did the novel live up to my expectation? Let’s just say I have already set my eye on the second book in Celestin’s “City Blues Quartet” series, “Dead Man’s Blues”.

Chicago here I come . . .

“The Axeman’s Jazz” is by Ray Celestin and is available in hardback.

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Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.