Monday, 2 June 2014

The Axeman's Jazz by Ray Celestin

Review by The Mole

1919 and New Orleans is being plagued by a serial killer - an axe murderer who is becoming more and more gruesome in the killing of his victims. The victims have nothing in common to help the police to trace their killers and then a letter is received by the local newspaper saying when the next murder will take place but no-one will die who is listening to jazz music. In the meantime Detective Talbot is under threat of losing his job if he fails to find the killer soon. Luca, a corrupt detective who Talbot put in prison, has been released and is set the task of finding the killer by the Mafia. And at the same time Ida, an employee of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, sets out to find the killer after finding an old, abandoned witness statement suggesting someone knew something about the killer.

I found this book intriguing for many reasons but firstly the obvious one... Most detective novels have a whole heap of fumbling police and either one brilliant one or a private citizen who is a fantastic detective. In this we have three detectives, working independently to find a killer from different starting points and mainly oblivious to each other's efforts. And almost no suspects! Another very nice deviation from the norm was the fact that the other police officers were not fumbling incompetents but every bit as capable as 'our' man - and his boss was not some fiend out to get him either!

I managed to totally lose track of the body count as the murders piled up although, while many are gruesome they are not described in a gruesome manner to make the readers stomach turn. I did however, struggle to remember where we had met characters and how they finally fitted in to the picture - simply because of the body count!

The end game is something kind of special too. Three detectives, three endings and all of them the same result reflecting a different truth.

I really enjoyed this book but really wonder what the author can do for a second book. Can he surprise the reader a second time? There are lots of questions I would like to ask this author... now, where's my email?

Publisher - Mantle
Genre - Adult crime, historical fiction

Buy The Axeman's Jazz from Amazon

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