Posts Tagged ‘The Axeman’s Jazz’

Well, I finally managed to read something! Not two as I had hoped but at least it’s better than none !

Book 37 – The Axeman’s Jazz, by Ray Celestin. It’s 1919, and New Orleans is being haunted by a demon – The Axeman, a serial killer who haunts the shadows and leaves tarot cards on his victims. Hunting him are Michael Talbot, a police officer whose personal life skirts the edges of the law; Luca d’Andrea, Mafia man, Michael’s one-time mentor and recent parolee; and Detective Agency secretary Ida, who desperately wants something more in her life, and who ropes in her musician friend Louis Armstrong to help.

The three follow different routes but all roads lead to murder: the segregated city a breeding ground for suspicion and mistrust.  It is only by moving into different parts of the city – socially and morally – that they can start piecing the clues together.

I enjoyed this, for the most part.  The Axeman murders are true crime but have been woven into an interesting and complex narrative where there are multiple truths and motives, all of which are as believable as each other.  Although the killings were gruesome this is not dwelt upon in too much detail, because it is the symbolism of each murder that draws the attention.

In fact the most gruesome part was a torture scene, and this was deeply unpleasant to read and changed the style in a way I can’t define.

Having Louis Armstrong as a key character seemed a bit unnecessary to me; there was no benefit to it so it felt like a gimmick.  If he really was involved in the case I would revise that opinion, of course, but I have not heard that before.

However, the mix of Italian, Creole, Black and Irish characters showed how the view of events and experiences is shaped by the where you view it from in a very thought-provoking way, and worked well with the idea of the segregated but all-encompassing city.

This is ultimately a detective novel with the twist of three detectives, but the use of true crime information coupled with the social elements made this one a bit different from the norm.

It’s definitely worth a read if you enjoy this genre.

Happy reading,



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