The Axeman's Jazz, Paperback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Inspired by a true story, set against the heady backdrop of jazz-filled, mob-ruled New Orleans, The Axeman's Jazz by Ray Celestin is a gripping thriller announcing a major talent in historical crime fiction. Winner of the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger for Best Debut Crime Novel of the Year. Shortlisted for the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year Award As recommended on the Radio 2 Arts Show with Claudia Winkleman New Orleans, 1919. As a dark serial killer - The Axeman - stalks the city, three individuals set out to unmask him: Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot - Heading up the official investigation, but struggling to find leads, and harbouring a grave secret of his own. Former detective Luca d'Andrea - Now working for the mafia; his need to solve the mystery of The Axeman is every bit as urgent as that of the authorities. And Ida - A secretary at the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

Obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and dreaming of a better life, she stumbles across a clue which lures her and her musician friend, Louis Armstrong, to the case - and into terrible danger ...As Michael, Luca and Ida each draw closer to discovering the killer's identity, The Axeman himself will issue a challenge to the people of New Orleans: play jazz or risk becoming the next victim.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Historical mysteries
  • ISBN: 9781447258889



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A brilliant start leads to a lengthy, involved and slightly duller middle bird, before it picks up pace and ends on a high. An intriguing mystery with a twist of occult but more of corruption and organised crime. The New Orleans setting is well described, colourful and involving, but even this doesn't help the middle third meanderings. It seems as though the a author wants to explain and explore every aspect of this. Worth reading, but not keeping. An interesting debut but I am not sure I would buy anything further by this author.

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