Book Review – The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin

First published, 2014

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The story follows several central protagonists including: detective, Michael Talbot, disgraced former detective and newly released prisoner, Luca d’Andrea, journalist John Riley, Ida, a secretary working a side investigation out of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and a young Lewis (later Louis) Armstrong, as they scour the streets of New Orleans, Louisiana, searching for the elusive and deadly, Axeman.

As the Axeman issues a threat to the citizens of New Orleans, instructing them that unless they hire bands and “jazz it” the following Tuesday night, they will risk his wrath and death by axe, our multiple intrepid investigators hunt the man, who could be a demon, before the next fall of the blade.

The writing is rich and fierce; powerful stuff. The descriptions are so well written and, if I can make a recommendation here, you’ll want to remove all distractions to read this one. As the story follows multiple perspectives, and has many characters to get to know, you’ll want to wallow in it for a time. I wish I’d known that before I read it because, the story of the Axeman is true – I don’t believe he was ever identified – and with the additional introduction of a young Lewis Armstrong, I found myself getting thrown off course by phone calls and emails, ordinary stuff.

There’s no way ordinary stuff should intrude on a book like this.