The Axeman's Jazz (City Blues Quartet)

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9781447258889: The Axeman's Jazz (City Blues Quartet)
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Axemans Jazz

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About the Author:

Ray Celestin lives in London. He studied Asian art and languages at university and is a script writer for film and TV, as well as publishing several short stories. His first novel The Axeman's Jazz won the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed follow-up Dead Man's Blues.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Prologue

New Orleans, May 1919

John Riley stumbled into the offices of the New Orleans Times–Picayune an hour and a half after he was supposed to have started work. He sat at his desk, took a long, slow breath, and raised his eyes to peer about the room. Even in his befuddled state he could see his colleagues stealing glances at him, and he wondered exactly how unkempt he must look. He had been out the night before, at his usual spot on Elysian Fields Avenue, and he raised a hand to his face to make sure he wasn't still perspiring. When his fingers rubbed against a stubble at least two days old, he felt a pang of regret for not having sought out a mirror before his arrival.

He looked at his desk, and his gaze landed on his typewriter. Its black metal frame, its crescent of type bars, its levers and keys all made the thing seem daunting somehow, cold and hard and otherworldly, and he realized he wasn't in a fit enough state to start writing just yet. He'd need a few coffees, a packet of cigarettes, and maybe a lunchtime brandy before he was ready to tackle anything requiring a fully functioning brain, so he decided to kill what was left of the morning with something that approximated work. He rose and stumbled over to the in tray where the letters to the editor were kept. He grabbed as many as he could, cradling them against his chest, and returned to his seat.

There was the usual correspondence from irate residents, people with complaints, know-it-alls, and those who used the letters page as a forum for arguing with one another. He selected a few of the longer diatribes to print, as they filled up the page more easily, then he sifted through the letters from people who claimed to have seen the Axeman. Since the killings had started a few months ago, the office had been inundated with letters from concerned residents who swore they had seen him on his way to some murder or other. Riley sighed and wondered why these people sent these things to the newspaper and not the police department. He lit a cigarette and picked up the last letter in the pile. It was an unusual-looking envelope, rice-paper thin, with no sender details, and the newspaper's address was written on it in a spidery scrawl of badly splattered, rust-colored liquid he hoped was ink. He took a drag on his cigarette and opened it with a fingernail.

Hell, May 6th, 1919

Esteemed Mortal:

They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and a demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman.

When I see fit, I shall come and claim other victims. I alone know whom they shall be. I shall leave no clue except my bloody ax, besmeared with blood and brains of he whom I have sent below to keep me company.

If you wish you may tell the police to be careful not to rile me. Of course, I am a reasonable spirit. I take no offense at the way they have conducted their investigations in the past. In fact, they have been so utterly stupid as to not only amuse me, but His Satanic Majesty, Francis Josef, etc. But tell them to beware. Let them not try to discover what I am, for it were better that they were never born than to incur the wrath of the Axeman. I don't think there is any need of such a warning, for I feel sure the police will always dodge me, as they have in the past. They are wise and know how to keep away from all harm.

Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer, which I am, but I could be much worse if I wanted to. If I wished, I could pay a visit to your city every night. At will I could slay thousands of your best citizens, for I am in close relationship with the Angel of Death.

Now, to be exact, at 12:15 (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to pass over New Orleans. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a little proposition to you people. Here it is:

I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose home a jazz band is in full swing at the time I have just mentioned. If everyone has a jazz band going, well then, so much the better for you people. One thing is certain and that is that some of your people who do not jazz it on Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the ax.

Well, as I am cold and crave the warmth of my native Tartarus, and it is about time I leave your earthly home, I will cease my discourse. Hoping that thou wilt publish this, that it may go well with thee, I have been, am, and will be the worst spirit that ever existed either in fact or realm of fancy.

The Axeman

Riley took a drag on his cigarette, put the letter down, and wondered if its author really was the Axeman, and if not, who the hell else would send something like that to the paper? Authentic or not, it'd be a sin not to print it. Riley grinned and rose, and his colleagues turned to look at him as he marched toward the editor's office. He didn't care to wonder if he should tell the authorities before going to press-in instances like this, it was better to ask for forgiveness than for permission. They'd print it, and the city would read it, and a chaos would descend, and New Orleans might well spiral into the greatest night it had ever seen.

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9781492609162: The Axeman

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ISBN 10:  1492609161 ISBN 13:  9781492609162
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark, 2015
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9781447258865: The Axeman's Jazz (City Blues Quartet)

London..., 2014
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9781447258896: The Axeman's Jazz

Mantle
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Book Description Pan MacMillan, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. 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.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.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. Seller Inventory # AA79781447258889

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Book Description Pan MacMillan, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. 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.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.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. Seller Inventory # AA79781447258889

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