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Ray Celestin Axemans Jazz

ISBN 13: 9781447258889

Axemans Jazz

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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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Ray Celestin
Published by Pan Macmillan, United Kingdom (2015)
ISBN 10: 1447258886 ISBN 13: 9781447258889
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Book Description 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 # LIB9781447258889

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Book Description 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 # FOY9781447258889

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Book Description Paperback. Condition: new. Paperback. Winner of the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger for Best Debut Crime Novel of the Year "Superb." Guardian Crime Books of the Year "Gripping" Sunday Times New Orleans, 1919. As a dark serial killer - The Axeman - stalks the city, three individuals set out to unmask him . . . Though every citizen of the 'Big Easy' thinks they know who could be behind the terrifying murders, Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot, heading up the official investigation, is struggling to find leads. But Michael has a grave secret - and if he doesn't get himself on the right track fast - it could be exposed . . . Former detective Luca d'Andrea has spent the last six years in Angola state penitentiary, after Michael, his protegee, blew the whistle on his corrupt behaviour. Now a newly freed man, Luca is back working with the mafia, whose need to solve the mystery of the Axeman is every bit as urgent as the authorities'. Meanwhile, Ida is a secretary at the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and dreaming of a better life, Ida 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. And as the case builds to its crescendo, the sky will darken and a great storm will loom over the city . . . Inspired by a true story, The Axeman's Jazz, set against the heady backdrop of jazz-filled, mob-ruled New Orleans, is an ambitious, gripping thriller announcing a major new talent in historical crime fiction. MORE PRAISE FOR THE AXEMAN'S JAZZ "the best debut I've read this year . A serial killer tale that captures its time and place with real style." Scotsman Crime Books of the Year "Smart, thrilling and dripping with class. A very special debut." Malcolm Mackay, author of The Glasgow Trilogy "Debut novelist Ray Celestin has based his beguiling crime thriller on the true story of a serial killer who terrorised New Orleans for more than a year after the First World War. Beautifully written, the evocative prose brings the jazz-filled, mob-ruled 'Big Easy' of pre-prohibition America to life in glorious effect with a story full of suspense and intrigue. Stunning" Sunday Express "A rewarding crime novel, swinging its way to a terrifying denouement with all the panache of a New Orleans marching band. This is an excellent debut, with a promise of more good mysteries to come." The Times New Orleans 1919. As music fills the city, a serial killer strikes . . . Inspired by a true story, Ray Celestin's The Axeman's Jazz is a sinister debut crime thriller. Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. Seller Inventory # 9781447258889

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