Keep Your Wits About You: The Axeman’s Jazz

I am particularly fond of this genre of literature at the moment. It was during my A Level English Literature study of Brighton Rock that I found myself drawn to the mystery and intrigue that comes from crime thrillers. And as the winner of the Crime Thriller Awards, I had high hopes for this debut.

Firstly, this is incredibly well conceived and developed as a story. The reader follows a number of trails as the murder is slowly solved. Our usual detective is split in three and comes in the form of a former corrupt policeman, the now highly ranked man who jailed him, and the ambitious female Sherlock enthusiast. Although this provides a unique method of piecing together the conclusion, I found the many perspectives at times a little confusing. I like to believe I am good with names, though I found myself trying to recall a number of individuals as name after name was introduced. Maybe I read The Axeman too slowly and its design is for quick reading.

The conclusion though was exciting as it stormed towards the finale. The pace increased and the tension reached a crescendo. I was willing the detectives to uncover the mystery as they risked it all to bring justice to New Orleans. Unlike many crime novels, the big reveal really was left until the final moments, which was a great way to leave the reader questioning.

I would be wary to recommend this book to a slow reader, or someone who lacks the determination to follow it through, however I did find this an enthralling story. Like the jazz the Axeman is named after, the story is non-syncopated and unpredictable, which somehow creates a wonderful euphony.

The Axeman’s Jazz: Ray Celestin


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