A stunning historical mystery from Ray Celestin, following on from the events of The Axeman's Jazz.
Ray Celestin is a novelist and screenwriter based in London. His debut novel, The Axeman's Jazz, won the CWA New Blood Dagger for best debut crime novel of the year, and was featured on numerous 'Books of the Year' lists. His follow-up, Dead Man's Blues, won the Historia Historical Thriller of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for a number of other awards, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year. The novels are part of his City Blues series, which charts the twin histories of jazz and the Mob through the middle fifty years of the twentieth century.
A magnificent crime novel, at least as good as his stunning 2014
debut . . . His portrait of an edgy, sexy, corrupt, dangerous,
deeply racially prejudiced city, where savage violence cohabited
with exciting music, is totally absorbing
Celestin certainly doesn’t short change us on plot as his book centres on investigations into the disappearance of a celebrity heiress, the brutal murder (complete with gouged-out eyes) of a gangster and an attempt to poison a group of pro-Capone city dignitaries. But he also packs in enough details about the people, buildings, musicians and criminals of Prohibition-era Chicago to fill a fair-sized history book. He writes so vividly that at times I was convinced I could see 1920s Chicago in front of me and, even more impressively, he writes so well about music that I could virtually hear it. His first book was one of the best crime novels of its year and this sequel is even better. VERDICT: 5/5
This is the sequel to the prize-winning The Axeman’s Jazz . . . Under the constant threat of bloodshed, the three stories gradually weave together into an intriguing portrait of a time and a place . . . the historical detail is captivating . . . The young Louis Armstrong turns up, and his powerful, searching, explosive jazz pulses through the pages, a soundtrack to Ida’s increasingly dangerous investigation
Celestin’s promise of two further instalments of this lively, jazz-based series can only be cause for celebration
As he did in his first novel, The Axeman’s Jazz, Celestin perfectly captures the jazzy street rhythms of this proudly pugnacious city and its peculiar characters
*New York Times*