New Orleans, 1919. As a dark serial killer - The Axeman - stalks the city, three individuals set out to unmask him. 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.
©2014 Ray Celestin (P)2014 W. F. Howes Ltd
I was looking forward to listening to this book but after 90 minutes, although the story is promising, the narration is poor. The voices used veer between a poor rendition of Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry and characters from the Simpsons. The Scots and Irish accents of the police personnel wander all over the place. It occurred to me that Ida was going to be a key character in the investigation of the murders and I just couldn't stand listening to the whiny voice being used for her so I'm afraid this book is going back. Honestly, when we read a book we don't take on a dozen different voices. Why do it for an audio book, especially if the reader is not up to the job? If the writing is good enough, it should be clear who is speaking. Male readers inevitably make a poor fist of female voices so time to stop this nonsense and just have someone read in a their own voice.
It's a slow burner, but once this plot got going I couldn't stop listening. Superbly told and suspenseful right up to the very last moment, with all the history and charm of New Orleans.
"Good first effort"
Semi- spoiler alert. The author used a technique I quite liked. There are three separate groups who try to solve the murders for three separate reasons following three separate leads. All discover the "trurh" but each discovers only a part of the truth. It is only the reader who knows it all.
It should be stated that the author takes considerable poetic license with the truth.
This must have been a challenge considering the polyglot nature of New Orleans and the characters. Still some things were jarring. For example, the reader pronounces "penchant", a perfectly cromulent English word as if it were French and pronounces "sangfroid", a common French term, as "sang freud". Some of the voicing of the female characters is a tad too precious as well.
Louis Armstrong is one of the characters which caused me to buy a couple albums from back when, you know, music sounded good.
"Ingenious, eye-opening mystery, very poorly read."
The Axeman's Jazz is an ingenious and provocative portrait of post-World-War-One New Orleans; the mystery is good and the characters, who range across the entire spectrum of New Orleans society avoid stereotyping. Everyone with an interest in the contemporary charms of this great city should read this novel set in its past.
Everyone should read this, but it is seriously unfortunate how poorly Christopher Ragland reads it. Clearly a book like this is a genuine challenge to any reader; there are a dozen or more main characters, and several times that secondary characters, and each has a distinctive accent, nationality, country of origin, speech pattern. Mr. Ragland simply does ot display that chops to pull this off; when he reads in his natural voice, he is clear and easy to listen to, but when he tries to read in the voice of the women, or Irishmen or Italians, or the Creoles or Cajuns with whom this book is so well-populated he just fails to portray anything believable. His rendition of the African-American male characters isn't as jarring. I suspect this is just a casting problem; the actor just lacks training in all of these accents; I haven't heard any of his other readings, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy a different audiobook if he were reading it. Lots of pronunciation errors, too. Doesn't anyone proof-listen to these books, anyone who knows how to pronounce words like "banquette"?
A poor reading performance really mars a terrific novel.
Such an amazing book. I'm sad I'm done with it. The narrator was good except for his attempt at women's voices. They were so bad I wish he had just used his regular voice.
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