The Axeman’s Jazz by Julie Smith
The Axeman’s JazzSkip Langdon now works in Homicide of the New Orleans police department. Six months earlier she had been walking a beat when she had inadvertently become involved with a murder. (If you haven’t read New Orleans Mourning, you should!!!) Because of that, it was shortly thereafter she was moved to her new position. She has been planning a vacation to visit her friend and romantic interest in California. Instead, she finds herself involved with a bizarre investigation.
Two people, both loners, have been found dead within a few days of each other. A red “A” is drawn on their wall. There are no marks on either the man or the woman other than the strangulation. Then the media outlets in New Orleans all receive a similar letter. The Axeman has returned.
The Axeman was the name given to a serial killer in New Orleans in the early 20th century. The historical murderer claimed to love jazz music and would not kill anyone who was playing it when he came by. He was never caught. The letter claims that the Axeman has returned and will kill again. He gives the same disclaimer – anyone playing jazz music will be spared.
This book is as superb as the first novel in the series. It also does not need the first one to sustain any of the murder story line. The personal side is a continuation, but is not dependent on the first one. Instead this novel focuses on the murder and the investigation. Self-help groups that foster first-name-only anonymity are the focus of the search. It looks closely at these gatherings as well as at the mind of a serial killer.
I also like the view that Smith, through Skip Langdon, gives the reader of New Orleans. Langdon’s family aspires to be part of the upper crust. Skip is not part of their mold, so is an outsider. Yet she can move in the top society of the city as well as in the lower areas. This helps add dimension to both the character and the city.
Notice: Suggestive dialogue or situations