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Publisher's Summary

Chicago, 1928. In the stifling summer heat, three disturbing events take place: a clique of city leaders is poisoned, a white gangster is found mutilated and a famous heiress vanishes without a trace.

Detectives Michael Talbot and Ida Davis are hired to find the missing heiress, but it proves harder than expected, and so Ida must elicit the help of her friend Louis Armstrong. But will any of them find the answers they need in the capital of jazz, booze and corruption?

©2016 Ray Celestin (P)2016 W.F. Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Celestin smartly evokes the atmosphere of 1919 New Orleans, and a city dominated by music and the mob. Gripping." ( Sunday Times on The Axeman's Jazz)

What listeners say about Dead Man's Blues

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Profile Image for Elinor Squire
  • Elinor Squire
  • 18-07-2017

I like it

another good mix of real people and fictional story lines. there's a slightly dodgy Welsh accent in there !

5 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for mrs j o'kane
  • mrs j o'kane
  • 24-06-2018

Imaginative story, convincing settings, great characters.

I loved this book by a new-to-me author. His blending of real-life people and events with a fictional story was masterful. His characters moved me, and the story zipped along to reach a satisfying conclusion. The narration was spot-on. Marvellous all round.

4 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for K. Bridges
  • K. Bridges
  • 20-12-2020

A reasonable listen but not my favourite

This is an OK series, the voice of the narrator is not fabulous and the stories are quite violent but if you like stories of 1920s mobsters then this is for you! That aside, I do like the characters in the story so it wasn't all bad (and I have got the whole series to listen to so it isn't awful..)

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Profile Image for Jethro Wegener
  • Jethro Wegener
  • 21-03-2021

Feels Like the Author Would Rather Write History

If someone ever asks me what an example of "tell don't show" is, I'll point to this work by author Ray Celestin.

Period pieces are hard to get right. Speaking from experience as an author, you have to make the reader feel like they're living in the time the novel is set. You gotta be able to feel the atmosphere and how different it is from the present.

Celestin tries this. Occasionally, he pulls it off. From a pretty good opening, the novel quickly goes downhill.

Not in plotting or writing style, but just in overall quality.

The main issue is that the author feels as if he has to explain EVERYTHING. Like he needs to tell the reader all the history he's read about 1920s Chicago because he can't waste it.

And it gets real annoying, real fast.

Take the introduction of Al Capone, where instead of letting the character of the man and his history come through with dialogue and character interactions, we get long, drawn-out paragraphs where Celestin tells us Capone's history, how he got his scars, how he hates his scars, and how he came up through the ranks.

When that's over, we get a bit about the Mayor of Chicago being poisoned, and Celestin again proceeds to tell us exactly what the Mayor has done for Capone, how they're so close, and how they've worked together over the years.

Celestin is telling us things. Not showing us in any way.

A better writer would let all of that information come out slowly, through dialogue or character or just how people interact with one another. Capone could have a line about how "after all he's done for the mayor" etc..


But no. We are forced to read the author's carefully researched research summary. So instead of being immersed in the story, we're constantly pulled out of it to learn history in an unengaging way.

It gets so bad that I'd rather not read anything else by Celestin again. He needs to give us time to get immersed. Not keep showing us how much he knows about the 1920s.

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