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The Resource King Zeno, Nathaniel Rich

King Zeno, Nathaniel Rich

Label
King Zeno
Title
King Zeno
Statement of responsibility
Nathaniel Rich
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
New Orleans, 1918. The birth of jazz, the Spanish flu, an ax murderer on the loose. The lives of a traumatized cop, a conflicted Mafia matriarch, and a brilliant trumpeter converge-and the Crescent City gets the rich, dark, sweeping novel it so deserves.From one of the most inventive writers of his generation, King Zeno is a historical crime novel and a searching inquiry into man's dreams of immortality.New Orleans, a century ago: a city determined to reshape its destiny and, with it, the nation's. Downtown, a new American music is born. In Storyville, prostitution is outlawed and the police retake the streets with maximum violence. In the Ninth Ward, laborers break ground on a gigantic canal that will split the city, a work of staggering human ingenuity intended to restore New Orleans's faded mercantile glory. The war is ending and a prosperous new age dawns. But everything is thrown into chaos by a series of murders committed by an ax-wielding maniac with a peculiar taste in music.The ax murders scramble the fates of three people from different corners of town. Detective William Bastrop is an army veteran haunted by an act of wartime cowardice, recklessly bent on redemption. Isadore Zeno is a jazz cornetist with a dangerous side hustle. Beatrice Vizzini is the widow of a crime boss who yearns to take the family business straight. Each nurtures private dreams of worldly glory and eternal life, their ambitions carrying them into dark territories of obsession, paranoia, and madness. In New Orleans, a city built on swamp, nothing stays buried long
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • Rich brings multiple themes together in this roiling genre-blender set in New Orleans in 1918. An ax murderer is terrorizing the city; the widow of a crime boss is hoping to legitimize the family business with her role in the construction of the Industrial Canal; a young African American jazz cornetist of prodigious talent is struggling to make a living from the music while working on the canal project; and a New Orleans patrolman, haunted by memories of WWI, vows to find the ax murderer and save his marriage—all while a flu epidemic ravages the city’s population, along with the abiding effects of corruption and the city’s racial divide. It’s a rich gumbo of ingredients, and Rich (Odds against Tomorrow, 2013) stirs them effectively, combining a lyrical, impressionistic style with a sure-handed grasp of the historical moment. He is especially strong on the early days of jazz, and his evocative prose proves well suited to describing jazzmen in full cry: “Braiding appoggiaturas with acciaccaturas, he made his horn cry like an infant.” A heady mix of literary thriller and high-end historical fiction. -- Ott, Bill (Reviewed 12/1/2017) (Booklist, vol 114, number 7, p32)
  • Set in New Orleans in the wake of World War I, Rich’s spirited third novel (after Odds Against Tomorrow) contrasts the luminous early years of jazz with a number of particularly American darknesses, most notably a prototypical serial killer who cleaves his victims’ heads with an axe. The novel’s three main story lines follow army veteran and detective Bill Bastrop, hellbent on finding the killer; a mafia matriarch, Beatrice Vizzini, who’s trying to turn her business straight; and the titular Izzy Zeno, a struggling jazz musician forced into petty theft to make ends meet. Much of the novel’s first third explores each character’s particular stakes and family situation, introducing Bastrop’s increasingly estranged wife, Izzy’s soon-to-be-pregnant wife, and Beatrice’s simple-minded and domineering son, Georgio. After an encounter with one of Bastrop’s former war buddies turns violent, the plot gathers considerable momentum, setting the three characters on the requisite collision course that ends at the construction site for the city’s new canal. Though the story is a bit too neat, the New Orleans setting is well-drawn and memorable and Rich excels at immersing the reader in the narrative. Agent: Elyse Cheney, The Cheney Agency (Jan.) --Staff (Reviewed 11/13/2017) (Publishers Weekly, vol 264, issue 46, p)
  • In this deft historical thriller, Rich (Odds Against Tomorrow) seamlessly blends fact with fiction as three characters attempt to secure their legacies in the shadow of a gruesome murder, with post-World War I New Orleans as the backdrop. During the summer of 1918, with the Spanish flu spreading rapidly and a weird new music catching on, an ax-wielding serial killer is on the loose. Isadore Zeno, surely the greatest jazz cornetist Crescent City has never heard, finds opportunity in the city's terror to make his name. Det. William Bastrop, whose marriage has collapsed, sees cracking the case as a path to redemption. Beatrice Vizzini is the head of a crime family whose claim to legitimacy is staked on the construction of a giant canal that will return New Orleans to industrial glory, but her hulking, dim-witted son may derail it. Though these story lines do not converge until the climactic final chapter, they are absorbing enough on their own to keep readers engaged. The period details—most taken directly from the historical record—are expertly deployed. VERDICT A solid recommendation for admirers of James Lee Burke's New Orleans-based "Dave Robicheaux" series and Thomas Mullen's similarly brainy thrillers (Darktown; Lightning Men).—Michael Pucci, South Orange P.L., NJ --Michael Pucci (Reviewed 12/01/2017) (Library Journal, vol 142, issue 20, p96)
  • /* Starred Review */ The lives of a jazz musician, a police detective, and a corporate executive intertwine in 1918-19 New Orleans. As newspaper headlines shout of an ax murderer, the novel opens with four white cops hunting a black "highwayman." But Detective Bill Bastrop finds his mind drifting to memories of World War I. Haunted by a moment of cowardice in wartime France, he seeks redemption in pursuing the Axman. When Isadore Zeno, a gifted black cornetist, first appears, he is stopped on the street by a white watchman and anxiously endures the third degree, thinking it's "enraging to be scared all the time." Zeno will use the public's fear to spark interest in the new jazz music, getting a newspaper to publish a letter he writes as the Axman threatening mayhem for any household that doesn't have jazz playing on a certain night. Beatrice Vizzini heads the construction company working on the Industrial Canal that will link Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi. She is tied to the Axman through her son, Giorgio, and the appearance of bodies and body parts in the canal dig's mud. Rich (Odds Against Tomorrow, 2013, etc.) uses music, race, and historical details in ways that will likely spark comparisons to E.L. Doctorow's multifaceted Ragtime. It's a nicely paced detective thriller, clever on corporate corruption and police procedure. As a kind of jazz number, it establishes the Axman theme and then plays solos on it through major and minor characters. The literary excursion features a big metaphor in the Industrial Canal, which divided New Orleans—as the main characters all must face rifts in their personal lives. Marked by offbeat humor and up-tempo writing, this is a more conventional outing for Rich than his first two novels and could well expand his audience. (Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2017)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10616337
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1980-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Rich, Nathaniel
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Serial murderers
  • Serial murderers
  • New Orleans (La)
  • New Orleans (La)
  • New Orleans (La.)
Target audience
adult
Label
King Zeno, Nathaniel Rich
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
000060656854
Dimensions
22 cm.
Edition
First edition.
Extent
386 pages
Form of item
regular print reproduction
Isbn
9780374181314
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2017034573
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)988057108
Label
King Zeno, Nathaniel Rich
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
000060656854
Dimensions
22 cm.
Edition
First edition.
Extent
386 pages
Form of item
regular print reproduction
Isbn
9780374181314
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2017034573
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)988057108

Library Locations

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      -33.9151421 151.2408898
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