King Zeno

King Zeno Review

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.

Title:King Zeno

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Fran

    Isadore Zeno is a cornet player in 1918 New Orleans. He could make his horn "squawk, weep, chatter, groan..." "He could do things with the cornet that nobody else knew to try". Playing jazz would not ...

  • Meike

    New Orleans in 1918/1919: Jazz is on the rise, construction for the great industrial canal begins, and the city is terrorized by an ax murderer – all of these things really happened, and Nathaniel R...

  • Emily May

    Look, I am a little bit obsessed with New Orleans. A lot of kids while I was growing up fell in love with the romanticism of Paris, the big powerful city of New York, or the beachy glamour of Los Ange...

  • Tim

    Inconceivably dreadful. Zero 4 Zeno. 0 of 10 stars...

  • Jarrett

    Challenging to get into at the start with lots of unfamiliar names and separate plots. Read the first 50 pages a few times over before getting into the story. However last 2/3 of the book was great wi...

  • Andy Weston

    The premise of the book is certainly an attractive one, a city terrorised by an axe murderer, set against the backdrop of a New Orleans in the midst of the Spanish flu epidemic, with the birth of jazz...

  • Matthew

    When visiting New Orleans for the first time a number of years ago I was instantly enamored. By its history, its architecture, its culture, and most of all its music. Even in the wake of Katrina the c...

  • Tad Richards

    Ultimately, an engrossing, clever plot, very good mise en scene of New Orleans right after WWI, before Prohibition. But the plot takes a while to get going, and for me, the characters took a long time...

  • Greg Zimmerman

    4.5. First appeared at http://www.thenewdorkreviewofbooks.co...In 1918 New Orleans, a serial killer gruesomely hacked his victims to death with an axe he often stole from the victims themselves. The s...

  • Galen Weitkamp

    King Zeno by Nathaniel Rich.Review by Galen Weitkamp.In the early twentieth century, New Orleans was the home of Joe “King” Oliver, Kid Ory, Louis “Dippermouth” Armstrong and in Nathaniel Rich...