Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Axeman of Storyville

   Most aficionados of True Crime are familiar with the New Orleans Axeman, a serial killer who stalked that city in 1918-1919 and perhaps even earlier, depending on whose theory you believe. Heath Lowrance, the creator of my favorite Cowboy phantom fighter, Hawthorne, has taken the basics of the still unsolved case and written a tight thriller featuring Edward Grainger's former U.S. Marshal Gideon Miles.
   It's 1921 and the story finds Miles later in life, having settled down in new Orleans to run a nightclub. The former Marshall thinks his man-hunting days are well behind him. But then the madame of a local brothel shows up at his door pleading for help. Someone has killed one of her girls, a madman with an axe, and the police have no interest in finding out who killed a whore. At first Miles is hesitant, but when a local gangster tries to warn him off, Gideon Miles decides to get involved.
   Lowrance gets to stretch himself a bit in this novella, telling the story from multiple points of view. I've gone on before about how much I like Lowrance's prose, and here I was really taken with his ability to set a scene. I could just see the streets of old New Orleans. Feel the heat. Smell the cigar smoke and cheap perfume in the night clubs.
   The story is action packed, as I like em'. Miles may be getting on in years but he can still mix it up with the best of them and he still knows how to use a Colt when he needs to.
   How much did I like this story? Well I bought it within a few minutes of it going live on Amazon and I read it at a sitting and then came over here to the desk and reviewed it. Highly, and I do mean highly recommended.


David Cranmer said...

A great review, Charles!

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Thanks! Always easy to review a good book.