King Zeno

Customer Reviews

36 Ratings

Overall Ratings

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
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  • 1 Stars

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4 out of 5 stars
By DJ on 05-09-18

Great Setup, Performance. The Ending, Not So Much.

Nathaniel Rich's novel "King Zeno" is a romp through post-World War I New Orleans: the beginnings of jazz, the building of the Industrial Canal, and the coming of the Spanish Flu. Rich's New Orleans is a world of "towns within towns," with different races and ethnicities bumping into one another intentionally and less so. Rich tells the tale of a young Creole jazz cornetist seeking to make his mark in the world, a detective trying to piece himself together after returning from the Western Front, and a Sicilian matron looking after her shadowy family business, all while a more conventional thriller is developing, as a crazed "Axeman" chops his way across town. The performance, by Holter Graham, is excellent, bordering on a radio play. My only gripe is that the ending is right out of bad mystery movie, with implausible coincidences and one-too-many threads being neatly tied up. Still, very much a good read... or listen.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Jane on 03-18-18

Not a convincing New Orleans narrator

The story is good. Let me just say that first. However it was completely distracting,hear the narrators pronunciations of New Orleans streets, neighborhoods, names. Most remarkably wrong was his pronunciation of streets. Terpsichore, Calliope, Tchopitoulas. These are just a few that made my skin crawl every time he pronounce them incorrectly. It was a big downer. Makes you think he knew nothing about the city, it’s history and its people. Bad bad bad

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Theodore on 02-02-18

New Orleans 1918. Crime and Jazz

Interesting story of three very different lives in New Orleans, a musician, a policeman and an oddball heir to a local mafia kingpin. Well written. Not a killer, but the performance fails to capture what people in New Orleans actually sound like, and he manages, like many tourists, to mispronounce the name of a famous street. Shoulda done a little research.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Thomas D. Kehoe on 07-06-18

Couldn't get past the first chapter

The first chapter was about a "Negro highwayman" robbing people. Not my type of a story.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Barbara or Jerold Gendler on 04-19-18

Odd story

Weirdest book I’ve read in a long time , glad to finish !! Read at your own peril !

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3 out of 5 stars
By Margaret on 02-19-18

Pretty good. Slow start, fun finish

A fun read, especially if you're a NOLA buff. What do a serial killer, a WWI vet with PTSD, and a coronet genius have in common? Read it and find out.

Narration is excellent during narrative sequences and matches the snappy zest for language that this author matches to the jazzy subject matter. HOWEVER, the narrator stinks at dialogue. His two main male characters sound like they have marbles in their mouth and a cold. Sort of like Maron Brando in the Godfather, only feeble-minded, which neither character is. It's quite odd, because he does a great job at the narrative sequences.

One thing I found troubling is the complete lack of the reality of racism in social institutions in the Jim Crow south, which would have been as obvious as the Mississippi mud. The white author ignored institutionalized racism completely out of guilt, but since one of the main characters is African American and clearly would have been constrained by Jim Crow, it made no sense.

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