book cover of Cahokia Jazz
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Cahokia Jazz

(2023)
A novel by

 
 
A thrilling tale of murder and mystery in a city where history has run a little differently -- from the best-selling author of Golden Hill.
'Utterly immersive.' Spectator
'Thrilling.' Financial Times
'Unlike anything else you will read this year.' Daily Express
'A classic of alternative history.' Observer
'A delight.' Sunday Telegraph

It's 1922 and Americans are drinking in speakeasies, dancing to jazz, stepping quickly to the tempo of modern times. In the ancient city of Cahokia - a teeming industrial metropolis, a tinderbox of every race and creed - peace holds. Just about.

But on a snowy night at the end of winter, two roughshod detectives are called to the roof of a skyscraper. Their investigation will spill the city's secrets and bring it, against a soundtrack of wailing clarinets, either to destruction or rebirth.
What readers are saying:

***** 'A marvellous, atmospheric, beautifully written and gripping read that dares to hope, amidst a background of bleak darkness and the pulsing joy of jazz, that I recommend highly.'

***** 'Original, imaginative, thought provoking, engrossing, engaging and beautifully written with characters who are credible and engaging. What more is there to ask for from a master at the top of his game. I enjoyed this as much as Golden Hill, which is praise indeed.'

***** 'The Yiddish Policemen's Union is an obvious point of comparison; I also got echoes of James Ellroy, though with more light in the darkness, or maybe just a greater readiness to forgive humanity's failings. There's perhaps a dash of Earthly Powers too, and at least one nod to The Leopard; exalted company, to be sure, but Cahokia Jazz can hold its head high among them.'

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"The book is itself Cahokia jazz; the play of possibilities beyond the linear progression of the tune we all already know, that goes to wild places and then winds back, beautifully, heartbreakingly, to echo the notes of where it started." - Jo Baker

"Francis Spufford has discovered a new riff on a favourite tune, and in exploring it has created something wholly unique. Cahokia Jazz is extraordinary." - Mick Herron

"Francis Spufford is a literary sorcerer with one of the great imaginations of our time. When a new book lands, I drop everything and start reading. Cahokia Jazz takes us to an America that wasn't... a wilder, richer, altogether more enchanting America. Bullets and beatings provide the percussion to Spufford's hothouse jazz noir, while hope and heartbreak do a dizzying, drunken foxtrot together. I can't remember the last time suspense and spiritual longing were so tightly braided together in a single novel. A masterpiece." - Joe Hill


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