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Felonious Jazz: a novel Paperback – May 8, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bryan Gilmer has made his living as a writer for more than 15 years, working first as a night-shift crime reporter for a Southern newspaper before advancing to Florida's largest paper, the Pulitzer-prizewinning St. Petersburg Times. Now he teaches newswriting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and writes for institutional and corporate clients in addition to his fiction. He lives with his wife, Kelly, and their son, Quinn, in Durham, North Carolina. Visit his website at bryangilmer.com and join his Facebook group, Suburban Burglars Alliance.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (May 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442173084
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442173088
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,136,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I came across Bryan Gilmer quite by accident when reviewing "Recommendations" on Amazon. I first read "Kill the Story", and just completed "Felonious Jazz". Both are terrific reads. I have read all of the books by Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Lee Child, Joseph Finder, Harlan Coben, John Connolly, and many others. While Mr. Gilmer is not as polished as these veterans, he has written two excellent books. As for "Felonious Jazz", it has a unique plot of a jazz musician committing a series of crimes, with each crime inspired by a song he is writing (or maybe the other way around). The protagonist, J. Davis Swaine (an investigator for a Raleigh law firm), a cop, and a reporter try to determine the motives behind the crimes and track down "Felonious". There are twists and turns throughout, some expected, some not. The characters are well-drawn, particularly that of Leonard Noblac, the felon.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This story about a psychotic wacko is very compelling. The author held my attention with the twists and turns and I sincerely believed I knew the ending until the ending arrived. I never saw it coming! Mr. Gilmer punked us all and that is what a good writer does.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loaded w/ intrigue! A single point nagged me much of the latter part of the story, which was easily explained by author eventually. If the author had given more information earlier, the story would have moved along more easily without that distraction. Otherwise, the plot was ingenuous & as well written as any popular mystery author.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I found Gilmer's story of a jazz musician living out his anti-sprawl revenge fantasy to be a highly entertaining and engaging piece of fiction. You can tell the author cut his teeth as a crime reporter and knows his way around the world occupied by cops, reporters, investigators, criminal types, and so on. I like that he doesn't take himself or his characters too seriously and focuses more on weaving together a compelling coherent narrative than on making sure that everything is as realistic as possible.

There's a lot of creative thinking going into this novel, from the anti-sprawl undercurrents to the jazz composition that evolves as the story progresses. Lots of other touches help distinguish it from your average escapist crime fiction, but it's still a fun read. I found the Leonard Noblac character particularly interesting, and certainly identified with his hang-up with our consumer culture, particularly as it is expressed in the suburban McMansions he preys upon. Unlike nearly every household pet that Leonard comes across in his escapades, I had difficulty putting this book down.

I'm looking forward to reading more from this author and can't wait to see how/when he brings back Leonard for an encore performance. Bravo, bravo...
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Format: Paperback
Bryan Gilmer performs his novel with easy great pacing and character accents that add to the story. The voice of Leonard in particular added a sense of the criminal as a deeply wounded and marginalized person, repulsive and pitiful. You'll enjoy listening to this novel and might accidentally take a wrong turn when driving to work so that you can stay in the car long enough to hear the next chapter.

As others have mentioned, the characters come to life even when they are stereotypical in some ways, and the plot moves right along, building in suspense and complexity. The ending had quite a twist.

I did not expect to find a performance art theme in a crime novel; the reviewer who gave it only two stars apparently has never heard of that. I really liked the performance art angle and the way that Gilmer raises several social issues without being heavy handed in the slightest. This would be a great book for a book club that doesn't mind a bit of violence.
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Format: Paperback
Well, what to say here. A new author but experienced writer, who I happened upon in the aisles of a Raleigh bookstore. This was cool, the chance to get an author to sell their book to me. Bryan managed it, his enthusiasm was infectious and I happily parted with my hard earned pounds/dollars.
So, how did it go? An uneasy start for me, not the initial unexpected violence, but the feeling that I was jumping in to the middle of a story and I ought to know more about these characters. It soon settled down though into a steady and thoroughly puzzling mystery. Well, puzzling for the good guys, we are given every thought and action of the bad guy too.
I hadn't realised it but the characters were developing very strongly and by the second half I was enthralled and it became quite the page turner. The ending didn't disappoint and was followed by epilogue type chapters, nice. Ah, and that last chapter...
Very good, more of these characters please Bryan. Recommended to all.
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Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a new author and have a sense of humor, you must read Bryan Gilmer's Felonious Jazz. This book had a great plot, quirky characters, and was really enjoyable. I found myself thinking about the characters during the day when I wasn't reading and wondering what they were up to. I couldn't wait to get back to the book whenever I could. The plot moved along nicely and the author did a great job of combining all the plots and characters and keeping you interested in all of it at the same time. The twist at the end had me screaming for more, and I hope to see one or more of the characters again in a future book(s). The author reminded me a bit of Carl Hiassen with all of the outrageous characters, humorous adventures, and the way he weaves numerous characters and subjects together throughout the story. I'll definitely be looking for more from this author.
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