In a lyrical, captivating debut set against the backdrop of the Harlem Renaissance and glittering Jazz Age Paris, Joe Okonkwo creates an evocative story of emotional and artistic awakening.
On a sweltering summer night in 1925, beauties in beaded dresses mingle with hepcats in dapper suits on the streets of Harlem. The air is thick with reefer smoke, and jazz pours out of speakeasy doorways. Ben Charles and his devoted wife, Angeline, are among the locals crammed into a basement club to hear jazz and drink bootleg liquor. For the aspiring poet, Ben, the swirling, heady rhythms are a revelation. So is Baby Back Johnston, an ambitious trumpet player who flashes a devilish grin and blasts jazz dynamite from his horn. Ben finds himself drawn to the trumpeter—and to Paris where Baby Back says everything is happening.
In Paris, jazz and champagne flow eternally, and blacks are welcomed as exotic celebrities, especially those from Harlem. It’s an easy life that quickly leaves Ben adrift and alone, craving solace through anonymous dalliances in the city’s decadent underground scene. From chic Parisian cafés to seedy opium dens, his odyssey will bring new love, trials, and heartache, even as echoes from the past urge him to decide where true fulfillment and inspiration lie.
Rating: 5 stars
Jazz Moon by Joe Okonkwo will make readers question everything they read and feel. Nothing like a novel about jazz that brings out the poetic side to everyone especially the characters. A debut novel that brings, to life, the action, drama, and passion of 1925. Times where everything beckoned and called to those who hearts wanted more. Inside this title, readers will get a glimpse into a poet’s lifestyle. He has a devoted wife but is angry with her…he soon find himself attracted to another who brings out the heat of raw animalistic desire deep within his blood. A stirring unlike any other. Paris is a place where art, passion, and desire come in abundance and that’s where both Ben and his new lover find themselves. Joe Okonkwo brings readers the best world of fiction readers will find. Race, jazz, and travel are deep topics easily explored within this exciting well-written plot. Overall, I highly recommend this new novel, Jazz Moon, to readers everywhere.