The Louisiana Republic by Maxim Jakubowski Caffeine Nights Publishing May 10th 2018
New York, and the world, have been transformed by an unexplained global catastrophe now known as ‘the Dark’ Once a modest researcher, (don’t recall if I gave character an
actual name; if so, please insert) has now become an involuntary detective. When he is recruited by her elder sister to find the missing daughter of a local gangster in a city in chaos where anarchy and violence are just a step away, he soon discovers the case is
anything but straightforward and compellingly close to home. Compromising photographs and the ambiguous assistance of a young woman with ties to the criminal gangs lead him to New Orleans, which has seceded from the rest of America in the
wake of the Dark. A perilous journey down the Mississippi river, murderous hit
women and sidekicks, and the magic and dangerous glamour of the French Quarter become a perilous road to nowhere and to madness in his quest for the amoral daughter, his own lost love and his sanity.
Will he find the missing women or lose himself?
Life after the Dark is a world with no social media, no internet, it is a world ruled by gangs, gangs who are not afraid to exercise their muscle and to kill in order to maintain control. Milling about in this dystopian world is our unnamed protagonist, a private eye, skilled in locating the missing. His world is turned upside down when the beautiful Alexandra Helmsmark pays him to find her sister, Tiffany Cherise. It is a search that plunges him into the world of strip joints, erotic photographs and a criminal world, that would rather Tiffany Cherise stayed missing.
This novel is dark, very dark. I could feel the dense darkness ooze from the pages, lightness failing to emerge at every turn. The characters themselves are dark, full of menace and danger, the women somehow fiercer, more brutal than their male counterparts, which I found altogether quite refreshing. It is a novel that has quite a lot of graphic sexual or should I call it erotic content, yet it serves a purpose, is timely and relevant, never seeming out of context in the story. In some ways it helped shape the characters of the novel, never dehumanising the women, showing them to be the ones in control, using it as a powerful tool, highlighting their hold over the men they come into contact with.
It become not just a story of our protagonist looking for a missing person, but also looking for the woman he loved resulting in a road trip to the impregnable city of New Orleans. Jakuboski’s narrative imagery went into overdrive, describing the arduous, dangerous journey down the river, the steaming heat and the vibrancy of a city little changed since the Dark. I noticed a shift in the pace of the novel as the tension mounted and our protagonist face untold obstacles in his quest to find Cherise and his girlfriend.
Just as I thought I knew what was going to happen the novel took a twist that caught me off guard, surprising me, sending the novel into a totally different direction. It was an ending I did not expect, but one that was totally in keeping with this sometimes strange and unique novel. I think that was why I liked it so much, it took me out of my comfort zone, it made me think, and challenged me.
When I came to write this review I had to think really hard about what genre category The Louisiana Republic falls into. It is not simply crime, thriller, dystopian or noir, in fact it doesn’t really fit into any of those genres, instead its stands out on its own having a uniqueness that will surprise and engage all that read it.
Thank you to Caffeine Nights Publishing for a review copy yo read and review and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
MAXIM JAKUBOWSKI worked for many years in book publishing as an editor (including on titles by William Golding, Peter Ackroyd, Oliver Stone, Michael Moorcock, Peter Ustinov, Jim Thompson, David Goodis, Paul Ableman, Sophie Grigson, Nico Ladenis, Peter Yorke, Cornell Woolrich, etc…) and launched the Murder One Bookshop, which he owned and ran for over 20 years. He now writes, edits and translates full-time in London. He was born in London and educated in France, and his books have been translated into many languages. From an early age, he was always fascinated by popular culture and his writing and editing has criss-crossed all areas, from science fiction & fantasy to thrillers and, inevitably, erotica.
He has been a columnist for TIME OUT and the GUARDIAN, and contributed to most major newspapers and magazines, and is a regular arts commentator on British and French TV and radio. He also ran London’s annual crime film and literary festival CRIME SCENE for 12 years and is a consultant for several overseas film festivals. He has won the Anthony and Karel awards for his contributions to, respectively, crime fiction and SF & fantasy, and in 2009 was named Best Erotic Author of the Year. He now writes a monthly book review column for lovereading.co.uk. He was selected by TIME OUT as one of the prominent 50 London writers.
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