Workers demolishing a nineteenth-century brownstone where Edgar Allan Poe once lived discover a human skeleton entombed -- standing -- behind a brick wall. When sex crimes prosecutor Alexandra Cooper hears about the case, it strikes her as a classic Poe scene...except that forensic evidence shows that this young woman died within the last twenty-five years. Meanwhile, Alex's old nemesis the Silk Stocking Rapist is once again terrorizing Manhattan's Upper East Side. The attacks soon escalate to murder, and the search leads Alex and detectives Mercer Wallace and Mike Chapman to the city's stunning Bronx Botanical Gardens. There, an enigmatic librarian presides over the Raven Society, a group devoted to the work of Poe. In exploring the fabled writer's tormented life for clues, Alex will cross paths with a cunning killer and face some of the greatest challenges of her career. Entombed is masterful, exhilarating crime fiction from one of crime writing's most dazzling stars.
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Reading Group Guide
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Premature burial is a recurring theme in ENTOMBED. Alexandra Cooper discovers a body bricked behind a wall and is herself nearly entombed twice. And the murder victim Emily Upshaw, years before her death, worried especially about that particular fate. What makes the prospect of being buried alive so uniquely terrifying? What kind of mood does it lend to the story?
2. Early in the story, Alex, though a prosecutor, explains that she always makes it a point to visit the crime scene herself. What does this insistence on seeing things firsthand say about her approach to her job? What does it also tell us about her personality?
3. Alex convinces the District Attorney to let her prosecute the Silk Stocking Rapist in a new and potentially controversial way. Later, we see how advances in DNA collection are constantly changing how she and her colleagues do their jobs. What other new techniques and advances did you find peppered throughout? What effect do these ripped-from-the-headlines details have on the novel?
4. How has Alex’s breakup with her longtime boyfriend, Jake Tyler, affected her? If you’ve read the previous novels in the series, were you surprised or disappointed to learn that they had split?
5. Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Cask of Amontillado” obviously figures very heavily into this novel. What other Poe sto see more