Historical fact and startling literary invention converge in this stunning novel by "America's principal chronicler of its greatest psychopathic killers" (The Boston Book Review). Praised by Caleb Carr for his "brilliantly detailed and above all riveting" true-crime writing, Harold Schechter brings his expertise to a marvelous work of fiction in the tradition of Carr's own The Alienist. Superbly rendering the 1830s Baltimore of Edgar Allan Poe, Schechter taps into the dark genius of that legendary author -- and follows a labyrinthine path into the heart of a most heinous crime.
He is an aspiring writer, plagued by dreadful ruminations -- a man whose troubled nights are haunted by dreams of his angelic cousin Virginia. He is Edgar Allan Poe, a literary critic known for his uncompromising standards and scathing pen. His recently published attack on the autobiography of Colonel David Crockett, U.S. congressman and celebrated American hero, has brought the indignant frontiersman -- unexpected, uninvited -- to the chamber door of Poe's private sanctum. Neither man is prepared for where this fateful meeting will take them: on a quest for a killer through the city's highest and lowest streets and byways.
In a modest boarding house, an elderly widow of sad circumstance has been found murdered by an unknown assailant. On the wall above her bed, scrawled in the victim's blood, is a single, cryptic word. But the meaning of the chilling clue is merely one piece in a complex puzzle that ensnares the writer and the politician in a twisted and deadly game. For the ghastly crimes, each more bizarre than the last, have only just begun.
Combining the phantasmagoric voice of Poe's legendary tales with an historian's exactness, Harold Schechter hovers between fact and fiction, horror and passion, destiny and doom, while conjuring historical detail with uncanny precision. Published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Poe's death, Nevermore is both a tour de force of narrative suspense and a dazzling secret history of one of American literature's unique and enduring figures.
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During the whole of a dull, dark, and dreary day, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the sky, I had been sitting alone in my chamber, poring over a medical treatise of singular interest and merit. Its author was the eminent Doctor M. Valdemar of Leipzig, whose earlier volume, The Recrudescence of Leprosy and Its Causation, had done much to divest that grave affliction of the aura of preternatural dread that has surrounded its sufferers throughout the ages. In one remarkable stroke, Valdemar had succeeded in elevating the study of this ancient scourge -- so long steeped in primitive superstition -- to the...
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