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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. 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.


A literary critic known for his scathing pen, Edgar Allan Poe is a young struggling writer, plagued by dreadful ruminations and horrific visions. Suddenly he is plunged into an adventure beyond his wildest fantasies -- a quest for a killer through Baltimore's highest and lowest streets and byways. A string of ghastly murders is linked by one chilling clue -- a cryptic word scrawled in blood. It is a terrifying lure that ensnares Poe in a deadly investigation. And along the way, his own macabre literary imagination is sparked as he unveils dark realities stranger than any fiction...
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  • Pocket Books | 
  • 480 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451617917 | 
  • June 2010
List Price $9.99

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

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 heights of... see more


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