The Poe Shadow.
Having really, truly enjoyed The Dante Club, I was psyched to see The Poe Shadow – along with a book by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (and of course, other books) – on the Borders BoGo table. The one good thing about recession: everything is on sale! Making it easier for people like me, with a small amount of “fun money,” to contribute to our shrinking economy! Score!
Pearl is an extremely talented writer and makes me want to read his background literature. I haven’t read much Poe, and now, I’m seriously considering hitting up Borders when I get paid again and buying me some Poe. Pearl hits the voice of his historical period dead on, something that’s incredibly hard to do when moving around between centuries from book to book. The Poe Shadow takes place a good 75 years after The Dante Club (pedants: feel free to correct me), and the voice is just as true.
That said, this book is really only worth reading for Pearl’s writer-fu. The plot sucks. It’s needlessly complicated, drags on at times, and worst of all: it’s all TOTALLY unnecessary! The protagonist, Quentin Clark, starts off this “mystery” by bemoaning his interest in Poe’s death because of the strife it caused; but really… the strife IS all his fault! If he hadn’t gotten this particular bug up his ass, none of this shit would have happened!
QUENTIN CLARK, LOOK AT THIS MESS YOU MADE! YOU NEARLY DESTROYED FRANCE!
Yes, that’s right. France. Comes into play, for reasons beyond my comprehension. As does slavery and the “temperance” movement. Only the last one has any true relevance to anything. This plot is ridiculous and to say it’s “anti-climactic” is like saying “The Mariana Trench is a little bit deep.” The solution to the main “mystery” is so banal as to make you want to kick Quentin Clark in his scrawny little mortgage-lawyery ass for being, well, an ass.
Part of the reason I’ve never joined Paperbackswap is that I’ve never had any books to “swap,” but being as how I (wisely) didn’t even write my name in this one, I’m totally joining to swap it out for something hopefully less idiotic. Hey, at least it’ll be free!