Nevermore: A Novel

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Pocket Books, Jan 1, 1999 - Fiction - 322 pages
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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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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Davy Crockett meets Edgar Allan Poe—and together they set out in search of Baltimore's 1830s equivalent of John Wayne Gacy: a gothic thriller (and first hardcover fiction) from Schechter (Depraved ... Read full review

Nevermore: a novel

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

True-crime specialist Schechter goes fictional with a tale that's timed just right for the 150th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe's death. Poe teams up, rather improbably, with Col. David Crockett to solve a string of ugly murders whose perpetrator leaves a single clue: the word nevermore. Read full review


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About the author (1999)

Harold Schechter is a professor at Queens College of the City University of New York, where he teaches courses in American literature and culture. He is the author of the true-crime volumes Deviant, Deranged, Depraved, and Bestial, and with David Everitt, The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. He lives in New York State.

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