by Julie HaleJuly, 2007
The Poe Shadow
A Good Morning America reading pick, this best-selling follow-up to The Dante Club is another suspenseful, richly detailed blend of fact and fiction. Set in 1849, the novel focuses on the mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe and the attempts of a determined young lawyer named Quentin Hobson Clark to bring the famous author's life to some sort of closure. After a bout of drunkenness and a stay in the hospital, Poe is laid to rest in an unmarked grave in Baltimore. Yet, the details surrounding his demise are unclear, and no one, including the police, seems interested in investigating them. Clark, a fan of the writer, undertakes an investigation of his own, traveling to Paris to find the man who served as the inspiration for Poe's famous character, the detective C. Auguste Dupin. But in Paris he discovers two men purporting to be Poe's model, and deciding which one is telling the truth soon becomes a matter of life and death. Pearl adds layers of suspense to the narrative in the form of a lady assassin, various political mercenaries and slave traders. His expert handling of historical detail, including the life of Poe and the muddy circumstances surrounding his last days, make this novel especially appealing. A reading group guide is included in the book.