Doubly Dead (英語) ペーパーバック – 2004/12/7
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In 1847, famous author and poet Edgar Allan Poe, haunted by the death of his wife, arrives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to start a new life, only to find a city plagued by a cholera epidemic and a serial killer who is preying on attractive young women from the merchant class. Originally published as
Now that I have got that out of the way aside from the packaging and marketing of this novel, it is a rather enjoyable piece of historical fiction. Once I got past the disappointment of there not being that much Edgar Alan Poe or supernatural occurrences going on I found myself enjoying the authors' ability to bring the pre-civil war era to life.
The book takes place immediately after the death of Poe's wife which has left Poe in a desperate maniac-depressive spiral. Fortunately Poe's friend August Dubbins has received a letter from an Alfred Brunrichter of Pittsburgh who asks if Poe would like to be his house guest while providing lectures and readings to Pittsburgh society. Poe and Dubbins quickly accept and find themselves in Pittsburgh. However as the reader is to find out Mr. Brunrichter has reasons of his own for wanting to bring Poe to Pittsburgh-which coincidentally is experiencing a rash of serial killings.
The next 1/3 of the novel deals with Auggie's attempts to emulate Poe and win his admiration by becoming a writer himself. At the same time Auggie falls in love with the beautiful Susan Kemmer, the daughter of a dockworker and when she is brutally murdered finds himself accused of her slaying and the other serial killings. With the assistance of Buck Kemmer, Susan's father,Auggie is able to rescue Poe from the clutches of Brunrichter, who has been keeping Poe in a drug induced stupor and they are able to solve the killings and clear Auggie's name.
Although advertised and marketed as a supernatural thriller, this is much more of a historical fiction piece. Randall Silvis does an admirable job of bringing the mid 1800's to life and that is the strength of this novel. The suspense would have been a touch more intense if Mr. Silvis had not abused the method of foreshadowing. It seemed that almost every other chapter ended with a portent of upcoming doom. Although the pacing is a bit slow the details and realism of the period tended to overcome this and the authors narrative style kept the pages turning easily. After reading this novel I am quite anxious to read the first one as it has received much better reviews.
There is a lot more to this book, of course - there's a love interest sub-plot involved, and of course Augie's attempts to make himself his own person. I really enjoyed it and went through the story in just a couple days. Definitely a recommend to those who like this sort of fiction.
This being the case, I ordered two other books by the same author: "Mysticus" and "Mundomuerto". What a comedown! Very third-rate stuff. Hard to believe they were written by the same guy. Flat, uninspiring prose. One-dimensional characters.
I look forward to a third novel on the adventures of Augie Dubbins. That seems to be a storyline from which the author draws true inspiration.