A writer, book reviewer, and the author of Mr. Timothy and The Pale Blue Eye, Louis Bayard has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, and Salon.com, among other media outlets. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Bayard follows Mr. Timothy (2003), which brilliantly imagined the adult life of Dickens's Tiny Tim, with another tour-de-force, an intense and gripping novel set during Edgar Allan Poe's brief time as a West Point cadet. In 1830, retired New York City detective Gus Landor is living a quiet life at his Hudson Valley cottage, tormented by an unspecified personal sorrow, when Superintendent Thayer summons him to West Point to investigate the hanging and subsequent mutilation of a cadet. Poe aids Landor by serving as an inside source into the closed world of the academy, though Poe's personal involvement with a suspect's sister complicates their work. But the pair find themselves helpless to prevent further outrages; the removal of the victims' hearts suggests that a satanic cult might be at work. This beautifully crafted thriller stands head and shoulders above other recent efforts to fictionalize Poe. 3-city author tour. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Nothing is what it seems in the capable hands of novelist and book reviewer Bayard (Mr. Timothy). In the highlands of the Hudson River valley during the fall of 1831, Gus Landor, a retired New York City police detective, is called to the West Point Military Academy to assist in the investigation of a bizarre murder. After examining the first mutilated cadet, Gus realizes that he needs inside help and recruits a shadowy cadet and struggling poet named Edgar A. Poe. As the two sift through the evidence and line up suspects for questioning, more murders are committed. Between the rigors of military life and the natural mysteries of the Hudson valley, this period mystery moves methodically to the suspects, the motives, and the clues that twist and turn like the Hudson itself. The novel is further charmed by a skillful and lyrical writing style and the intrigue of West Point, now and then. A good addition for all public libraries.-Ron Samul, New London, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"(A) tour-de-force...intense and gripping ...(a) beautifully
crafted thriller "--Publishers Weekly (starred
"A superb, lyrically written yarn. Deft and delicious."--Providence Journal
"Brilliantly plotted and completely absorbing, ending with the kind of shock that few novelists are able to deliver."--Sunday Times (London)
"Exquisitely rendered character study, imaginatively Gothic, compelling."--Miami Herald
"Full of delightfully unexpected twists that continue to the very last pages of the novel."--Denver Post
"Gruesomely entertaining."--New York Times
"Ingenious...with a rich knowledge of Poe's life and work."--Entertainment Weekly
"Seemlessly blends Poe into an engrossing whodunit worthy of its inspiration. "--USA Today
"Skillful...lyrical...Moves methodically to the suspects, the motives, and the clues that twist and turn like the Hudson itself."--Library Journal
"Shockingly clever and devoutly unsentimental...reads like a lost classic. Bayard reinvigorates historical fiction."--New York Times Book Review