Matthew Pearl and Louis Bayard
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In a nutshell, my thoughts are:
PEARL: The Dante Club - great revelation of the killer's identity, great evocation of what led him/her to kill, but a leaden prose style and an unforgivable "red herring" who was just there to be a red herring.
The Poe Shadow - a better prose style and a few nice insights into Poe's inspirations, but not as enlightening as it could have been and not one I plan to read again.
BAYARD: Mr Timothy - loved it! Literary fanfiction at its best (a very plausible reading of what happened to the Cratchits after the events of A Christmas Carol and a nice gothic mystery with loads of atmosphere.
The Pale Blue Eye - another worthwhile novel: more of a "whodunit" and has a genuinely surprising ending. Solid historical recreation of West Point and the young Edgar Allen, as well as some great pastiches of Poe's poetry.
I guess I'll skip The Poe Shadow, then. But I'll try Bayard.
I had the pleasure of attending a reading that Louis Bayard gave of The Pale Blue Eye during last summer.
He a terrific writer but an even better speaker, and a very interesting guy to boot.
I heartily recommend checking out his website, www.louisbayard.com.
He is still on tour promoting The Pale Blue Eye, and even if of this LT Group's member are in Canada, the Harper Collins web site states that he'll in Toronto on October 18 at the International Festival of Authors.
After his reading, Mr.Bayard talked about his next book which will feature the famous (or infamous) early 19th century French Detective, Vidoq.
I expect that it will be a great read.