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Nevermore Hardcover – January 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Atria; First Edition edition (January 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671798553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671798550
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,352,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Young Edgar Allan Poe is the neurasthenic narrator of Schechter's period crime drama, and he recounts the legendary author's brush with real-life homicide as one of Poe's own protagonists would?with morbid, scientific rapture. A struggling journalist in Baltimore in 1834, Poe trounces the autobiography of frontiersman Davy Crockett in a scathing review. Crockett seeks out Poe with a mind to learn him some manners and extract an apology. Instead, the odd couple become embroiled in a series of gruesome murders, and Poe pursues a phantasmal woman who appears fleetingly at each murder scene and is apparently linked to his mystery-shrouded past. The author of several true-crime studies (Deviant, etc.), Schechter has plenty of blood-spattered material from which to draw his descriptions. Allusions to "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Masque of the Red Death" and "The Raven" (works yet to be written in 1834) suggest that Poe's literary masterpieces were based on the macabre personal experiences recounted here. Yet for all the appealing dynamic between rowdy Crockett and neurasthenic Poe, the heavily ornamented prose, while authentic to the period, is overwrought to contemporary eyes. A typical sentence reads: "So benumbed was I by exhaustion that I passed the entirety of our journey in a condition akin to that of the chronic somnambulist." One wonders if this tale might have been punchier if written from the point of view of Crockett, whose earthy banter provides comic relief. As it stands, however, this obvious homage to a C. Auguste Dupin detective yarn has plenty of suspense and nicely integrated background detail. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

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.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

The plot is an interesting one but the denoument is far fetched and unrealistic.
Charles A. Bayne
It's a very funny parody of Poe, his stories, poems and writing style, VERY cleverly interwoven with a respectable murder mystery.
Maria Jette
I have no doubt that the writing and speaking styles correctly and accurately represent both Poe and Crockett.
Bookseller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 14, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Though the partnership of Poe and Crocket is unlikely to have ever worked, the premise is fun. The author must have had enjoyed working the numerous references to Poe's stories into the details and plot of Nevermore. As a fan of Poe, I delighted in Schechter's attempt to duplicate the stilted and often tedious writing structure used by Poe - it made the first person narrative work. The whonunnit aspect of the book is somewhat contrived and rather anti-climactic, but the read is still enjoyable.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Maria Jette on July 3, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read through the many reviews of this book, astonished at the number of people who apparently missed the point (or the several points). Like several of those who DID get it, I laughed almost continuously, as would most readers had any fondness for or familiarity with the era's writing style (ergo the use of italics, which I found hilarious, likewise the exclamation points which ended almost every chapter). I was more than impressed at the thoroughness of the author's grasp of the style, in fact, and really savored his skill in capturing the flavor of Poe.
I found the Poe characterization charming, unlike some who found him tedious-- every time he rhapsodized about his manly prowess in some "pugilistic art," he got woozy at the point of action and had to be rescued by Crockett; also, he would ramble on in high-flown style, only to have Crockett or some other normal person paraphrase it for us. I really enjoyed the endless Crockettisms, too-- along the lines of the recent election debacle's catch-phrase, "nibbled to death by a duck."
I should note that I bought this book to serve as a theatrical prop-- it was remaindered (hardcover) at a B&N, and worked perfectly as Gerald McBoing-Boing's schoolbook in a kids' show. Rather than pack it away, I read it-- and really enjoyed it, enough to want to check out the reviews..., and seeing the misinterpretations of so many readers, am now defending it!
In conclusion-- this is NOT a historical account of anything, it's not a standard mystery novel, it's not an exploration of some long-lost serial killer's psyche. It's a very funny parody of Poe, his stories, poems and writing style, VERY cleverly interwoven with a respectable murder mystery.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this book, and found it to be delightful. The ending is MAYBE just a little too far-fetched, but then again, the whole premise of the novel is somewhat far fetched. Can you imagine if Poe and Crockett had actually known each other, much less worked together for a common cause? I think the real Poe would have thought himself to be too superior to "rub elbows" with Crockett. At first, I was thrown off my the absurdity of Crockett's language--no one could have spoken that poorly--but then I realized that the story is being told from Poe's point-of-view. In Poe's mind, Crockett was a backward hick who couldn't even use colliqualisms correctly. When you view how "backwards" Crockett appears to be, it must be remembered that Poe is the one who is drawing this picture. Throughout the book there are similarities with Poe's actual works of fiction. Hence, Asher ultimately becomes Usher from the House of Usher. These allusions to Poe's fiction are what made this such a fun story--the whole time I was trying to match up incidents from the book with Poe's actual work. "Ok, so such & such story came out of what happened in this part of the novel," is what I kept telling myself while reading it. It was fun to pretend that this was a true story and that the bulk of Poe's writing evolved from his encounter with Crockett. I also liked the way Schechter made Poe to be such a weakling in the reader's eyes, while Poe, himself, never thinks he's been less than heroic. A couple of the scenes were downright brutal, so for those who like the blood and gore--it's there--it's just intermingled with a silly, but charming fairy tale that is supposed to have happened with Poe & Crockett. As long as you don't take this novel too seriously, it's a fun piece of work and very entertaining. It won't go down in history as being a great work of art, but it should bring a smile to the face of anyone who reads it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tduke57@aol.com on March 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. It is eloquently written from Edgar Allen Poe's perspective and is thoroughly engrossing. The idea of pairing frontiersman Davy Crockett and Poe is genius as the two actually work well together. Highly credible dialog and a historically atypical setting in old Baltimore make for a delightful read. If this is the author's first foray into fiction (I know he specializes in true crime pieces) I only hope he continues. I recommend this book highly to anyone who enjoys history and mystery stories. Poe's refined vocabulary may send some for their Webster's, but it is worth the effort.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 8, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I suffer from an auditory processing disability which makes it rough getting through most books. My concentration and comprehension in layman's terms is just lousy. However, I found this book so fascinating that I could hardly put it down. Schechter's words describe the action in such a clear and dramatic style that you feel as though you're there watching all the action. He combines all the stuff I learned about Poe this past year in eighth grade Lit. and molds it into a creative masterpiece that even Poe, the toughest of critics would give a great review. I can hardly wait till Schechter's next book. I hear he teams Poe up with P.T. Barnum!! Cool!
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