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Return to the House of Usher Mass Market Paperback – October 15, 1997

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (October 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812549317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812549317
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,301,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Robert Poe's slight purported sequel to Edgar Allan Poe's classic short story "The Fall of the House of Usher" neither illuminates the original tale nor engages the reader in a new vision. This contemporary update finds bourbon-swilling, 30-year-old John Charles Poe a struggling roving town reporter in Crowley Creek, Va. It's late November when college chum Dr. Roderick Usher contacts Poe to help investigate strange happenings at the Usher Sanatorium, which he and his psychiatrist sister, Madeleine, run on the grounds of the first House of Usher. Poe and his newly hired research assistant, a recent divorcee, set forth to battle the forces of good and evil, which apparently haunt the modern counterparts of the original characters. What this Poe adds is a subplot involving a series of bland secondary characters in a standard land-deal scheme. A termagant boss, a philandering mayor and a self-serving family lawyer try to outmaneuver a stereotypical money-laundering Mafia representative from New York. An attempt is made to create a gothic atmosphere with a group of wandering ghost patients, a routine slow poisoning, the obligatory mad doctor and the festering family secret that threatens the Usher household. Even the approach of a late-season hurricane does little to add any frightening suspense or to dispel a melodramatic and obvious ending.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

After Usher House sank into the tarn in Edgar Allan Poe's gloomy tale, Usher heirs rebuilt on the same tainted ground. When 160 years later descendants Rod and Madeleine Usher (doctors who operate the Usher House Sanatorium) start a downward spiral, history appears to be repeating itself, especially to John Charles Poe of Crowley Creek, Virginia, who attended college with Rod Usher and lives only a few miles from the sanatorium, where questionable medical practices are setting the stage for disaster. On his thirtieth birthday, John Charles receives a small casket filled with documents, some of which reveal secrets behind the famous Poe stories. When an approaching hurricane finally blows inland, it wreaks havoc on the community, heavily damaging the Usher property, which now most probably will not be developed into a Confederate-theme gambling resort being hustled by a smarmy character from up north. Robert Poe, a distant relative of E. A., has fashioned a far-fetched yet thought-provoking yarn. Jennifer Henderson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Peterson on February 8, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book had me captivated from page 1. The author did more than just "update" Poe's original tale--he made it his own. Although you may have an inkling half-way through of the final conclusion, if you are reading it during a big windstorm at night, you don't really notice. I would recommend this book for any Poe lover & I look forward to reading other books of Robert Poe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Patton on August 26, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Robert Poe pens a credible modern tale with enough supernatural undertones to tingle your spine but balanced with modern detective novel explanations whenever reason becomes over-taut. The allusions to Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher are manifold and a pre-re-reading of that classic is recommended. Characters in "Return..." are well rounded, with one or two minor exceptions (the mob lawyer from up North) and the details of the plot ahead are never easily guessed although I saw some of the underpinnings well ahead of the central character, Charles Poe, but we readers aren't blinded by his fateful ancestry. What I missed in this story was the archaic (even in the 1800's) diction of E.A.Poe and his semantic mastery. Rarely in "Return..." is there a well turned run-on sentence or a sequence of multisyllabic verbage to cause a mental tongue twister causing the reader to pause, and consider.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Robert Poe
Forge, Oct 1996, $22.95, 288 pp.

For over a century and a half, just south of Richmond, the ruins of the House of Usher laid. Everything change when Dr. Roderick Usher and his sister, psychiatrist Dr. Madeline Usher open up a sanitorium at the very location where his ancestors faced a colossal collapse. However, strange phenomena occur and Roderick calls his fellow Virginia University alumni John Poe, a nearby reporter, to investigate the goings on.
John, who has not seen or heard from Roderick in five years, travels the seven miles to the sanitarium. He soon finds himself fighting ghosts, a mad doctor, searching his strange inheritance of a casket containing his revered relative's notes on Usher, and struggling with some modern day crooks. John may find out what is behind all the weirdness at Usher Sanitorium, but the price could be very high. John risks death to learn his ancestor's secret to help resolve the events in the present.
I know Edgar Allen Poe. He is a friend of mine. Robert Poe is no Edgar Allen Poe. But then again who is. Mr. Poe scribes a modern day gothic tale that would please his namesake. Though the secondary plot involving some nineties laundering and land schemes add little, the primary plot, the Ushers, John, a divorcee, and other secondary characters add immensely to a brilliantly written foreboding sequel. This reviewer recommends reading both novels.

Harriet Klausner
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