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The Black Cat Hardcover – October 15, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1st edition (October 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312860137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312860134
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,922,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

Poe, a distant relative of Edgar Allan, follows up his debut psychological thriller, Return to the House of Usher (1996), with another variation on a classic Poe story, again set in Crowley Creek, Virginia. Returning as protagonist is John Charles Poe, also a distant relative of Edgar Allan, who writes a ``barely syndicated'' column for Fannie Boynton's Crowley Creek Sentinel and who's inherited a brassbound oak casket bearing the papers of the great dead writer. It appears that Margaret Cully, the wife of the veterinarian, has vanished under mysterious circumstances; Julie Noir, a waifish raven-haired girl with a tiny gold stud in her nose, shows up and quickly replaces Margaret in Dr. Cully's clinic; and John Charles seems to be haunted by a small black shape that follows him around. Julie, who carries her black cat Asmodeus about on her shoulder, advertises the fact that she fancies herself a witch. After John Charles helps Dr. Cully deliver a two-headed calf (in the best scene here), the bad omens begin piling up. When Poe's story of ``The Black Cat'' seems to be coming to pass in Dr. Cully's own person, John Charles opens his cache of Poe letters and notes, looking for insight. Julie holds moonlit rites and dances naked, and the Reverend Rollie Fairchild whips up the town's antiwitch fever. Finally, Julie discovers a buried ax, seemingly having the missing Margaret's hair and blood on it. A town meeting is called, and some demand that Julie be arrested--or at least run out of Crowley Creek. (The town's rabid feelings are the plot's most feeble device.) Then Dr. Cully starts hearing rats in his cellar behind a freshly bricked wall. John Charles has a drinking habit meant to mimic Poe's, but Poe had an allergy to, not a craving for, alcohol. Gentlemanly, undemanding variation on the master's work. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review

"Retains much of the dark magic spun by the master of macabre."--The Chicago Sun-Times

"Engaging....It's a veritable Poe-pourri....Keep you porch light one, and don't look behind you."--The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Virginia)

"A modern-day gothic tale that would please his namesake....Brilliantly written."--Amazon.com
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 19, 1997
Format: Hardcover
When I found out that a relative of the great Edgar Allen Poe was writing books, I just had to read them. The Black Cat is a wonderful story of how horrible humans can be. You can't help but want to help Julie and try to help her. Ultimately this book shows how inhuman humans can be and that you should always listen to others before passing judgement.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 1998
Format: Library Binding
An almost cryptic tale about an alcoholic who goes mad and attacks his cat, the start of several horrid events that happen in this short story. What makes this tale the more creepier; Poe himself was an alcoholic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Akethan on December 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
A bad end well-deserved... but - the Tell-Tale Heart builds itself more soundly and looks deeper in the mind of the man/murderer. Here is a man who simply states he's lost his sense of humor for the world - and his companion black cat is is punching bag and victim. It's sudden replacement - his growing madness and anger - and the next unfortunate victim - all add up to nothing surprising and certainly far less than the opening lines invite you to imagine.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
i loved this book. it kept me wondering if what society thought was right, or if it was all a massive cover-up of some sort. i felt very into it as i heard the conversations. some of the themes in the book may not be appropriate (to some people) for a 14 year old like myself, but i would still recommend it to anyone that wants a fast reader that they could finish in a week.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K on September 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book, although based upon a fairly old story, is exciting even now. I'm not easily disturbed, but this book had me on the edge. I had to read it through a couple of times to get the full effect, because after the first time so many things near the beginning of the story made sense. I would reccomend this book to anyone that likes thrillers and definately to a Poe fan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A very readable story with vivid characters which manages to be both disturbing and entertaining in a quirky way. What I liked about it was the psychological complexity- people have both good and bad qualities in them ( even the protagonists) and nothing is as black or white as it seems. I was very touched by the description of the persecution of a young Wiccan woman by a town of basically good people who just don't understand- this subject is *real* and I personally know people who have been there. Very few authors ( Richard Grant is the only other one I can think of in his "Land of Winter" ) have been willing to tackle this controversial subject. The young Wiccan girl is a *person* rather than a "comic book character" like many Wiccans in books, a human being with both faults and good qualities, not a misunderstood angel or a veiled demon. As a Wiccan teacher and Elder who has been in the position of screening potential students, I have seen some of the issues ( abuse, for example ) that sometimes push people onto Our Path ( though many abused people become Born Again Christians, too- ). Mr. Poe does an excellent job with both the persecution issues and the complexities and motivations that make up even "simple small town people", who are often portrayed as one dimensional, cookie cutter characters, especially Southerners. Though it can not be described as a "Wicca positive" book, it is not negitive either- is a realistic look at some of the more wounded people who find themselves on our Path, and the abominable way they can be treated by "good folks" who need to grow and learn a little compassion and tolerance. I would recommend it to any Wiccan who plans to go into teaching- you'll eventually meet someone like Julie.
A very good effort at a difficult subject, and a great story too!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I doubt that she has read it yet. She said she didn't have any books by Poe so she wanted to try one.
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