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The Devil's Scribe Kindle Edition
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"He fell on the bottle before he took a seat, pouring two fingers of whiskey into his wineglass, streaked with the last of a red he'd consumed. Now that he'd gotten his invitation, his tentative edge fell away, replaced by relief." (from the e-story)
Lanore McIlvrae from The Taker meets with the one and only Edgar Allan Poe by chance in an expensive Baltimore hotel in 1846 after having been gone from America for the last 20 years. Poe describes himself as an orphan and a widower able to support himself as the "devil's scribe," but Lanny seems passingly interested in his life story and the fact that he's a writer. However, in spite of her preoccupation with why she came back to America, she walks with this stranger through the streets of Baltimore, careful not to reveal too much of herself to him.
The story raises the idea of telling strangers secrets as a way to unburden the soul without having to deal with the same consequences one would have to deal with should they tell someone they know intimately or should they tell a family member. It is reminiscent of the relationship between dying soldiers and/or patients and the priest that comes to hear their sins, though in this situation, Poe cannot offer Lanny absolution.
Read my full review: <...>
Without giving too much away, "The Devil's Scribe" takes place in the time after Lanny makes a major "life" decision. She is traveling to Boston to check on her affairs as it were, and meets up with a mystery man who is mesmerized by her. He sees in her, I think, a kindred spirit. Someone who shares his darkness. He attaches himself to her and learns her secret. Perhaps inspiring him to write...
If you haven't read "The Taker", I highly recommend it as well. I have seen other reviewers say that they read this first, but I would read "The Taker" first. It will give you some insight into the back story.
Very well written and researched. Alma Katsu is an exceptional author, and one I hope is around and publishing for a long time.
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