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In the Shadow of the Master: Classic Tales by Edgar Allan Poe and Essays by Jeffery Deaver, Nelson DeMille, Tess Gerritsen, Sue Grafton, Stephen King, ... Lippman, Lisa Scottoline, and Thirteen Others Hardcover – January 6, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Mystery Writers of America presents a collection of Poe tales with afterwords by 20 distinguished writers who honor Poe's powerful influence on the modern crime story. Stephen King, reflecting on The Tell-tale Heart, credits Poe with writing the first tale of criminal sociopathy. Lisa Scottoline, in her perceptive appreciation of William Wilson, cites a score of contemporary works that silently acknowledge its influence in their exploration of the spookiness that comes from the fragmenting or doubling of the self, and the splintering of identity. P.J. Parrish, writing reverently on The Black Cat, praises it as, among other things, an early example of genre-crossing in its splice of horror and detection. Contributions from Lawrence Block, Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, Tess Gerritsen and others—many of them Edgar winners—vary in their appreciation from the deeply personal to the respectfully analytical, and from the lightly humorous to the deadly earnest. (Jan.)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* What mystery novelist worth his or her advance isn’t indebted to the dark-souled inventor of the detective-fiction genre? And what reader hasn’t left the lights lingering a little longer after indulging in one of his tales? This compulsively readable collection, commemorating the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth, unites some of Poe’s best short works (including The Black Cat, The Raven, and The Fall of the House of Usher) with commentary by a slew of Edgar Award winners and nominees. Here readers find T. Jefferson Parker reflecting on the awe he experienced, as a 12-year-old boy, upon reading the unforgettable opening lines of The Cask of Amontillado. And Nelson DeMille as a teenager, quivering in his boots as he cuts through a cemetery after seeing the 3-D movie based on The Murders in the Rue Morgue. Novelist Lisa Scottoline, who didn’t buckle down and read Poe until adulthood, writes about Poe’s spooky representations of the splintered self that inspired her own prose. Editor Connelly recounts a memorable, albeit terrifying, night in a hotel room spent under the author’s spell. Opining on The Tell-Tale Heart, Stephen King doesn’t miss a beat.: Poe foresaw the darkness of generations far beyond his own, he writes. Ours, for instance. --Allison Block

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061690392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061690396
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #632,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you're a Poe fan at all, you owe it to yourself to check out this wonderful collection. To commemorate Poe's 200th birthday its a collection of some of his best stories and poems, with essays and commentary by a number of Edgar Award Winning mystery and horror authors.

I picked it up thinking, well I'll just skip the essays and reread my favorite stories, but surprisingly, the essays were great. They were engaging, insightful and fun to read. You can see how your favorite modern thriller writers were influenced by Poe. Or, if so inclined, you can laugh at their shortcomings next to the undisputed master.

A handful of the essays seem forced (the ones written in verse, and Sue Grafton who seems to be fishing for something good to say) but on the whole the essays are short and sweet (if you consider stories of childhood nighmares sweet). And the book has amazing illustrations; creepy black-and-white, stark, like Edward Gorey without the whimsy.
And of course, there's Poe.

The book includes a variety of his tales, William Wilson, Tell-Tale Heart, Cask of Amontillado, Masque of the Red Death, Murders in the Rue Morgue, and others, as well as "The Raven" and "The Bells". And as Poe is undeniably the master, these gems alone would be worth the price of the book.
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Format: Hardcover
In the Shadow of the Master: Classic Tales by Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Michael Connelly, is more than simply a republishing of 13 of Poe's original tales. If that were all that was here there certainly wouldn't be much to comment on especially since virtually everything Poe ever published is available on the Internet.....for free in most cases. What is of value here are the short essays written by many of today's best authors of the horror/crime genre.

Many of the essayists admit that they first really became interested in Poe in a variety of ways, some, for example, after watching one of Roger Corman's movies from the 60's. The movie The Pit and the Pendulum did it for me. I went to school the next week and checked out The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe from the school library and read it over the Christmas break. Two things happened as a result of that experience. One, I became a lifelong fan of Mr. Poe. The other was the realization that Hollywood could not improve on the written word. Later, when I started buying books, that same edition of The Complete Works was one of the first books I purchased. I still have it and I still read it from time to time.

As I read the essays in the Shadow of the Master, I found that I also shared a fascination with Edgar Allan Poe with each of the writers. A sense of dread over takes the reader when you pick up a Poe story, but it's a dread that won't hurt you. Whether it's a crime story with world famous French detective Dupin or one of Poe's true horror classics like Tell-Tale Heart, we all share a love of the macabre that only Poe can dish up.

In the Shadow of the Master is a fitting salute of Poe's 200th birthday.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought the articles on Poe would be more scholarly than what they are. The stories by Poe are obviously great, but there are better collections out there. I would recommend the Library of America 2 vol collection. If you are looking for a cheaper collection, the Penguin classics edition is also great. And if you are looking for a collection of Poe with the Clarke illustrations, I would recommend, Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Poe with Illustrations by Harry Clarke, it is a Calla Edition. It's more expensive, but contains all the illustrations from the 1930s edition, plus the ones that were done in color.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book was super-scary in bits. Seriously. Talk about writing mastery, I had to stop reading this book because parts of it were just too terrifying. Poe is a master of creating ambiance in the read, making the reader feel like they are right there in the story as horrifying events unfold. I love how, quite often, the protagonist of the story is also the evil villain of the tale. That is cutting-edge story-telling, and Poe was writing from that POV ages ago. The essays accompanying each story were as fascinating, and often inspiring, as the tales themselves. If you're a writer of horror or suspense, or just a fan, you will very likely enjoy this book. Happy reading~*
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Format: Hardcover
If you want to understand America through its literature, it is as essential to read Edgar Allan Poe as it is to read Melville, Twain or Fitzgerald. For America has always been a land marked by a belief in our own exceptionalism. America was the "shining city on the hill," a positive place of eternal goodness and promise. Poe told us to hold off a bit on the laurels. His words took us deep into the darkness and forced us to look whether we liked it or not. He was the first great American writer to teach us that maybe stories don't all have happy endings and redemption doesn't always come with the dawn.

This year marks the 200 anniversary of Poe's birth. But, as Michael Connelly points out in IN THE SHADOW OF THE MASTER, "happy" is hardly a word people use in the same sentence as Poe. Irregardless, the Mystery Writers of America decided to throw a sort of a birthday party for the dark genius by gathering 16 of his classic short stories and poems along with essays from 20 of today's greatest practitioners of the genre Poe helped create, including Connelly, Stephen King, Lawrence Block, Sara Paretsky, Laura Lippman and Nelson DeMille.

The result is a wonderfully accessible and lively volume that functions well as both a gateway to Poe for the new reader and a refresher course for those who have not read him since being forced to in high school.

Poe is probably as well known now as a symbol of the macabre, for his booze- and drug-dominated lifestyle and for his bizarre unexplained death at the age of 40 as he is for his actual work. He is the only American author to have an NFL football team named after his most famous creation --- a fact that might be as bizarre as his death.
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