Very nice to get a starred review from the prestigious Library Journal, especially when in the excellent company of Graeme Macrae Burnet, Wally Lamb, and Ursula Le Guin.
[DEBUT] Street’s first novel drops readers smack into an Edgar Allan Poe story, complete with all the deception, obsession, and madness of the master himself. Poe arrives in London from Philadelphia in 1840 to meet C. Auguste Dupin, his friend and an accomplished detective. The writer is seeking Dupin’s help in solving the mystery of a box of letters he inherited, letters supposedly written by his grandparents Elizabeth and Henry Arnold. True, the Arnolds were impecunious actors, but the letters imply that they performed the very unsavory role of the notorious London Monster, an actual criminal who slashed young women of quality between 1788 and 1790. Poe hopes he and Dupin will prove the letters false, but soon he is followed and tormented by someone who seems to know about his grandparents and their criminal acts. Will Poe and Dupin discover the truth before Poe loses his life—or his sanity?
Verdict: Poe’s devoted readers will rejoice in this debut literary novel, a skillful melding of historical detail and fiction that is also rife with Poe-like style, imagery, and plot elements. Mavens of the macabre will relish this and hunger for a sequel.—Barbara Clark-Greene, Westerly, RI