On a Raven's Wing: New Tales in Honor of Edgar Allan Poe
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On a Raven's Wing: New Tales in Honor of Edgar Allan Poe

by Stuart M. Kaminsky
     
 

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Twenty contemporary writers commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe with chilling stories inspired by the master himself.

Nearly two centuries after they were penned, Edgar Allan Poe's macabre tales are still working their eerie magic on readers of every stripe—thrill-seekers, filmmakers, even fellow

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Overview

Twenty contemporary writers commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe with chilling stories inspired by the master himself.

Nearly two centuries after they were penned, Edgar Allan Poe's macabre tales are still working their eerie magic on readers of every stripe—thrill-seekers, filmmakers, even fellow writers of suspense. Collected here to honor and celebrate Poe's genius are original stories by some of the best mystery writers at work today.

A son attempts to connect with his dying father in Thomas H. Cook's "Nevermore." John Lutz's "Poe, Poe, Poe" combines elements from several of Poe's stories in a twisted tale of madness and mayhem. "Poe, Jo, and I," by Don Winslow, examines the curious bond literature can form between the most unlikely of friends. And in Jon L. Breen's "William Allan Wilson," getting even has never felt so good.

With contributions by Mary Higgins Clark, Jeremiah Healy, Peter Lovesey, P. J. Parrish, Daniel Stashower, and Angela Zeman, among others, On a Raven's Wing is a fitting tribute to the one and only Edgar Allan Poe.

The Mystery Writers of America, founded in 1945, is the foremost organization for mystery writers and other professionals dedicated to the field of crime writing.

Don't miss In the Shadow of the Master, a new collection of Poe's stories, edited by Michael Connelly and featuring essays from Stephen King, Sue Grafton, and others.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The Mystery Writers of America also presents an anthology of 20 new short stories, ranging from the uninterestingly derivative to the truly memorable. Fortunately, the volume boasts more hits than misses, most impressively Dorothy Salisbury Davis's chilling "Emily's Time," the tale of an intellectual's descent into isolation and madness with an appropriately ambiguous ending. The always reliable Peter Lovesey easily blends the real-life questions surrounding Poe's early death into "The Deadliest Tale of All." Daniel Stashower, who's written the definitive study of the Mary Rogers murder case (The Beautiful Cigar Girl) that inspired one of Poe's detective tales, creatively reinterprets the master in "Challenger," a coming-of-age story set in Ohio. Other notable contributors include Thomas H. Cook, S.J. Rozan and the late Edward D. Hoch. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

The bicentennial of the birth of the father of modern mystery-on January 19, 2009-is bound to be observed by writers of the genre. The Mystery Writers of America (whose award of excellence is the Edgar) presents these two publications simultaneously, with identical introductory articles about the author and the organization. In the Shadow of the Master features 13 of Poe's best-known tales, poems "The Raven" and "The Bells," and an excerpt from his sole novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, followed by essays about these works from contemporary mystery authors. Most speak either generally in appreciation of the master of horror or about the effects of his work on them personally. P.J. Parrish details what writers can learn from Poe, S.J. Rozan praises his language, and King observes that Poe "foresaw the darkness of generations far beyond his own." Varied in length and quality, these afterwords serve to add a dimension to Poe's work. While libraries may own ample Poe collections intended largely for students, this volume would be useful to refresh current holdings.

The 20 new tales in honor of Poe in On a Raven's Wing act as riffs on the original works. Some echo the themes of Poe's tales (e.g., Mary Higgins Clark's "The Tell-Tale Purr" and P.J. Parrish's updated "The Tell-Tale Pacemaker"), while others focus on the horror of confinement (e.g., Brendan DuBois's "The Cask of Castle Ireland"). There are also stories involving scams centering on Poe's work or artifacts; in others, Poe's work helps to unite characters (e.g., Thomas H. Cook's "Nevermore" and Don Winslow's "Poe, Jo, and I"). Among the most frightening tales are James W. Hall's"Bells" and Stuart M. Kaminsky's "Rattle, Rattle, Rattle"; both ratchet up an atmosphere of suspense and madness in the manner of the master. Full appreciation of these tales requires a familiarity with Poe, but the collection is entertaining on its own.
—Michele Leber

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061690426
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/06/2009
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

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Read an Excerpt

On a Raven's Wing

Chapter One

Israfel

Doug Allyn

If I could dwell where Israfel hath dwelt, and he where I . . . a bolder note than his might swell, from my lyre within the sky.
from "Israfel" by Edgar Allan Poe

The clapping started slowly at first. One pair of hands, then another, and yet another, as impatience spread through our audience like an angry brushfire, growing louder and more insistent. Some began stamping their feet, and the rest took that up as well, until the drumbeat of annoyance thundered through the old theater like an invading army on the march.

Backstage in my rat-bitten dressing room, I was giving my Fender Stratocaster a final tune when Duke Martoni, our road manager, stormed in. Big-shouldered, red-faced, Duke has an even temper. Always angry. A good man to have on your side.

A bad one to cross.

"You've gotta talk to him," he snapped. "Five minutes to show time and he's locked in his dressing room, won't come to the door."

"Whoa, slow down. Who won't come to the door?" Though I already knew. Duke's like a mean dog woofing behind a rail fence. You can't help teasing him a little.

"Izzy, who else?" he snarled, flushing dangerously. "Israfel freaking Markowski. After that fiasco in Detroit, you promised to straighten him out, Roddy. You gave me your word!"

"I promised I'd talk to him, Duke. I never got the chance. After the Detroit show, Izzy disappeared for three days."

"Disappeared where?"

"Don't know. All I can tell you is, he didn't ride down in the tour bus with the rest of the band. Didn't evenshow up to sound check the PA system or his guitar this afternoon. He arrived at the theater only an hour ago, went straight to his dressing room, and locked himself in. Maybe he's still bummed over the Detroit show—"

"He should be!" Duke snapped, getting redder by the second. "Detroit wasn't a show, it was a freaking disaster! Izzy up on his high riser with his back to the crowd, playing a damn whacked-out solo that went on for forty minutes. He blew our audience right out the stadium doors. Must have been coked out of his fucking mind!"

"Look, I know he's been acting a bit . . . erratic lately, but it's not just the dope. He's been reaching for something, Duke, trying to take our music to the next level—"

"Don't hand me that crap, Roddy. I know a stoner when I see one. Israfel's Koven isn't the first band I've managed, or even the twenty-first. I've seen fifty flash-in-the-pan talents like Izzy flush their careers down the toilet exactly the same way. He's destroying himself and he's going to take the rest of you down with him."

"He's not that bad—"

"The hell he isn't! You're a tough kid, Roddy, a street guy like me, so I'll give it to you straight. If Izzy pulls another cockup like Detroit, Israfel's Koven will be history. The other venues on the tour will cancel us out, and the penalty clauses and lawsuits will bury the band in a financial hole so deep you guys will never crawl out. You're gonna lose everything you've worked for, Roddy. For good."

"Okay, okay," I said, setting my guitar aside. "I'll talk to him—"

"Not good enough," Duke snapped. "We're past talking, Roddy. You've got to cut him loose."

"Cut him loose? Are you nuts? We can't—"

"Just think about it! Plenty of top-flight rock groups have replaced key members and gone on without a hitch. AC/DC, the Rolling Stones, Chicago, Heart—hell, it might be easier to list groups that haven't replaced star players. I know you think Izzy's special—"

"He is special! He's a freaking genius!"

"But he's not irreplaceable," Duke pressed on. "Playing on that riser forty feet over the crowd, with all the echo, CO2 fog, and lighting FX, anybody could be up there. You could be up there, Roddy!"

"No way, Duke! I'm just a blue-collar player. Izzy—"

"Izzy is a goddamn burnout! Whatever talent he had is gone, and you know it! I've heard you practicing on the tour bus, Roddy. Working like a dog between towns while Izzy's laying back in his berth stoned to the bone. You're as good a guitarist as Izzy ever was. Hell, you're probably better. You're definitely good enough to replace him."

"No! We started this band together. Izzy's been the driving force from the beginning—"

"Maybe he was then, but he's not anymore. Have you looked at him lately, Roddy? Really looked at him? A year ago he was a beautiful kid, but those larger-than-life posters in front of the theater are like pictures of Dorian Gray now. Drugs and the road are killing him, Roddy. I swear, half the audience buys their tickets to see if he'll drop dead onstage. Every show's a dance on the edge of destruction. He's coking himself to death, and his playing is getting so bizarre—"

"You're wrong about that, Duke. He's expanding the structures of our songs, looking for a new approach to the music. You're not a player, you don't understand."

"You're damned right I don't! Neither does your audience. They buy tickets to hear 'Annabel Lee,' 'Lenore,' and 'Berenice's Smile,' the songs that made you guys famous. Not to see Izzy up on that forty-foot riser doing musical masturbation. Nobody's getting off on that noise but him! His solos have been getting weirder every show and Detroit was the last straw."

"Forget it, Duke, there's no way the guys will cut Izzy loose. Period! If his playing seems erratic, it's because he's experimenting. Every creative artist tries things that aren't successful at first. Even Poe had failures—"

"Poe," Duke snorted contemptuously. "And that's another thing. This whole Poe shtick, naming yourselves after his characters, basing your songs on his poems, it's wearing out, Roddy. It worked for the first CD but your second release went straight in the tank. Twelve songs, no hits. The label wants a new direction for your next CD or they'll cancel your recording contract."

On a Raven's Wing. Copyright © by Stuart Kaminsky. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Stuart M. Kaminsky is the author of more than sixty mystery novels. He lives with his wife and family in Sarasota, Florida.

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