Thursday, October 9, 2014

"Poe" by J. Lincoln Fenn

I think you have to be a certain kind of reader to love this one as much as I did. A lot of people went into this book thinking, "Young Adult" but I have to disagree- my teen self would've liked it, but mainly thought it too weird and gorey. I would compare this with Odd Thomas- if you liked Odd, you'll probably enjoy meeting Dimitri.

The aspects that made this book perfect for me were the fact that Dimitri is a writer/journalist/sleuth- he has a book he's written that was a thousand pages and still going strong, he writes obituaries for the local paper, and has a droll humor/sarcastic personality. Other than the obituaries, that's pretty much me.

Also: an abandoned mansion, ghosts, and some Halloween mischief. I read this at the right time of year.

The Plot: (Synopsis As Seen on Goodreads)
'It’s Halloween, and life is grim for 23-year-old Dimitri Petrov. It’s the one-year anniversary of his parents’ deaths, he’s stuck on page one thousand of his Rasputin zombie novel, and he makes his living writing obituaries.
'But things turn from bleak to terrifying when Dimitri gets a last-minute assignment to cover a séance at the reputedly haunted Aspinwall Mansion.
'There, Dimitri meets Lisa, a punk-rock drummer he falls hard for. But just as he’s about to ask her out, he unwittingly unleashes malevolent forces, throwing him into a deadly mystery. When Dimitri wakes up, he is in the morgue—icy cold and haunted by a cryptic warning given by a tantalizing female spirit.
'As town residents begin to turn up gruesomely murdered, Dimitri must play detective in his own story and unravel the connections among his family, the Aspinwall Mansion, the female spirit, and the secrets held in a pair of crumbling antiquarian books. If he doesn't, it’s quite possible Lisa will be the next victim.'

This is one of the most quotable books I've ever read- I was highlighting a lot while reading this on my Kindle. I think, for me, some of the best quotes are general thoughts I have had myself, and the author expressed perfectly:

"I have watched enough cheesy detective television shows in my young life to know that when one is presented with an inexplicable mystery, the first order of business (after procuring good donuts and coffee--check) is to create a wall of clues with photos of suspects and article clippings, preferably in an artistic yet seemingly random fashion."

     ~Poe by J. Lincoln Fenn, page 96 Kindle edition

""There was a day when writers actually read," he grumbles. "They could quote Keats and Socrates. Now anyone with a keyboard and a fifth-grade education can call themselves a writer.""

     ~Poe by J. Lincoln Fenn, page 284 Kindle edition

Especially that last one- nowadays it seems like writers themselves read fewer and fewer books, books that could (and can) shape them into better writers. If you plan on being a professional author, it only makes sense that you should support your profession by buying and reading books.

What really made this a standout for me was a combination of things: the characters, the plot, the fast pace, and that quotable writing. Usually with books, I have a lot of things I would change about them, but this one proves itself to be my ideal as far as horror/urban fantasy/ghost stories.

Poe is simply my new favorite Halloween read. It's spooky and my kind of funny, even if I had predicted some of the plot long before Dimitri had a clue. If you want a book that is both scary and contemporary to devour before this Halloween, consider Poe for your next read.

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars for an extraordinary seasonal read!

Content: I advise Ages 18+ for swearing, graphic violence, and overall creepiness.

Page Count: 381 pages in the paperback edition

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