It’s Halloween, and life is grim for twenty-three-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.
My Review: Richard Ellis Preston Jr. tweeted about this book. And he kept tweeting and talking about it. I gave in and checked it out. He wasn’t wrong. I really liked this book. Thank you Richard Ellis Preston Jr. Dimitri isn’t Romulus Buckle but he still took me on an adventure and that’s what books are for.
I felt sorry for poor Dimitri from the beginning of this story to the end. He is used and abused by forces far beyond his control for most of the book. That’s not to say that he wasn’t used and abused by forces beyond his control before the story begins. Let me be clear about the main character of this book. He doesn’t have superpowers. In fact there isn’t anything special about him until he has a horrible accident. Even the accident doesn’t give him superpowers. Mostly it gives him a headache. Dimitri is a little different and yet still completely ill equipped to deal with the things happening to him. In fact none of the characters are really capable of handling what is happening in town. Even the guy that should have the answers doesn’t have them all. The characters in this book mostly react to what’s being done by the bad guy and very little taking charge. That isn’t exactly a criticism even though I would have liked to see more “this is what we’re going to do” and less “I’m going to hope my ghost comes to its senses and tells me what the heck is going on.”
And as for Poe, who’s name is the title of this book, I hope that we see Poe again someday because I hope there is more of her story to come. She is without question one of the most fascinating characters that I’ve read about in a while.
This book is very atmospheric. The author does a marvelous job of taking the town from every day small town life to eerie and really creepy. It goes from being a small town that’s seen better days to a place full of fear and suspicion. It was the best part of the book for me. It was almost like it was another character in the book.
I hope this is a series and that there are more books to come. The end is left wide open and our main character survives so I’m going to go ahead and hope. I’m only sorry that I didn’t read it sooner.
There is a killer on the loose.
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Background Image: Hamilton Mansion by Bruce Emmerling