BOOK REVIEW: ON A RAVEN'S WING
How do you celebrate the 200th anniversary of a masterful author? Stuart Kaminsky managed to have twenty contemporary well-known mystery writers alter a Poe masterpiece or to change it slightly in an updated-style to honor the one who first successfully published the mystery short story, Edgar Allan Poe.
From the introduction, “When I sent out word that I was putting together a collection honoring Poe, I gave but one condition. Poe himself or his work had to be central to the story. I expected sequels. I expected Poe as a detective. What I did not expect was what I got, a dazzling collection of contemporary terror, mystery, and literary game.”
“Israfel” by Doug Allyn was haunting as the first short story of this delightful collection. The story is about a rock-band whose lead member became too creative during the last concert and while the lead considered his performance to be at the genius level, the management wants the group to continue without him. From the other guitarist’s point-of-view, this tale is truly “shocking”.
The other contributing authors were Mary Higgins Clark, Thomas H. Cook, James W. Hall, Rupert Holmes, S.J. Rozan, Don Winslow, John Lutz, P.J. Parrish, Daniel Stashover, Angela Zeman, Michael A. Black, Jon I. Breen, Dorothy Salisbury Davis, Brendan DuBois, Jeremiah Healy, Edward D. Hoch, Paul Levine, Peter Lovesey, and the editor, Stuart M. Kaminsky.
I was wondering after a while, why the editor just chose to have the stories in alphabetical order by the author’s name. Obviously, this was the editor’s way where he did not have to choose the order, value, or mastery of each story.
The stories are sometimes remakes of some of the original terrors, but they still work. This collection has the energy and drive of a continuous novel even though it consists of twenty separate short stories. The differences in pacing, topic, storylines, and characters were beautifully woven together into this literary collection.
This is one collection that everyone should read and enjoy. The memories of Poe’s classic stories and poems with the contemporary twists keep you constantly thinking and wondering. With having twenty different authors, the reader can’t possibly predict all the stories and you are content if you correctly have predicted the outcome on one story.
2009 is the 200th birthday of Edgar Allan Poe. Enjoy it On a Raven’s Wing.
REVIEWED BY TERI DAVIS
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