For Edgar

Sheldon Rusch, Author . Berkley Prime Crime $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-425-20409-2

The titular "Edgar" of Rusch's sharply written debut is Edgar Allan Poe himself: somebody is committing murders in Poe's name and leaving behind garish works of art to mark the connection—such as a woman's skull with a gold ribbon dangling from an eye socket. The little girl who finds the skull in an oak tree in a park near Chicago takes home a vital clue associated with "The Gold Bug." A second woman's bizarre murder has an obvious link to another Poe story. Elizabeth Taylor Hewitt, a special agent of the Illinois state police, enlists her ex-lover, Scott Gregory, who just happens to be a Poe expert, in decoding the clues—and becomes a potential victim of a mad but also resourceful serial killer known as the Raven. Hewitt is literary without being pretentious, and often hilariously outspoken. When a county sheriff describes the way the first victim's skull was attached to the tree, Elizabeth comments, "That's the way Martha Stewart always insisted on hanging a skull." With quality ingredients like these, Hewitt could well be back for another outing—and some day Rusch may be handed an Edgar of his own. Agent, Paula Balzer at Sarah Lazin Books. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/27/2005
Release date: 08/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 311 pages - 978-0-425-21262-2
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