The Pale Blue Eye
The Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard.
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks;(June 12, 2007)
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Bayard follows Mr. Timothy (2003), which brilliantly imagined the adult life of Dickens's Tiny Tim, with another tour-de-force, an intense and gripping novel set during Edgar Allan Poe's brief time as a West Point cadet. In 1830, retired New York City detective Gus Landor is living a quiet life at his Hudson Valley cottage, tormented by an unspecified personal sorrow, when Superintendent Thayer summons him to West Point to investigate the hanging and subsequent mutilation of a cadet. Poe aids Landor by serving as an inside source into the closed world of the academy, though Poe's personal involvement with a suspect's sister complicates their work. But the pair find themselves helpless to prevent further outrages; the removal of the victims' hearts suggests that a satanic cult might be at work. This beautifully crafted thriller stands head and shoulders above other recent efforts to fictionalize Poe.
This is my second book by Louis Bayard. The other I read by him is called Mr. Timothy.
I have to say I surprised myself by how quickly I read this book. Mainly because the print was on the small side! Sheer horror for me!
The Pale Blue Eye managed to grab me right away. I liked the way the author put the history of the West Point Academy into the book, circa 1830. He researched enough to know that Edgar Allan Poe truly did go to West Point for a time and so incorporated as the cadet he chooses to help him solve the crime.
Small hints are dropped here and there but I have to admit that I could not figure out who the murder was! And then at the end when the whole story comes out it takes yet another twist which you really don't have a clue is coming!
I liked this book a lot, as I also had enjoyed his book of Mr Timothy, which is about the adult "Tiny Tim" of Christmas Carole fame.
The retired detective, Gus Landor, was a very good character. You don't actually know much about him but he is such a thorough detective that you find his work more intriguing than he is! (rare for me, I am character driven). As for Poe, I will only say that one of his more famous poems comes to mind over and over again as you read this book.. but you will have to read it for yourself and see if you come up with the same (thought) poem.