Praised by Caleb Carr for his "brilliantly detailed and above all riveting" true-crime writing, Harold Schechter brings his expertise to a marvelous work of fiction. Superbly rendering the 1830s Baltimore of Edgar Allan Poe, Schechter taps into the dark genius of that legendary author -- and follows a labyrinthine path into the heart of a most heinous crime. A literary critic known for his scathing pen, Edgar Allan Poe is a young struggling writer, plagued by dreadful ruminations and horrific visions. Suddenly he is plunged into an adventure beyond his wildest fantasies -- a quest for a killer through Baltimore's highest and lowest streets and byways. A string of ghastly murders is linked by one chilling clue -- a cryptic word scrawled in blood. It is a terrifying lure that ensnares Poe in a deadly investigation. And along the way, his own macabre literary imagination is sparked as he unveils dark realities stranger than any fiction...