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Book Review: The Poe Predicament by Phil Thomas

The Poe Predicament by Phil Thomas

Genre: Mystery, Horror, Time Travel

3.8 Stars

Richard is a former college professor from the present time. His wanderings take him to a friend’s bookstore where he finds a singed copy of Tamerlane and Other Poems by none other than Poe. Just as he traces the words, he hears whispers urging him to take the book and run.

Richard is surprised when he loses control over his actions and does what the voices want him to. Somehow, he reaches his house, but with a ghastly wound in one eye. It’s not long before he becomes unconscious and wakes up in a world so different from his that Richard can’t help but wonder if he’s lost his mind.

Not knowing which part of the past he’s time-traveled to, Richard meets a man and befriends him. Imagine his shock upon discovering that his new friend is Edgar Allen Poe, the famous author himself.

But Poe is still Eddie, young, struggling, and yet to be successful. On top of that, troubles follow the duo and lead to incidents that could alter history and the future. It’s now up to Richard to save Eddie and ensure that the world gets to read the masterpieces written by the man.

I had simple reasons for picking the book-

  • A horror seemed a fitting book for October

  • The title and story revolve around Poe!

  • The plot includes a mystery

  • It’s just 250+ pages and has been released on 4th Oct

The book is a combination of horror, paranormal, time travel, and crime (of sorts). The actual part of the story starts at around 48% of the book. The first half sets the stage by introducing the characters, hinting at the presence of paranormal activity, and revealing other details to the readers.

The Plot and Characters

What I loved the best is the straightforwardness of the plot. Of course, every character is trying to do something twisted or different, but the author doesn’t rely on ‘the great twist’ to carry the plot. The plotline has been planned and executed very well. There’s enough suspense to keep us interested.

The plot more or less hinges on how well Richard adapts to the past and of having to do his job in 1831 rather than 2021. It’s a relief to see Richard take things in stride after the initial hiccups. He fumbles and misses the advantages of modern technology, but he doesn’t mope around.

Another plus point is his flaws. Yeah, sounds like a paradox, but he’s no hero in the book. In fact, there’s no real hero, though Richard plays a crucial role. The same goes for others. Most characters are flawed and the whole thing pretty much reads like a play.

Pacing and Setting

The pacing did seem a little off at times but is decent overall. I could finish the book in about 3+ hours together. The description is limited to what the reader should know about the place. A little more could have the story spookier and scarier.

Paranormal and Horror

Okay, so here comes the thing. The overall paranormal touch in the story didn’t wow me. The feel was more like an undercurrent that didn’t reach the surface. In fact, the tilt was towards gore rather than the actual paranormal entity and its control over the characters.

Gore and Violence

There’s enough gore and violence that safely categorizes the book in horror, and some of it was nauseating. I tend to read violence with a detached mind, and it helps dilute the impact to an extent. Still, if gore isn’t your thing, this book may not be for you.

To Sum Up

The Poe Predicament is a decent time travel horror mystery if you want a quick read and are not averse to some graphic violence. The highlight of the book is how Poe’s writing has been seamlessly woven into the narrative.

Thank you, NetGalley and Foundations Book Publishing, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Happy Halloween!


About the Author: Srivalli Rekha is a blogger, writer, and amateur photographer. She got a degree in MBA and MA English Literature and chose to become a writer and a poet instead of a corporate professional.

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