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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Finding Poe: A Tale of Inspiration and Horror is a horror novel written by Leigh M. Lane. Lady Karina had been accustomed to a life of privilege as a member of the titled nobility until Brantley, her new husband, committed an act that would propel him on a desperate race to a haunted lighthouse off the coast of New England, and a hunt for the buried treasure he knew was nearby. It was a most bizarre situation for a lord and lady to find themselves in, but Brantley seemed more than satisfied with their new, if disheveled and mildewy, quarters. Lady Karina was perplexed by the changes in her husband, and her confusion over the entire state of affairs quickly turned to terror as Brantley became increasingly disoriented, violent and paranoid. To make matters worse, she kept falling prey to a series of horrific dreams: dreams of drowning, of murder, of a doppelganger with an evil husband who would lock her in a room and keep her submissive with strong potions, of a maelstrom swirling to her doom. When Brantley met his end, she found the letter he had addressed to a Mr. Poe in Baltimore. While she still blamed her husband for bringing her on this desperate and ill-fated adventure, she was determined to fulfill his last request. Karina set off on a train to Baltimore, not knowing what or who she'd encounter along the way.
Leigh M. Lane's darkly surreal fantasy novel, Finding Poe: A Tale of Inspiration and Horror, is a haunting homage to the classic horror writer that immerses the Lady Karina and the reader in a series of inexplicable and often interlocking dream-states. As occurred with a number of the characters in Poe's dark short stories, Karina is haunted by guilt over her after-the-event complicity in her husband’s crime, and the actors in her fever-delirious dreams often serve as her judge, jury and executioner. A lifelong admirer of Edgar Allan Poe's tales and poetry, I appreciated Lane's canny allusions to so many of them in this dark, imaginative and most impressive novel. As I read, I couldn't help but think what a great time Federico Fellini would have had adapting Finding Poe for the screen and what a marvelous production it would have been. And fans of the 1960s underground cult favorite, Carnival of Souls, will find car crash survivor Mary Henry's profound dislocation and frantic confusion eerily echoed in Lady Karina's plight. Finding Poe: A Tale of Inspiration and Horror is most highly recommended.