A Philadelphia crime spree featuring Edgar Allan Poe.
Still in love with the serial killer who betrayed him, Detective Mike Coletti visits her grave at Fairgrounds Cemetery and is startled to see a younger, prettier version of her walking toward him. As Lenore Wilkinson, Mary’s half sister, nears him, a gun booms and a bullet narrowly misses her. In a flash, her companion Clarissa Bailey falls dead, a snippet from a Poe poem lies beside her, a thin mustachioed man in old-fashioned garb speeds away and a raven lifts off from its tree perch and departs. Officer Frank Smith, on patrol, chases the mustache but winds up buried alive. The autopsy reveals a cryptogram tattoo on Clarissa’s neck. Her husband explains that she was fascinated with Poe. Her obsession led her to a university scholar delving into Poe’s reputation as a seer, ever searching for “a secret that would literally change the course of mankind.” Before you can whisper “Nevermore,” the scholar is pecked to death by the raven and a cryptic message promises that someone will be back to claim Lenore. As the Gravedigger’s Ball, a fundraiser to underwrite cemetery maintenance, approaches, the cops must piece together clues from “The Gold Bug,” “The Black Cat” and “The Raven,” and Poe’s stint as a gravedigger at Fairgrounds. Meanwhile, pretty Lenore, a consummate liar, battles her husband John; a young widower joins his dead wife; and a major confrontation with the Daughters of Independence results in a conflagration as the raven disappears in the distance.
An ineffective mating of police procedural, surreal horror and historical melodrama swaddled in lumpen prose from a seasoned author (The Last Confession, 2010, etc.) having a bad day.