Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review: The Blackest Bird by Joel Rose

Title: The Blackest Bird
Author: Joel Rose
Genre: Historical Mystery
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co.
Published: 2007
Pages: 480

Rating: 2 out of 10

I don't think I can remember dragging out my reading of a single book so long... ever. I have been working on trudging through this dismal mess of a book for three or four months now. I would pick it up every other day, read a chapter or so, and put it down.
I have read boring books before, and normally, I am still able to get through them well enough. I'm not entirely sure what it was about this one, but it inspired in me a desire not to read - a very unfortunate quality to possess if you are a book.

The Blackest Bird is about a detective in 1840's New York trying to solve the case of Mary Rogers, a young cigar-shop worker known in society for her beauty.
It is also about the creator of the Colt revolver, who isn't finding much success yet.
And it is about two men who are hanged for murdering their wives (well, actually not), who both were known through-out the lower circles as beautiful girls who sold corn on the streets.
And then Edgar Allen Poe comes in...
Confused?

This book could not decide what it wanted to be. The plot dashes from plot to plot and fails to mesh them together convincingly.
The murder of Mary Rogers is a case that goes unsolved for decades, so the book frequently tosses that main story into the background, digging it back up at frequent intervals until it is finally solved. I simply couldn't care.

For such an exciting premise, author Joel Rose does a remarkable job of making everything as boring as possible. Grave robbers, midnight escapades with Poe, New York City underworld, murder... Can YOU think of a way to make any of these things tedious and sleep-inducing?
Rose, evidentially, found 480 pages worth.

Great book to put you to sleep, but certainly not recommended for any other use.