By Joel Rose
Within the sweltering summer season of 1841, Mary Rogers, a well-liked tobacco store counter lady, is located brutally murdered within the shallows of the Hudson River. John Colt, scion of the firearm fortune, beats his writer to dying with a hatchet. And younger Irish gang chief Tommy Coleman is accused of killing his daughter, spouse, and her former lover. Charged with fixing all of it is excessive Constable Jacob Hays, whose research will span a decade, concerning gang wars, grave robbers, and clues hidden in poems by way of the hopeless romantic and minstrel of the evening, Edgar Allan Poe.
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Additional info for The Blackest Bird: A Novel of Murder in Nineteenth-Century New York
It was the language of the Adolf Hitler Schutzstaffel Panzer Division and the Grossdeutschland Panzer Grenadier Division. The door was flung open, and men tramped in, spitting out their many crowded consonants and flashing torches about. ” The four Americans cowered and held their breath. Their talk was of the day’s adventures, and their mood was of exultation—mind triumphing over the exhaustion of the body. Sieg Heil! It seemed certain that when sleeping time came—and that would be but a few minutes— some of these men would climb into the hay.
They turned and ran toward the road and came out into sight of it, holding their hands in the air. It would hold the Tigers for at least a couple of hours. The three introduced themselves to the sergeant in command, who saluted and gave his unit: Task Force D, 10th Armored. “We are holding on at Longwilly,” he said. Like all Americans below the commissioned ranks, he was contemptuous of French pronunciations. If they wanted you to say “Lonhveeyee,” why didn’t they spell it that way? These GIs, no doubt, thought of this village as belonging to somebody named William who happened to be tall and thin.
When they came to an open spot they would stop before emerging from the brush and stand with their ears cocked, listening attentively. A twig crackling beneath their feet would make them jump; a partridge taking flight would leave them with hearts pounding. It was Indian fighting, which all four of them had read about but had enacted only as children at play. Now it was reality, and far more deadly, for no Indian had ever dreamed of such weapons as the enemy here had made. These and other things you had to learn, and your first mistake might be your last.
The Blackest Bird: A Novel of Murder in Nineteenth-Century New York by Joel Rose