Stephen Gregory is a genius! Let me tell you why.
First, here is the set up for this story:
Oliver took the money from his small daughter Chloe's accident insurance and bought a converted church to live in with his altered child and wife. Rosie hopes Chloe will came back to herself but Oliver is secretly relieved to have this new easy-to-manage child, and holds at bay the guilt that the accident was a result of his negligence. On a freezing night he and Chloe come across the crow, a raggedy skeletal wretch of a bird, and it refuses to leave. It infiltrates their lives, it alters Oliver's relationship with Rosie, it changes Chloe. It's a dangerous presence in the firelit, shadowy old vestry, in Poe's Tooth Books.
Inexorably the family, the tooth, the crow, the church and their story will draw to a terrifying climax.
This tale is a lot more complicated than the synopsis makes it out to be. There is a sense of creeping, building dread that, at times, becomes intense. You know something is coming but you can't get a handle on what it will be.
There are several-I'll just call them "uncomfortable moments" sprinkled throughout this book. The reader ends up off balance, questioning, confused. Wait, is that normal? What's he doing? Is that a European thing? I would love to say more about this, but I can't without spoilers. Suffice it to say this book has a lot of WTF moments, and my opinion is that the author masterfully placed them there just to mess with us.( So yeah, genius! )
This story also seems to be an homage to Edgar Allan Poe himself, so much so that...well I can't say. It all becomes mixed up: Poe, the tooth, the crow, heavy drinking and guilt. What's real? What's not? You're going to have to read it to find out.
I am now a full fledged Stephen Gregory fan. The Cormorant blew me away and this novel is right up there on that same level. Mr. Gregory produces beautifully written, literary, atmospheric stories that resonate with the reader. I will be thinking about Poe's Tooth Bookshop and that crow for a long, long time.
Highly recommended for not only fans of horror, but also for fans of literary fiction and psychological tales. This book is not easily categorized, but it's worth reading, if only to watch a genius at work.
I received this eARC from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review and this is it.