The Tell-Tale Start

Gordon McAlpine, Author, Sam Zuppardi, Illustrator
Gordon McAlpine, illustrated by Sam Zuppardi. Viking, $15.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-670-78491-2
Paperback - 178 pages - 978-0-14-242346-2
Compact Disc - 978-0-385-36808-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-385-36806-3
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-101-62133-2
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McAlpine (Mystery Box) opens the Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe series by introducing the 12-year-old great-great-great-great-grandnephews of famed author Edgar Allan Poe. More than just identical twins, Edgar and Allan are literally of one mind (“Each always knew what the other was thinking, feeling, experiencing”). A mad professor is quite interested in harnessing the power of the boys’ mind meld (which is credited to “quantum entanglement” theory), and he creates an elaborate Wizard of Oz–related ruse to kidnap them. In establishing Edgar and Allan as orphaned mischievous geniuses with a connection to the macabre, the author lays some complex groundwork, including passages about what the twins don’t know and coded messages from Poe himself, delivered from the “great beyond.” This scene-setting slows the story’s initial progression, though the action eventually picks up, and Zup-pardi’s spindly b&w spot illustrations add to the overall creepy atmosphere. The light horror, snarky laughs, and gloom- and prank-loving protagonists should particularly appeal to fans of the Edgar and Ellen books and similar fare. Ages 8–12. Agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Jan.)
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