The Pale Blue Eye - Louis Bayard The cast of characters is rather limited which takes a lot of the guesswork out of a mystery, but Bayard’s The Pale Blue Eye scores points on style and a satisfying twist. Set in 19th century West Point, the heart of a murdered cadet is missing after being carved out of his chest. Gus Landor is a civilian detective who teams up with an equally fictionalized Edgar Allan Poe during his cadet years to find the murderer. Written with poetic and haunting turns of phrase, Bayard’s writing creates an ambiance fitting for his well-known protagonist. Poe takes center stage early with his flamboyant personality but, in the end, Landor’s more subtle wearied and broken character is much more intriguing.

I started to get frustrated through the second-half of the book because it started to seem a little over the top and obvious. However, don’t judge it until you get to the very end. The last 20 pages or so redeemed the second half for me.