Joel Rose ’70 is the author of the recently published book, “The Blackest Bird,” a novel of murder in Nineteenth-Century New York.
Reviewer Patrick McGrath writes: “Rose has caught the wild spirit of [Edgar Allan] Poe’s New York with terrific panache. It is a vivid picture of the city … teeming with big, brash characters and driven by a relentlessly entertaining narrative.
Set in the sweltering New York City summer of 1841, the novel weaves together the stories of Mary Rogers, a popular counter girl at a tobacco shop in Manhattan, who is found brutally ravaged in the shallows of the Hudson River; John Colt, scion of the firearm fortune, who beats his publisher to death with a hatchet; and Irish gang leader Tommy Coleman, accused of killing his daughter, his wife and his wife’s former lover.
High Constable Jacob Hays, the city’s first detective, charged with solving these cases, ties the story together. At the end of a long and distinguished career, Hays’s investigation will ultimately span a decade, involving gang wars, grave robbers and clues hidden in poems by the hopeless romantic and minstrel of the night: Edgar Allan Poe.
Rose, who previously wrote three other books, “Kill the Poor,” “Kill Kill Faster Faster,” and “New York Sawed in Half,” also founded the literary magazine Between C&D. An English major while at HWS, he now lives in New York City.