His entry begins:
The Open Curtain by Brian EvensonAbout Speakers of the Dead, from the publisher:
The Open Curtain opens when Rudd Theurer discovers a box containing letters and books that belonged to his dead father. In the letters, Rudd learns of his father’s affair, and a possible child from that affair; and in the books he finds marginalia that highlight his father’s obsession with blood atonement, a 19th century Mormon ritual aimed at apostates, gentiles, and sinners. The letters and books also help Rudd understand the reasons his father committed suicide—his father slit his throat to atone for his infidelity—and inspires Rudd’s quest to find his half-brother. Soon after he meets Lael, things go odd and Rudd finds himself involved in the grisly campsite murders, struggling to negotiate the past and the present, and losing...[read on]
Speakers of the Dead is a mystery novel centering around the investigative exploits of a young Walt Whitman, in which the reporter-cum-poet navigates the seedy underbelly of New York City’s body-snatching industry in an attempt to exonerate his friend of a wrongful murder charge.Visit J. Aaron Sanders's website.
The year is 1843; the place: New York City. Aurora reporter Walt Whitman arrives at the Tombs prison yard where his friend Lena Stowe is scheduled to hang for the murder of her husband, Abraham. Walt intends to present evidence on Lena’s behalf, but Sheriff Harris turns him away. Lena drops to her death, and Walt vows to posthumously exonerate her.
Walt’s estranged boyfriend, Henry Saunders, returns to New York, and the two men uncover a link between body-snatching and Abraham’s murder: a man named Samuel Clement. To get to Clement, Walt and Henry descend into a dangerous underworld where resurrection men steal the bodies of the recently deceased and sell them to medical colleges. With no legal means to acquire cadavers, medical students rely on these criminals, and Abraham’s involvement with the Bone Bill—legislation that would put the resurrection men out of business—seems to have led to his and Lena’s deaths.
Fast-paced and gripping, Speakers of the Dead is a vibrant reimagining of one of America’s most beloved literary figures.
The Page 69 Test: Speakers of the Dead.
Writers Read: J. Aaron Sanders.