The curator of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, is found decapitated and flayed alive. In the meantime across the Atlantic, the archivist of the Gumnerus Library in Trondeim, Norway, is found slaughtered in a similar fashion. It turns out both the victims were researching a rare text known as the Johannes Book, a journal of a suspected sixteenth-century Norwegian serial killer that is disturbingly bound in human skin. Upon discovering the common factor between the two recent murders, the respective American and Norwegian homicide detectives, Felicia Stone and Odd Singsaker, join forces to catch a sadistic monster.
I began this book expecting more of a Dan Brown type of thriller, what with the author’s literary references to Edgar Allan Poe and Agatha Christie and hints to secret societies, but I quickly realized this narrative veered more into Thomas Harris Hannibal Lector territory. While the story unfolded in a different direction than I originally anticipated, I still enjoyed this fast paced mystery, which though grisly was not overly bleak.