Speakers of the Dead: A Walt Whitman Mystery (Paperback)

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1843, New York City... Walt Whitman is a young reporter trying to clear the names of two friends wrongly accused of murder. Whitman finds himself up against corrupt sheriffs, body snatchers, and a public terrified of having their remains stolen after death. This debut is the perfect mix of Lyndsay Faye's trilogy and C.S. Harris's Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries. I really enjoyed this debut and can't wait to see what Sanders does with the series. 

— John

Description


Lambda Award Winner

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.

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.

About the Author


J. Aaron Sanders is Associate Professor of English at Columbus State University where he teaches literature and creative writing. He holds a PhD in American Literature from The University of Connecticut and an MFA in Fiction from The University of Utah. His stories have appeared in Carolina Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Quarterly West, andBeloit Fiction Journal, among others. This is his first novel.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780143128717
ISBN-10: 014312871X
Publisher: Plume Books
Publication Date: March 1st, 2016
Pages: 320
Language: English