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The Forger's Daughter


The Forger's Daughter

Edgar Allan Poe’s first published work, a small book of poems titled TAMERLANE, released in 1827. The fact that there may be only 12 known copies of it still in existence not only makes the original extremely valuable, it also opens up the market to the world of expert forgers.

If you are unfamiliar with the underground world of forgery, then prepare to be fully schooled as you read Bradford Morrow’s latest novel, THE FORGER'S DAUGHTER. Although this is a sequel to THE FORGERS, it is not necessary to have read the first book before diving into this one. At the center of the narrative is TAMERLANE, and it is one wild ride from concept to the recreation of one of the rarest books in the world.

It begins with a scream --- a blood-curdling, almost feral scream that startles Will and his wife, Meghan. They bound out of their Hudson Valley, New York farmhouse and find their younger daughter, Maisie, both shaking and smattered with blood. She is carrying a parcel that she claims someone handed to her to give to her father. Initially, she is so frightened that she believes this mysterious individual was her dead uncle. As she calms down, she realizes that she has no clue who he was.

"You don't have to be a book collector or a lover of antiquarian books to enjoy THE FORGER'S DAUGHTER, as it merely provides the backdrop for this classy literary thriller."

The next mystery is to discover what is in the parcel and why the person who provided it would choose this method of getting it to Will. The stranger ends up being a creepy character named Henry Slader. Will knows him well, as the world in which he lives as an expert forger is akin to a hacker working with the denizens of the dark web. Slader has a proposal that would make him and Will very rich --- a successful forgery of TAMERLANE. Such a job could take months to do perfectly; Slader is asking Will to complete it in a week, and he will pay handsomely if it is done in this short period of time.

Even though Will does not trust Slader, they both understand the trick to the forgery game --- that the best forgeries are never discovered. When it comes to the excellence of execution in such a difficult task, Will is the only person Slader would ever consider. Using paper that Slader provides, which matches the original 1827 style, Will is off to do what he does best. Because of the fast turnover expected, Will has to turn to his older daughter, Nicole. Even though he has never fully shared his “process” with her, she has been trained as an outstanding calligrapher and may prove to be quite valuable with this latest project.

If committing fraud is not enough of a crime, Will and his family are quickly thrown into the middle of another one. Two detectives, Moran and Bellinger, come to the farmhouse to see if they might have any information about a body that was found in the area. They play dumb, but the description sounds like a cohort of Slader's who may have been eliminated by Will's favorite sociopath. They now have to tread lightly, especially when Slader has held over Will's head an alleged piece of blackmail consisting of damaging photos he has of him.  Whether or not these pictures exist is not of Will's concern --- he just wants to be done with the job and Slader.

What begins as a potentially lucrative job offer quickly devolves into a game of cat-and-mouse, where murder and double-crossing are never off the table. When Will and Meghan make a spectacular discovery at their antiquarian bookstore in the Tompkins Square Park area, things take an unexpected turn that makes for a wild finale. You don't have to be a book collector or a lover of antiquarian books to enjoy THE FORGER'S DAUGHTER, as it merely provides the backdrop for this classy literary thriller.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on October 2, 2020

The Forger's Daughter
by Bradford Morrow

  • Publication Date: September 21, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Literary, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press
  • ISBN-10: 0802149553
  • ISBN-13: 9780802149558