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Wakening the Crow

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  113 ratings  ·  41 reviews
With the looming shadow of Edgar Allan Poe falling over one family, Gregory takes the reader into a world of uncertainty and fear.

Oliver Gooch comes across a tooth, in a velvet box, with a handwritten note from 1888 to say it's a tooth from the boy Edgar Allan Poe. He displays it in his new bookshop, and names the store Poe's Tooth Books.

Oliver took the money from his sm
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Solaris (first published January 1st 2014)
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3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  113 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley
Stephen Gregory is a genius! Let me tell you why.

First, here is the set up for this story:

"Oliver took the money from his small daughter Chloe's accident insurance and bought a converted church to live in with his altered child and wife. Rosie hopes Chloe will came back to herself but Oliver is secretly relieved to have this new easy-to-manage child, and holds at bay the guilt that the accident was a result of his negligence. On a freezing night he and Chloe come across the crow, a raggedy skel
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
Oliver Gooch is given a tooth from an old man and with the tooth comes a handwritten note from 1888 that says that the tooth is from the boy Edgar Allan Poe. Oliver displays the tooth in his new bookshop and names the bookshop Poe's Tooth Books. The bookshop is located in an old converted church where Oliver lives with his wife Rosie and daughter Cloe. Cloe hasn't been herself since she was hit by a car 9 month's earlier and it's thanks to the insurance money that they could buy the old church. ...more
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
WAKENING THE CROW is the second book I've read by author Stephen Gregory, and once again I'm giving his outstanding writing and imagination a solid five stars. His words flow with such poise and precision that I was immediately drawn into the world of Oliver Gooch, and "Poe's Tooth Books".

Gregory uses a creeping sense of dread--so subtle--that you don't even realize how completely engrossed you are as you're being sucked into the storyline. As Oliver puts together the events in his life over the
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
WAKENING THE CROW is a very creepy, deliciously unsettling tale from Gregory. I love his brand of horror!
Jon Recluse
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
This was an eARC from NetGalley.

A masterpiece of dark fiction that weaves psychological horror with hints of the supernatural in a tale of a flawed family, fractured by tragedy, only to have their lives and sanity shattered by the presence of a carrion crow.

Just a crow. Simply that, and nothing more.

Or is it? There lies the rub.

Gregory invokes the unquiet ghost of Poe, in the figure of a small boy whose shadow looms large, yet deftly manages to surpass the power of Edgar's darkest imaginings in

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Oliver Gooch is finding himself fulfilling some of his lifelong dreams, all due to compensation money given to him and his family after his daughter Chloe's accident. He opens up a book shop after buying a renovated church and is given a tooth claimed to be from Edgar Allan Poe when he was a boy. Oliver displays the tooth as the centre piece of the shop but is the gifted tooth a good luck charm or i
Oct 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Stephen Gregory’s Wakening the Crow invokes not only the spirit of Edgar Allen Poe but also some of the psychological and supernatural aspects of the master’s writings that has had readers mesmerized since the 19th century . In Gregory’s haunting and puzzling novel, Oliver Gooch is a marginally working librarian until his 7 year old daughter Chloe is in a car accident. She suffers brain damage and Oliver is only slightly uncomfortable that he prefers this version of Chloe, mute and pliable, to p ...more
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, 2015
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andi Rawson
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wakening The Crow is one of the most beautiful, thoughtful, and unsettling novels that I have ever read. A slight deviation from my normal penchant for horror, it did not leave me wanting. Stephen Gregory writes as if he created language; his words are poetry without pretense

The story revolves around a brain-damaged 7-year-old, her guilt-wracked father, a carrion crow, and a tooth. It is the story of how a few lost moments can set into motion a dream (nightmare?)-like chain reaction of coinciden
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
After reading Stephen Gregory's excellent novel, The Cormorant, I was happy to see him coming out with Wakening the Crow. After reading only a few pages, I was thrilled to see Gregory using the same beautiful prose that I fell in love with before!

Aside from the wonderful prose, the plot has several things going on, ranging from a little girl left with head trauma from a car accident, a piece of physical history from Edgar Allan Poe in the form of a tooth and a Carrion Crow.  

Normally not somethi
Lolly K Dandeneau
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
From the beginning, the way Oliver Gooch describes his own daughter Chloe leaves a bitter aftertaste in the reader's mouth. We know straight away that Oliver is creepy, and that is the story's bite in my mind.
Chole has had a terrible accident while in her Daddy's care, that has changed her into a shadow of her former self, and loathe as he is to admit this, Oliver prefers this new, sweet angel to the challenging brat she was before. On one hand he feels guilt, that he was the cause of it all, of
Fungi From Yuggoth

I loved this book. The setting, the plotting, the horror so subtle it only creeps, not pounces, the lyricism such that I.often slowed to savour...lovely, all! I think of Susan Hill 's Simon Serraileur, who resides in a cathedral close--this family, since the settlement from the accident, live in a renovated church tower and vestry. It's all lovely, it is....until we get to the protagonists.

No joy here. The first-person narrative is delivered by one Oliver Gooch, a chara
Aug 28, 2014 rated it liked it
An interesting premise with some good thematic elements. That's the main reason this earns three stars from me. At times, it was a good old fashion horror story along the Poe/Lovecraft lines. At other times, it slipped into something bordering on pedophilia. This was a hard book for me to finish. I'll focus on the positives as I've already mentioned all I care to about the negatives.
This story has the perfect setting, and excellent plot lines that swirl together to create an old time creepy tal
Luke Walker
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it
A very well-written and atmospheric tale, but one that loses points for me because it does drag, feels a little repetitive and it's a hard slog to spend the entire book with a main character who isn't particularly likeable or interesting. 3.5 stars.
Matt Stevens
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
While you may find many people lauding the author and this book, I am not one of them. There is no connection with the narrator nor at any time do I feel semblance of empathy for him. This story truly seems like he second book in the author's book deal. No true point to the story. The book just meanders through to the end. If you like descriptions of glorious miraculous cold mornings, this is the book for you. Otherwise, read a collection by Poe as opposed to a poorly executed story about (possi ...more
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror, books-reading
ARC from NetGalley

This was a very strange book. It had so much potential for creep and scare, but it just never delivered. It started out wanting to be Poe, and finished up wanting to be The Shining, but it fell far short of either goal. It seemed to read like a first draft; and with some editing and rewrites, it could be a good creepy little novel. I enjoyed the brief look at Nottingham we got through the main character's eyes.
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A strange, unsettling, dark, and eerie tale of madness. My favorite elements were the frigid Nottingham setting, the converted church, Chloe, and the crow :)
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, horror, read-in-2014
For more reviews head over to

Everything about this synopsis intrigued me; the bizarreness of basing a story - and indeed a horror bookshop - on the discovery of Poe's tooth, the idea that a manky crow can have an impact on the character's relationships, and the gothic setting. Sounds good right?

Well, I'm pleased to say that it was...for the most part.

Oliver Gooch is a very strange protagonist and narrator. From the start it's evident that he's not altogether what you
Many thanks to Solaris Books for the ARC via NetGalley.

The premise and the setting of this novel are ideal and bursting with potential. The writing, while occasionally bordering on the pretentious (for indeed such is our narrator) shows a keen sense of space and atmosphere, with descriptions that assail the senses and transport the reader directly in the midst of the action by sheer visceral force.
There are many nods and parallels to Poe - a real field day for fans - but in my humble opinion the
Cheryl M-M
Nov 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Does it steer close to the kind of macabre horror Poe is known for? Well, it starts off with good intentions but flounders towards the end. Gregory seems to be trying to lead with two story-lines at once.

First the creepy Poe cursed tooth one, and then the family dynamic of the main character and his guilt. Pick one and go with it. You want to mess the borders between good, bad, evil and downright creepy as hell? Then do so with abandon and a little less of the dilly dallying.

There were some othe
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Back in the day, Stephen Gregory wrote a fantastic novel called 'The Cormorant'. It was a deeply disturbing book, with an avian character who could have stepped straight from the poems of Lawrence or Hughes. He might even have been a feathered Heathcliff who stank of fish, but whatever he was, he was as memorable a literary creation as you could wish for. I re-read 'The Cormorant' recently and was still struck by the power and originality of the writing. A super book.
But as Hardy says, 'The year
Sep 15, 2014 rated it liked it
This was one strange book. It has a very Gothic feel to it, which is always a positive for me, but it somehow felt hollow. Like there wasn’t much of a story there.
I think the main issue that I had with the novel was that all the characters were so unlikable. I don’t mind unlikeable characters if they’re interesting ones, but I didn’t feel connected to these in the least. I wanted the protagonist to turn into an anti-hero of some sort, but it just never got there.
The writing was good, at least.
Kim Russell
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have not long started this book and it is as good if not better than I expected. I really love Stephen Gregory's books. his writing is intelligent and engaging, the language precise and evocative.

I sadly came to the end today and I have to say I was gripped by the darkness of the novel. I felt a deep sympathy for Oliver, the main character, but I did not feel the same about his wife, Rosie, or their daughter Chloe, until the end of the book. The scenes with the crow and the mouse were sometim
Paula Schumm
Sep 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Rebellion/Solaris for a free advance download of Wakening the Crow by Stephen Gregory.
I really liked this one at the beginning. A creepy bookstore, a tragic accident, a brain-damaged little girl, Edgar Allan Poe's baby tooth, and a crow all seem to add up to a perfectly weird and satisfying story. But in the end our hero is a lazy drunk that runs around his house naked. The ending left me unsatisfied. Mr. Gregory writes such a strange final chapter that the reader is
Tracey the Lizard Queen
Picked this up on a whim, really glad I did. I could say I really enjoyed it, but 'enjoyed' is nowhere near the correct word. It follows the tale of Oliver, a middle-aged man who is given a tooth said to come from the mouth of none other than Edgar Allan Poe. It soon becomes apparent that things aren't quite 'right' with Oliver. Written in the first person it focuses on Oliver's guilt and regret and combined with a few other themes that most people would flinch away from, it makes for a disturbi ...more
Jan 29, 2015 rated it liked it
I was about giving it 4 stars, but the end just didn't do it for me.
Gregory is a skilled writer who builds up tension and crafts some terrific scences that make you wonder what the final conclusion would be.
As a reader you soon get an idea what the main character might be haunted by.
Problem with the book is, Gregory doesn't appear having the guts to bring the story to its horrible, disturbing end.
A good novel nevertheless, which could have been so much better if a skilled editor polished the w
Aug 31, 2014 rated it liked it
I think the writing sometimes was a little too confused, the narrator Oliver a little too creepy, to get into the story. Although both can add to the story and the overall tension in the book, since both were overdone it was difficult to really relate to what is told. This is unfortunate, because the book in itself had a lot to reccomend itself: a good angle and setting, and in-depth and gradually growing characters.

I received a free copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review. My full
Brandon Griesbaum
This was a weird one for me. I absolutely loved the concept behind the story and it had a few legitimately uncomfortable moments. However, I never really felt I was reading a horror novel. Rather, It seemed more like Psycho-drama. "Thriller" is not a term I would use to describe it. Overall though the writing was solid, the story was well thought out and executed and the ending left me satisfied.

Definitely worth a read, just not if you are going for horror.
Nov 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
Book description sounded good but it didn't work for me.
Boris Cesnik
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
You either go for the eerie fairytale a la Sarban or explore more your talent for creepy psychological tales of uneasiness.

There was neither in this book. You wanted to opt for a dream-like and timeless atmosphere and narrative, fine but stick with it.

None of the characters were particularly believable, none of their actions and dialogues were either real or un-realistic. They just don't stand up. None of their interactions, history and developments seem well thought.

You are skilled as writer.
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Stephen Gregory (b. 1952) was born in Derby, England, and earned a degree in law from the University of London. He worked as a teacher for ten years in various places, including Wales, Algeria, and Sudan, before moving to the mountains of Snowdonia in Wales to write his first novel, The Cormorant (1986), which won Britain’s prestigious Somerset Maugham Award and drew comparisons to Poe. The book w ...more