Tuesday, March 19, 2013

First Chapter Review: The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O'Brien

I received an advanced reader copy of The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O'Brien from another blogger after expressing interest in the book. This is a historical fiction thriller involving Lincoln's assassination.

BLURB: From award-winning journalist Timothy L. O'Brien comes a gripping historical thriller that poses a provocative question: What if the plot to assassinate President Lincoln was wider and more sinister than we ever imagined?

In late spring of 1865, as America mourns the death of its leader, Washington, D.C., police detective Temple McFadden makes a startling discovery. Strapped to the body of a dead man at the B&O Railroad station are two diaries, two documents that together reveal the true depth of the Lincoln conspiracy. Securing the diaries will put Temple's life in jeopardy--and will endanger the fragile peace of a nation still torn by war.

Temple's quest to bring the conspirators to justice takes him on a perilous journey through the gaslit streets of the Civil War-era capital, into bawdy houses and back alleys where ruthless enemies await him in every shadowed corner. Aided by an underground network of friends--and by his wife, Fiona, a nurse who possesses a formidable arsenal of medicinal potions--Temple must stay one step ahead of Lafayette Baker, head of the Union Army's spy service. Along the way, he'll run from or rely on Edwin Stanton, Lincoln's fearsome secretary of war; the legendary Scottish spymaster Allan Pinkerton; abolitionist Sojourner Truth; the photographer Alexander Gardner; and many others.

Bristling with twists and building to a climax that will leave readers gasping, The Lincoln Conspiracy offers a riveting new account of what truly motivated the assassination of one of America's most beloved presidents--and who participated in the plot to derail the train of liberty that Lincoln set in motion.

COVER: Looks great. The copy I have here is a standard ARC cover, so I haven't seen the real cover up close. The picture of a smoking gun with a large portion of Lincoln's head in the background and the capital behind him makes for a spectacular sight. The brown and golden colors are a nice contrast.

FIRST CHAPTER: It is a month after Lincoln's assassination. Washington D.C. police detective Temple McFadden is on his way to fetch Augustus and Pint from the train when a scuffle catches his eye. He races over there as fast as his crippled leg and cane will allow, but can't save the man's life. Searching the dead man's body, he discovers two diaries strapped to his chest--one in a woman's writing, the other in a man's. This must have been what the attackers were searching for. Now that Temple is in possession of these documents, his life is in danger. Brandishing his cane as a weapon, he narrowly escapes by stealing a horse.

KEEP READING: I'm a huge Civil War and Abraham Lincoln buff, so any novel or nonfiction book about these two topics catches my eye. The first chapter opens with the main character, who is walking to pick up two people from the train at the B+O railroad station. Things quickly turn dicey and the pace jumps from moderate to NASCAR race speed.

O'Brien paints some great pictures for his readers with the descriptions and details included. That, combined with the cliffhanger ending of the first chapter, encourage the reader to continue. I was a bit perplexed why Temple was so captivated by the rain and kept mentioning it. What's good about this chapter is that it focuses mostly on Temple. He mentions his wife, Fiona, a few times, but other than the man he's watching rush to the train and then get attacked, there aren't a lot of names dropped. This helps to avoid confusion and really connect the reader with the main character.

I look forward to reading more.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1St Edition edition (September 18, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345496779
ISBN-13: 978-0345496775

I received a copy of this book from another blogger. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.


Patty Woodland said...

I'm reading this and I'm all like - wow, this sound sooooo familiar.

I read waaaaaay too many books.

Cheryl said...

Gee, I wonder why. :)