4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, O, RATING, Read in 2012, READING CHALLENGES 2012, Review Book

2012.23 REVIEW – The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O’Brien

The Lincoln Conspiracy
by Timothy L. O’Brien

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 296
Read: Sept. 10-18, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012
Yearly count: 23
Format: E-Book
Source: Review copy through NetGalley

Blurb: A nation shattered by its president’s murder
Two diaries that reveal the true scope of an American conspiracy
A detective determined to bring the truth to light, no matter what it costs him

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.

Review: I originally saw this book on LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program a couple of months back. I was immediately intrigued – pretty much anything with the name “Lincoln” will get my attention. I was incredibly sad when I didn’t snag a copy. I checked to see if my local library had a copy on order – they didn’t. Then I decided to see if maybe it was available on NetGalley (a service that I rarely use because I really do not like reading e-books). I was encouraged when I found that it was listed – and was even more thrilled when I got accepted for a copy! I got my Nook Color out, dusted it off, charged it up (because I honestly don’t think I had turned it on in over a year) and loaded the book onto it. Then I let it sit. For weeks. Finally I realized that if I wanted this review to get done around the release date, I would have to get on it.

My feelings on this book overall are mixed. I need to start out by saying that, for me, this book started out extremely slow. Like to the point where if it hadn’t been a review copy, I probably never would have finished it just because the beginning was that tough to get through. But I carried on … and I can honestly say that I am very glad that I stuck with it. It was about 75-100 pages in when it started to really get interesting.

While reading this book it didn’t really feel that much like a historical novel. Obviously it was, seeing as how it was set in 1865, but there was something about the language that didn’t make it seem historical. The context was there, but the language was not, I suppose it the best way for me to describe it. Personally, I liked that. I tend to shy away from anything that has flowery descriptions of things or that has wording that is harder for me to understand because of the differences in the wording we use today versus what was used in the past. This book didn’t have that feel to it (which might have some historical fiction fans upset). I’m not 100% sure, but I think part of the reason why I get that vibe from this book is simply because it was written by a man. All the historical fiction that I have read (and trust me, my experience with the genre is limited) has been authored by women. Either way, it doesn’t really matter because I enjoyed the book.

I liked the characters. Temple and Fiona are a good couple, they definitely compliment each other perfectly. Poor Temple, he was always ruining his boots – much to the chagrin of Fiona!! I liked Augustus as well. Having a black man play such an important role in a white couple’s life during the 1860s was quite interesting. They truly considered him a friend and I liked that, particularly since it was set in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. I don’t think that made much sense, it’s really hard to find the wording for my feelings on this.

The “mystery” of this book was interesting. It obviously revolves around the diaries that are mentioned in the blurb above. It was neat seeing the cipher be broken bit by bit throughout the book. And there sure were a lot of people in D.C. that wanted those diaries covered up! It definitely made for some exciting moments. My only complaint is that I would have liked to have had more information on what was in Mrs. Lincoln’s diary than what the reader sees.

The ending of the book …. oh, how do I explain this without giving too much away. Let me start with this – the ending frustrated me! I guess I wanted more closure than I felt like I got. We never know who Maestro really is. I have a pretty good guess just by the clues that are given about him, but I have no concrete evidence as to if my suspicion is correct. And that irritated me! However, having said that, I suppose it adds to the suspense of the overall story.

Overall I would highly recommend this book. I’m glad that I persevered through that slow beginning and finished the book. It might technically be a historical fiction book, but I really think it will appeal to the thriller/suspense crowd as well.


Meme, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Sept. 18, 2012

This week’s question asks:

Top ten bookish people you want to meet. 

I don’t know if I will be able to get to 10 with this question, but I have a good blend of bloggers and authors. In no particular order:

  1. Trish at Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity – because she seems to be such a cool person and her daughter is gorgeous! Plus she has the greatest post ideas, ever! I only wish I could come up with half the cool ideas she does.  I love how she has been able to combine cooking, reading, vacationing, family and whatever else kind of post she can come up with and make it work 100%. If you don’t “know” Trish you are sooooo missing out!
  2. Samantha at Booked on a Feeling – because she’s awesome. She’s been a follower/commenter of mine since I can remember and she has always had great things to say. Oh and we like pretty much the same type of books 🙂
  3. Jackie over at House Wife Blues and Chihuahua Stories – Jackie stumbled across my blog a year or two ago and I have enjoyed getting to know her. She’s had a rough couple of years in her personal life and I respect her for everything she has been through. She’s just a very nice person and while we don’t read the same type of books, I think it would be a lot of fun to sit down over coffee in a bookstore and chat with her.
  4. Wendy of  Caribousmom – I first “met” Wendy in a Yahoo reading group that we both belong to. I soon found out that she has a beyond awesome blog. And in my opinion, she is one of the biggest names out there in the book blogosphere. Yet she’s so down to earth and nice. I have found a lot of awesome books through her blog and if you don’t know her blog, definitely check it out.
  5. Mary Higgins Clark – I want to know how this woman does it time and time again. Her books are amazing. I would love to be able to pick her brain a little bit. She seems to timeless. Her books are awesome!
  6. Stephen King – I will admit I haven’t been such a big fan of his recent stuff. But his older books, oh my goodness. Creepy doesn’t even catch it! This guy must have the most messed up dreams on the planet and I would love to be able to chat with him.
  7. Brad Meltzer – I will admit, I actually haven’t read many of his books. However, I follow him on Twitter and am a huge fan of his show Decoded (Please, History Channel – I would love a 3rd season!). But seriously, this guy seems to be one of the funniest guys out there. He’s got one of those perfectly sarcastic senses of humor and I would love to meet and talk with him
  8. James Patterson – I have so many questions for this guy. Number one being – why do you feel the need to put so many frickin’ books out in a year? Don’t get me wrong, I like his books, but seriously … I would think his prolificness would put pressure on other authors to produce like he does – and lets all be honest here, I bet he only writes one book a year himself, I’m a firm believer that his co-authors do all the work on the other books.

Well that’s all I’ve got. I had fun this week and am already looking forward to next week’s topic 🙂

Happy reading!