Thursday, December 6, 2012

Blog Tour Review: The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O'Brien

From the Back Cover:

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.

My Thoughts:

"I was tasked earlier in my life to keep order on the streets of San Francisco. Later on, keeping my identity cloaked in service of the Union, I tried to track Jefferson Davis himself in Richmond. And I spent twelve days chasing an enigma until my men corralled John Wilkes Booth in a burning barn. But goddammit, madam, I find your husband to be a unique and incalculable bother."

Thus is the description bestowed upon our hero in The Lincoln Conspiracy, Metropolitan Police Detective Temple McFadden, by his nemesis, the Secretary of War's watchdog, Lafayette Baker. After witnessing a murder in broad daylight and absconding with a parcel Baker is after, Temple embarks on a dangerous journey to uncover the truth behind the assassination of his beloved President Lincoln. In possession of both Mrs. Lincoln's and John Wilkes Booth's diaries, and with the help of his smart and capable wife, his highly educated best friend, and a colorful cast of underworld criminals, Temple goes up against some very powerful men in his determination to bring all of Lincoln's killers to justice. He is a very unique and compelling character, and one I was drawn to right away, though he is not without his flaws: walking with a limp, having a penchant for cards, and possessing a real knack for finding trouble. But he is smart, street tough, and passionate, and the reader gets to see glimpses of the childhood and young adulthood that shaped him into what he is as he hunts for answers while trying to evade his enemies and protect his loved ones.

I'm going to skip a plot synopsis in an effort to preserve this mystery's suspense and simply tell you why I liked it. I stepped outside my normal reading habits with this historical thriller, and though it took me a little while to get used to O'Brien's writing style and the point of view changes, at some point along the way I got well and truly hooked, for I found I didn't want to put it down, and when I did, I kept thinking about getting back to it. The novel is richly atmospheric, creating a gritty and evocative setting in post-war D.C. (even if it does lean a bit toward over-description), and O'Brien has done a fabulous job of weaving some very famous historical figures into the story in interesting and believable ways. Sojourner Truth, Alexander Gardner, and Allan Pinkerton all have large roles to play in a mystery that holds no punches and keeps readers guessing until the very end, and then smacks them in the face with one heck of a surprise. While the conspiracy itself is speculation, O'Brien has not strayed far from the known facts of his famous characters, including the villainous Lafayette Baker and the suspect Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.

I really enjoyed this novel, and grew especially attached to Temple and his wife, Fiona, who are both nuanced characters and perfect partners for a series of historical mysteries, of which, I am hoping, The Lincoln Conspiracy will prove to be only the first. There are a couple of loose ends and a few gaps in Temple's life story which give the reader hope for more. I'd recommend The Lincoln Conspiracy for any lover of thrillers, and for historical fiction readers looking for something a bit different, like getting down and dirty with a great cast of characters during a dark and troubled time in America's history.

My Rating:  4 Stars out of 5

Want to win your own copy of
The Lincoln Conspiracy?

To enter, leave a comment with your email address! My followers double their chances to win, so let me know if you follow via GFC, Twitter, Facebook, or Networked Blogs. This giveaway is open only to U.S. residents and ends at 11:59 pm Wednesday December 19, 2012. Winner will be selected at random. Thanks, and good luck!

This giveaway is closed and the winner has been selected. Stay tuned for more great giveaways!

The Lincoln Conspiracy is on a blog tour!
Click here to view the full tour schedule
for more reviews and giveaways.
Click here to visit Timothy L. O'Brien's website.


  1. Lincoln is red hot right now! This sounds good!

  2. I love historical fiction, and an occasional thriller. Don't know that I've ever read a book similar to this one. And, I was further attracted by the comment that our hero is assisted by his smart and capable wife. Putting this one on the wish list, while hoping to win it. Thanks for the giveaway.

    GFC follower

  3. I would love to win this book, please enter me in the giveaway.

    I follow with both GFC and Networked Blogs (both: Kimberlee Gibbs)


  4. I love reading about this time period in American History and this sounds like an intriguing read. I follow with GFC and Facebook.

    tmrtini at gmail dot com

  5. Would love a chance to win this! My email address is and I follow your blog via GFC. Thanks!

  6. I have a copy and can hardly wait to open this book!

  7. I love a good historical thriller and Lincoln does seem to be the rage right now... not to mention that he's an interesting subject.

    I added you to my twitter 'followings'. (I thought I already was a follower but twitter said nope.)

    undermyappletree at gmail dot com

  8. This looks like such a good story about one of America's greatest men. Please enter my name for the chance to win a copy.
    I also follow your blog by email: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

  9. I love historical fiction! Would love to win this.

  10. This book would be a great historical to treasure. thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  11. This novel sounds fascinating. A great giveaway. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  12. After Da Vinci, it is probably about Lincoln.. I am in for the give-away...


    And yeah, I am following you on FB!

  13. I loved this book a lot, and would enjoy offering to a Lincoln fan I know. I follow you many ways, through RSS feed, also on twitter [@wordsandpeace and facebook [Emma Cazabonne].
    ehc16e at yahoo dot com


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